Friday, July 26, 2013

Tanglewood — 2013/07/26-28

After several cancellations, this weekend's Tanglewood will go ahead nearly as planned as far as the music to be played is concerned.

July 26  Christoph Eschenbach had been scheduled to conduct this concert, which was to have included him playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12. But he had to cancel because of an inner ear infection which makes flying inadvisable. In his place, Edo de Waart will conduct and Garrick Ohlsson will be piano soloist in Mozart's 27th Piano Concerto and the orchestra will play his Symphony No 41, "Jupiter". As explained on the BSO performance detail page, this is Berkshire Night at Tanglewood.
Conductor Edo de Waart will take the Boston Symphony Orchestra podium on Friday, at 8:30 p.m. in the Shed, he leads the orchestra in an all-Mozart program that features soprano Christine Schäfer in the concert aria for soprano, piano, and orchestra "Ch'io mi scordi di te…Non temer, amato bene," K.505, considered one of Mozart's greatest achievements in the genre. 
Links to program notes and audio previews are also available there as usual.

July 27  Music Director designate Andris Nelsons was scheduled to conduct the Manzoni Requiem by Verdi, but he suffered a concussion which was bad enough that the doctors advised him not to fly to America. The BSO managed to get Carlo Montanaro to conduct the piece. I'd never heard of him, but this appears to be fairly standard repertory for him. One of the basses in the chorus reports after rehearsals, that Maestro Montanaro goes for speed and emotion more than the nuance and precision which characterized Daniele Gatti's performance with the BSO last winter. So "fasten your seatbelts," and enjoy the ride. Again, links are available on the performance detail page, along with the following description:
Singing the demanding solo parts are soprano Kristīne Opolais (wife of Andris Nelsons), mezzo-soprano Lioba Braun, tenor Dmytro Popov (all three in their BSO debuts), bass-baritone Eric Owens; the Tanglewood Festival Chorus will also be featured. This performance of Verdi's Requiem pays tribute to the bicentennial of the composer's birth in 1813. The Requiem, composed in memory of the Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni, a hero of Verdi's, combines all of the composer's dramatic talent and the soaring vocal writing familiar from his operas with the traditional Requiem mass structure.

Please note that there is no intermission in this concert.
BTW, after Nelsons cancelled, it turned out that Ferrucio Furlanetto had a bad cold and couldn't sing the bass part, which led to his replacement by Eric Owens.

July 28  Sunday afternoon at 2:30 Ludovic Morlot, a former assistant conductor of the BSO, now the Music Director of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, will take Christoph Eschenbach's scheduled place at the podium to conduct the scheduled Dvořák and Prokofiev program, with Garrick Ohlsson again taking on the soloist role (this time as scheduled). Go to the performance detail page for audio and text links. Here's the "official" synopsis from that page.
American pianist and frequent Tanglewood guest Garrick Ohlsson joins the BSO for Prokofiev's exuberant Piano Concerto No. 3. Composed between 1917 and 1921, most of the work on the concerto was done during the summer of 1921, which Prokofiev spent in a town on the coast in Brittany. A mainstay of the modern concerto repertoire, it is one of the composer's most popular works. Dvořák's Carnival Overture and the beloved Symphony No. 9, From the New World, round out the program.

The Friday and Saturday concerts begin at 8:30, Massachusetts time, and the Sunday Matinee at 2:30. As usual, Classical New England plans to broadcast and stream the virtually live, with preliminary material which they have produced beginning a half hour before the scheduled start of the concert. While CNE's own BSO page doesn't add any further info about the concerts themselves, it summarizes them very succinctly and it contains links to other BSO related material and their schedule for the remaining Tanglewood 2013 broadcasts/webstreams.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tanglewood — 2013/07/19-21

This weekend we have mid-late 19th Century music on Friday and Saturday evenings and baroque on Sunday afternoon.

