Saturday, August 29, 2015

BSO/Classical New England — 2015/08/29

This Saturday's BSO broadcast/webstream on WCRB at 8:00 is an "encore" of the concert of February 28, 2015. It includes the Stravinsky "Dumbarton Oaks" Concerto, Images, for Orchestra, by Debussy, and the Brahms Violin Concerto. Charles Dutoit conducts with Julia Fischer as the violin soloist. The WCRB page describing the concert (with a recording available) indicates that Ms. Fischer played Paganini's Caprice No. 24, as an encore.

I previewed the concert, with all the usual links to background material, back when it was about to be given. You can check it out if you're interested. I'll just comment, as I did then, that the Stravinsky is from his "neoclassical period," nothing like "Rite of Spring." I find it pleasant enough. And Debussy and Brahms are generally well liked, so I think it's worth hearing, or hearing again.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

BSO/Classical New England — 2015/08/22

With the Boston Symphony's Tanglewood season finished (although there are other events occurring there over the next couple of weekends) and Opening Night at Symphony Hall six weeks away (and the orchestra on tour in Europe "as we speak") WCRB is giving us repeats of concerts from last season in the 8:00 p.m. Saturday evening time slot. You can hear them over the air or over the web.

As I read their website, this week, on August 22, they will give us an encore presentation of the concert of October 3, 2014, which I p/reviewed back then. It includes Beethoven's 8th Symphony, a Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin by Bartók, and Symphony No. 6, "Pathétique," by Tchaikovsky. Music Director Andris Nelsons is the conductor. On their webpage for this concert, WCRB also has a video of the concert and a link to an interview with Malcolm Lowe, the BSO Concertmaster. I haven't listened to the interview yet, so I don't know what it's about, but it should be interesting anyway.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Tanglewood — 2015/08/14-16

This is the BSO's final weekend at Tanglewood this year, concluding, as usual in recent years, with the Beethoven 9th on Sunday.

Friday, August 14.  The weekend kicks off with Music Director Andris Nelsons leading the orchestra and solo violinist Christian Tetzlaff in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and Mahler's Symphony No. 6. The performance detail page give links to the usual program notes, audio previews, and performer bios. It also gives the following notice:
Several Friday-evening Shed performances will be part of the popular UnderScore Friday series this season. At these performances, patrons will hear comments about the program directly from an onstage BSO musician. UnderScore Fridays will occur on July 17, July 31, and August 14.
This time, trumpeter Benjamin Wright will give the opening remarks.

Saturday, August 15.  Maestro Nelsons returns to the podium, and his wife, Kristine Opolais, joins him and the orchestra for a couple of operatic numbers, including — appropriately for Assumption Day — an Ave Maria. The performance detail page gives this description:
Andris Nelsons conducts an array of Italian operas which include Verdi's Willow Song and "Ave Maria" from Otello, Act IV, Puccini's Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut Act III, and Boito's "L'altra notte in fondo al mare" from MefistofeleAct III starring soprano, Kristine Opolais. The BSO will then perform Strauss's Ein Heldenleben and Barber's Second Essay for Orchestra.
(Some emphasis added.)

Although the way they phrase it implies that both the Strauss and the Barber pieces will come after the operatic selections, the way they are listed lower in the page suggests that the Barber will open the concert, not conclude it. So far there is no background material on the music other than the Strauss.

Sunday, August 16.  As indicated above, this is the final broadcast concert of this Tanglewood season. The performance detail page has some of the usual links, as well as this information about the concert:
The BSO's final concert of the 2015 Tanglewood season, under the direction of Asher Fisch, will open with the TMC Orchestra playing Copland's Symphonic Ode. Also in the program is Beethoven's Symphony no.9, with the Tanglewod Festival Chorus and the TMC Ochestra. Special guests include Julianna Di Giacomo, Renée Tatum, Paul Groves,and John Relyea.
(Emphasis added.)
Although this blurb indicates that the TMC Orchestra (not the BSO) will be performing the Beethoven, elsewhere on the page, when it mentions the TMC Orchestra it puts "(Copland)" after the listing, which suggests they will not be playing the Beethoven. We'll find out who plays the Beethoven when we listen in, I guess.

