Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Day Concerts

Classical New England will offer a couple of New Year's Day concerts.

The Vienna Philharmonic's concert* will be broadcast and streamed live at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, and retransmitted at 6:00 p.m.

Boston Baroque's concert will also be transmitted live from Sanders Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts at 3:00 p.m. "Boston time."

*For those unfamiliar with the tradition at these concerts, there are "always" encores at the end, and these always include the Blue Danube Waltz (which "always" gets a burst of applause after the first note is heard. The music stops and the conductor says, "Die Wiener Philharmoniiler und ich wünschen Ihnen …," and the orchestra shouts, "Prosit Neujahr!" "The Vienna Philharmonic and I wish you …" "Happy New Year" — literally "Cheers! New Year!" Then they play the waltz.) and the Radetzky March.

I'll be in church at 11:00, but I'm planing to listen at 3:00 and 6:00.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Winter Orgy® Period 2011 — Already in Progress

My apologies! I wasn't paying attention to WHRB, and the Orgy® Period began a couple of weeks ago. The first classical music orgy was the Percy Grainger Orgy, on December 3. Many of the orgies this year have focused on performers, rather than composers, but at this point, they are in the midst of the Franz Liszt Orgy, which will end Friday evening at 10:00.

Saturday evening there will be an Ivor Novello Orgy from 6:00 to 10:00.

The Carl Maria von Weber Orgy will be Sunday, December 18, from 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.. That is the last of the classical music orgies so titled, but on Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to midnight they will observe the Gian Carlo Menotti Centenary (with "Amahl and the Night Visitors"* reserved until December 24 at 4:30 p.m.); and Wednesday, December 20, they will observe the Nino Rota Centenary from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

All of this is available on the web at the link above.

* I believe I saw the world premiere of this one hour opera, which was a television performance in 1951. I know I saw it on TV back in the early 1950's.

Meanwhile the Boston Symphony went on tour to California for four concerts, and the Boston Pops are giving their holiday concerts for the rest of the month. You may want to check out what WCRB streams in the regular concert times. Last Saturday, they repeated a concert from earlier in the season. Also, this Sunday at 3:00 p.m. they will give a live broadcast/webstream of the Handel and Haydn's "A Bach Christmas" concert,  which will include music of other baroque composers as well. I think I'll listen to that — tearing myself away from the Weber Orgy. BSO concerts will again be streamed live beginning on January 7.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I listened to the Harbison 5th on the radio Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. It reinforced and clarified my impression from Thursday. The symphony is more like a series of "accompagnato" recitatives followed by a duet. He's gone back to Bach. The orchestra supports the declamation of the texts and adds tonal color and emphasis, but there is no memorable melody from singer or instruments. It works very well as a dramatic retelling of the legend, but calling it a symphony is an unusual use of the word.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

BSO — 2011/12/01-03 — Info and Reviews

I was in the audience for the Thursday evening performance of John Harbison's Symphony No. 5 — which could be subtitiled "Orpheus and Eurydice" but hasn't been — with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4  and Leonore Overture No. 3 after the intermission. BTW, I had heard the world premiere of the Harbison when the BSO gave it three and a half years ago.

Here's a bit from the BSO website.
Making his BSO debut, Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek is chief conductor of the BBC Symphony and chief conductor designate of the Czech Philharmonic. The program opens with John Harbison's BSO-commissioned Symphony No. 5 (premiered in 2008) for baritone, mezzo-soprano, and orchestra, a dramatic, lyrical work setting poems inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The program's second half features American pianist Jonathan Biss in Beethoven's equally dramatic and lyrical Fourth Piano Concerto. To finish, Beethoven's powerful LeonoreOverture No. 3 offers another musical take on the transportive power of love.

That website page also has links to the program notes and an audio preview. I very much recommend the program note for the Harbison for a good explanation of the piece, including the use of three different poems to cover various facets of the legend.

