The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra wraps up its 2009-2010 season with a concert featuring Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Maurice Ravel‘s Tzigane for violin and orchestra. Conductor Charles Latshaw and violin soloist Brian Allen discuss the concert.
The Story Of Tzigane
“Tzigane, which means ‘gypsy,’ actually came about in part because of an extended dinner party,” Latshaw explains. “Ravel and some other guests were at a party with a gypsy violinist. Ravel asked him to play and then to play and to play. By midnight most of the other guests has left, but Ravel and the violinist stayed up all night. There doesn’t seem to be any copying of actual pieces but Tzigane, with its gypsy flavor, appeared ten years later.”
Violinists Love It
Brian Allen performs the piece after winning BSO’s Youth Concerto Competition. “It is nice that you get to solo for a substantial beginning,” he says. “Tzigane really exploits the dark sounds of the violin. The whole first part is plays on the low ‘g’ string. It’s fortunate that it’s the toughest one on the fiddle, because it gets quite a work out.”
Mahler Takes Works
Latshaw speaks a little about Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. “It’s hard to do, because everything about Mahler is big. We do think that people hearing this work have very strong feelings. Some will love it, some may actually hate it. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. Mahler himself loved to talk about his music. Taking a cue from him, we’re going to have time after the concert to enjoy some punch and cookies and just chat about the emotions that this piece excites.”