Friday, March 20, 2015

BSO — 2015/03/19-21

An all-Mozart concert is in store this week. Christoph von Dohnányi, who led last week's Mozart and Strauss program, returns to conduct the Boston Symphony in Mozart's last three symphonies, Nos. 39, 40, and 40, the last of which has acquired the nickname "Jupiter." The orchestra's performance detail page has links to program notes and an extensive set of audio previews, including a chat with Maestro von Dohnányi, as well as a bio of the maestro available by clicking on the thumbnail picture. The description there is a bit more extensive and informative than usual:
Any opportunity to hear the final three symphonies of Mozart played by the BSO in a single program-in this instance under the distinguished baton of Christoph von Dohnányi-is a special event. Virtually defining their genre at the peak of the Classical era, the composer's last three symphonies were written within the span of a few weeks in the summer of 1787. Scholars have never pinpointed what may have triggered their composition-perhaps a projected concert series that never took place-but Mozart covered an enormous amount of expressive and technical ground, elevating the symphony (along with Haydn) far beyond the glorified, serenade-like status it had previously held. For Viennese audiences who came of age immediately after Mozart's early death in 1791-i.e., Beethoven's generation-these three works and just a handful of others kept Mozart's name and spirit alive, inspiring composers like Beethoven and Schubert to greater heights. They remain Mozart's most frequently performed symphonies, by far.

I exchanged my ticket for this concert for the "King Roger" a couple of weeks ago, so I can't tell you anything specific, but of course the symphonies are great pieces, and so it should be a very fine concert. Jeremy Eichler, reviewing for the Globe, was very pleased with what he heard. The Boston Musical Intelligencer gives an essay on Mozart and the symphonies, concluding with strong praise for the performance. So I think this is a concert not to be missed. As always, it can be heard live at 8:00 Boston (Daylight Saving) Time on March 21, and repeated on March 30, over radio and internet from WCRB. There is an extensive interview with Maestro von Dohnányi on the station's BSO page, where you can also see the remaining broadcast/webstream schedule for this season and other links.

Don't miss it.

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