Perhaps I'll revise my opinion after I hear the Harbison symphony again this evening and tomorrow afternoon, but the hearing on Thursday left me a bit disappointed. The baritone who sings the first two movements and with the mezzo soprano in the fourth had very clear enunciation, so that practically every word could be understood even without looking at the text in the program. The mezzo did almost as well in the third and fourth movements. And the texts were interesting. But the music itself was rarely engaging or even particularly expressive, to my ears. The composer was on hand, as he had been last week, to take a bow from the stage after his symphony. Then he was seated diagonally across from me in the first balcony for the second half. I couldn't help wondering if he was wondering if his symphony would be as much listened to after 200 years as Beethoven's music is today.

I want to like John Harbison's work, so I'll be hoping this symphony will impress me more on my later hearings. The poems have interesting insights into the legend, and at least the music doesn't get in the way of them; and of course Beethoven is always worth hearing. As usual, you can hear it over WCRB/WGBH/Classical New England. In addition to being able to hear the webstream, you can use this link to find a further link to a page where you can hear the composer himself talking about the symphony.

The Globe reviewer seems to have liked the Harbison better than the way the orchestra played the Beethoven.

Friday, November 25, 2011

BSO — 2011/11/25-29 — Info and Reviews

I went to the BSO today to listen to John Harbison's 4th Symphony. I liked it. He has managed to occupy the middle ground between Beethoven and Babbitt. You can hear it tomorrow at 8:00 p.m Boston time on the webstream from with a "pre-game show" at 7:00, or on Sunday at 1:00 without the "pre-game." After that it will be available on demand for two weeks.

They also had a book signing by Ron Della Chiesa, the radio and web announcer of the concerts, for his book "Radio My Way." I got he book and the autograph and had a nice conversation with him while the orchestra was playing a Suite from "Daphnis and Chloë. (I had left the auditorium so as not to overlay the Harbison with the Ravel.) Among other things, I learned that the phrases "Fenway Park of Music" (referring to Symphony Hall), and "pre-game show" are things which the producer, Brian Bell, came up with. I had always thought the they were original with Ron.

To amplify a bit on my statement that "I liked it. He has managed to occupy the middle ground between Beethoven and Babbitt," the work is jagged and episodic, but it has recognizable short themes which get repeated and modified, so I considered it musical. You might want to check out the program notes included on the BSO website, and I'll link the Boston Globe review when it is published.  Here it is. He's noncommittal.

Here's the description of the whole concert on the orchestra's website. This page also has links to the program notes for the Ravel and the Mahler.
To open his second program this season, former BSO assistant conductor Ludovic Morlot leads Pulitzer Prizewinning American composer John Harbison's exciting Symphony No. 4. Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2 begins with an atmospheric evocation of dawn and ends with the stunning, breathless "danse générale." Mahler's Symphony No. 1 draws on melodies that reflect the folk music and natural environment of the composer's native central Europe.

As I mentioned above, I didn't want to cover the Harbison in my mind with the Ravel, so I left the auditorium after the Harbison symphony. But I went back after intermission and listened to the Mahler. It was a fine performance, IMO, with nothing that struck me as particularly noteworthy or different. I did notice some "faulty intonations," as I think they call it, from the horns, but they were loudly cheered, along with each of the sections when the conductor recognized them at the end. There was a standing ovation, which only lasted for two curtain calls! Adequately played, Mahler's First is definitely worth hearing, so I'd say this performance is worth listening to.

Friday, November 18, 2011

BSO — 2011/11/17-22 — Info and Reviews

From the BSO website:
French conductor Ludovic Morlot leads two colorful programs this season. His first features BSO principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe reprising her 2010 American premiere performances of Elliott Carter's Flute Concerto, a work co-commissioned by the BSO. Another esteemed soloist, the American pianist Richard Goode, plays Mozart's late Piano Concerto No. 25. Berlioz's rollicking Roman Carnival Overture is based on music from the composer's opera Benvenuto Cellini. Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin Suite, a truncated version of the full ballet score, is an astonishing feat of musical storytelling and brilliant orchestration.
The page also has links to information about the music — program notes and audio.

