Saturday, February 22, 2014

BSO — 2014/02/20-22

Manfred Honeck comes from Pittsburgh to conduct the BSO in music of Dvořák (with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist) and Beethoven. More specifically, the BSO performance detail page tells us:
The peerless German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter joins the BSO and Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck, music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, for two works by Dvořák: the composer's Violin Concerto, originally conceived for Brahms's friend, the great Joseph Joachim, but never performed by him; and the Romance for violin and orchestra, which began life as the slow movement of the composer's F minor string quartet. Honeck also leads Beethoven's groundbreaking Eroica Symphony, inspired by Napoleon's rise to power.
(Emphasis added.)

You can also find the usual links to program notes, audio previews, and performer bios (click on the photos) on that page. There is also a wide-ranging and in-depth interview with Maestro Honeck on the Boston Musical Intelligencer's site. I definitely recommend reading it. (I've taken a bit of extra interest in Manfred Honeck because I have an internet friend in western Pennsylvania who occasionally attends Pittsburgh Symphony concerts, so I was pleased to see this interview — the more so since the BSO does not provide one with the maestro.)

I was at the Thursday performance and especially enjoyed the Beethoven: for me it was the highlight of the evening by far. There wasn't any one element in the performance that struck me as especially unusual or noteworthy, but it all seemed just right. As for the Dvořák, it was okay. Ms. Mutter's playing was spectacular, but the music itself, not so much so. The Romance wasn't very interesting. During intermission I encountered an acquaintance to whom I remarked that the first two movements of the concerto seemed quite unfamiliar, whereas I recognized the third movement instantly. She replied that this was a good insight: the first two movements are quite forgettable.

The Globe gave the performance a generally favorable review. Without the space limitations of the newspaper, the BMInt's review was much more thorough — unlike the BSO performance detail, it does not make the mistake of treating the Beethoven as an afterthought.

As usual, Classical New England will broadcast and webstream it virtually live over WCRB at 8:00 p.m., Boston time, with a rebroadcast/stream at 8:00 p.m. and Monday, March 3. I definitely recommend listening in. The station also gives a link to an interview they conducted with Maestro Honeck on their own BSO page.

(This coming Monday, Feb. 24, since they aren't allowed to retransmit last week's "West Side Story," "In an encore from the 2013 Tanglewood season, Gil Shaham is the soloist in the Violin Concerto by Jean Sibelius, and Christoph von Dohnányi conducts the Boston Symphony in Johannes Brahms's Symphony No. 2."
That concert took place on August 9, and I posted about it then, including a link to the BSO page, which may still be active.)

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