Saturday, October 14, 2017

BSO — 2017/10/14

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's program detail page synopsizes this week's program as follows:
Spanish conductor Gustavo Gimeno and American violinist Hilary Hahn join forces for Dvořák's Violin Concerto, composed in 1879 for the great Joseph Joachim. At times lyrical, Dvořák's concerto also contains passages of great energy based on music from his Czech heritage, especially in the delightful, dance-like finale. Also based on music from Central Europe, György Ligeti's early "Romanian Concerto" is a Bartók influenced orchestral work from early in the great Hungarian composer's career. Robert Schumann's First Symphony is bursting with energy, power, and optimism.
(Emphasis added.)

The reviews in both the Boston Globe and the Boston Musical Intelligencer were quite favorable, both overall, and particularly with regard to Hilary Hahn (with the Intelligencer gushing). I was there on Thursday and found it all enjoyable to listen to, although there was nothing that I'd consider spectacular, just good playing. The third horn in the Ligeti was played offstage through a door that was ajar. Mike Winter seemed slightly embarrassed to come onstage for a bow when other soloists were asked to stand, and he stayed to the side, just inside the door.

You can hear it all this evening over WCRB radio or internet at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time. Their homepage has links to additional information about their programs, including future BSO concerts and other special programs. It seems that they are also repeating the concerts on Monday evenings a week later, so last week's will be rerun on October 16, and tonight's, on October 23. The repeats are also at 8:00 p.m.

Enjoy!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

BSO — 2017/10/07

This evening, October 7, at 8:00 p.m., WCRB will broadcast and stream the Boston Symphony Orchestra concert live. Music Director Andris Nelsons will be on the podium. The concert opens with Moler, by Arlene Sierra, a fairly short piece receiving its first Boston performances this week. Then Gil Shaham will be the solo violinist in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. The concert will conclude with Symphony № 2 by Rachmaninoff. The orchestra's performance detail page has links to audio previews of the Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff pieces (regrettably not the Sierra) and the written program notes for all three. I recommend reading at least the notes for "Moler" to get some idea of what to expect. On the other hand, there's something to be said for just letting it have no expectations to live up to. Then on a second hearing, you can have the assistance of the notes to help sort it out.

The program notes also link a podcast and performer bios and tell us

One of several American composers figuring in this season's programs, Florida-born Arlene Sierra, a former Tanglewood Fellow, wrote Moler (2012) on commission for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. The eightminute work is a harmonically colorful and rhythmically energetic evocation of the Spanish meaning of the title, "to grind." Also on the program are Tchaikovsky's beloved Violin Concerto featuring acclaimed American violinist Gil Shaham, and Rachmaninoff's lush Symphony No. 2, composed between the Second and Third piano concertos. With its lyrical excursions reminiscent of the arching, lovely melodies in his piano concertos and songs, it has long been the most popular of the composer's three symphonies.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer raves about Gil Shaham's performance of the Tchaikovsky. The reviewer's description of his exuberance matches what I saw at Tanglewood last summer, when he was violinist in the Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello. The other two works on the program get a brief paragraph each, with no real complaints. The Globe review finds fault with some details of Shaham's performance of the Tchaikovsky, but is generally quite favorable.

This concert was not part of my subscriptions, so I can't add my own impressions to those of the reviewers, but based on the reviews, I'm looking forward to hearing it until my brother calls from Tokyo. So I recommend giving it a hearing, especially for the violin concerto; and if the curtain raiser isn't to your liking, hang in there for what's to come.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

BSO — 2017/09/30

This week the BSO gives us Piano Concerto No. 4 by Beethoven, with Paul Lewis as soloist. After intermission it's Shostakovich's 11th Symphony, "The Year 1905." Music Director Andris Nelsons is on the podium. The orchestra's program detail page has this to say about it.
The BSO and Andris Nelsons continue their multi-year survey of the complete Shostakovich symphonies with his Symphony No. 11, which the BSO has never performed. Conceived to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first, failed Russian Revolution (thus the nickname The Year 1905), it was completed in 1957 and earned Shostakovich the prestigious Lenin Prize, a sign of considerable official approval. In keeping with its subject matter, the symphony makes extensive reference to Russian revolutionary songs. To begin the program, English pianist Paul Lewis is soloist in Beethoven's lyrical and poetic Piano Concerto No. 4, which famously opens with a disarmingly intimate passage for solo piano.
Also see the performance detail page for the customary links to performer bios, program notes, audio previews and podcasts.