I enjoyed the first half — Berlioz and Mozart — more than the second, but there were some pleasant surprises after intermission. The Carter piece seemed to have some fragments of themes (repeated rising sequences of notes) although there was too much percussion and not enough music from the rest of the orchestra — or else the percussion distracted from anything else. The Bartók was interesting, with its woodwind solos and its powerful tutti. The Globe reviewer liked it even more than I did.

As usual you can listen on "Classical New England" on Saturday evening ("pre-game show" at 7:00, concert at 8:00) with rebroadcast at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, and on demand thereafter. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

BSO — 2011/11/10-12 — Info and Reviews

I've already heard this week's program, which is being played again this evening and broadcast/streamed live and retransmitted tomorrow afternoon. Worth hearing, IMO. But first, here's what they have to say about it themselves. (BTW, the BSO website will be offline from this evening until about 4:00 Monday afternoon, as they revamp it.)
Weber, Barber and Tchaikovsky

[Garrick Ohlsson]
Boston Symphony Orchestra 
November 12, 2011 8:00 PM
Symphony Hall
Boston, Massachusetts

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Featured Artists 
[Myung-Whun Chung]] 
Myung-Whun Chung 
[Garrick Ohlsoon] 
Garrick Ohlsson
Program Notes  Audio 
WEBEROverture to Der Freischützview pdf
BARBERPiano Concertoview pdf
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6, Pathétiqueview pdf
About the Music

Korean-born conductor Myung-Whun Chung, music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and principal conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic, returns to the BSO podium for the first time since 1996. He is joined by the estimable American pianist Garrick Ohlsson for Samuel Barber’s robust Piano Concerto. The overture to the proto-Romantic German composer Carl Maria von Weber’s opera Der Freischütz opens the program with dramatic power. Tchaikovsky’s masterful Symphony No. 6 is full of intensely beautiful music, ending with a slow, deeply dramatic, and emotionally poignant finale.
 The Globe review may not quite be "scathing," but the reviewer was definitely dissatisfied.
As for me, in the first place I was very pleased to have the Weber piece played at all, so I gave a hearty "Bravo" at the end. The piano concerto was okay. But overall, the pieces I'm familiar with weren't as gripping as other performances I've heard, whether live or on record. They played the notes, and the conductor got some almost inaudible pianissimos from the orchestra, which is all to the good, but there wasn't quite enough menace or joyful surge in the "Freischütz" overture; and in the Tchaikovsky, the march wasn't stirring, and the finale somehow petered out rather than dying away.

But I'll still listen on the radio. I want to hear the Weber about as often as I can, and I'd like another shot at the Barber. Perhaps tonight's performance will be a notch or two above Thursday's. You can all listen at

Saturday, November 5, 2011

BSO — 2011/11/03-05 — Reviews

… As for the Haydn and Wagner program, I have a ticket for Thursday and expect to be there. It should be good.

It was very good. The two Haydn symphonies were elegantly played, and it was interesting to hear the development from No. 1 represented by No. 100. But to me at least, it sounded like the same composer, composing on a broader scale. Would I have thought so if I hadn't known already? And the Wagner was powerful. Unfortunately I made the mistake of reading the words in my program booklet while the chorus and James Morris were singing. I wish I had just basked in the glorious music and saved the reading for when I'd listen to the rebroadcast of Saturday's performance.

I strongly recommend listening in to the webstream Saturday evening, Boston time and the repeat Sunday afternoon. Click on Listen to Live Stream at 8:00 p.m. Saturday and 1:00 p.m. Sunday (Eastern Time). After that you can listen to it "on demand."

BTW, the Boston Globe's reviewer was less than thrilled — html — but he's paid to find fault. The audience was very enthusiastic.

