Saturday, October 6, 2012

BSO — 2012/10/06-08*

Music inspired by literature is on the first half of this week's program, with a Dvořák symphony to follow the intermission. Here's the description from the BSO's performance detail page, where you also find the links to program notes and audio previews:

Acclaimed for his previous Boston Symphony performances at both Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall, BSO assistant conductor Marcelo Lehninger leads a program pairing the Romantic with the ruminative. American violinist Joshua Bell is soloist in Bernstein's Serenade inspired by Plato's Symposium, a dialogue on the nature and value of love. Also on the program are two audience favorites: Tchaikovsky's emotionally charged fantasy-overture Romeo and Juliet, and Dvoˇrák's bucolic Symphony No. 8.
I definitely recommend looking at the program note for the Bernstein Serenade (maybe even print it out for reference during the concert) and previewing the piece on audio if you have time.

I thought that the still youngish conductor brought out the detail in the Tchaikovsky, but maybe it was partly because I was listening more closely than I usually do to that piece. Maestro Lehninger is a very demonstrative conductor — not that you'll see it, but perhaps you can imagine him turning his upper body around to "wind up" for dome of the climactic moments, and making sweeping gestures when it's loud, and little finger movements for softer rapid passages. The Bernstein Serenade was interesting. It is fairly typical Bernstein music, I think — not conventionally melodic, but with broadway-like moments and jazzy moments. It represents the participants in Plato's "Symposium" by evoking what he considers the overall mood of their successive speeches. Of course, Joshua Bell played very well. (During intermission I happened to see him posing for pictures and signing autographs outside the stage door to the main corridor, and I got his autograph in my program.) As for the Dvořák 8th Symphony, it made for pleasant, sometimes exciting, listening, with Maestro Lehninger again gesturing very expressively. The Boston Globe's review was generally favorable, but without much detail. I couldn't find review on the Boston Herald or Boston Phoenix websites. I guess you'll just have to trust me that it's worth hearing.

As always, Classical New England broadcasts and streams the 8:00 concert, with pre-concert programming beginning at 7:00. With the departure of Brian Bell, it seems that they no longer have the sort of background material they used to link on their BSO-related page. But it still gives scheduling information. Surprisingly, they now do the Sunday 1:00 p.m. repeats eight days after the original performance. So, for example, if you miss this evening's concert live, you can catch the rebroadcast/stream on October 14.

* On October 9, instead of repeating the program, they will play the Tchaikovsky and Dvořák but put Ervin Schulhoff's Concerto for String Quartet and Wind Orchestra in place of the Bernstein. If you're in the area, you might want to get a ticket. It could be interesting. Notes and audio preview are available on the performance detail page for that evening.

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