Thursday, March 20, 2014

BSO — 2014/03/15-18, Reviews; H&H — 2014/03/14-16

H&H — 2014/03/14-16. On Sunday afternoon, I trekked in to Boston to hear the Handel and Haydn Society's "Bach and Byrd" concert in Jordan Hall. The Boston Musical Intelligencer gives a very thorough description and review, and the Globe gives another favorable review. I thought it was very good from beginning to end, with the conclusion of "Singet dem Herrn" raising the mood to sheer joy — a great feeling to head home on. The program note told the story that Mozart attended a performance of "Singet dem Herrn" in Leipzig, and a few bars into the rousing first sections he sat up and said, "What is this?" After it was finished he said, "Now this is something one can learn from."

BSO — 2014/03/15-18, Reviews. I heard the second of the BSO's three Beethoven programs on Tuesday, March 18. The Saturday performance had been reviewed favorably in the Globe and even more favorably in the Boston Musical Intelligencer. I can't add much to those reviews, but it was a very enjoyable evening at Symphony Hall. Hearing the Leonore Overture No.2 so soon after the No. 3 made it easier to notice how different it is from the later version, even while it uses much of the same material. There were points in the piano concerto fast movements where I was reminded of the 4th Symphony (which is not a compliment to the composer). The music seemed overly gruff and insufficiently melodic. But the slow movements made them worthwhile, and Bronfman played everything well. He is not given to excessive movement: no swaying, bobbing of his head, or raising of hands high off the keyboard to show the audience he's just finished an important bit. He just makes music as it's supposed to sound. As with the earlier program, the musical forces were well balanced, so that no section drowned out the others.

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