Friday, October 28, 2011

BSO — 2011/10/27-11/01; 2011/11/03-05

I'm posting about two weeks' programs because the BSO website has the same page for both. My guess is they are doing it because both have the same conductor, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.
Schumann, Strauss, Haydn and Wagner 

Schumann and Strauss 
[Rafael Fruhbeck de  Burgos]October 27- 29 & November 1
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor
Gidon Kremer, violin
SCHUMANN Violin Concerto
STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben

The internationally admired Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer joins Spanish conductor and frequent BSO guest Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos in the first of the conductor’s two BSO programs this season. Kremer plays the relatively rarely heard Violin Concerto of Robert Schumann, a melodically driven, quintessentially Romantic piece written in Schumann’s last productive year of 1853 for Joseph Joachim, the outstanding violinist of the age, who unfortunately never performed it. Richard Strauss’s tone-poem Ein Heldenleben (“A Heroic Life”) is a romp through the composer’s own personal musical landscape—a multi-faceted tour-de-force culmination of his phenomenal tone poems of the 1890s.Podcasts for this series Include:
  1. Video Podcast: A Conversation with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
  2. Audio Concert Preview by Marc Mandel, narrated by Eleanor McGourty.
Haydn and Wagner 
[James Morris]November 3-5
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor
James Morris, bass-baritone
Tanglewood Festival Chorus, John Oliver, Conductor
HAYDN Symphony No. 1
HAYDN Symphony No. 100,Military
WAGNER Excerpts from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos opens his second BSO program of the season with the rarely heard Haydn symphony designated as “No. 1,” written about 1757. This ten-minute, three-movement work comes very early in the history of the symphony genre. By contrast, Haydn’s Military Symphony dates from the zenith of the Classical symphony. Extended excerpts from Wagner’s humane masterpiece Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg— with bass-baritone James Morris in the role of Hans Sachs, and also featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus—make up the second half of the program.Podcasts for this series Include:
  1. Video Podcast: A Conversation with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos

The Globe review of this week's Schumann and Strauss was generally favorable, but with some criticism both of the concerto itself and of the performances.

Although this concert was part of my subscription, I exchanged the ticket because I had a party to go to. Instead, I'll be attending the January 13 matinee presentation of Weber's Overture to Euryanthe, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.1, the Symphony No. 6 by John Harbison, and "Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks" by Strauss. This will be my second time hearing the program, since I already had a ticket for the 12th, when the Harbison symphony will receive it's world premiere performance. The principal reason for going a second time is to give the Harbison a second hearing. The BSO performed his first three symphonies last season and I found them worth hearing. This season, they'll be playing the 4th and 5th in November and December, respectively, and they commissioned the 6th.

I'll be listening to Classical New England — as WCRB now calls itself since they've bought a couple of other stations — as usual, for the live broadcast/webcast on Saturday and the repeat Sunday at 1:00.

As for the Haydn and Wagner program, I have a ticket for Thursday and expect to be there. It should be good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Mass Audience for Classical Music — contra "The Rest Is Noise"

I've been reading The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, by Alex Ross. It's a wonderful book, and if you're not already familiar with it, I highly recommend it. It sets the composers of the century in their historical and cultural context and is very readable. To me, 20th Century classical music had seemed to be pretty much of a piece — lots of cacophony with occasional listenable pieces added to the mix. Ross manages to distinguish the cacophonies of Stravinsky from those of Schoenberg in a way that makes sense, and he points out a lot of euphonious music from composers who didn't mind writing things that people would enjoy. That sentence is colored by my personal opinions. Ross has helped me to understand what lies behind much of the music I've only recently begun to find tolerable.

But recently I've found something that I consider questionable. In a Chapter titled "Music for All: Music in FDR's America," Ross begins by noting that radio and records made classical music widely available, well beyond the concert hall, and WPA projects brough live performances to small towns all across the country. He notes that listeners numbered "up to ten million for Arturo Toscanini's broadcasts with the NBC Symphony, and millions more for the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts." He says that "Americans of the period [roughly the 1930's, I think] avidly sought the cultural improvement that classical music was supposed to provide."