The Tanglewood Festival Chorus was founded 40 years ago with John Oliver as its director, to serve as the chorus for Boston Symphony and Pops concerts. Among their notable achievements is that they perform without having the printed music in their hands. They memorize every piece they sing, and that is Maestro Oliver's doing. For forty years he has been preparing the chorus for every performance. He is retiring at the end of the Tanglewood season, so the Beethoven Ninth will be the last performance for which he will have prepared the chorus.

The Friday and Saturday concerts will be at 8:30, and the Sunday at 2:30, Boston Time. WCRB will broadcast and stream them. The station's BSO page also has brief blurbs about these concerts. More importantly, since this is the end of the Tanglewood broadcast season, they revert on August 22 to the regular pattern of weekly concerts at 8:00 on Saturdays. That BSO page gives the schedule of "Encore Broadcasts" of concerts from last season that will take us from August 22 through September 26, after which the BSO returns to Symphony Hall and the live broadcasts/webstreams will resume.

The orchestra will be on tour in Europe, with concerts on 12 days in the period August 22—September 5. Then they may be able to take a little vacation before they have to start rehearsing for opening night in Symphony Hall, October 1.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tanglewood — 2015/08/07-09

This weekend brings some music that's less familiar than much of the past weekend's programming, but I think only one piece will be new to me.

Friday, August 7.   The BSO program detail page has this to say about the Friday evening concert:
Audience favorite Charles Dutoit leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and Stravinsky's Petrushka (1911 version), on a program with Sibelius's Violin Concerto, with soloist Leonidas Kavakos.
(Some emphasis added.)
As I write this there are links on the detail page to program notes and audio previews for the Sibelius and the Stravinsky, as well as for performer bios (click on the photos), but nothing so far for the Ravel. If I see anything before I publish this post, I'll revise the above.

Presumably the Sibelius is after the Ravel and before intermission.

Saturday, August 8.  The Saturday concert is a single work — Symphony No. 8 by Mahler — with Andris Nelsons on the podium. The orchestra will not be the BSO but the Tanglewood Music Center orchestra. They will be joined by eight singing soloists and three choruses, all listed on the program detail page (click on photos for further info about each). Here's the description from that page:
 BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons will conduct Mahler's Symphony no. 8 along with the  Tanglewood Festival Chorus, BUTI Chorus, and the American Boychoir. Special guests include Erin Wall, Christine Goerke, Lioba Braun, Jane Henschel, Klaus Florian Vogt, Matthias Goerne, and Ain Anger.
Mezzo-soprano  Lioba Braun, who was scheduled to sing the role of Mulier Samaritana in this performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8, under the direction of Andris Nelsons, has canceled her appearance due to a back injury which prevents her from traveling.  Mezzo-soprano Mihoko Fujimura will now sing the role of Mulier Samaritana.

(Emphasis added.)

Sunday, August 9.  The BSO and Maestro Dutoit return to the stage on Sunday, together with Joshua Bell as violin soloist for a program described as follows on the performance detail page:
Longtime Tanglewood favorite Joshua Bell joins Mr. Dutoit for a performance of the Glazunov Violin Concerto, on a program which includes Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain and one of the BSO's signature works, Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique.
(Some emphasis added.)

The usual links are available, except that there is nothing yet about the Glazunov concerto, which, despite being mentioned first in the blurb, seems to be scheduled to be played after the Mussorgsky. The lack of preview material is unfortunate, since the Glaznov is the least known of the scheduled works.

As usual, the concerts can be heard at 8:30, 8:30, and 2:30 p.m., respectively, over WCRB. (Times are EDT.) The station has a page which gives information about future broadcasts and links to BSO-related material.