Kent Nagano conducts Stravinsky, Strauss and Ravel

With the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

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Three of the most lauded compositions of the 20th century are on the program of this concert. Kent Nagano conducts a program infused with the incomparable dramatic intensity of two of the OSM’s most successful renditions: Ravel’s Bolero and Stravinsky’s Firebird. Don Juan by Richard Strauss completes the program. Watch this concert recorded in Montreal on medici.tv.

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Kent Nagano, performs three major works of the 20th century: Stravinsky's The Firebird, Strauss's Don Juan and Ravel's Bolero.

Firebird was written for the Ballets Russes in Paris, it was created in 1910. It is probably Stravinsky's most famous score with the Rite of Spring – which was composed during the same period and created three years later. Firebird is based on a Russian folk tale. Thanks to its resounding success, Igor Stravinsky became suddenly very famous, a major figure of the Russian intellectual and artistic avant-garde. The Firebird, which requires an exceptional orchestral mastery, is performed brilliantly by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. The orchestra is reknown for its interpretation of the work under the direction of Kent Nagano.

Ravel's Bolero is also linked to the sphere of danse. It was composed by Ravel at the request of the great dancer of the early 20th century, Ida Rubinstein. It is the most famous piece of the composer. Yet, the latter said: "My masterpiece? the Bolero, of course! Unfortunately, it is empty of music." Quite a peculiar statement! The piece is composed of two phrases which are repeated crescendo over and over again at a stable tempo. The result is very powerful. This score is a masterpiece of the 20th century. The collaboration between Maurice Ravel and choreographer Bronislava Nijinska gave birth to an incredible ballet. Over the past decades, several major choreographers have adapted the Bolero, creating their own version. Among the most famous: Mikhail Fokine's, Serge Lifar's, and Maurice Béjart's (with the iconic dancers Maya Plisetskaya and Sylvie Guillem).

Finally, the program features Richard Strauss's Don Juan, one of the first symphonic pieces composed by the composer. Based on the myth of Don Juan, the work describes the character of the hero, his romantic encounters and his death. Its premiere was an enormous success.

Pictures: Kent Nagano © FelixBroede.

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