But, says Ross, "The trouble was that Toscanini could not make classical music American." The repertoire was almost entirely European composers of the past. Although Stokowski and Koussevitsky championed contemporary works in their concerts, "radio executives and corporate heads who bought advertising" were unwilling to broadcast it. "Yet the failure to support the new led inexorably to the decline of classical music as a popular pastime, for nothing bound it to contemporary life. A venerable art form was set to become one more fad in a ravenous consumer culture."

I think he's got it wrong. I think the audience that was there for Toscanini and the Met in the 1930's is still there for the music they performed. It was there in the 1950's when I was a boy and Bell Telephone and Firestone sponsored half-hour TV programs. The music of Handel and Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn has always been accessible to a mass audience. But many people who gladly listen to these composers, or to the sextet from "Lucia di Lamermoor," will not keep listening long to Roger Sessions or Milton Babbitt. It was not the lack of contemporary music that caused the audiences to melt away; it was an overabundance of it, in my opinion.

Haydn — "The Creation"

Actually, it was "Die Schöpfung," since they performed it in German.

In this case "they" are Boston Baroque, and I attended their performance on Friday evening, October 21. The review in the Boston Globe praised conductor Martin Pearlman and the soloists and orchestra, and only faulted the chorus for unclear "diction." It's a piece with many excellent moments. I'm somewhat familiar with it from recordings, and it was good to hear it done in a very good live performance.

The decision to go was very much last-minute. I had only started to think about it on Thursday, and bough the tickets by phone on Friday afternoon. My arrival was also last-minute, as I was a bit late leaving home, and my subway connections got me to Jordan Hall at almost 8:10. The orchestra was tuning as I entered the auditorium. I had been afraid I'd miss the overture, but fortunately Maestro Pearlman had decided to wait for me. LOL

They are also recording the oratorio. I've stopped buying recordings, but if you like Haydn, I expect the recording to be worth buying.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

BSO — 2011/10/20-22

As usual, we start with the BSO website description.

All-Brahms Program 

October 20-22, Kurt Masur Leads the Orchestra in an all-Brahms Program including the Piano Concerto No. 2 with Yefim Bronfman as Soloist. 
[KurtMasur]We regret to share that Yefim Bronfman has been advised by his doctors to take one week to rest and recuperate from an injury to one of his fingers, and will not be able to perform Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 in the Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts of October 20, 21, and 22. Nicholas Angelich has graciously agreed to join us as soloist for these performances on short notice, making his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut.
Audio Concert Preview by Robert Kirzinger, narrated by Eleanor McGourty.

Brian Bell with Michael Steinberg 
In 1996, the BSO performed the Brahms Third Symphony. At the very same time, author Michael Steinberg was in town promoting his new book, The Symphony: A Listener's Guide. WGBH's Brian Bell took this as a sign. The result? This 18-minute conversation between Bell and Steinberg about Brahms's Third.
Revered German conductor Kurt Masur returns to the BSO podium for the first of two programs with the orchestra this season. (He leads Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the BSO in February.) In this all-Brahms program, he is joined by Nicholas Angelich for Brahms's by turns lyrical and majestic Piano Concerto No. 2, written more than twenty-five years after the First. Brahms's Symphony No. 3, the third and most classically contained of his four works in the genre, is as different from the other three as they are from each other, while at the same time matching the Piano Concerto No. 2 in its expressive intensity.

Brahms isn't my favorite composer, so I exchanged my ticket to this week's concert for November 10, when they'll play works of Weber, Barber, and Tchaikovsky. (I've been saying that they should do some Weber from time to time. Somebody must have heard me. LOL)

But the Globe liked it, and someone who was there said it was wonderful. So I'll listen on the radio tonight and again tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. You can catch the webstreams, as usual.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Liked It and So Did The Globe

I was at the concert on Thursday, October 13 — the one that will be broadcast/streamed live this evening (Saturday) and retransmitted Sunday afternoon. Here's the review from the Boston Globe.

