Mozart and the French Connection: François Leleux

Sunday afternoon on the island of La Grande-Jatte by GEORGES SEURAT

On Friday the 23rd of February, Miss A and I went off to the Sydney Opera House to see the Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform Mozart and the French Connection. I was very excited about this concert. I was fortunate enough to see François Leleux twice when he was here in 2012, he blew me away with his stage presence, tone and charisma. He didn’t let me down with this concert his passion shines through as a conductor.

Pelléas et Mélisande: Suite

The first piece on the program was Pelléas et Mélisande by Gabriel Fauré. François Leleux conducted. He certainly is enthusiastic in his conducting. I am not really familiar with the work of Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), a French composer. I found the music very story-like you can hear fairies dancing and a storm coming and going. Not surprisingly there is a great focus on the woodwinds. I really enjoyed this piece and will look out for more Gabriel Fauré music in the future.

Rhapsody for Cor Anglais and orchestra

Originally the piece was a Rhapsody for saxophone and orchestra by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) this version has been arranged for Cor Anglais by Gilles Silvestrini. This was it’s premiere performance. It was great as François Leleux played solo Cor Anglais and Oboe while conducting. The first part of the piece is very sparse and it then fills out towards the end. The Cor Anglais as the solo instrument is an improvement over the saxophone but I still not sure if I like the piece it’s self.

Wind Serenade in E flat

The orchestra left the stage leaving 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 French Horns and 1 Double Bass. The Wind Serenade in E-flat byWolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) is one of my favourite pieces of music. It is such great fun it makes you smile. The Sydney Symphony wind players certainly didn’t let me down. It was wonderful I’m not sure what else to say about it.

Symphony in C

The last piece on the program was Georges Bizet’s Symphony in C. One of his very early works written in 1855. I wasn’t aware of his orchestral work only his opera work having seen Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) and of course he is famous for Carmen. It is a shame that he didn’t write more orchestral music because Symphony in C is beautiful. The Symphony was never published in Bizet’s lifetime and only beginning it’s popularity in the 1930s.

Summary

This was a great concert I really enjoyed the mainly French program. François Leleux completely lived up to my expectations. His passion and respect he has with the other musicians. It was lovely to see him making his way through the orchestra to congratulate people who had solos. The orchestra also responded to his enthusiasm with a positive energy that could be felt by the audience.

For me the other highlight of the concert was to see Miss A experience her first live classical concert. The wide eye joy of that first experience is something that you can never experience again. It was such a pleasure for me to share that with her.

It was a brilliant way to kick off the 2018 season for me. The next concert that I’m attending is Bach and Beethoven part of the Cocktail Hour series.

Extras

The program is available on the Sydney Symphony Orchestra website
Here is the playlist on spotify

You can download the scores from IMSLP

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