Friday, July 6, 2018

Tanglewood — 2016/07/06-08, 13-15 —Double Post

The Boston Symphony's Tanglewood season opens this evening, July 6, and runs through August 26 — eight glorious weekends with major concerts* on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2:30. WCRB broadcasts and streams them all; Friday and Saturday concerts are transmitted virtually live, and the Sunday concerts are given a delayed transmission at 7:00 p.m.

*There are also many other performances given during the week by those who are attending as students or guest artists.

Since I'll be away from my computer late next week, I'll preview this weekend and next in this post. Here goes!

Friday, July 6, 2018.  On the orchestra's performance detail page we read:

Opening Night at Tanglewood with Lang Lang


Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA - View Map

The Robert and Jane Mayer Conert
Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra open their 2018 Tanglewood season with a gala performance featuring global superstar pianist Lang Lang. Opening the concert is the overture to Mozart's The Magic Flute, followed by the composer's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K.491, featuring Lang Lang. Maestro Nelsons then leads the orchestra in Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5-a work Bernstein conducted three times at Tanglewood, including for his 70th-birthday weekend in 1988-which displays the composer's trademarks: an endless procession of memorable melodies, masterful and vivid use of the orchestra's full color palette, and a musical language of drama and energy.

(Some emphasis added.)

What's not to like?

Saturday, July 7, 2018,  brings only one work, "On the Town," with music by Bernstein and lyrics by Comden and Green. The Boston Pops, conducted by Keith Lockhart, is joined by the soloists listed on the performance detail page, which gives this synopsis:

Bernstein's On the Town


Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA - View Map

The Wacks Family Concert in celebration of the marriage of Greg Wacks and Sarah DeArakie  
A collaboration with choreographer Jerome Robbins and the writing team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Leonard Bernstein's On the Town-the story of three sailors on shore leave in New York City- arrived on Broadway in December 1944, when he was just twenty-six. Based on his popular ballet collaboration with Robbins, Fancy Free (being performed August 18), it was not only his first musical, it was a first for Comden and Green, who would become Broadway and Hollywood legends in their own right. Hit songs include "New York, New York" and "Some Other Time."
Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops in a complete, semi-staged performance of Bernstein's hit musical, directed by Kathleen Marshall with musical director David Chase. The all-star cast includes Tony-Award winning actor Brandon Victor Dixon (Shuffle AlongHamilton) as Gabey, Christian Dante White (Hello DollyThe Book of Mormon) as Chip, Andy Karl (Groundhog DayOn the Twentieth Century) as Ozzie, Megan Lawrence (UrinetownHair) as Claire, Tony Award-winning actress Andrea Martin (PippinNoises Off) as Madame Dilly, Laura Osnes (CinderellaBandstand) as Claire, Georgina Pazoguin as Ivy, and Marc Kudisch as Pitkin.
See the performance detail for the rest of the cast as well as the usual links.

It should be fun

Sunday, July 8, 2018.  The performance detail page tells us:

Andris Nelsons conducts Brahms and Shostakovich


Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA - View Map

Andris Nelsons and the BSO pay a special tribute to Bernstein by replicating the first full program Bernstein ever conducted with the orchestra in November 1944. On the first half of, pianist Rudolf Buchbinder joins the BSO for Brahms's ambitious and sprawling Piano Concerto No. 1. Bringing the concert to a close is Shostakovich's riveting Symphony No. 5, the composer's most accessible, popular, and controversial symphony. Bernstein conducted the work a total of eight times with the BSO, including five performances at Tanglewood.
(Emphasis added.)

The performance detail page also has the usual links to background information. I find it interesting that the Shostakovich symphony was led by Bernstein so early in his career and that he conducted it that often with the BSO — eight times suggests two or three different subscription series.

Now for the second weekend.

Friday, July 13, 2017.  Here's how the BSO performance detail page describes this evening's concert:

Tanglewood in the City - Free Event on Boston Common

Boston Symphony Orchestra 

Boston Common - Boston, MA 

Bring your lawn chair and picnic and head to the Common, Friday, July 13!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra presents "Tanglewood in the City," on a giant screen on Boston Common, featuring Moritz Gnann conducting a program of Wagner, Mozart and Schumann transmitted live from Tanglewood, the BSO's summer home in the Berkshire hills. This event will give music lovers in Boston a chance to experience Tanglewood without having to leave the city. The screen will be positioned near the corner of Beacon and Charles Streets.

The live video transmission of the July 13 concert from Tanglewood is made possible by a generous gift from Virginia Simpson Aisner and James E. Aisner.

