Saturday, March 20, 2010

BSO — 2010/03/19-20: Review — 2010/03/25-27; -04/1-3: Preview

Listen if you can to this evening's (Boston Time) BSO concert on WCRB. It starts at 8:00 with Mendelssohn's Overture and Incidental Music to "A Midsummer Night's Dream." After intermission, they perform Rossini's "Stabat Mater." Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos is the conductor. In the Rossini the singers are soprano Albina Shagimuratova, mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, tenor Eric Cutler, and bass Alfred Walker, along with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. The women of the chorus and the female soloists also sing in the Mendelssohn.

I was there on Friday, and I found the Mendelssohn given a light and lively performance, befitting the subject matter. It only got really loud during the Wedding March. In the Rossini, louder volumes prevailed for the most part, as is appropriate with such an emotional text. The tenor's voice seemed a little thin and the mezzo did not always project well, but it was a satisfying performance overall, and well worth hearing, in my opinion.

Here's the Boston Globe' review of the Thursday evening performance.

Now for the "Preview" part.

Next week, Music Director James Levine is scheduled to be on the podium for Debussy's "Jeux — Poème Dansé," the world premiere of Lieberson's "Songs of Love and Sorrow" to texts by Pablo Neruda, and, after the intermission, Schubert's Symphony in C, D.944, "The Great." Bass-baritone Gerald Finley will sing the Lieberson songs with the Orchestra.

The BSO program notes tell us that Lieberson's "Songs" "originated as a response to [his wife, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's] death from cancer in 2006 — the year after she performed his "Neruda Songs" with the BSO. The "Neruda Songs" had been a co-commission of the BSO; and the new "Songs of Love and Sorrow" are a BSO commission.

Then on April 1-3, they will perform Mendelssohn's oratorio "Elijah" with Christine Brewer, Stephanie Blythe, Aleksandrs Antonenko, and Shenyang.

I expect to be at the concert on March 25, which will include the actual world premiere of the Lieberson piece. You can hear the broadcast premiere on the 27th. "Elijah" was also part of my subscription series, and I really like it and wish I could be there. But it's during Holy Week (also Passover), and I'll be in church rather than Symphony Hall. So I exchanged my ticket for one to the March 19 Mendelssohn/Rossini concert

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