In the first decades of the 20th century, Paris had a better claim than most cities to being the epicenter of the music world. Old hands such as Debussy and Ravel were pushing the boundaries of tonality and texture, the Russian expatriate Igor Stravinsky was introducing atonality and the pagan past to a scandalized intellectual class, and the public was exerting pressures on the composers to deliver music to entertain. This week, the Cliburn celebrates all these riches with Iconic Paris, a series of concerts dedicated to the French contributions to music.
The Rolston Quartet takes center stage at all four of the performances, playing everything from high modernism to cafe music. Pianists, wind players, and singers augment their ranks through Poulenc’s airy song cycle Fiancailles pour rire and Ravel’s phantasmagoric Gaspard de la Nuit. You’ll hear chamber music by the terribly gifted and terribly short-lived Lili Boulanger, Satie’s rarefied Gnossiennes, Chopin’s heavily ornamented Berceuse, and Kurt Weill’s “Je ne t’aime pas,” which always gives a soprano a chance to work herself into a good lather. There are depths left untouched (the music of Germaine Tailleferre is waiting to be rediscovered), but these three days of music should leave you sighing for La Belle Époque.
Iconic Paris runs Thu-Sat at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, FW. Single tickets are $20-50. Call 817-738-9215.