1D Orchestra, chorale present ‘A concert of desserts’

Rochester / music

Fill up on ‘French Bon Bons’

By Tom Weber

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Q: When is an orchestra concert like dessert?


A: When the entire program consists of music by French composers.

That’s the view of Jere Lantz, director of the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, which Saturday will present "French Bon Bons," a concert of music by French composers.

"It’s a concert of desserts," Lantz said. "You don’t want to think about this one. Just sit back and enjoy."

French composers, Lantz said, have traditionally stood in opposition to their Germanic cousins. "The meat and potatoes of the repertoire is Central European — German and Austrian," Lantz said. "As great as that music is, it’s nice to have a different viewpoint once in a while."

As far as most orchestras are concerned, though, that’s a great once in a while. "French music doesn’t get performed very much," Lantz said.

What a shame for lovers of dessert.

"The French were fascinated with making a gorgeous sound," Lantz said. "They were interested in letting a moment be a thrill."

However, the French did not write great symphonies, preferring instead to concentrate on music for the stage: operas and ballets.


For the Rochester orchestra, an all-French program came about in part because of the guest artist signed for this concert: Anthony Ross, principle cellist of the Minnesota Orchestra.

"We wanted Anthony Ross to play the Saint-Saens concerto," Lantz said. "Then, he suggested Faure’s Elegy, and we realized we have not played a lot of French music."

The program also includes Ravel’s Suite No. 1 from "Daphnis and Chloe," which will allow the orchestra to earn its dessert.

"This is definitely the hardest piece we’ve ever done, and this is my 29th year here," Lantz said. "It’s so difficult to play that it’s not played very often."

If you go

What: "French Bon Bons," by the Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Mayo Civic Center Presentation Hall, 30 Civic Center Drive S.E. in Rochester.


Tickets: $25, $21, $15 and $6 (youth), at the civic center box office, at the symphony office (400 S. Broadway) and through Ticketmaster.

Pre-concert reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. in the lobby of the Rochester Civic Theatre, featuring fine chocolates.

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