Conductor Gianandrea Noseda introduced the Respighi “La Boutique fantasque” this evening with his usual flair. Some conductors don’t take the opportunity to talk to the audience, yet it’s often a very entertaining way to connect the music with the audience. His assertion was that perhaps this piece was 50% by Respighi and 50% by Rossini, who came to Paris at the ‘ripe old age of 37’, and for a while didn’t write a note. Eventually, according to Noseda, he did write some piano pieces, which were later orchestrated by Respighi for the 8 movements fantastically presented this evening by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
This composition, which I’m hearing for the first time tonight, except for a few melodies which I do recognize, seems amazing to me. Each piece, each section, and as a whole, this music is much too amazing to be so obscure. The overture begins with a great melody, playful and enticing, and when it’s done, I wish to hear more. Yet no fear, each and every movement to follow has the same quality, enduring and melodic. With this music as a backdrop, I begin to write the following, even turning into poetry…
In the beginning there were sounds. Sounds, branching into myriad amalgamations of sonorous tendrils bundled algorithmically into packets of temporal relations, juxtaposed behind alternating selections thematically grouped in musical forms intended to smack the listener with the greatest melodic impact.
Then there were words, but just what words can accurately, concisely and vigorously capture the fullest splendor of the music?
Words can be beautiful. Words can be bright.
Say the thing you mean, but do words have the right?
Can they usurp the reality of the tender music,
That we would hear throughout the night.
A vain attempt these words do make
to model reality and meaning take;
losing in the transcription the larger part
between harmonious reality and what’s in my heart.
My noble attempt to say the words, now past
has led me here to the threshold, magic at last.
The city of lights this night is hewn before my ears,
release the hidden subtlety as comprehension nears;
the music, as with the light, unleashed to shed our fears.