Saturday, October 19, 2013

BSO — 2013/10/17-19

After a couple of weeks with music of Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Ives, and Adès (among others), our music director designate Andris Nelsons has come to town to give us a sort of throwback concert, with Wagner, Mozart, and Brahms. On the BSO program detail page — where you get the links to performer bios, program notes, and audio previews — we read:
For his first subscription concerts since being named the BSO's next Music Director, the young Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons leads music from the heart of the orchestral repertoire. The concerts begin with Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, a gentle tone poem composed for his wife Cosima's birthday. Nelsons and the orchestra are then joined by the brilliant English pianist Paul Lewis, who makes his subscription series debut with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25, one of the composer's biggest and most outgoing concertos. Brahms's robust Symphony No. 3, one of the greatest symphonies in the repertoire, closes the program.
As usual, you can listen live over the web or on radio at Classical New England. The preview starts at 7:00 and the concert broadcast/stream itself at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time. CNE's page devoted to the BSO doesn't have a lot about this week's concert, other than a clip of some playing by the piano soloist, Paul Lewis. But there are still links to other BSO related material that may be of some interest. On that page we also are reminded that on Monday evening, they'll rebroadcast last week's concert of Mendelssohn, Ives, Adès, and Franck.

I was in Symphony Hall for the first presentation of this week's program. Unlike a week earlier, when at least 1/3 of the seats were empty, this time the hall was very nearly full. In part, it might have been the music, but — given that Maestro Nelsons was greeted by a standing ovation when he came on stage for the first time — I think many patrons wanted to be at his first concert since being named the next music director.

I thought I heard a bit more in the Siegfried Idyll than I had before. Some of it may come from  being less distracted than when I listen at home, some from having just read the program note, and some from Maestro Nelsons' leading of the orchestra. The Mozart seemed to be music that matters, not just some rococo pleasantry. The Brahms performance challenged my dislike of that composer's work. Maybe the interpretation had something to do with it; maybe this is actually one of his more enjoyable pieces; maybe my taste is evolving. At any rate, it was an enjoyable, if unspectacular, evening in Symphony Hall. The Boston Globe's reviewer liked it.

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