Saturday, November 27, 2010

BSO — 2010/11/26-30: Review and /Comments

The Boston Globe reviewer liked the Harbison Symphony (and the Wagner), but thought the Schumann performance was sub-par. I found the Harbison "interesting," with the last movement really enjoyable.

If you're going to listen, maybe the ideal would be to listen without any previews, but record the performance as it's happening. Then go to all the info on the BSO website, and after that, play the recording with the program notes in front of you.

But if you can't do that, then I strongly recommend reading and listening to what the website provides. I don't know what will be on WCRB in the hour before the concert and during the intermission, but there will probably be more good stuff about the Harbison symphony during one or the other or both.

I want to hear it again, so I'm seriously considering getting a ticket for next Tuesday's performance.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

BSO — 2010/11/26-30

When I learned that the BSO is having a mini Schumann festival and putting on all six Harbison symphonies over this season and the next, I "had" to get a ticket for tomorrow's matinee, described as follows by the BSO website (
In celebration of Robert Schumann's bicentennial, the BSO performs the composer's four symphonies in a three-week span, continuing this week with James Levine leading the Symphony No. 3, Rhenish, which was inspired by the composer's environs in Northern Germany and the Rhine River. Maestro Levine also continues the BSO's two-season cycle of complete John Harbisonsymphonies.
This week's Harbison is Symphony No. 1, and the concert concludes with the Prelude and Love-death from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. The show isn't being given on Thursday evening because it's Thanksgiving. And I'm glad the Wagner comes at the end, because I'll bee able to hear what I want and leave early. I like a fair amount of Wagner, but Tristan und Isolde has never appealed to me.

Various background info is available on the page from which I copied the quote above.

And as always, the concert is streamed over WCRB — — at 8:00 p.m. "Boston Time" with pre-game show at 7:00.

Friday, November 19, 2010

BSO — 2010/11/18-20

As the BSO website tells us, this week it's all Schumann.
The BSO celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great German composer Robert Schumann with three concerts encompassing all four of the composer’s symphonies. In the first of these programs, Kurt Masur leads the First and Fourth symphonies as part of an all-Schumann program also featuring the Piano Concerto, with the esteemed Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire as soloist. The Symphony No. 1 is a work of energy and lyricism written in 1841. The Fourth Symphony was actually the second such work Schumann completed, in 1841, but he withdrew it for revision, introducing the final version only in 1851.
(Emphasis added)
Various preview materials — program notes, interviews, audio materials — are available at this page of the website:

I was there on Thursday evening and, while nothing really excited me in the performances, it was a pleasant evening with good music. Schumann has good musical ideas, IMO, and he handles them concisely. The Boston Globe reviewer also thought it was good.
It will be streamed beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, with preconcert show at 7:00 over WCRB —

BTW this evening I'm heading in to Boston for a New England Conservatory student production of "The Magic Flute." I love the music, and it will be good to see and hear the opera.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BSO — 2010/11/11-13

This week it's a sandwich of two Mozart piano concertos between two Haydn symphonies — delightful listening. I was there on Thursday evening and greatly enjoyed it.

The BSO website summarizes it as follows:

German conductor/pianist Christian Zacharias, a distinguished performer of the Classical repertoire, conducts the BSO for the first time in this Haydn/Mozart program. As was the practice in Mozart’s time, Zacharias performs the solo parts of these two Vienna-era piano concertos while leading the orchestra from the keyboard. He also conducts the orchestra from the podium in two late Haydn symphonies. No. 80 in D minor (1784) represents a transitional style between the earlier, simpler symphonies and the later ones, represented here by No. 95 in A major.
The BSO website — — also gives access to the program notes and audio preview material.

The Globe reviewer liked it, especially the Mozart.

Pregame show at 7:00, concert at 8:00, Eastern Standard Time, on WCRB, 99.5 FM, or on the web at [url][/url]

Note 2010-11-14: My apologies to anyone who tried to use the url for WCRB yesterday. I was going from memory and put a dot between the 9 and the 5; but there isn't one in the actual url. I've edited it now, so it should work (12 hours too late for this week's concert).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

BSO — 2010/11/04-09

Here's the description from the BSO website.

Spanish conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos returns to lead music from the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla. Sung in Catalan, Atlàntida (“Atlantis”), an epic of the lost continent and its rediscovery by Columbus, was Falla’s magnum opus, begun in 1927 and left incomplete at his death in 1946. The Spanish composer Ernesto Halffter completed a version that was premiered in 1976. Maestro Frühbeck has devised a 35-minute vocal-orchestral suite almost solely from Falla’s original music from the Prologue and Parts I and III, with focus on the significant episodes for chorus. The second half of the program is the great Symphony No. 2 of Johannes Brahms.

I'll be going tonight and you can listen, as usual, on Saturday.

I'll try to remember to add a link for the Globe's review and maybe post some comments of my own.

Note 2010/11/06 If you decide to listen to the Falla, you'll probably want to check for a text from the BOS or WCRB website.

BTW, I did get a ticket for the Tuesday evening performance of the Doctor Atomic Symphony, and I found it worth listening to, especially the third part. It would be nice to have another chance to hear it. I'd be happy if they replaced either the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde on November 26 or Till Eulenspiegel on January 13 with a reprise of Dr. Atomic while it's still fresh in the players' memories. Talk about a "surprise symphony" for the audience! LOL