Thursday, February 17, 2011

BSO — 2011/02/19; Met — 02/19

The BSO is off this week, so WCRB will stream some recordings made during concerts in prior years. Here's their description:
Levine Conducts Mozart and Mahler
BSO Music Director James Levine conducts the orchestra in concert performances of Mozart's Symphonies Nos. 14 and 18, recorded in Oct. 2009, and Mahler's Symphony No. 6, recorded in Oct. 2008.
 The show begins, as usual, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Before that, at 1:00 p.m., you can hear Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," live from the Met, streamed by WHRB. James Levine was scheduled to conduct.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

BSO — 2011/02/10-12

Sorry to be so late with this. It's been a busy several days. But I definitely recommend tonight's BSO concert. Here's what the website has to say.
Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki returns to the BSO podium with a widely varied program, and is joined by German cellist Alban Gerhardt for the American premiere of the Korean-German composer Unsuk Chin’s Cello Concerto, written for Gerhardt. Gerhardt also plays Dvořák’s surpassingly melodic Silent Woods, an 1894 reworking of a movement from his 1883 piano suite From the Bohemian Woods. Haydn’s Symphony No. 59 in A major, nicknamed “Fire” has never been performed by the BSO. The Finnish composer Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5 is one of the composer’s best known, a majestic masterpiece completed in 1919.
The Globe reviewer liked it. I was there on Thursday, and I enjoyed it too. The piece is definitely modern, but to my ears it is also definitely musical. One thing that is really amazing is that the cellist plays it entirely from memory, and did so at the world premiere as well, after having studied it for about a month. He told us that during the pre-concert talk. He also said he got a little lost toward the end in that first performance. The cellist and composer agreed that the BSO plays it very well indeed, and the "lecturer" suggested that it might be partly because of their recent experience with the concerto for flute and oboe by Ligeti. Chin studied for a while under Ligeti, and there is a bit of similarity between the sound in tonight's concerto and that of Ligeti. I thought the other pieces went well also, so it's a concert well worth hearing IMO. Amazing that the BSO has never played the Haydn 59th Symphony before this week, which means that the entire first half of the concert is music that's new to them.

Usual time, usual stations.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

BSO — 2011/02/03-08; Met — 02/05

This week's BSO program has Moussorgsky, Beethoven, and Prokofiev. Here's how the website describes it.
Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo makes his BSO debut in these concerts and is joined by Romanian pianist Radu Lupu in Beethoven’s stormy Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor. Oramo also leads Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev’s Sixth Symphony, a three movement work moving from dark to light that Prokofiev wrote just after World War II in the Soviet Union. Beginning the program is Mussorgsky’s thrilling Night on Bald Mountain. [emphasis added]

I was there on Thursday, and, frankly, I was not looking forward to the "Night on Bald Mountain." I guess I consider it one of these pieces that gets played too often on the radio and not really worth spending time on. But, with an assist from the pre-concert lecture, I actually found it interesting and worthwhile. The Beethoven was well-played, I thought. The pre-concert lecture described the Prokofiev symphony as one of his most tragic works, but with that expectation in mind, I actually found it very engaging. I joined the standing ovation at the end. The conductor uses very broad gestures and swings and sways. But as the Globe reviewer notes, he drew top-notch playing from everyone.

As always, you can listen on WCRB. The concert begins at 8:00. And there is information about the music on the BSO website.
 Click on Media Center.

As I type, the Met is giving  Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, one of my favorites. James Levine is conducting.

Everything is available at the usual times over the usual webstreams.