Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tanglewood — 2015/07/31-08/02

This weekend brings us a number of familiar works from the core repertoire, works that would have been familiar and well-received a century ago, along with a couple of more recent pieces.

Friday, July 31.  The Friday concert is in a traditional format, with a curtain-raiser followed by another, longer piece. The major offering follows the intermission. Here's the BSO performance detail page's description:
Boston Symphony Orchestra Assistant Conductor Ken-David Masur will lead a program opening with the overture to Weber's Der Freischütz, followed by Schubert's Symphony No. 4, Tragic,  and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, with soloist Garrick Ohlsson.
(Some emphasis added.)

The page also notes that this is an "Underscore Friday," with a brief introduction from the stage by one of the musicians. It also gives the usual links to program notes, audio previews, and performer bios.

The Weber overture is a thrilling piece containing some of the best themes from the opera — a very fine choice to open the concert. The Emperor concerto is one of Beethoven's greatest achievements, in my opinion. I have a dinner engagement that evening and I'll almost certainly miss the first half of the concert, but I hope to be home in time to hear the whole Beethoven concerto. It should all be enjoyable if you have a chance to listen.

Saturday, August 1.  For some reason, the BSO website isn't showing the program for this evening — although it was there when I began writing this post a half hour or so ago.* WCRB tells us:
Music Director Andris Nelsons leads the BSO in Beethoven's "Triple" Concerto, with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, violinist Renaud Capuçon, and cellist Gautier Capuçon, and the Symphony No. 10 by Shostakovich.
(Emphasis added.)

While the Triple concerto may not be quite at the pinnacle occupied by the "Emperor" — having been composed with Beethoven's piano pupil the Archduke Rudolf, a talented amateur, as the intended soloist, rather than Beethoven himself or a good professional — it is definitely worth hearing. I don't recall the Shostakovich specifically. I'll just say that Shostakovich's music can be powerful but challenging.

Sunday, August 2.  The BSO gives us the following on their performance detail page:
BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons will conduct Haydn's Symphony no. 90, Dean's Dramatis personae featuring trumpet player Håkan Hardenberger, and Strauss's Don Quixote with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violist Steven Ansell.
(Some emphasis added.)

There are full program notes and an audio preview of the Haydn linked on the BSO page. As noted there, Hardenberger was the soloist for the American premiere by the BSO last November. I reviewed it at the time** and liked it more than I had expected. I'm looking forward to hearing it again. The Strauss is being performed in observance of the 400th anniversary of the publication of Part II of Don Quixote.

The concerts can be heard via WCRB radio or web: Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 — all Boston Time. Their BSO page, in addition to the description of the Saturday concert posted above, gives similar information about the remaining Tanglewood concert broadcasts along with an overview of the upcoming Symphony Hall season and various other interesting items and links.

* After drafting this post, I set it aside overnight, and now the BSO performance detail page is back, with the usual links to background material.

** "Spoiler" In my review of the Dean piece, I refer to a composer I was reminded of by the third part of the work. If you want to know who it is, it's Charles Ives.

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