Saturday, January 7, 2012

BSO — 2012/01/05-07 — (Back to Normal) Info and Reviews

This week the Boston Symphony resumes its weekly concerts in Symphony Hall, and Classical New England resumes broadcasts and webstreams. The BSO website isn't offering the brief synopsis we've been used to, but the page on the website devoted to the concert has links to the program notes for each piece. A page on the Classical New England website includes a link to an interview with the conductor, Marcelo Lehninger, an assistant conductor of the BSO, who had two weeks' notice that he would be conducting in place of Andris Nelsons.

The concert consists of Haydn's Symphony No. 88, a 15-minute trumpet concerto titled "From the Wreckage" by British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage (getting its American premiere at these concerts), and "Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss. The trumpet soloist is Håkan Hardenberger, for whom the work was commissioned, and who gave the world premiere in 2005.

The Boston Globe reviewer wasn't ecstatic but he seems to have liked the new piece, as well as the performance of the Haydn. Reading between the lines, he seems to have thought that the Strauss didn't go perfectly. I enjoyed the Haydn and found the Turnage interesting. Shortly before the end of the first section, the phrase "easy listening" came to mind. Later bits were less so, but it wasn't unpleasant. The Strauss is what it is — overwhelming beginning, then it meanders along, and I was ready for it to be over five or ten minutes before they stopped playing. I thought the conductor did a great job, given his unfamiliarity with both the Turnage and the Strauss.

So give it a listen, at least the first half, tonight at 8:00 with pre-concert features beginning at 7:00 and/or Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (just the concert).

P.S.  WHRB is giving a Bruno Walter Orgy this month. The first part will be on Sunday, January 15, from 3:00 to about 10:30 p.m., and the second part will be the following Sunday, January 22, from 2:30 to about 10:30 p.m.

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