July 19  brings us Wagner, Liszt, and Brahms. The BSO performance detail page puts it like this:
Russian maestro Vladimir Jurowski, principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, makes his Tanglewood debut on Friday, July 19, at 8:30 p.m., leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a program of Wagner, Liszt, and Brahms. Eminent French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins the orchestra as soloist in Liszt's devilishly difficult Totentanz, a barnstorming fantasia based on the Dies irae that is one of the showiest works in the repertoire. To begin the program is the pomp and grandeur of Wagner's Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and concluding the evening is Brahms's monumental Symphony No. 1, with which the composer finally took up the imposing symphonic mantel of Beethoven.
      – some emphasis supplied
This we they have given us links to notes and audio material.

July 20  returns to Wagner for the final act of Die Walküre. You can find links to the program notes at the performance detail page. There you can also click on performer photos for bios. They synopsize the concert as follows:
On Saturday, July 20, at 8:30 p.m., German conductor Lothar Koenigs, music director of the Welsh National Opera, makes his BSO conducting debut, leading the orchestra in a concert performance of Act III of Wagner's Die Walküre. Though the act begins with the furor of the famous "Ride of the Valkyries," what fallows is some of the most intimate and emotionally charged music of the composer's massive Ring cycle. The cast of leading Wagnerian singers includes sopranos Katarina Dalayman (Brünnhilde) and Amber Wagner (Sieglinde), and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel (Wotan). The performance, along with the prelude toDie Meistersinger on Friday evening, is part of the BSO's celebration of Wagner's Bicentennial in 2013.
     – some emphasis supplied

July 21  On Sunday afternoon, the orchestra goes for baroque. (The pun is an oldie but goodie, IMO, and I didn't try to resist.) The performance detail page has links to program notes and performer bios, and informs us
Conductor, violinist, and violist Pinchas Zukerman returns to the Shed stage on Sunday, July 21, at 2:30 p.m. for an afternoon of Baroque music, following the success of his all-Bach program with the BSO in 2012. The program will also feature a number of the BSO's players as part of the orchestra's ongoing commitment to feature the individual members of the orchestra. The afternoon's program includes Vivaldi's Concerto in B-flat for violin, cello, and strings, featuring Mr. Zukerman and his wife, cellist Amanda Forsyth; Vivaldi's Concerto in C minor for violin and strings, Il Sospetto; Bach's Concerto No. 2 in E for violin and strings, and Telemann's Concerto in G for viola and strings. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F, featuring BSO principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe, principal oboe player John Ferrillo, and principal trumpet player Thomas Rolfs, completes the program.
     – some emphasis supplied

I'm happy to see our modern orchestra including baroque music in the repertory. For one thing, it's just enjoyable to listen to. For another, while the historically informed performances may be much more like what the composers expected and audiences heard back then, I see no need for modern ensembles to give up the repertoire entirely.

Classical New England will broadcast and stream all three concerts, as usual, with only a few seconds' delay, and their BSO page gives a brief summary of what is in store for this weekend and the remaining weekends of the Tanglewood season. I forget whether the warm-up material starts an hour or a half hour before concert time. Well, it's not too important either way. If you arrive early, you hear some music. And if you miss half of the preliminaries, that's not the important part, anyway.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Tanglewood — 2013/07/12-14

July 12  This evening (as I write) the BSO will give us three works: Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, the Piano Concerto in D for the Left Hand, by Ravel, with Leon Fleisher as soloist, and (presumably after intermission) Scheherezade, by Rimsky-Korsakov. The performance detail page explains that this is an "Underscore Fridays" concert:
Several Friday-evening Shed performances will be part of the popular UnderScore Friday series this season. At these performances, patrons will hear comments about the program directly from an onstage BSO musician. Dates: July 12, August 2, August 23.
Strangely, although they tell us that James Sommerville will be the musician who talks about the pieces, there is no mention of the names of the conductor or the soloist in the Ravel. You have to click on the pictures to find out that Kazushi Ono is conducting and Fleisher is playing the piano. (Double click the photos for bios.) The page is also short on program notes, linking none except for the Ravel.

