The always-welcome, always-effective Labadie obliged, with two works composed in (or almost in) the target year, and two other pieces with just the right amount of contrast to go along with them. In the process, he also provided four associate principal players in the orchestra a chance to shine as soloists, in a program that was always easy on the ears.
On Friday morning, he turned out to be an effective raconteur as well, giving some background at the start of each half. His words (charmingly rendered with a French-Canadian accent) about the first work on the program, the Suite from "Les Boreades" by
"Les Boreades" was written in 1763 or 4; it was in rehearsal when Rameau, thoughtlessly, died. The production was abandoned and the music lost for a century. Its first staged production took place in 1982.
The story line is old-fashioned (an annoyed god, assorted allegorical figures, a deus ex machina to save the day), but the music is charming. It's very much of the French Baroque, and received a spirited, idiomatic performance. The woodwinds deserved their solo bow, especially the flutes.
Haydn was back to start the second half with his Symphony No. 22, "The Philosopher," from 1764. Unusually, its scoring includes the distinctive sound of two English horns; they, along with a pair of French horns, get the best writing in the piece, and SLSO English horn
How much --$30-$109
More info --314-534-1700; stlsymphony.org
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