Saturday, April 28, 2012

BSO — 2012/04/26-28 Info and Reviews

Here's what the BSO website says about this week's concert.
In the second of his three BSO programs this season, Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink leads Beethoven's warm and ever-popular Pastoral Symphony, which depicts a pleasant day in the country (notwithstanding a brief thunderstorm). Equally pastoral, but from a different world, is Debussy's lush, languid, modern Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun, which reveals the still-young composer's mastery of a new musical language. Austrian pianist Till Fellner makes his BSO debut in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, composed while he was working on his great opera The Marriage of Figaro.

I was there on Thursday evening as part of my regular subscription series, and again on Friday afternoon with a priest friend who had wanted to go with me to a concert and selected this week's program. He didn't want to have to be driving after dark, so he didn't join me on Thursday evening. I could have exchanged my Thursday evening ticket for one on Friday afternoon, but I decided that the Mozart and Beethoven would be worth hearing twice; and I'm glad I did. I thought Mr. Fellner, making his debut with the BSO, did very well, and the orchestra also was flawless. The reviewer for the Boston Globe also found it very good.

So I think you won't be disappointed if you listen to the stream from Classical New England at the usual times. And you may also want to check out the background features there as well as at the BSO site.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

BSO — 2012/04/12-14 & 18-24 Info and Reviews

Sorry I've been late posting about these, but it's not too late to listen to the on demand webstream from Classical New England.

I missed the earlier performance,
Former Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Esa-Pekka Salonen makes a long-awaited return to the BSO podium with a sparkling program, including a recent work of his own, the highly admired Violin Concerto. The critically acclaimed and popular Canadian-born virtuoso Leila Josefowicz, for whom Salonen wrote the piece, is soloist in these performances. Ravel's familiar Le Tombeau de Couperin is the composer's own orchestration of four movements from his 1917 piano suite of the same name. Stravinsky's complete The Firebird ballet score, composed in 1910 for the Ballets Russes, launched the composer's international reputation with its kaleidoscopic orchestration and exotic sound. It remains one of his most popular works.
because I had a meeting to attend that Thursday.
 I was at Symphony Hall for the Beethoven and Mendelssohn on the 19th
 BSO Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink leads three weeks of programs to conclude the 2011-12 season. He is joined by popular actress Claire Bloom as narrator and the bright young singers Layla Claire and Kate Lindsey for Mendelssohn's delightful complete incidental music to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, also featuring the women of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Opening these three weeks of concerts, each of which features a Beethoven symphony, is the composer's Symphony No. 1, a piece many years in the making that helped establish Beethoven's status as the major inheritor of the Viennese Classical style from Mozart and Haydn.
 and thought they were good.

The earlier concert sounded good on the radio, and the Globe reviewer was enthusiastic. The review for this week's program wasn't quite such a rave, but overall favorable.

So I think you'll find them both listening to.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

BSO — 2012/04/5-7 Info and Reviews

This week's offering is  "A German Requiem" by Brahms. The BSO website offers the usual sort of background info about the program as well as this brief summary: 
A German Requiem, Brahms's largest work, originated with music he wrote following Robert Schumann's attempted suicide in 1854 and evidently was also connected with the death of Brahms's own mother. The result is an utterly personal, scarcely ceremonial Requiem for soprano and baritone soloists, chorus, and orchestra, episodically setting texts from the Bible. Christoph von Dohnányi and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus are joined in these concerts by English-Austrian soprano Anna Prohaska in her BSO debut and the young German bass-baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann.
Since it's Holy Week, I was in church Thursday evening and will be again this evening. But the Boston Globe reviewer was very favorable. There is also a bass in the Tanglewood Festival Chorus who provides interesting insights into the preparation and performance over a series of five posts (so far). Preparing was apparently quite a bit of work, with a demanding conductor, but he seemed quite pleased with the final result. The posts are well worth reading for insight into what you're hearing.

I'm invited to brunch after Mass on Sunday, so I may not even be able to catch the rebroadcast on Classical New England, but I definitely want to hear the "on demand" sometime in the next couple of weeks. Enjoy the full treatment on Saturday evening or the actual performance portions on Sunday. And, as usual, CNE also has their own background material on their website.