Saturday, November 16, 2013

BSO — 2013/11/14-19

The music in tis week's BSO concerts is all from the standard orchestral repertoire: Mozart, Prokofiev, and Schumann. The conductor, and soloist in the Mozart, is more unusual: violinist Leonidas Kavakos. Here's how the BSO describes it on their program detail page, where, as usual, you will find links to audio previews and program notes, as well as a performer bio (available by clicking on the thumbnail photo:
Greek-born violin virtuoso and conductor Leonidas Kavakos returns in that dual role for Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4, composed in 1775 and considered a signpost of the precocious composer's high maturity. Kavakos then leads Serge Prokofiev's delightful, Mozart- and Haydn-inspired Classical Symphony, one of the last pieces he finished in Russia before leaving his homeland for more than a decade. Closing the program is Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 2, composed in 1845 after a bout of deep depression, but ultimately, even miraculously, optimistic and affirmative in character.
I was there on Thursday and found it a very satisfying concert. One of the best things, IMO, was that Kavakos' cadenzas in the Mozart were appropriate to the style of the rest of the music. Some performers like to show off their technical by doing all sorts of flashy stuff that really has nothing in common with the piece they're playing. But Kavakos kept it Mozartean. Throughout the concert, he also kept good control of the dynamics: fast wasn't loud; he never "blasted us out of our seats." For once, even the horns played softly — often they drown out the other instruments, but not this time. Somebody found the playing in the Schumann "rough-hewn." Perhaps that's the word for it. Somehow they sounded a bit different from what I'm used to, but I wouldn't know what to call it exactly. The Prokofiev and Schumann seemed vibrant, the Schumann almost earthy. All in all, I found it refreshing. I hope that comes through on the radio and the web. Apart from some quibbles about Kavakos' interpretation of the Schumann, the Globe's reviewer was very pleased also.

If you're in range of the signal, you can hear it on the radio, otherwise over the web, both from Classical New England. There are links to an interview with Kavakos and to a video in which he talks about his violin on their page devoted to the BSO. The concert program begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, with related material — mostly other music by the night's performers or composers — beginning at 7:00. There will be a rebroadcast (without the preliminary hour) on November 25 and ere long it should be available on demand over the web.


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