Thursday, November 27, 2014

BSO — 2014/11/25-29

This week's Boston Symphony concerts are the last before January. December is taken up by Holiday Pops. The program looked to me like something of a filler, but the reviews are telling me it's really worth hearing. Leonidas Kavakos is conductor and violin soloist in music of Bartók, Haydn, and Mussorgsky. Here's the description of the program from the orchestra's performance detail page:
The Greek-born violin virtuoso Leonidas Kavakos returns to the BSO as both soloist and conductor in Béla Bartók's Two Portraits for violin and orchestra, which the BSO has never performed. The yearning Portrait No. 1 is an arrangement of the first movement of the composer's first, long-suppressed violin concerto; the brief second Portrait is an arrangement of a quick, waltzing piano bagatelle. Kavakos also leads Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 82 in C, The Bear, one of the six so-called "Paris" symphonies he wrote in the mid-1780s for that city as his international reputation grew. Its nickname, not the composer's own, apparently comes from the droning figure at the start of the finale, which suggested, to a later arranger, music for a dancing bear. Completing the program is Ravel's familiar arrangement of Mussorgsky's kaleidoscopic Pictures at an Exhibition, a suite of highly characterized musical reactions to fantastical paintings.
(Some emphasis added)
Go to that page also for links to audio and written material about the music and performer bio for Maestro Kavakos. There was a very favorable review in this (Thursday) morning's Boston Globe, but I can't find it on the internet version of the paper. The review in the Boston Musical Intelligencer is mixed, but very favorable toward the final movement of the Haydn, and enthusiastic, as was the Globe, for the Mussorgsky.

In the light of the reviews, I'm looking forward to it all. I should be able to hear the Bartók and Haydn during WCRB's live broadcast on Saturday at 8:00 p.m., before my brother's weekly call from Japan. The Mussorgsky will have to wait for the rebroadcast on Monday, December 8, also at 8:00. If you're outside the broadcast area, you can listen over the web. The station's BSO page has links to an interview with Maestro Kavakos about the concert and to material about other concerts as well as the season BSO broadcast schedule. As noted above this is the final concert until January. At this point, I don't know what will fill the time slots between December 8 and January 10. Past practice would suggest they'll be rebroadcasting concerts from Tanglewood or prior years, but we'll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to this one.

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