An evening of musical innocence from the SLSO

David Robertson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Sarah Bryan Miller

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra music director David Robertson is a man of many gifts. One of the most significant is his aptitude for putting together musical programs that fit intellectually as well as musically, that provides the audience with food for thought as well as musical balance, entertainment and a set of timings that work well together.

The weekend’s programming at Powell Symphony Hall was a perfect case in point. Entitled “Songs of Innocence,” it drew together a trio of stylistically different works and underlined the attitudes — chiefly a childlike view of life, and beyond — they have in common.

His conducting and the orchestra’s playing of them was near-ideal.

The most familiar work of the three, Maurice Ravel’s 1911 “Ma mere l’Oye (Mother Goose)” Suite, opened the concert. A set of five fairy-tale vignettes, it opens and closing with Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted slumber and awakening.

In between come “Tom Thumb,” “Laideronnette (Little Ugly One),” and “Conversations of the Beauty and the Beast.”

Appropriately, it’s one of Ravel’s most enchanting scores, each tale clearly told with fitting music, from the Orientalisms of “Laideronnette” to the clarinet and bassoon discussion of “Beauty,” and an apotheosis to conclude.

On Saturday night, there was particularly fine playing from principal clarinet Scott Andrews, principal bassoon Andrew Cuneo and concertmaster David Halen.

Read the full review.