Maybe the reviewer is right about the freshness of Yo-Yo Ma's interpretation of the cello concerto. I'm not familiar enough with the piece to say. What I can say is that he seemed to be really working at it, and I enjoyed it more than I had expected to. As for "The Wooden Prince," it was okay — not as jagged as a lot of Bartók. But I was ready for it to be over about 15 minutes before it stopped.

Overall, I recommend listening if you have a chance.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BSO — 2011/10/13-18

As usual, we begin with an excerpt from the BSO's website describing this weeks program.
Dvořák and Bartók

Buy Tickets

$30.00  - $110.00 
Related performances in this program
 October 13, 2011 8:00 PM
October 14, 2011 1:30 PM
October 15, 2011 8:00 PM
October 18, 2011 8:00 PM
[Yo-Yo Ma]
Boston Symphony Orchestra 
October 13, 2011 8:00 PM
Symphony Hall
Boston, Massachusetts
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Buy TicketsSelect Your Own SeatsThere is a $6.25 per-ticket service fee for this event.
Featured Artists 
[Juanjo Mena] 
Juanjo Mena 
Yo-Yo Ma 
Program Notes  Audio 
DVOŘÁKCello Concertoview pdf
BARTÓKThe Wooden Prince
Audio Concert Preview by Marc Mancel, narrated by Eleanor McGourty.
About the Music

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, masterful in any repertoire, performs the powerful Cello Concerto by Antonín Dvořák, a piece the Czech composer began during his sojourn in the United States in the mid-1890s. Making his subscription series debut leading Ma and the orchestra in this program is Spanish conductor Juanjo Mena, who led works of Berg, Strauss, and Mahler in his BSO debut at Tanglewood in July 2010. He also conducts a rarity, Bartók’s score to the folk-tale ballet The Wooden Prince, one of the composer’s three great, orchestrally thrilling stage works from the 1910s.

I have tickets for the Thursday performance, and I'll probably listen on Saturday until my brother calls. Obviously, we can expect Yo-Yo Ma to do very well with the Dvořák concerto. Dvořák isn't one of my favorite composers, but he's okay. Bartók is even less of a favorite, but I don't think I've ever heard "The Wooden Prince," so it should at least be interesting as a new experience. The conductor is also unknown to me, but from what the BSO blurb says, at least he has familiarity with the era from which the pieces come.

The usual information applies with respect to concert time and pre-concert show.

There is a new development, however, with respect to availability. Not only is WCRB rebroadcasting and streaming the Saturday concert on Sunday afternoon, they're also making it available "on demand" through their website for some time (they say two weeks minimum) after the Sunday rebroadcast. The website isn't the easiest I've ever seen to navigate, but I managed to find last week's concert "on demand" and I'm sure you can too. (That reminds me, I should probably post about that concert, to encourage you to listen.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

BSO — 2011/10/06 & 08; Apology; News about WCRB

First the apology. I'm not sure it was entirely my fault, but I didn't realize that last Saturday's concert would not be broadcast live. If you were listening, they actually apologized to any who had expected the BSO live concert, so maybe they felt they had not been clear enough about their plans. I hope any of you who tuned in were not too badly disappointed. If the Globe reviews of the concerts are to be believed, you didn't miss too much. This is the review of Friday evening, and this is about Saturday. I was there on Friday, and I enjoyed it a lot — good music, well played, I thought, but nothing startling, no new insights or revelations, nothing really exciting. But you can make you own judgments, because they also said that they would broadcast (and stream, I suppose) the concertos Ms. Mutter played not only on Saturday but also on Friday which they consider broadcast-worthy. This will be on Saturday, October 8 — an evening when there will be no live BSO concert.

