Friday, August 19, 2016

Tanglewood — 2016/08/19-21

Friday, August 19.  Here's how the BSO's performance detail page — with its usual links — describes the program:
Menahem Pressler-longtime pianist of the legendary Beaux Arts Trio-joins maestro Charles Dutoit and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on Friday, August 19, at 8 p.m., for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, K.488, notable for its intimate, chamber-musical character and heightened lyricism. Mr. Dutoit-Tanglewood's 2016 season Koussevitzky Artist-opens the program with Mozart's overture to The Marriage of Figaro. The second half of the program is Rossini's Stabat Mater, the most significant of the composer's late works. This performance of the 1841 choral masterpiece features soprano Simona Saturova (Tanglewood debut), mezzo-soprano Marianna Pizzolato (Tanglewood debut), tenor Pavol Breslik, bass Riccardo Zanellato (Tanglewood debut), and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
(Some emphasis added.)

You can't go wrong with one of Mozart's late piano concertos; the curtain-raiser is good; and Rossini's "Stabat Mater" is not to be missed. By all means, read the program note from the performance detaio page if you're unfamiliar with it or the "Stabat Mater" in general, and preview the text. To whet your appetite for the it, here's an excerpt from a rehearsal last year by the Paris Orchestra with tenor Paolo Fanale. Tonight's tenor was to have Metropolitan Opera star been Matthew Polenzani, but from the bio it seems that Pavol Breslik should be a more than adequate replacement. Much as I like Verdi (see tomorrow's program), if I could only hear one of this weekend's concerts, this would be it.

James Markey, who is scheduled to give the preliminary remarks for this evening's "Underscore Friday," is the orchestra's bass trombonist. He's fairly young and joined the orchestra only a few years ago.

Saturday, August 20.  Saturday the first two acts of Aida by Verdi. The performance detail page, unsurprisingly, gives additional details:
BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons returns for two performances with the orchestra August 20 and 21. For the first performance, he leads the first two acts from Verdi's magnificent opera of star-crossed love in ancient Egypt, Aida, on Saturday, August 20, at 8 p.m. Maestro Nelsons and the orchestra are joined by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and a cast of vocal soloists, including soprano Kristine Opolais in the demanding title role, mezzo-soprano Violeta Urmana (BSO and Tanglewood debuts) as Amneris, tenor Andrea Carè (BSO and Tanglewood debuts) as the male lead and love interest Radamès, baritone Franco Vassallo (BSO and Tanglewood debuts) as Amonasro, and bass Kwangchul Youn (Tanglewood debut) as Ramfis.
(Some emphasis added.)

I like the music of the first two acts of "Aida" better than that of the remainder of the opera. The biggest highlight, IMO is the Triumphal March in the second act. Strangely, the program notes suggest a different program, consisting of the chorus "Va, pensiero" from Verdi's opera Nabucco followed by the Triumphal Scene from "Aida." We'll find out on Saturday which it is. The two acts of "Aida" make for a long concert, the chorus and Triumphal scene, for a short one. Considering that the brochure printed months ago lists the longer program, it seems to me that the scaled down program represents the more recent thinking. Either way, it will be some really good music.

Sunday, August 21.  The Sunday concert is a reprise of some of the music performed during last winters "Shakespeare Festival" at Symphony Hall The performance detail page informs us:
On Sunday, August 21, at 2:30 p.m., Andris Nelsons leads the BSO in a program that includes three works inspired by Shakespeare and honors the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death. The overture to Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict(based on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing) opens the program, followed by American composer George Tsontakis's Sonnets, a Shakespeare-inspired tone poem for English horn and orchestra commissioned by the BSO and featuring BSO English horn player Robert Sheena. The Mr. Sheena and the BSO gave the world premiere of Sonnetsearlier this year at Symphony Hall. Croatian pianist Dejan Lazić, making his BSO and Tanglewood debuts, joins Mr. Nelsons and the orchestra as soloist in Saint-Saens's Piano Concerto No. 5, Egyptian, and the program closes with a suite from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, one of the composer's most familiar and popular pieces.
Gates open at Noon.
(Some emphasis added)

Here's what I wrote about the Tsontakis "Sonnets" back in February:
The Tsontakis Sonnets at a few points made me think of bits of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, which I guess means that the musical style is fairly accessible. You won't mistake it for Haydn, but you won't run screaming from the auditorium, or wherever you radio or computer speakers are located. In each sonnet, the music is softer at the beginning, corresponding to the first quatrian, and it intensifies for the second, and more so for the third. The it calms down for the final couplet. Glancing at the texts in the program notes, I could see some connection between the music and the theme of the sonnet. The BSO has posted a video of a bit of the second sonnet. It gives as good an impression of the piece as you can in a short time.
My review also included links to other reviews, and the program notes give a full description as well as the texts of the sonnets which inspired the music. The rest of the program is decent stuff, I supppose — I especially like the Berlioz while the Prokofiev seems popular. I don't recall the piano concerto, but I'm confident it'll be okay.

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 for listening over the web, gives information about other special programming which may be of interest. Their BSO page, in addition to listing the works to be played, gives similar information about the remaining Tanglewood concert broadcasts and various other interesting items and links.


No comments:

Post a Comment