Sunday, November 10, 2013

BSO — 2013/11/7-9: Belated But Still Potentially Useful

It's embarrassing to be so late with this. It just completely slipped my mind yesterday. But there will still be opportunities to hear last night's concert via the rebroadcast on the 18th as well as the on-demand system (which I haven't said much about).

This week's concerts were the Britten War Requiem, described as follows on the performance detail page, with the usual links:

To mark the centenary of the composer's birth, Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit leads one of the greatest 20th-century works for chorus and orchestra, Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. Written in 1961-62, this moving work was commissioned for the consecration of the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, destroyed during a bombing raid in World War II. Britten's piece takes a firm pacifist stance, setting World War I-era poetry by Wilfred Owen-sung by the two male soloists-interleaved with his setting of the traditional Latin Mass for the dead. Following the composer's intention, the present performances bring together three soloists-one Russian, one English, and one German-from countries representing three major factions in the agonies of World War II. The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave the American premiere of this great work at Tanglewood in 1963 under Erich Leinsdorf.
As people have said, it's a work to be experienced, not enjoyed — not that the music is bad, just that the piece is very serious. The Globe gave a favorable review. I thought that it was well performed, although I thought more highly of the soprano, and somewhat less so of the baritone, whom I considered good enough but unspectacular.

In one of Owen's poems which Britten included, the poet asks if there will be a resurrection and says the replies from Age and Earth reply in the negative. In a wonderful juxtaposition, today at Mass, we had readings that proclaim that the answer in Owen's poem is wrong: there is a resurrection. 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14 and Luke 20:27-38. If you'd care for more on the topic, I like this homily. An additional comment on the piece (beyond those linked on the BSO and CNE pages, and my own in this paragraph) is this preview from the Globe.

Although the live broadcast on Classical New England is past — and I hope you might have checked it out without my telling you what was coming — there remain the rebroadcast on November 18 and the opportunity to listen "on demand," as I noted at the top. The on demand feature is also worth having in mind for all the other concerts through the season.

No comments:

Post a Comment