Friday, October 16, 2009

BSO — 2009/10/16-17

Here's what the BSO website says about this weekend's concerts.
"Former Boston Symphony Orchestra assistant conductor Ludovic Morlot returns to Symphony Hall October 15-20 to lead the BSO in an imaginative, wide-ranging program that showcases his depth and range as one of the leading conductors of his generation. He and the orchestra give the American premiere of Augusta Read Thomas's rhythmically vibrant, orchestrally brilliant Helios Choros II (Sun God Dancers). Distinguished American pianist Peter Serkin is the soloist in Stravinsky’s sparkling Capriccio for piano and orchestra, an homage to Tchaikovsky given its American premiere by the BSO in 1930. The program continues with Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Riminiand The Frescoes of Piero della Francesca by Bohuslav Martinů, one of two works this season commemorating the 50th anniversary of the great Czech composer’s death.

Augusta Read Thomas, a former Tanglewood Music Center Fellow and the director of last summer’s Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood, has emerged as one of America’s most skilled and poetic composers, as well as one of contemporary music’s most impassioned and informed advocates. Her Helios Choros II (Sun God Dancers), a co-commission of the BSO and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, is a big, bold work given its world premiere in December 2008. It is the second “panel” of a three-part triptych named for the Greek sun god Helios. The composer imagines her triptych as a ballet unfolding as two spiraled layers, one representing ancient Greek mythology, the other representing elemental human rituals. 

The greatest Czech composer of his generation, Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) was strongly championed by Serge Koussevitzky and the BSO when he fled war-torn Europe in the 1940s. The Frescoes of Piero della Francesca, one of his later works, is a three-movement symphonic triptych inspired by the composer’s visit to the Church of San Francesco in Arezzo, Italy, that houses Piero della Francesca’s famous Renaissance fresco paintings. Stravinsky’s 1929 Capriccio for piano and orchestra is homage to the charm and melodic lyricism of one of his most admired composers in the Russian tradition, Tchaikovsky. Written in the style of the Baroque concerto grosso, it was given its American premiere in 1930 by the BSO. Tchaikovsky composed Francesca da Rimini in 1876. A programmatic orchestral work inspired by a tragic love story, it musically portrays the ill-fated love of Paolo and Francesca as told in Dante’s Inferno." 

I was at this evening's, and I think it's worth hearing. The new piece is not too tough to take.

As usual, WGBH for the matinee Friday, and WCRB for Saturday evening.

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