Saturday, February 2, 2013

BSO — 2013/01/31-02/05

February 2, 2013.  Russian composers and Latvian performers are on the bill this week. The BSO's performance details page (with links to program notes, audio previews and an interview with the conductor) puts it this way:
Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons is joined by the exciting young Latvian violinist Baiba Skride, who makes her BSO debut as soloist in Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1, which was written in the late 1940s but only premiered in 1955, after Stalin's death helped relax the constraints on artistic expression in the USSR. The second half of the program is devoted to Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, the second of his well-known last three symphonies.

I was there for theThursday performance, and I thought the violinist was spectacular. She played the whole thing from memory and seemingly effortlessly. She got a prolonged ovation (most in the audience standing), and when she came back for her second solo bow (fourth overall) she gave us an encore by Bach. There were no problems IMO with the Tchaikovsky either, but I kind of resent the automatic standing O it got, faster and from even more of the audience than that for the Shostakovich soloist. The way the symphony ends is pretty much guaranteed to get that response, regardless of whether the performance was unusually good or not. At least the audience didn't keep up the applause as long as they did for Ms. Skride. The Globe's reviewer liked the concert but was not blown away. Most of his dissatisfactions were with the Tchaikovsky.

Even if you can't stick around for the Tchaikovsky, I think hearing the Shostakovich performance will be worthwhile. Listen in on Classical New England — concert at 8:00 p.m., preliminaries at 7:00 — and check their page devoted to the BSO for links to interviews with the conductor and the soloist.

February 3, 2013, at noon.  Last weeks concert of music by Hindemith, Liszt, and Prokofiev starts an hour earlier than usual — noon, rather than 1:00 p.m. This is the second week in a row that they've changed the time for the rebroadcast. Dunno why they're doing it, but it can be a real inconvenience for people who want to hear, and have to keep changing their schedules to accommodate the station's whims.

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