Saturday, May 5, 2012

BSO — 2012/05/3-5 "Last Night at Symphony" Info and Reviews

This week's concerts are the last of the 2011-2912 BSO subscription season. They will be on hiatus until the Tanglewood season begins for them on July 6. Then they will play three different concerts almost weekend — Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon — through August 26. I expect Classical New England to carry them all live. Information about the schedule is posted at if you click on Tanglewood at the top of the page.

But back to the present. This week it's two works with chorus: Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms and the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven. As the BSO website says:
The 2011-12 BSO season closes triumphantly with the last of three Bernard Haitink-led concerts, a program of two very different works for voices and orchestra. Stravinsky's beautifully austere Symphony of Psalms was commissioned to commemorate the Boston Symphony's 50th anniversary and was given its American premiere by the BSO under Serge Koussevitzky in December 1930. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, one of the most beloved, familiar, and compelling works in the repertoire, still startles with its radical departures from the symphonic tradition that Beethoven inherited and developed. American soprano Jessica Rivera and American mezzo Meredith Arwady are making return engagements with the BSO. Italian-German tenor Roberto Saccà and German bass Günther Groissböck make their BSO debuts.

I enjoyed the Thursday evening performance. I thought Maestro Haitink enabled all the instrumental lines to be heard except in the loudest passages when it's inevitable that some get drowned out: this performance was so well balanced that most of the time every voice, instrumental and vocal, could be heard. The bass soloist in the Beethovenwas particularly good, I thought.  The Globe's reviewer was not so happy with it. He thought the pairing of works made no sense, and he found fault with various elements of the performance. Despite what he thinks, I recommend listening this evening, tomorrow or on demand. I hope the clarity of Thursday evening's performance comes through on the radio or via the webstream.

BTW, now the concerts will be available for streaming for a year, rather than just two weeks, and they'll be on the BSO website as well as Classical New England, but I'm not sure how to access them from the BSO site.

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