Now for this week's concert broadcast/streaming schedule, as I understand it. Here's what the BSO website says about this week's program.
Britten, Prokofiev and Sibelius
[Sean Newhoulse]October 6-11 
Sean Newhouse , one of the BSO’s assistant conductors, takes the helm October 6-11 for a program exploring diverse 20th-century repertoire from England, Russia, and Finland. The concerts open with Benjamin Britten’s vivid and dramatic Four Sea Interludes, a series of orchestral entr’actes from the composer’s operatic masterpiece Peter Grimes. French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzetthen joins the BSO for Prokofiev’s inventive Piano Concerto No. 3, a whirlwind for soloist and orchestra that is by turns lyrical and energetically dissonant. Closing the program is Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2, one of his most popular and immediately captivating works.
But as I mentioned earlier, there is no Saturday concert this week. (Possibly this has something to do with the fact that it is Yom Kippur.) So instead, they will broadcast the performance on Thursday, October 6, which just happens to be the 50th anniversary of the first regular broadcast of the BSO over WGBH, which now owns WCRB. So if you want to hear it, you will need to listen then. Further info about the music is available through this page of the BSO website.

Finally, here is an article about WCRB and its plans, not just for the Boston Symphony concerts but for the rest of their programming. It looks as if you'll have some good opportunities to listen not only to the BSO but to lots of other good performances of various types.

Friday, September 30, 2011

BSO — 2011/10/02

As usual, we begin with what the BSO website says about the concert which will be broadcast and streamed live on Saturday evening on WCRB and other stationsand rebroadcast and streamed on Sunday afternoon at 1:00* on WCRB.

All-Mozart Program

Buy Tickets

$32.00  - $120.00 
Related performances in this program
October 1, 2011 8:00 PM
Boston Symphony Orchestra 
October 1, 2011 8:00 PM
Symphony Hall
Boston, Massachusetts

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Buy TicketsSelect Your Own Seats
There is a $6.25 per-ticket service fee for this event.
Featured Artists 
Anne-Sophie Mutter 
violin and conductor
Program Notes  Audio 
MOZARTViolin Concerto No. 2 in D, K.211view pdf
MOZARTViolin Concerto No. 1 in B-flat, K.207
MOZARTViolin Concerto No. 4 in D, K.218view pdf
BSODownload the full Program Notes
Podcasts for this series Include:

  1. Audio Concert Preview by Marc Mandel, narrated by Eleanor McGourty.
About the Music

After playing and conducting the Third and Fifth of Mozart’s five violin concertos on Opening Night, Anne-Sophie Mutter completes the with Mozart’s violin concertos 1, 2, and 4. Written in Salzburg between 1773 and 1775, the five concertos together show the composer’s increasing confidence in his own compositional personality. The elegant Violin Concerto No. 1, written when Mozart was seventeen, is already a gem; but one marvels at the increasing wealth of personality the composer brought, two years later, to the Second through Fifth concertos.

Times are Boston local time, and there will be the usual pre-concert features at 7:00 on Saturday.

If you click on the link I gave above, there will be links for notes about the music. Mozart may seem pretty basic, and I'm sure it will all be easy to follow, but sometimes the notes can point out something "below the surface" that we don't notice as we float cheerfully on the surface of beautiful music.

As the website mentions, the Saturday concert is the second of two in which Anne-Sophie Mutter is both soloist and conductor. The first is this evening, Friday, which is opening night for the BSO's season. I decided to get a ticket and go to it. It will be my first Opening Night, at the Boston Symphony. There was an interesting article about Anne-Sophie Mutter's role in the concerts in today's Boston Globe.
I think its very informative — well worth reading.

*Please note that when I mentioned these rebroadcasts in my previous post, I gave the wrong time. They are at 1:00 p.m., Boston time, not 3:00 as I had mistakenly thought. I have also corrected my earlier post to show the correct time.