On Friday, I attended the second to last performance of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s 2010/11 season thanks to a gift from a friend.  The program promised a delightful experience, with the first half being of Spanish and Italian pieces, and the second half being Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe.

Daphnis et Chloe is an unusually long piece of music – 50 minutes.  This was the first time I heard the music and I was entranced.  The rhythms were extremely complex and the orchestra had to be paying non-stop attention to their conductor, Bill Eddins, in order to pull this off well.  And they did.  Even on the measures with the same rhythms written, Bill Eddins drew out the notes to varying lengths, and I noticed no errors.  In fact, it just seemed as if orchestra and conductor were as one for this entire piece.

It struck me how the conductor must have a vision for the piece.  And how the conductor must communicate that vision to the orchestra to achieve the vision.  A conductor with no musicians won’t sound very good!  It also struck me how a conductor must command attention.  It is my guess, not being a professional at this, that Daphnis et Chloe requires more attention than most pieces (though attention is required in all).  If someone even gets the least bit out of sync, it will be obvious in a painful sort of way.

A leader and his team must work together in sync with attention paid by all for an exquisite piece of music to be played in an exquisite way.

Thank you, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra for one of the most memorable musical experiences of my life.


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