Acclaimed English pianist Paul Lewis, who has given several memorable performances with the BSO in recent seasons, joins the orchestra for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat, K.595, the composer's final work in the genre. BSO Assistant Conductor Moritz Gnann, who conducts the performance, also leads the orchestra in Wagner's  Siegfried Idyll and Schumann's Symphony No. 3,Rhenish. The symphony's subtitle refers to the mighty Rhine, the river that has inspired so many great works throughout music history, and the piece contains some of Schumann's most colorful and exuberant music, as well as some of his most accomplished writing for full orchestra.

(Some emphasis added.)

So if you're in the Boston area, you not only have the option of listening on WCRB, you can also watch the concert on Boston Common.

The Mozart piano concerto has been a favorite of mine ever since I chose it to play on the new record player a great aunt gave us in the mid 1950's. Even without that sort of connection, though, I think it's a delightful piece. Unfortunately, I won't be around to hear this concert. Maybe I'll listen to the Mozart on my car radio.

Saturday, July 14, 2018,  will be a night at the opera: "La Bohème" by Puccini. Again, the BSO tells us more on the performance detail page:

Andris Nelsons conducts Puccini's La bohème


Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA - View Map

Semi-staged performance sung in Italian with English supertitles
The Catherine and Paul Buttenwieser Concert

Andris Nelsons, the BSO, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus-under the direction of Tanglewood Festival Chorus Conductor James Burton -continue their series of opera performances with a concert-staged performance of Puccini's La bohème, directed by Daniel Rigazzi and featuring soprano Kristine Opolais as Mimì, tenor Jonathan Tetelman  as Rodolfo, soprano Susanna Phillips as Musetta, baritone Franco Vassallo as Marcello, baritone Davide Luciano as Schaunard, and bass- baritone Luca Pisaroni as Colline. Perhaps the world's most popular opera, La bohème is an immortal story of love and loss set amidst the charming poverty of bohemian Paris. Though Bernstein never performed the work with the BSO, it was one of his favorite operas and one of the few he recorded.
See the performance detail for the cast. As I type this, there is no link to program notes, so if you're not familiar with the opera you'll need to do your own research for a summary of the action and for the libretto, if you want it. I suppose Ron Della Chiesa will give a summary of the plot before each section of the concert.

I find this opera and "Madama Butterfly" moving, but I don't care much for Puccini's music, so I may skip this one, but the performance detail page is correct in saying that this is among the world's most popular operas. So don't let me discourage you from listening. I was just making conversation.

Sunday, July 15, 2018.  A couple of "warhorses" (or maybe a warhorse and a police horse) precede a less familiar work:

Andris Nelsons conducts Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Bernstein with Yuja Wang


Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA - View Map

The Nathan and Marilyn Hayward Concert

Pianist Yuja Wang joins Andris Nelsons and the BSO as soloist in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1, published before but written after the Piano Concerto No. 2. The work bears the marks of the highly original genius Beethoven would soon become, but is a natural progression from the Classical style of Mozart and Haydn. To begin the program, Maestro Nelsons leads the orchestra in Mendelssohn's elegant and fiery Symphony No. 4, Italian. Boy soprano Rafi Bellamy Plaice and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus joins [sic] the BSO for the concluding work, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, an uplifting work with Hebrew text, composed for a 1965 music festival at Chichester Cathedral in Sussex, England
(Some emphasis added.)

The above quote is, as you may have guessed from the orchestra's performance detail page, which also has the usual links to background information, except that it doesn't have notes or audio preview for the Bernstein, which I don't recall ever hearing. We're on our own for text and analysis. The wiki article looks pretty good, and there are performance videos and other articles available.

I'm definitely looking forward to hearing this concert on Sunday evening over WCRB. As I've mentioned other times, they have a lot going on in addition to these concert broadcasts,  so check out their web page for other offerings as well.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

