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Richard Strauss: Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, Opus 60: Suite, TrV 228c - Ariadne auf Naxos: Symphony-Suite (arr. D. Wilson Ochoa)
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, William Preucil and Dennis Kim (Concertmasters), JoAnn Falletta (Conductor)
Recording: Klenhans Music Hall, Buffalo, New York (November 3, 2014 and March 20, 2016) – 75’34
Naxos # 8.573460 – Liner notes in English

Within this Naxos selection there’s more in common than one would imagine. Ariadne auf Naxos (the 1912 First Version) was originally conceived as a diminutive divertissement following Molière’s stage play, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. But the combined opera/play was deemed tedious; hence, Strauss’ creation of Ariadne auf Naxos (the 1918 Second Version) completely divested itself from Molière. Separately, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme became a stand-alone Suite, similar to what we see in the vestiges spawned from Der Rosenkavalier.

Revered JoAnn Falletta delivers respectful articulation, yet the overall orientation is prosy. This is primarily attributed to the tempo’s torpidity. D. Wilson Ochoa (who hosts a World Premiere introspection of Ariadne auf Naxos by incorporating elements of both the First and Second Version), creates a rather unimaginative parlance (excepting the “Interlude” and the “Finale.”) Orchestral dynamics simply don’t “jump off the page” as Richard Strauss music would normally accomplish: a need for excessive melodrama is a requisite.

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme constructs a compelling case of bombastic outreach in order to paraphrase the absurd approaches of Molière’s Monsieur Jourdain. JoAnn Falletta’s woodwinds beautifully emcee the “Minuet”; “The Fencing Master” prevails with blustery blows by the horns while Concertmaster William Preucil pleasingly and sarcastically embroiders the gentilhomme with violin inside the “Entrance and Dance of the Tailors”. Flickers of light and fluff, flash and flounce surface, but the recipe misses an essential ingredient: verve.

Christie Grimstad




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