David Royko Psy.D

david@davidroyko.com

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Mathieu Dufour, flute
Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano
Falk Struckmann, bass-baritone

Ravel -   Le tombeau de Couperin
Dalbavie -   Flute Concerto
Bartok -   Bluebeard’s Castle


Performance of January 12, 2010


I enjoyed hearing the Bartok "live," even if I was not on the same page as Boulez. The lake of tears had NO atmosphere, and that movement (6th door) is all about atmosphere. The 5th door (my other favorite door) sounded great with the CSO blazing away, which sort of sums up my feeling for the piece -- I'd like it more if the two singers stayed home and left the orchestra alone. The opera’s one of those post-Wagnerian, all-recitative-all-the-time things that takes too much effort for me to sit through. But, like I said to a friend, I now feel "done" with Bluebeard, unless I end up hearing it again in person. I tried, I swear, for 25 years and dozens of listenings, but ultimately, I think it is so-so Bartok, at best. I'm looking forward to next week's concerto for 2 pianos and percussion -- now THERE'S some good Bartok.

Boulez jogged through the Ravel with little charm, but the piece, when done by an orchestra like the CSO, is pretty conductor-proof, so I still enjoyed it.

Dalbavie's flute concerto was, by a wide margin, the low point of the evening. Yep, Dufour was impressive, but JeeZuss, what a waste of his (and my) 18 minutes. It wasn't difficult to listen to, but it struck me as generic 20th century bullshit, lots of effects and sounds and blah blah blah, all adding up to...well, not much. The audience disagreed, and it was nice to see Dufour get his props, but I’d expect the piece to move into the dustbin of classical music history in the near future, even with support like his and Pahud’s. I’ll take Gluck’s flute music from Orpheus any day.

Dave Royko
Posted to RMCR, 1/13/10


On Jan 13, 3:05 pm, Don Tait wrote:
> Regarding Mathieu Dufour, I understand that a week or two ago he was
> at a CSO rehearsal and told everyone that he'd decided against joining
> the LA Philharmonic, which he'd been considering and where he'd been
> playing as a guest for a while. So he's staying in Chicago. Gary
> Stucka might know more....


Thanks Don. A flutist friend was in mourning when Dufour seemingly signed on with LA, and is ecstatic about his change of heart (Andrew Patner was the first to break the "Dufour ain't leaving" story). I guess I'm happy about it too, but I had a revelatory moment about Dufour, or really, about me, early on in the season. It was after the announcement had been made that Dufour was now (they thought) LA's principle flute. I was in the first balcony of orchestra hall, and when I glanced at the flute chair before the music began, I thought, "Huh, the fill-in even looks a little like Dufour, but with a bit more hair." The whole concert goes by, they sound great, I don't really notice the flute beyond thinking it sounded fine. Well, it was before I knew Dufour would be doing some concerts in LA and some in Chicago this year, and that "replacement" was in fact him. So much for my well-tuned ear. Or my sensitivity to coiffure.

Dave Royko
Posted to RMCR, 1/13/10

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