During the Symphony Hall season The same program is usually given on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, an sometimes on the following Tuesday. So reviews are often available for me to refer to, and often I attend a Thursday performance, enabling me to give my own observations. This week both the Boston Globe and the Boston Musical Intelligencer found Lewis less emotional than they'd have liked in the Beethove — not that they could point to anything actually wrong, just that they'd have liked a different interpretation. Both reviewers liked the Shostakovich. As usual, the Globe, with space limitations, gives mostly background information, while BMInt says more about the actual performance.

My own impression was that the Beethoven was nicely done. I'd never heard the Shostakovich before, and, since there is no break between the four movements and there were more changes of mood than movements, I couldn't tell where one movement ended and the next began. But that's okay. There were parts that seemed to evoke the chill of winter and parts that clearly represented the violence of the troops firing on the people. There were parts that were very loud, and parts so soft I could barely hear them. Overall, I found it fascinating, and I'd say it's not as "difficult" as some of Shostakovich's music.

The broadcast and stream will be on WCRB at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time this evening, September 30. Their home page, where you find the Listen Live button, also has a link to their podcast with interviews about the concert, among other things; and you can also access further information about their programming. (There is an indication that the 8:00 p.m. slot on Mondays is also given to BSO performances. It may well present rebroadcasts of concerts from nine days earlier.)

I'm sure you'll like the Beethoven concerto. Why not stick around and give the Shostakovich symphony a try?


Saturday, September 23, 2017

BSO — 2017/04/22

We read in the BSO program detail page:
Franz Joseph Haydn and Gustav Mahler defined the genre of the symphony during their respective eras- Haydn as one of its originators in the late 18th-century Classical era, and Mahler as revitalizer and innovator at the end of the Romantic era. Haydn's Drumroll Symphony-not performed by the BSO since 1995-was the next-to-last symphony he wrote, in the first half of the 1790s. Written nearly 100 years later, the first of Mahler's nine symphonies employs folk-music references and a conventional four-movement form that have their foundations in Haydn's time. Its expanded scope and instrumentation are evidence of the genre's 19th-century transformation as well as Mahler's own stretching of the form.
(Some emphasis added.)

As in prior seasons, the program detail page also has links to performer bios (Click on the thumbnail photo.), program notes, audio previews, and a video podcast.

Also as in prior seasons, WCRB will stream and broadcast the concert, beginning at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time (EDT). Their homepage has links to information about many other offerings on the station. I don't see anything telling us that the concert will be rebroadcast on Monday a week from now, as was formerly the practice, so we'll have to wait and see.

Both symphonies are staples of the orchestral repertoire, so the program should be enjoyable listening (withe the Haydn somewhat more to my taste).

Enjoy.

Friday, September 22, 2017

BSO — Friday, 2017/09/22 — Opening Night Gala

This evening WCRB will broadcast/stream the Boston Symphon'y' opening night gala. It's an all-Bernstein program, as the orchestra begins to mark the centennial of his birth(in Lawrence, Massachusetts). The concert begins at 6:00 and is expected to end at about 7:30. The broadcast begins at 5:30. The performance detail page says the following:
In several concerts this season the BSO celebrates the centennial of the great Leonard Bernstein, the legendary conductor, Broadway and concert composer, pianist, educator, and personality whose talent changed the course of American music. Born in Lawrence, MA, in 1918, Bernstein attended Boston Latin School and Harvard University. A member of the very first class of the Tanglewood Music Center in 1940 and a protégé of legendary BSO conductor Serge Koussevitzky, Bernstein remained a dynamic, irrepressible, and inspiring presence at Tanglewood for fifty years. Led by Andris Nelsons, this Opening Night program features popular vocal selections sung by host Frederica von Stade and acclaimed soprano Julia Bullock, as well as BSO principal flute Elizabeth Rowe. Bookending the program are the composer's delightfully varied Divertimento and familiar, vibrant music drawn from West Side Story.
(Some emphasis added.)

The actual listing of the program will enable you to make sense of the last two sentences I quoted from the page.

"West Side Story" is overly familiar, but I'm looking forward to the instrumental pieces at the beginning.

