If anything is going to take the edge off a particularly stressful and insane day, it’s going to be this concert. Because, if you live anywhere in Southern California you’ll know we’re going through the ritual we go through every few years around this time; L.A. Burning Down. Some years its slightly disastrous, while other years its catastrophic. This year it’s catastrophic. And we’re not even half-way through it.
I bring all that up by way of letting you know this concert is the perfect antidote for a week of nail-biting, road closures and evacuations. It’s the price we pay for living in Los Angeles.
Michel Plasson has been one of my favorite conductors of the past 30+ years. His work with the Toulouse Orchestra has been short of miraculous and his point of view fairly rivals two of my other favorite conductors; Charles Munch and André Cluytens. Ironically, a young Plasson studied under Munch, so it makes perfect sense.
This concert, broadcast this past November 24th, features another favorite orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra Of Spanish Radio and Television in a program of works by Ravel and Debussy – Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and Ma Mere l’oye take up the first half and Debussy’s Prelude a l’apres midi d’une faune and La Mer take up the second half.
This concert is perfect for taking a rather nerve-wrecking day and injecting a level of tranquility and sanity to it. Michel Plasson has infused these very familiar pieces with a sense of wonder and mystery, which is something he’s done quite a bit with music we’ve heard countless times before. It’s the attention to detail and it’s his ability to bring out the best in an orchestra that I find this concert so satisfying. Not to mention taking the blood pressure down a few points.
That isn’t to say you should play this concert in lieu of pushing the Panic Button – but it helps. If your city isn’t burning down where you live, maybe it’s just that it’s the middle of the week and getting to be the end of the year that makes you just a little edgy. Believe me – this concert takes the edge off of that too.
Crank it up and relax.
(Hat tip to my friend Justin for telling me about this concert).