Friday, April 22, 2016

BSO — 2016/04/21-23

French orchestral music surrounds Russian vocal music in this week's BSO concert, the last of the current subscription season. The orchestra's performance detail page has the usual links to program notes, audio previews, performer bios, and their podcast. Here's their description of the program:
In the final concerts of the 2015-2016 season, Andris Nelsons and the BSO are joined by soprano Kristine Opolais for two Russian-language pieces: Rachmaninoff's lovely (sic) How fair this place; and the gorgeous Letter Scene from Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin. The larger part of the program is devoted to French orchestral music. Henri Dutilleux's Métaboles continues the BSO's commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth. Dutilleux's music, though unique, drew strongly on that of his great predecessors, Ravel and Debussy. Debussy's La Merevokes the constant dynamic change of the sea. Ravel's dreamlike La Valse is a kind of elegy for Europe's Belle Époque, which ended with the onset of World War I.
(Some emphasis added.)

The concert begins with the Dutilleux, which was fairly innocuous for a piece composed in 1964. It wasn't melodic, but it wasn't really jarringly dissonant, either. Then we get the singing, with the conductor's wife as soloist. It was okay, but not especially memorable. After intermission, we get two "warhorses" of French Impressionism. I don't care much for the style, but most people seem to like it, and I thought it was well played, as was the first half of the concert.

The Globe reviewer was pleased. The review in the Boston Musical Intelligencer is very descriptive of the music, making it nearly must reading. The reviewer is dissatisfied with some elements of the playing.

You can hear it all over WCRB on Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and/or Monday, May 2, at 8:00, when it will be rebroadcast. The station's BSO page includes a link to their podcast, which includes an interview with conductor and singer. This coming Monday at 8:00 the rebroadcast will be last week's Mahler 9th, which I think is worth hearing. As noted, this is the end of the subscription season, so the page also give the schedule for the Saturdays from now until the beginning of the Tanglewood season. There will be three encore broadcasts of symphony concerts from this season, followed by three Pops concerts, then another four symphony encores.

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