Again, remember this is Friday, beginning at 5:30, Boston Time. The Saturday concert will be at the usual time.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

BSO/Classical New England — 2017/09/16

The BSO's Symphony Hall season will open on Friday, September 22 (and will continue through Saturday, May 5, with the usual month off in December). For the final week of rebroadcasts, WCRB has chosen the concert of April 22, 2017. Radu Lupu joins the orchestra and Maestro Andris Nelsons as soloist in Piano Concerto № 24 in c minor by Mozart. Then we hear the same composer's Requiem with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and four vocal soloists.

Here's a link to the orchestra's performance detail page, where you can find the usual links the usual background information. Posting about it at the time, I noted generally favorable reviews and gave my own favorable impressions, implicitly suggesting that the reviewers were a bit too dramatic.

I can't listen because I'm going to a concert performance of Tchaikovsky's opera "The Maid of Orleans," which opens Odyssey Opera's 2017-2018 season. But if I were going to be home. I'd certainly enjoy hearing the BSO concert again. I definitely recommend listening over the air or the internet at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time, via WCRB.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

BSO/Classical New England — 2017/09/09

This week, WCRB's Saturday evening Boston Symphony broadcast (also streamed) is the concert performed on April 15 of this year. It consists of Piano Concerto No. 20 in d minor by Mozart, with Mitsuko Uchida as soloist. After intermission the orchestra plays Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 6. Music Director Andris Nelsons is on the podium.

I posted briefly about it at the time, but since I hadn't attended an earlier performance of the program, I had no comments of my own. I did include this synopsis from the Orchestra's performance detail page
Japanese pianist Mitsuko Uchida, one of the foremost Mozart pianists of  our age, plays the composer's mysterious, stormy, proto-Romantic D minor piano concerto, a work owing much to the composer's sensitivity to operatic drama and emotion. Bruckner's seldom heard Symphony No. 6, written between 1879 and 1881, was the work he considered his boldest, though only the second and third movements were performed during his lifetime. Gustav Mahler led all four movements-but with cuts-in 1899, in Vienna; the first complete, uncut performance was given in 1901, in Stuttgart. Energetic, lyrical, and expansive, the Symphony No. 6 is a uniquely absorbing example of the composer's monumental symphonic style.
 as well as links to reviews.

The show begins at 8:00 p.m. Boston Time on Saturday, September 9, 2017. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

BSO/Classical New England — 2017/09/02

Sorry to be so late. I've been busy. Here are the essentials from the WCRB website.
http://classicalwcrb.org/post/all-french-program-alain-altinoglu#stream/0
Saturday, September 2, 2017
8:00 PM
This is an encore broadcast originally recorded on April 1, 2017.
Alain Altinoglu, conductor
Renaud Capuçon, violin
BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture
LALO Symphonie espagnole
DUTILLEUX Symphony No. 2, Le Double
ROUSSEL Bacchus et Ariane, Suite No. 2
Hear a preview with Alain Altinoglu on The Answered Question:
TAGS: 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Tanglewood — 2017/08/25-27

It's the final weekend of this year's Boston Symphony season at Tanglewood. As has become traditional, the final piece on Sunday will be Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Friday evening's concert will be the score to "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" performed by the Boston Pops to accompany a showing of the movie. For whatever reason, it will not be broadcast. Perhaps it doesn't work without the visuals. Instead, WCRB will give us a reprise of a concert from last summer.



Friday, August 25, 2017.  WCRB tells us they will rebroadcast
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Lisa Batiashvili, violin
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
DVORÁK Violin Concerto
SIBELIUS Symphony No. 5 
Recorded July 22, 2016.
This encore broadcast is not available on-demand.
 

(Emphasis added.)

At the time the performance took place, the BSO performance detail page told us
English conductor  Sir Andrew Davis-currently music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and chief conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra-returns to the Shed stage for the first time since 2008. To open the program, he leads the  Boston Symphony Orchestra  in Vaughan Williams's haunting  Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, inspired by a melody by the great English Renaissance composer. Renowned Georgian violinist  Lisa Batiashvili joins the orchestra for Dvořák's Violin Concerto, and Maestro Davis and the BSO close the program with Sibelius's soaring Symphony No. 5, written in 1915 on commission from the Finnish government in celebration of the composer's 50th birthday and subsequently revised in 1916 and 1919.
It should be worth listening to.


Saturday, August 26, 2017,  brings vocal soloists to the stage along with the Boston Symphony. To wit:
On Saturday, August 26, soprano Kristine Opolais, bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus join Music Director Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra for an evening of opera and song.Bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel replaces baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Saturday, August 26, opera gala program at Tanglewood.
(Some emphasis added.)

