Saturday, September 20, 2014

BSO — 2014/09/18-20

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is back at Symphony Hall for the season, which will extend until May 2, with a break for Holiday Pops in December. I was at the opening concert of the season on Thursday, and heard the program which will be given this evening, Sept. 20. Associate Conductor Marcelo Lehninger leads a concert which includes music of Mozart (?), Villa-Lobos, and Beethoven. On the orchestra's performance detail page we get this summary:
BSO Associate Conductor Marcelo Lehninger returns to the Symphony Hall podium for a concert spotlighting members of the orchestra. Four BSO principals take center stage for Mozart's seldom heard Sinfonia concertante for winds, last performed by the BSO in 1989 (with a different solo quartet). Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos's Bachianas brasileiras No. 5 for soprano and cellos is one of several like-named pieces intended to meld Brazilian musical ideas with the classical tradition. One of Villa-Lobos's most popular scores, the work is in two parts, sung in Portuguese: an Aria with words by Ruth Correa (who sang its premiere) and a Dance with words by Manuel Bandeira. The accompaniment for cellos alone makes it a rarity on orchestral concerts; these will be the first BSO performances of the piece. Closing the concert is Beethoven's powerful Symphony No. 5, among the best-known of all orchestral pieces.
The same page also has links to program notes , audio previews, an interview with the maestro, an — by clicking on the photos — performer bios.

Reviews were favorable, both in the Boston Globe and — even more favorable — in the Boston Musical Intelligencer. While I enjoyed it, I didn't think it was the best I've ever heard. Dynamics could have been better, in my opinion, and the Mozart and Beethoven sometimes seemed more like playing the notes than playing the music. Even so, the finale of the Beethoven can't help but be rousing when the notes are played correctly. So I think it's going to be enjoyable to listen to.

As always, WCRB will present the concert live, beginning at 8:00 p.m. You can hear it as a radio broadcast at 99.5 FM (or one of their satellite transmitters), if you're within range of the signal. Otherwise listen to the web stream by clicking the "Listen Live" button on the right side of their homepage. The station's BSO page has not only a brief description of the program, but also links to background interviews, information about on-demand listening to previous concerts, and the broadcast/streaming schedule for the whole season — which reminds us that each Saturday concert is rebroadcast nine days later, on Monday evening.

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