On Friday evening we gained a new perspective on the Phoenix Symphony by sitting in the front row of the balcony. From our perch we could see each performer. The concert began with Le Corsaire, opus 21, an overture composed by Hector Berlioz followed by Concerto No. 2 in G minor for Piano & Orchestra, opus 22, by Camille Saint-Saёns. Pascal Rogé, the virtuoso French pianist, introduced the massive and splashy solo fantasia in the first movement and later inter-played with the woodwinds, especially the flute. After the intermission we heard two works by Maurice Ravel. The first, Ma Mère l’Oye, entertained us with music written for ballet expressing themes from the Mother Goose telling of Charles Perrault’s fairy tales. The five-movement Suite includes Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb, Ugly Little Empress of the Pagodas, the Conversation between Beauty and the Beast, and the Fairy Garden. The concert concluded with the crowd favorite Bolero. A snare drum was appropriately set in the midst of the orchestra. Members of the Phoenix Symphony superbly performed the insistent repetition of the melody with gradually increasing volume until giving way to the change of key at the end with an explosion of sound. We joined the crowd in enthusiastically applauding the successful conclusion of a great evening of music.

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