Friday, November 11, 2016

BSO — 2016/11/12

This is an unusual week in the way it is scheduled. There are concerts on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But instead of the Tuesday concert repeating last week's program, which is what has normally been done, it presented this week's program. Also, the Friday and Saturday programs aren't just the same as that of Thursday (and, this week, Tuesday). What we have is the first week of a "Brahms mini-festival," presenting both of his piano concertos and all four of his symphonies. They do this by giving one concerto each week, and two performances of each symphony. Each week's concerts begin with a work commissioned by the BSO for the occasion and getting its world premiere at these concerts. (I think this arrangement is more convenient for the piano soloist, who can do her performances within a two week period, rather than two and a half.)

As usual, the orchestra's performance detail page gives links to performer bios, program notes, and podcasts. I especially recommend the podcast with an interview with Eric Nathan — actually, there are two versions: one with just the composer talking, linked with the screenshot above the written synopsis; another, which I prefer, that includes Brian Bell as interviewer, accessible through the "Listen" button farther down the page. Via that button, you can also get interviews with the soloist and the conductor. And, of course, there is the usual synopsis of the program:
With these concerts, BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons opens a two-week Brahms mini-festival traversing all four of the composer's symphonies and his two piano concertos. In addition, these concerts feature the world premieres of two brief, complementary works commissioned for the occasion from the young American composers Eric Nathan and Timo Andres. Nathan's piece begins the first of these programs, which continues with the French pianist Hélène Grimaud performing the intense, craggy Piano Concerto in D minor. Brahms's First Symphony concludes the concerts of November 8 and 10; the Second Symphony completes the concerts of November 11 and 12.
(Emphasis added.)

I was there on Friday afternoon and I found "the space of a door" very engaging. Sometimes it's loud, and sometimes it's soft. Although it's definitely "modern," in ways the interview and program notes describe, I never found it unpleasantly dissonant or simply noisy. I'm definitely looking forward to hearing it again during the broadcast and the rebroadcast, so I can get a clearer view of how it all goes together.

The reviews were written after the Tuesday concert, so they tell us about the Symphony № 1, which won't be played on Saturday, as well as "the space of a door" and the First Piano Concerto, which we will hear before intermission. I don't expect review os the Second Symphony to be published, but if I see any, I'll revise this post. The Globe reviewer enjoyed the Nathan piece and loved the Brahms concerto, especially the soloist's playing. The Boston Musical Intelligencer's reviewer gives a bit more detail about "the space of a door" and was also pleased with it. He also has high praise for the pianist.

So the concert comes well recommended. As always, you can listen on air or on line over WCRB at 8:00 p.m. Boston Time on Saturday, November 12, with a rebroadcast/stream on Monday, Nov. 21, also at 8:00. On another page there is a link to their podcast, which includes interviews with conductor and soloist. Finally, you can check out the rest of the season's broadcasts (including "encore broadcasts" of concerts from earlier seasons which will be presented in December, during the period when Holiday Pops takes over Symphony Hall from the BSO) on the Upcoming BSO Broadcasts page.

Enjoy the show.

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