BSO/Classical New England — 2018/06/30

This evening at 8:00, Boston Time, WCRB wont't be giving us a rebroadcast of a concert, but "A Preview of Tanglewood 2018!" Here's how they describe it on their page:
Saturday at 8pm, join WCRB's Brian McCreath for a look at the upcoming 2018 Tanglewood season, celebrating the centennial of Leonard Bernstein, through works by Bernstein himself, Mahler, and many more!
Saturday, June 30, 2018
8:00 PM
BERNSTEIN Dances from On the Town (Boston Pops; John Williams, conductor)
MAHLER Symphony No. 3 in D minor: III. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast (Boston Symphony Orchestra; Seijii Ozawa, conductor)
BEETHOVEN String Quartet No. 16 in F: III. Lento assai e cantante tranquillo, and IV. Grave - Allegro - Grave (Emerson String Quartet)
SIBELIUS Symphony No. 2 in D: III. Vivacissimo, and IV. Finale (Boston Symphony Orchestra; Andris Nelsons, conductor)
BERNSTEIN Overture to Candide (Boston Pops; John Williams, conductor)
John WILLIAMS Stargazers, from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Jessica Zhou, harp; Boston Pops; Keith Lockhart, conductor)
GERSHWIN Piano Concerto in F: III. Allegro agitato (Kirill Gerstein, piano; St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; David Robertson, conductor)
BERNSTEIN from Serenade (after Plato's Symposium): I. Phaedrus: Pausanias (Lento-Allegro marcato), and II. Aristophanes (Allegretto) (Itzhak Perlman, violin; Boston Symphony Orchestra; Seiji Ozawa, conductor)
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5 in D minor: IV. Allegro non troppo - Allegro - Piu mosso (Boston Symphony Orchestra; Andris Nelsons, conductor)
Recordings from the Philips, Deutsche Grammophon, BSO Classics, Myrios Classics, and EMI labels
That page also has links to the complete Tanglewood broadcast schedule and additional information about the season at Tanglewood.

I don't know why they think they need to talk up the Tanglewood season, but it could be interesting to hear what they say about it.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

BSO/Classical New England — 2018/06/23

This week WCRB is replaying the concert of November 25, 2017. Andris Nelsons conducts Piano Concerto No. 1 by Beethoven and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4. The piano soloist in the Beethoven is Rudolf Buchbinder. My post on that date gives links to the orchestra's performance detail page and reviews of an earlier performance of the program. They should give plenty of background information, if you want it.

I like the Beethoven piano concertos, and Bruckner's symphonies are fairly easy to listen to, even if they tend to be long. So I think you'll like what you hear if you tune your radio or your computer to WCRB this evening at 8:00, EDST.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

BSO/Classical New England — 2018/06/16

This week, as we wait for the Tanglewood season to begin, WCRB gives us an encore broadcast from last summer at Tanglewood: the concert of August 12, 2017, consisting of three works, Incantesimi, by Anderson, the Violin Concerto by Brahms with Nikolaj Znaider as soloist, and Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, all under the baton of Juanjo Mena. There is a link to the BSO's performance detail page — with its own links to background information — at the post I made at the time. Subsequently, the Boston Musical Intelligencer has given us a review of the concert as part of a review of five concerts over the weekend. Unfortunately, the reviewer was less that thrilled with this concert, but IMO it's worth listening to anyway. The new work by Anderson was okay, as I recall (I was there), and the Brahms is popular and the Beethoven is good music, even if the reviewer wished they had played some of it differently. The Globe doesn't seem to have reviewed it.

You can listen on air or on line at WCRB on Saturday evening at 8:00, Boston Time.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

BSO/Classical New England — 2018/06/09

This week, as the hiatus between the Symphony Hall and Tanglewood season continues, WCRB's encore broadcast is of the October 21, 2017, concert. I posted about it at the time. Subsequently a fairly lengthy review appeared in the Boston Musical Intelligencer. The reviewer describes the performance in some detail. So with that and the other material linked in my post, you should have a good idea of what it's all about. It looks like a good chance to have some context for the music. The program begins at the regular time, 8:00 p.m., EDST.

You might also want to check out some of the links on the WCRB website to other programming and features.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

BSO/Classical New England — 2018/06/02

This week's encore broadcast is the concert of October 14, 2017. It includes music by Ligeti, Dvořák, and Schumann. Hilary Hahn solos in the Dvořák violin concerto, and Gustavo Gimeno conducts, I posted at the time, and the usual links are there. Suffice it to say that I liked it and the critics raved. So I recommend tuning in to WCRB at 8:00 this evening, EDST. (There are no Monday repeats of these encore broadcasts.)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

BSO/Classical New England — 2018/05/26

This week's "encore broadcast" and stream on WCRB is the concert of October 7, 2017. It's a new piece, Moler, by Arlene Sierra, followed by the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and the Second Symphony of Rachmaninoff. Gil Shaham is the soloist in the concerto, and Music Director Andris Nelsons is on the podium. I posted about it back then, and that post has the links to published reviews and the BSO performance detail page (with its own links to background information) that you've come to expect.

As always, the show begins at 8:00 p.m. Boston Time (EDST). Enjoy!