Saturday, April 16, 2011

BSO — 2011/04/14-16

Today there's another BSO concert to be streamed over WCRB. The website of the BSO has the following to say.
French conductor Stéphane Denève, music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and chief conductor designate of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, makes his Boston Symphony debut substituting for Sir Colin Davis in these concerts. As originally planned, acclaimed American pianist Jonathan Biss is soloist in Beethoven’s epic Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, the last and most powerful of Beethoven’s concertos. Replacing the two originally scheduled works by Sibelius are two works from the French repertoire for which Mr. Denève has an inborn affinity—Albert Roussel’s Symphony No. 3 and Maurice Ravel’s La Valse. Commissioned for the BSO’s 50th anniversary, Roussel’s multi-faceted and colorful Symphony No. 3 was premiered by Serge Koussevitzky and the orchestra in October 1930. Completed in 1920, Ravel’s brilliantly atmospheric masterpiece La Valse, which closes the program, was the composer’s unsettling musical farewell to the golden era of Vienna.

The Globe liked it. I particularly enjoyed the Roussel symphony. As I commented elsewhere, I had been looking forward to the Sibelius (5th Symphony and Tapiola) which had originally been scheduled for after intermission. But Sir Colin Davis had to withdraw, and the conductor taking his place is more familiar with Roussel and Ravel. But after hearing the Roussel symphony on Thursday, I'm glad that the change was made and I got a chance to hear it. I also found the pianist in the Beethoven not forceful enough: the piano got swallowed by the orchestra too often. But it's still the "Emperor" Concerto, and worth hearing.

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