But wait, there's more from the performance detail page. Here's the complete list of pieces:
PUCCINI Tosca, Act IIWAGNER "Entrance of the Guests" from Tannhäuser, Act IIWAGNER "Wie duftet doch der Flieder" (Hans Sachs' "Flieder monologue")from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Act IIDVOŘÁK "Song to the Moon" from Rusalka, Act IDVOŘÁK Polonaise from Rusalka, Act IIGERSHWIN From Porgy and Bess:Introduction and Jasbo Brown Blues, from Act I"Summertime," from Act I"I got plenty o' nuttin'," from Act II"Bess, you is my woman now," from Act II
The program notes, available by a link from the performance detail page, tell who will perform in which pieces.

I'll have to miss this one because my high school class, most of whom were born in 1942, is having a 75th birthday party that evening. Opera may not exactly be your cup of tea; and I must admit, the selections (other than the Entry of the Guests, which is magnificent) are not what I would have chosen. So I can understand if you decide to give it a pass. On the other hand, if you don't know the music, why not give it a try. I'd listen if I were at home.


Sunday, August 27, 2017.  For several years, the Beethoven 9th was the only piece performed at the Sunday afternoon season finale. Recently, there has been a curtain raiser to precede it, as is the case this year. Again, the performance detail page gives some particulars:
For the second year in a row, Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in its traditional season-ending performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Sunday, August 27. The performance features soprano Katie Van Kooten in her BSO and Tanglewood debuts; mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford; tenor Russell Thomas; and bass-baritone John Relyea, along with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Maestro Nelsons and the BSO open the program with Charles Ives's tribute to Western Massachusetts, "The Housatonic at Stockbridge" from Three Places in New England.
(Some emphasis added.)


As usual, you can hear it all via WCRB at 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7:00 on Sunday, EDT. Enjoy.

Between now and the opening of the Symphony Hall season on September 22, they will rebroadcast concerts from last April. In addition, they will broadcast and stream Opening Night on Friday, September 22, beginning at 5:30. You can see the specifics at their Upcoming BSO page.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Tanglewood — 2017/08/18-20

Three orchestras in three days at Tanglewood.

Friday, August 18, 2017.  It's an Underscore Friday, with introductory remarks from Principal Trombone Toby Oft. The Boston Symphony plays this evening. On the performance detail page we read:
On Friday, August 18, British baritone Simon Keenlyside makes his Tanglewood debut performing selections from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Rückert-Lieder with conductor David Afkham and the orchestra. Mr. Afkham also leads the BSO in Brahms's energetic Symphony No. 2. Patrons will hear comments about this program from BSO Principal Trombone Toby Oft.
(Some emphasis added.)

The page has the usual links.


Saturday, August, 19, 2017.  The Boston Pops are in the Shed for John Williams' Film Night. Andris Nelsons and John Williams share the podium. From the performance detail page:
John Williams' Film Night has long been established as one of the Tanglewood calendar's most consistently popular evenings. Sharing the podium this summer for what surely will be an historic concert is BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons. The program will feature classic cinema scores by Erich Korngold, Bernard Herrmann, and Alex North, as well as music by Mr. Williams himself, including selections from the Harry Potter series, E.T., and Far and Away. Also on the program will be music from Mr. Williams' score to Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, with a special guest trumpet soloist.
(Some emphasis added.)


Sunday, August 20, 2017,  brings the Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert, performed by the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. The performance detail page tells us,
Andris Nelsons leads the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in the Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert on Sunday, August 20, in the Shed. Brilliant English pianist Paul Lewis joins Mr. Nelsons and the orchestra for Beethoven's dramatic and tumultuous Third Piano Concerto. Strauss's large-scale An Alpine Symphony, the composer's last tone poem, depicting an eleven-hour hike of an Alpine mountain, closes the program.
(Some emphasis added.)


Hear it all on line or on air via WCRB at 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:00 p. m. on Sunday.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tanglewood — 2017/08/11-13

This week I'll be able to enjoy the concerts live, barring unforeseen developments. A friend from the Syracuse area and I will meet a fellow blogger/tweeter from Western PA at Tanglewood. It's a weekend of mostly standard repertoire, the most challenging of which is Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." The only new piece is "Incantesimi," a curtain raiser by Julian Anderson, which was given its American premiere last January by the BSO. Christoph von Dohnányi had been scheduled to conduct back then and this weekend, but health considerations forced him to cancel both times, and both times, Juanjo Mena is his replacement. I posted about it on January 28, and you can see my comments and the links there. Briefly, I found it pretty good, and I recommend reading the program notes in advance and maybe even while listening on Saturday evening.