July 13  Saturday brings us West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein. David Newman will conduct the orchestra, while the movie is played. Performance detail says
There will be one twenty minute intermission during this performance.
The cinematic magic of West Side Story comes alive at Tanglewood on Saturday, July 13, when conductor David Newman, in his BSO debut, leads the orchestra in a live performance of Bernstein's electrifying score while the newly re-mastered film is shown on large screens in high definition with the original vocals and dialogue intact. Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story won ten Academy Awards©-more than any other musical film-including Best Picture. Released in 1961 with choreography by Jerome Robbins and a screenplay by Ernest Lehman, the film is one of the greatest achievements in the history of movie musicals. West Side Story ©1961
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All rights reserved. A.M.P.A.S.
I imagine it will be quite a challenge to sync the orchestra with the recorded singers. There isn't the flexibility that you have when all performers are live.

July 14  On Sunday afternoon, per performance detail:
STRAVINSKY - Suite from Pulcinella
HAYDN - Cello Concerto No. 1 in C
BEETHOVEN - Symphony No. 8
Audio Podcast - Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos speaks with Brian Bell about the Beethoven 8th Symphony, being performed this Sunday at Tanglewood.
Again, note the dearth of information: no notes or audio preview of the Stravinsky or Haydn and no mention of the cello soloist's name. By clicking on the photo, we discover that it's Lynn Harrell.

I'd like to hear the Friday, but I'd also like to go to the baseball game of the college summer league  North Shore Navigators. I saw West Side Story performed by high school students a few years ago, and I don't especially need to hear it again. Sunday afternoon's program sounds good: I'm looking forward to it.

As usual, Classical New England will broadcast all three concerts and stream them live. The Friday and Saturday concerts are scheduled for 8:30 p.m., Boston (and Western Mass.) time, and Sunday's is at 2:30. p.m. The broadcast schedule doesn't make it clear whether the pre-concert features begin an hour or a half hour before concert time. There are links on CNE's BSO page to a couple of items connected with these concerts, and a fair amount of other items which could be of some interest.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Tanglewood — 2013/07/05-07

As mentioned in my post a week ago, during the Tanglewood season — unlike the winter season at Symphony Hall — programs are not repeated in live performance. This means that we get a different show each day. The season opens this evening, July 5.

July 5  Friday evening we get an all-Tchaikovsky program, with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos on the podium and Joshua Bell as violin soloist. The composer's Violin Concerto will precede the intermission and his Symphony No. 5 will follow it. The BSO's performance detail page has links to program notes and audio previews. The concert is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m., Eastern Daylight Saving Time (1/2 hour later than Symphony Hall concerts. "Pre-game" programming on Classical New England begins at 7:00, according to their website. But it looks as if they expect the Friday and Saturday concerts to begin at 8:00. I don't know if the later concert time will lead to an adjustment of the starting time of the preview show.

At any rate, Classical New England will be broadcasting and streaming all three concerts each weekend of the season.

July 6  Another concert conducted by Maestro Frühbeck will consist of a single work: Mahler's Symphony No. 3. Again consult the performance detail page for links to audio previews and program notes. Once more, the concert is scheduled to begin at 8:30. You can make your best guess about when the warm up on Classical New England will start.

July 7  Sunday's matinee is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Doubtless, there will be preliminaries at 1:00 or 2:00. This concert will not be performed by the Boston Synohiny but by the Boston Pops under the baton of their conductor, Keith Lockhart, wth guest artist Vince Gill. The BSO site doesn't give much more information, but the CNE page on their BSO broadcasts/streams gives the following snippet:
On Sunday, special guest star Vince Gill joins the Boston Pops and conductor Keith Lockhart for a tribute to the American West.