Friday, December 3, 2010

BSO — Rehearing

I did get a ticket to last Tuesday's repeat performance of the Schumann and Harbison symphonies,* and I'm glad I was able to do so.

I enjoyed the Schumann "Rhenish" Symphony even more than on Friday. The brass section had a prominent part in the symphony, and they were in top form — as good as in last season's Beethoven 6th Symphony.

But it was even more worthwhile for the replay of John Harbison's First Symphony. On Friday, I was especially impressed by the verve and dynamic rhythms of the fourth movement. But on Tuesday, I became aware of the musical beauties of the first three movements — I noticed things that I hadn't in my first hearing of the work, and they greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the piece.

Having a chance to hear a new piece of music several times in a short period is certainly a great help to appreciation. In its early years, when programs weren't set long in advance, the BSO sometimes would play a new piece a second time shortly after the first performance. It's unfortunate that they no longer do that. Maybe when composers get commissions, they should stipulate a level of repetition.

*On both occasions, the concert concluded with the Prelude and Liebestod from "Tristan und Isoolde," and on both occasions I left before it was played. While I enjoy a fair amount of Wagner's music, I find "Tristan" tedious, and I did not want to spoil the experience of Schumann and Harbison by sitting through the opera excerpts.

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