Friday, August 11, 2017,  brings us the "dreaded Rite of Spring," but not till we've heard some Dvořák and Brahms and refreshed ourselves during the intermission. Here's more from the BSO's own performance detail page, taking the pieces out of performance order as is their wont:
Violinist Gil Shaham and cellist Alisa Weilerstein join forces on Friday, August 11, for a performance of Brahms's Double Concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra, with Costa Rican conductor Giancarlo Guerrero and the BSO. Brahms composed the concerto-his final orchestral work-as an olive branch to his old friend and close musical collaborator Joseph Joachim, with whom he'd had a falling out over Joachim's divorce. Also on the program are Dvořák's Carnival Overture and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, the score to an intensely dramatic ballet and on its own some of the most dramatic music ever written.
(Some emphasis supplied.)

See the performance detail page also for the usual links to program notes, audio previews, and performer bios.


Saturday, August 12, 2017.  The concert begins with "Incantesimi," and the program detail page tells about that and the rest of the concert:
Conductor Juanjo Mena leads the BSO in Julian Anderson'sIncantesimi, a BSO-commissioned work that receives its American premiere with the BSO in January 2017.Incantesimi is a study in long lines, using "five musical ideas that orbit each other in ever-differing relationships." Mr. Mena and the orchestra are then joined by violinist Nikolaj Znaider for Brahms's lyrical and refined Violin Concerto. The BSO closes out the program with Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, one of the composer's most popular works.
At the advice of his doctors, Maestro Christoph von Dohnányi regrets that he cannot appear with the Boston Symphony this summer at Tanglewood. He is continuing to heal from a fall he suffered earlier this year and looks forward to leading the BSO as scheduled in November. Conductor Juanjo Mena steps in for Maestro von Dohnányi on Saturday, August 12, on a program featuring violinist Nikolaj Znaider performing Brahms's Violin Concerto. The program also includes Julian Anderson's Incantesimi and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7
(Some emphasis supplied.)

The usual links are on the performance detail page.


Sunday, August 13, 2017.  Read all about it on the program detail page and the material at the links there:
On Sunday, August 13, young Israeli conductor Lahav Shani makes his BSO debut on a program featuring Tanglewood regular, violinist Joshua Bell in Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto.  Mr. Shani also lead the BSO in the overture to Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Schubert's Symphony in C, The Great. The composer's ultimate symphony (in both senses of the word: it is his biggest and last work in the genre), the C major was famously praised for its "heavenly length" by Robert Schumann, who observed also that it "transports us into a world we cannot recall ever having been before."
(Some emphasis added.)


It looks like a great series of concerts. You can listen on air or on line over the facilities of WCRB at 8:00 p.m. EDT Friday and Saturday, and 7:00 p.m. Sunday. Their homepage also gives links to a lot of other programming information.

Enjoy the shows.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Tanglewood — 2017/08/04-06

My father had a record (now mine), which he very much liked listening to, of Chopin's first piano concerto, with Edward Kilenyi as soloist. He also had Chopin's second — possibly on the same record or possibly another. We didn't listen to the 2nd nearly as often as the 1st, but I've heard it on the radio several times over the years. So I'm very much looking forward the becoming reacquainted with these friends from the past when they open the show tonight and tomorrow. The rest of the weekend from Tanglewood should be good too.


Friday, August 4, 2017.  The orchestra's program detail page has this synopsis of the program:

UnderScore FridayHans Graf conducts Chopin and Rachmaninoff featuring pianist Garrick Ohlsson 
Tanglewood 
Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA - View MapOn Friday, August 4, Mr. Ohlsson performs Chopin's First Piano Concerto, written shortly after the composer finished conservatory. Maestro Graf also leads the BSO in Rachmaninoff's melancholic Symphony No. 3, the composer's final work in the genre, written almost 30 years after his second.

(Some emphasis added.)

The page, as usual, has links to audio previews, program notes, and performer bios. This is another of their "Underscore Fridays," in which they enhance our enjoyment of the music by having an orchestra member give brief introductory remarks from the stage before the music begins. This evening we'll hear from violinist Jennie Shames.


