JUST for a second on Thursday night, I wondered if Naked Classics presenter Paul Rissmann had taken one step too far into musical technicalities – the under-the-bonnet stuff – in his analysis of Stravinsky's ballet, The Firebird.
When he started rolling out some of the nuts and bolts of the music, about major and minor thirds, chromatic glissandi, tritones, harmonic glissandi, ghost notes and suchlike, I might have perceived a slight sense of disconnect behind me and to my left.
Still, there was plenty to engage the audience at the RSNO's latest (and thought-provoking) Naked Classics project. The subject was the full Firebird, not the usual concert suite. The narrative was a dream, and the ballet connections revealed some of the tensions that surrounded the creation of the work.
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The musical analysis section of the night was always engaging, though best when it was interactive (I made a total cod of clapping Stravinsky's irregular and asymmetrical rhythms) and when comment and demonstration were offered by leader Bill Chandler, conductor Christian Kluxen and two of the horn players.
The second half, uninterrupted performance of the piece, enhanced by the narrative structural projections, was outstanding in its colour, its evocative atmosphere and the lavishness of the presentation, with the full complement of harps and augmenting brass all over the auditorium, and the RSNO playing it as the vibrant, glitteringly-coloured piece that it is. Clearly, it electrified its audience which roared approval. My own moment of the night was when a woman, exiting the hall, declared she loved the piece: "It had great beats." I know precisely what you mean, madam.