Paul’s Pick of the Week: The Greenville Symphony Orchestra’s “Vive La France,” Saturday-Sunday at the Peace Center.
Why you should go: The Greenville Symphony will add a special piece to its “Vive La France” concerts this Saturday and Sunday. A performance of the French National Anthem will honor the spirt of the French people, rocked by the recent devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.
It’s just a coincidence that the orchestra is performing a program of all-French music this weekend – it was planned more than a year ago – but it has taken on new meaning in aftermath of the blaze that ripped through Notre Dame.
“I consider this program a tribute to France at a difficult time,” said Greenville Symphony music director Edvard Tchivzhel.
Orchestral cornerstones: The concerts spotlight three orchestral cornerstones: Dukas’ “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” Ravel’s “Bolero” and Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.”
“We’re finishing our Masterworks’ season with three great jewels of the classical repertoire, works that reflect the brilliance, elegance and passion of French music,” Tchivzhel said.
“Sorcerer’s Apprentice” will be familiar to generations of concert-goers thanks to Disney’s “Fantasia,” which features a hapless Mickey Mouse grappling with brooms that come to life and create havoc.
Ravel’s “Bolero,” meanwhile, is the famously hypnotic piece in which a sinuous long-lined melody journeys throughout the orchestra toward a thunderous conclusion.
“‘Bolero’ begins in a whisper and grows in a long, gradual crescendo to a roaring climax,” Tchivzhel said. “It’s like an unstoppable machine.”
Concerto-goers may recall the seductive role of “Bolero” in the 1979 romantic comedy “10.”
“Symphonie Fantastique,” occupying the second half of the concerts, is the first programmatic symphony: an instrumental work with a story to tell. Berlioz’s 1830 symphony relates the gothic tale of a young man who, in an opium-induced stupor, dreams he has killed his beloved and witnesses his own execution at the guillotine, followed by a wild witches sabbath.
“Symphonie Fantastique” rarely fails to make an impact.
“It’s an emotional roller-coaster for the audience,” Tchivzhel said.
The Greenville Journal’s Paul Hyde will present a free pre-concert talk one hour before the Greenville Symphony concerts. Follow Paul on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7.
If you go
- What: “Vive La France,” a Greenville Symphony Orchestra program of all-French music
- When: 8 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday (Free pre-concert talks, featuring the Greenville Journal’s Paul Hyde, take place one hour before the concerts.)
- Where: Peace Center
- Tickets: $19 to $65
- Info: 864-467-3000 or www.peacecenter.org