Saturday, October 5, 2013

BSO — 2013/10/03-08

This week's program includes music of Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Strauss. Here's how the BSO performance detail page summarizes it:
French conductor Stéphane Denève is joined by universally acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma for one of the 20th century's great concertos, Dmitri Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1. This intense, highly personal work was composed for Mstislav Rostropovich, who premiered it in 1959. Also on the program is Serge Prokofiev's Suite from his opera The Love of Three Oranges, based on an 18th-century Carlo Gozzi farce and featuring some of Prokofiev's most characterful and familiar passages. Richard Strauss's tone poem Ein Heldenleben ("A Heroic Life") quotes liberally from the composer's own earlier tone poems summing up the first phase of his musical life in a powerful orchestral tour de fource.
As always, the page contains links to audio and text background material (including performer bios if you click on the photos).

Listen on Classical New England at 8:00 p.m. Boston time (with pre-concert material at 7:00). Their BSO page has links to various related items, as well as the season schedule. The station's weekly schedule also shows Boston Symphony Orchestra on Mondays from 8:00-10:00 p.m. I've read elsewhere that this is a rebroadcast of a previous concert, but I'm not sure if it is the concert from two or nine days earlier. Sometime I'll check it out. You can too, of course.

I was at the concert on Thursday. Overall, I didn't really care very much for the Prokofiev, but it was certainly tolerable. What I did like was some nice solo viola playing at one point. The conductor gave the violist a solo bow at the end of the piece. The Shostakovich was more musical to my ears. Of course, it was an outstanding performance by Yo-Yo Ma. I was also very impressed by extended solo work in the Strauss by concertmaster Malcolm Lowe, returning this season after a couple of years' health leave. The Globe reviewer liked it.

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