Friday, August 5, 2016

Tanglewood — 2016/08/05-07

Friday, August 5.  Here's how the BSO's performance detail page — with its usual links — describes the program:
Costa Rican conductor  Giancarlo Guerrero  leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in two programs, August 5 and 6, both featuring world-class pianists. On Friday, August 5, at 8 p.m., Mr. Guerrero is joined by  Yefim Bronfman for Liszt's innovative and sparkling one-movement Piano Concerto No. 2. The program will also feature the BSO in Dvořák's Serenade for Winds, Britten's arrangement of Mahler's  What the Wild Flowers Tell Me (the original second movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 3), and Brahms' Serenade No. 2, which was dedicated to Clara Schumann and represents one of Brahms's various developmental steps in orchestral composition along his long path to completing his First Symphony.
(Some emphasis added and some changed.)

Regular readers may recall that I don't care for Brahms' symphonies and concertos. But several years ago James Levine led the orchestra in a performance of "Serenade № 2," and I found it delightful. More precisely, it was all pleasant enough, but the final section was a joy. The rest of the concert should be okay, although I don't really need to hear the Dvořák again, but it's not bad. I don't recall the Liszt concerto. It'll be interesting to hear what Britten does with the Mahler.

It's another of the unnecessary Underscore Fridays, but I'm actually looking forward to this one, partly because the last time some of the comments from the stage actually were worth hearing and more because I met Jamie Sommerville at a Harvard Musical Association concert and found him pleasant to talk to so I want to hear what he will say. Maybe he can even make the Dvořák interesting for me.

Saturday, August 6.  This time, the performance detail page says nothing about the pieces to be played, just about the change in scheduled artists:
Pianist Daniil Trifonov, who was scheduled to perform a recital on Thursday, August 4, and feature with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, August 6, has, with great regret, been forced to withdraw from these concerts due to an ear infection. Marc-André Hamelin replaces Mr. Trifonov for the recital at Ozawa Hall on August 4, and Ingrid Fliter performs as soloist in Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in her BSO and Tanglewood debuts on August 6. Changes have been made to the August 4 recital repertoire, while the August 6 program remains the same.
(Emphasis added.)

What is the unchanged program, you ask? Well, it opens with a piece titled Harmonienlehre, by John Adams. I recommend reading the program note linked on the detail page. It sounds fascinating. After intermission comes the Chopin, and the show wraps up with Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks by Strauss — another one of the pieces that this curmudgeon thinks is much overplayed, but at least doesn't need a lot of rehearsal time, and it's not too long. We had recordings of the Chopin piano concertos which got played fairly regularly when I was young — one much more than the other. I'm not sure which one this is, but I'm looking forward to hearing it anyway and maybe experiencing a bit of nostalgia for the younger days when I used to hear it occasionally. Again, the program note may be useful reading. All is once more under the baton of Maestro Guerrero. The program detail page also has the usual links to background information.

Sunday, August 7.  On Sunday, we get Mozart and Mahler, The program detail page informs us:
On Sunday, August 7, at 2:30 p.m., BSO assistant conductor  Moritz Gnann makes his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut at Tanglewood with works by Mozart and Mahler. Acclaimed Brazilian pianist  Nelson Freire joins Mr. Gnann and the orchestra for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9, considered the composer's first masterwork of the piano concerto genre, written in 1777 when he was just 21 years old. The program closes with Mahler's at times brooding, at times vigorously energetic Symphony No. 1. Completed when the composer was in his late twenties, it is in a four-movement, mostly traditional form, but already hints at the expansiveness and innovation of his later symphonies.
(Emphasis added or modified.)

I think both should be worth hearing

The Friday and Saturday concerts can be heard via WCRB radio or web at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time, and the Sunday program will be aired and streamed at 7:00, p.m. (not live at 2:30). Their home page, in addition to the link to listen over the web, gives information about other special programming which may be of interest. Their BSO page, in addition to brief descriptions of the Saturday and Sunday concerts, gives similar information about the remaining Tanglewood concert broadcasts and various other interesting items and links.

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