French Masterpieces

What: Omaha Symphony concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Holland Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Tickets: $19 to $70

Information: omahasymphony.org or 402-345-0606

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Omaha Symphony fans can wrap themselves in the vivid colors, sensual textures and rhythms of life in Paris through the musical offerings in the “French Masterpieces” concert this weekend.

Guest conductor Jacques Lacombe will lead Omaha’s orchestra in pieces by three notable French composers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries at the Holland Center.

During that time, Paris eclipsed Vienna as the music capital of the world and stayed on top for about 50 years. French painting also was coming into its own, with works by Degas, Monet and Renoir. Composers used bright instrumental colors, rich orchestrations and beats similar to the cadence of the French language to help lead music into the era of modernism that began after 1900.

Pieces on the Friday and Saturday night program will be Edouard Lalo’s Overture to Le roi d’Ys, Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major and Cesar Franck’s Symphony in D Minor.

Pianist Charlie Albright will be the guest soloist on the Ravel piece, which the composer wrote after he completed a concert tour of the United States in 1928. You can hear influences of American jazz, notably George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” in the concerto. Albright, also a composer and improviser, is the recipient of the 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant and has collaborated several times with legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The Franck symphony — considered to be one of his best pieces — will take up the entire second half of the concert. Franck was a Belgian by birth but a Parisian by choice, and he fused the Austro-German form and character of this 1888 symphony with the French emphasis on color and melody.

Lacombe, music director of the New Jersey Symphony since 2010, was principal guest conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal from 2002 to 2006.

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