Saturday, February 23, 2013

BSO — 2013/02/21-26

The BSO gives us the following description of this evening's program:
Veteran BSO conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos joins the BSO for two very different works for orchestra and voices: the complete music from Stravinsky's 1919 ballet Pulcinella-an early example, reinterpreting Baroque music, of the composer's neoclassical style, and named for a character from Italian commedia dell'arte-and Haydn's Mass in Time of War, composed in 1796 during the series of European wars following the French Revolution. These concerts feature the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, three soloists making return appearances at Symphony Hall-Alexandra Coku, Karen Cargill, and Matthew Polenzani-and, baritone soloist David Pittsinger.

Mr. Ildebrando D'Arcangelo is suffering from acute tracheitis and has been advised by his doctors to cancel all singing engagements for the next two weeks, including the BSO Stravinsky and Haydn performances of February 21, 22, 23 and 26.  We are grateful that David Pittsinger has agreed to join our vocal cast as baritone soloist for these performances on short notice.
See the program details page as well for program notes and audio previews (including an interview with the conductor) and biographies of the conductor and soloists available by clicking on their photos.

I was at the Thursday performance and enjoyed it a lot. The one "problem" is that several sections of "Pulcinella" are part of a suite, which has made them much more familiar that the rest of the piece. So there was a sort of inequality between the parts of the ballet. But if you're not familiar with the suite, this won't matter, and if you are, it's still worth hearing. Anyway, it was all good music and worth listening to. The reviewer for the Boston Musical Intelligencer felt that the music becomes increasingly less baroque and more Stravinsky-like as the piece goes on. I hadn't noticed that, but I'll be listening for it during the broadcast.

The Globe's reviewer found it basically good, but felt that Maestro Frühbeck let some details slip. I'm not enough of an expert to comment specifically on that. What I can say is that I have seen Maestro Frühbeck as guest conductor numerous times over the past half dozen years. This time I was shocked at how thin he was when he came out onto the stage. The use of a chair while he was conducting was a first. Obviously he has aged considerably. The though crossed my mind that he may be failing and these may be his last appearances with the Boston Symphony. I had forgotten that he is also conducting next week's concerts.

As usual, the concert is being broadcast and streamed live on Classical New England this evening at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time, with pre-concert features beginning at 7:00; and it will be rebroadcast/streamed on Sunday, March 3, probably at 1:00 p.m. See CNE's BSO page for scheduling info and links to interviews.  Tomorrows rebroadcast/stream will be last week's Mozart and Bruckner concert.

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