Saturday, October 25, 2014

BSO — 2014/10/23-25

This week it's the three B's: Bach, Brahms, and BSO. Bach's solo cantata, "Ich habe genug," was sung by Bryn Terfel with the orchestra. For the Brahms "German Requiem," they were joined by Rosemary Joshua and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, singing, as always, from memory. This was the second program that Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos was originally scheduled to conduct. Bramwell Tovey, who seems to be well-liked by the chorus, took on the podium duties. Here's what the orchestra's performance detail page has to say about the program and performers:
This program pairs two of the great works for voice and orchestra in the German musical literature. Bach's 1727 cantata for bass soloist and orchestra stands among the best-known of his several hundred works in the genre. Its text (the title translates to "I have enough") refers to the sustaining power of faith in the hour of death. A German Requiem, Brahms's largest work, originated with music he wrote following Robert Schumann's attempted suicide in 1854 and evidently was also connected with the death of the composer's own mother. The result is an utterly personal, scarcely ceremonial Requiem for soprano and baritone soloists, chorus, and orchestra, episodically setting texts from the Bible. Its "German"-ness derives partly from the fact that, unlike the traditional Latin Requiem text, Brahms used Martin Luther's German translations of scripture. Bryn Terfel, who has previously appeared with the orchestra at Tanglewood and in gala Symphony Hall concerts, here makes his BSO subscription series debut. Acclaimed British soprano Rosemary Joshua makes her BSO debut in the German Requiem.
The page also contains the usual sorts of links to audio, program notes, and performer bios.

The Globe reviewer was very pleased with the performance, and the somewhat more detailed review in the Boston Musical Intelligencer was also highly laudatory. I was there on Thursday, and I think both reviews are good. I'd underline that I thought the various sections of the orchestra played their parts very clearly: Maestro Tovey kept the forces well-balanced.

Brahms is not my favorite composer, but this piece, especially as performed on Thursday, is worth hearing. The concert was an appropriate anticipation of All Souls Day, November 2, as well as an appropriate memorial to Maestro Frühbeck, as pointed out in the Intelligencer. So I recommend listening in over WCRB this evening or November 3 at 8:00 p.m. And visit their BSO page for all the links that you can find there.

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