Saturday, August 5, 2017.  The second Chopin piano concerto is followed after intermission by Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream." The program detail page provides additional information:
On Saturday, August 5, Mr. Ohlsson returns to perform Chopin's Second Piano Concerto with the BSO, a virtuosic and remarkably successful work considering it was written when the composer was still a student and just 20 years old. The second half of the program features one of the best-known musical works inspired by Shakespeare-Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream-in a specially designed production adapted by stage director Bill Barclay, which received its world premiere with the BSO at Symphony Hall in Boston in early 2016 as part of the BSO's three-week Shakespeare celebration honoring the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death. Mr. Graf and the orchestra are joined for this performance by soprano Kiera Duffy, mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer, and singers from the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Chorus, as well as four actors, including Will Lyman as Oberon; Karen MacDonald as Titania; and Caleb Mayo as Felix Mendelssohn/Puck. The costumed actors will perform various passages from A Midsummer Night's Dream interspersed throughout the performance, as prescribed in Mendelssohn's score, with costumes by Kathleen Doyle and sets by Cristina Todesco.
(Some emphasis added.)

See the program detail page for the additional background material linked there. As mentioned in the program notes, the Mendelssohn performance was given (after two other pieces) in 2016. At that time, I posted about it. Here's my reaction to it at that time:
The Boston Musical Intelligencer … found the presentation of the Mendelssohn well done by some participants but flawed in concept.
I tend to agree with BMInt on the Mendelssohn. It makes sense to put music intended to accompany a play into context, but as constructed the whole seemed less than the sum of its parts. I wonder how it will all come across over radio or webstream without the action being visible. 



Sunday, August 6, 2017.  As the program detail page tells us:
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma returns to the Shed on Sunday, August 6, with David Zinman on a program featuring two works by Schumann-the free-flowing and adventurous Cello Concerto, featuring Mr. Ma, and the elevating Symphony No. 2 in C, the longest of the composer's four symphonies. The afternoon concert opens with Mozart's Symphony No. 25, last performed by the BSO at Tanglewood in 2000. 
At the advice of his doctors, Maestro Christoph von Dohnányi regrets that he cannot appear with the Boston Symphony this summer at Tanglewood. He is continuing to heal from a fall he suffered earlier this year and looks forward to leading the BSO as scheduled in November.
Conductor David Zinman replaces Maestro von Dohnányi for the Sunday, August 6, program featuring Yo-Yo Ma in Schumann's Cello Concerto. The program also includes Mozart's Symphony No. 25 and Schumann's Symphony No. 2.

(Some detail added.)

You can also access additional information via that page.


WCRB will transmit the concerts on air and over the web. The Friday and Saturday programs begin at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday's will be provided at 7:00 p.m. (all times EDT). The home page, in addition to the Listen Live button, has links to pages about these concerts and other programming on the station.

It looks like an enjoyable series of concerts.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tanglewood — 2017/07/28-30

This weekend the Boston Symphony gives three more concerts worth hearing. The offerings include a couple of pieces I don't know and a couple of really popular ones that aren't my figurative cup of metaphorical tea, and one of the ones I really want to hear will be given during my brother's weekly call from Tokyo. Still, I'll be listening to all I can.


Friday, July 28, 2017.   The synopsis on the orchestra's program detail page gives us the basics:
On Friday, Charles Dutoit is joined by pianist Yefim Bronfman for Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2, one of the composer's most barnstorming, free-spirited works. The BSO opens the program with the Overture to Beethoven's The Creatures of Prometheus. Mr. Dutoit also leads the orchestra in Dvorak's New World Symphony.
(Some emphasis added.)

For additional information, use the links to audio previews and program notes, as well as performer bios (click on the thumbnail photos), on that page. Brahms is among my least favorite of the really popular composers, so I'm not eagerly anticipating the concerto. Of late, however, some of his big pieces are beginning to seem a but less unpleasant than they used to, so I'm not dreading it either. Mine is, of course, a distinctly minority view, so have no fear. The first movement of the "New World" symphony is another very popular piece that I don't enjoy — too jarring for my taste — but I'm planning to listen and see how it goes.


Saturday, July 29, 2017.  The program detail page ignores two of the three pieces on the Saturday program, so I'll give my own synopsis. Chant funèbre, by Stravinsky, opens the program. It was composed upon the death of his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakoff, and after the premiere the score was lost for over 100 years. Next is Ravel's Piano Concerto for the left hand, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist. After intermission comes Te Deum by Berlioz, with tenor soloist Paul Groves. The concert is again under the baton of Charles Dutoit.

