Rafael Payare, the return of joy

For his first big contact with the Montreal crowd at the Esplanade du Parc Olympique, his first live concert since his appointment, Rafael Payare presented what was expected of him: affordable, spectacular music, some of which has Hispanic overtones. .

It doesn’t matter that Rafael Payare is totally elsewhere, musically, than the clichés conveyed by The tricorne and Stay. It doesn’t matter if it’s with a stunning Transfigured night de Schoenberg that he possibly convinced the selection committee to recommend him for the post of Music Director. It is the promise of that warmth, that exuberance that he had to present.

We have been sold the inaccessible and indecipherable nerd Nagano as “the friend of the people”, then goes for Payare the exalted, even if to make a Dudamel-bis, something perhaps rewarding in the Quebec microcosm, would be the point. worst mistake regarding his career and his international image.

But Rafael Payare is much smarter than all that: he did the show that we asked him and that we hoped for in De Falla and Ginastera. In doing so, he has in any case re-tuned joy and music and evoked a certain form of flamboyance of the Dutoit years. But he insisted on starting with Tchaikovsky and ending with Stravinsky, a more “noble” musical subject. He therefore provided immense pleasure (what Malambo of Ginastera!) without ever denying itself.

Dubious sound

With the health measures, 3,500 people with a health passport were able to access the site. The concert was webcast, but the OSM informed us that due to the sound problems that marred this broadcast, the concert scheduled until September 13 will not be made available.

Besides on the site, too, the amplification was less efficient than usual: what went through the speakers was coarse, rolled the dynamics and disfigured the tone.

Difficult, therefore, to write a detailed review. For that, we will wait to hear the dynamics and the curve of the phrasing at the Maison symphonique. On the main lines, Romeo and Juliet aimed more at firmness and harmonic saturation than taking risks. The smoothing of the dynamics prevents a decision on the work of Lili Boulanger and plagued the first dance of the 2nd suite of the Tricorne. In the Final dance the more tense the musicians wore, the more the conductor played the clown. It was exciting, but many of the transitions between sections were hazardous. Some musicians may need a little time to adapt to understand that the OSM is no longer Kent Nagano’s orchestra and that we are really moving on in terms of flexibility and responsiveness. Rafael Payare’s challenge will be to train everyone. Ginastera seems to have cheered up a few anxieties. As a reminder after an excellent Bird of Fire, the conductor conducted a fugue by Aldemaro Romero, a Venezuelan composer.

Before the season opens, on September 14, OSM musicians will participate in small groups, between Saturday 10 a.m. and Sunday 5 p.m., in the activities surrounding the 10th anniversary of the Maison symphonique: ten short concerts (also provided by Les Violons du Roy, musicians from OM and the Montreal Classical Orchestra) and four talks, including one with Rafael Payare, Sunday at 3:00 p.m. are scheduled. These activities are free by reservation.

Concert at Olympic Park

Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet. Lili Boulanger: On a spring mornings. Falla : The tricorn, suite n ° 2. Ginastera : Stay, suite. Stravinski : Fire Bird, following. Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Rafael Payare. Thursday September 9, 2021.

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