Consult the program detail page for the usual links to background information about the music and performers. I enjoy a lot of Berlioz's music, including his Requiem. This is apparently intended to be comparable, and I'm sorry to have to wait for on-demand availability to hear it because my brother's call will come during the performance. (I see from the program note that Berlioz rearranged the order of some of the lines of the text.)


Sunday, July 30, 2017  brings an old favorite followed by one which I don't recall hearing. The program detail page has the following description:
Violinist Pinchas Zukerman returns to Tanglewood on Sunday, July 30, for a performance of Beethoven's lyrical Violin Concerto with the BSO and English conductor Bramwell Tovey. Mr. Tovey and the BSO are then joined by bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus for Walton's Belshazzar's Feast. An incredibly ambitious oratorio written for a large-scale orchestra including two brass bands along with the baritone soloist and chorus, the work is one of the composer's most celebrated compositions.
(Some emphasis added.)

The violin concerto is great music, in my opinion, and the program note about "Belshazzar's Feast" has me intrigued.


The place to hear it all is, of course, WCRB, where you can hear the Friday and Saturday concerts live at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight (Summer) Time, and the Sunday concert in a delayed broadcast/webstream at 7:30 p.m. Check out the station's website for additional information about programming and other features.

Enjoy the concerts!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Tanglewood — 2017/07/21-23

It looks like a good weekend at Tanglewood, including one of my favorite pieces of all time (which will be played during my brother's weekly phone call from Tokyo). All three concerts include a solo piano in one of the pieces.


Friday, July 21, 2017.  The BSO performance detail page informs us:
Captivating French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins the BSO and conductor Gustavo Gimeno-who returns to the Tanglewood podium after making his debut with the orchestra last summer-for Bernstein's Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety, a piece dedicated to Serge Koussevitzky and premiered by the BSO in 1949. Mr. Gimeno also leads the BSO in Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4.
(Some emphasis added.)

That's right, folks: a symphony with a solo piano. From the brief audio preview available via the program detail page, it sounds not too tough to take, and the program note makes it sound interesting. I'm going to dinner at the yacht club with a bunch of people from the Race Committee. I might be able to get home in time to hear the whole thing. If not, there's always the "on demand" feature on WCRB so I can catch it later.

By the way, this is one of the BSO's "Underscore Fridays." To enhance the audience's enjoyment, a member of the orchestra introduces the program briefly just before the performance begins. This evening, it will be Assistant Tympanist Daniel Bauch. His take should be interesting to hear.


Saturday, July 22, 2017.  We start with some 20th century music that I don't think I've ever heard, and end with that favorite of mine. Per the performance detail page:
BSO Artistic Partner Thomas Adès opens the Saturday, July 22 BSO program leading his own …but all shall be well, a piece inspired by lines from T.S. Eliot's quotation of Julian of Norwich in Four Quartets: "Sin is Behovely, but All shall be well, and All manner of thing shall be well." The program also features Emanuel Ax in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, the last and most monumental of Beethoven's concertos; as well as the dramatically expressive Sinfonia da Requiem by Benjamin Britten, a composer for whom Mr. Adès has a great affinity.
(Some emphasis added.)

Apparently, the order of performance was revised after the program detail page was written. At any rate the season brochure and the program notes agree that the Britten work will precede the Adès. We'll find out who's right on Saturday. As always there are links to audio previews, program notes, and performer bios on the detail page.


Sunday, July 23, 2017.  Again, the performance detail page gives us the basics, with further information available via the links on the page.
On Sunday, July 23, BSO Assistant Conductor Ken-David Masur is joined by Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky for Prokofiev's sparkling Piano Concerto No. 3. Mr. Masur opens the afternoon program with Aaron Jay Kernis's airy and moving Musica Celestis ("Heavenly Music"), written by the Grawemeyer Award-winning composer in 2000. Closing the concert is Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 2, Little Russian.
(Some emphasis added.)

From the program note and the audio preview, it seems that the Kernis piece should be fairly easy listening, but I've never heard the whole thing, so I can't make any guarantees. Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing it. Remember, the Sunday concert is recorded when performed and broadcast and streamed 4 1/2 hours later, at 7:00 p.m., Boston Time, by WCRB. The other concerts are transmitted live at 8:00 Friday and Saturday.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Tanglewood — 2017/07/14-16

This looks like a great weekend at Tanglewood, with music from the 18th through the 21st centuries.

Friday, July 14, 2017.  Here's how the BSO performance detail page describes this evening's concert:
Andris Nelsons opens the weekend on Friday, July 14 at Tanglewood with performances of two pieces written as an homage to French Baroque composer François Couperin, composed nearly 90 years apart: Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin and BSO Artist Partner Thomas Adès's Three Studies from Couperin. Also on the program is Haydn's Symphony No. 83, La Poule ("The Hen"), last performed by the BSO in 1990, and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K.467, featuring Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov.

(Some emphasis added.)

The BSO page also has the usual links to audio previews, program notes and performer bios.

The Adès piece was performed in Symphony Hall in the concerts of April 23-28, 2015. In my review at the time I wrote,
Thomas Adès's orchestration of harpsichord music of Couperin was very successful, in my opinion. One interesting feature was the use of alto and bass flutes. Both are longer than regular flutes, so much so that the tubes are bent back on themselves; and they have a greater diameter than ordinary flutes. They are held like regular flutes, with the player blowing over the mouthpiece on the top section, and the keys [are] on the lower section.
You can see links to other reviews if you go back to my post.


Saturday, July 15, 2017,  brings only one work, but what a work. Again, the BSO tells us about it on the performance detail page:
On Saturday, July 15, Maestro Nelsons leads the BSO in one of the great highlights of the 2017 Tanglewood season: the festival's first-ever complete concert performance of Wagner's epic Das Rheingold, the first of the four dramas from Wagner's masterpiece Der Ring des Nibelungen. The performance features a cast of all-star vocal soloists among the most respected for these roles, including bass-baritone Thomas J. Mayer as Wotan (in his BSO and Tanglewood debuts); mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as Fricka; tenor Kim Begley as Loge (BSO and Tanglewood debuts); and baritone Jochen Schmeckenbecher (BSO and Tanglewood debuts) as Alberich, along with other prestigious singers known for their expertise performing Wagner's music. The performance of Das Rheingold-sung in German with English subtitles-will run without an intermission. 
Due to ill health, and on the advice of her doctor, Dame Sarah Connolly regretfully has had to withdraw from the BSO's performance of Das Rheingold.  The role of Fricka will now be sung by Stephanie Blythe, who has graciously agreed to join the cast at short notice.
(Some emphasis added.)

See the performance detail for the rest of the cast as well as the usual links. The program notes give a synopsis of the action, but not the full libretto. For that you're on your own. I'd suggest searching something like "Rheingold libretto." I'd suggest going for one with German and English side by side if you can find it. The opera concludes with "The Entry of the Gods into Valhalla," which used to be frequently performed as a stand-alone piece. It's top-notch Wagner, IMO.


Sunday, July 16, 2017.  We're back to orchestral music, with a world premiere and a couple of "warhorses." The BSO tells us
Closing out the weekend on Sunday, July 16, Andris Nelsons and the BSO are joined by violinist Anne Sophie Mutter for the world premiere of Boston Pops Conductor Laureate John Williams' Markings, for solo violin, strings, and harp. Ms. Mutter also joins the orchestra for Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, one of the most popular concertos for the instrument. Berlioz's dazzling Symphonie fantastique completes the program.
(Some emphasis added.)

The above quote is from the orchestra's performance detail page, which also has the usual links to background information. I have no idea how the Williams piece will be, but the remaining works are enduringly popular.


You can hear it all over WCRB on the air or on line. Friday and Saturday' shows begin at 8:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, Sunday's at 7:00. I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

CORRECTION — WCRB July 8, 2017

In my post about this weekend's concert broadcasts over WCRB, I made the mistake of assuming that all three of the major concerts would be broadcast and streamed. This morning I realized that this evening's Pops concert will not be broadcast. Instead they are giving us an "encore broadcast"  of the final Saturday concert of the 2016 Tanglewood season.
http://classicalwcrb.org/post/yo-yo-ma-plays-haydn-and-williams
Here's what I posted back then:
On Saturday we return to regular order. The performance detail page gives these details:
Tanglewood favorite Yo-Yo Ma joins the Boston Symphony Orchestra and conductor Michael Stern on Saturday, August 27, to open the final weekend of the BSO's 2016 Tanglewood season, performing Haydn's Cello Concerto in C and John Williams's Heartwood,for cello and orchestra, and Rosewood and Pickin', for solo cello, on a program that also includes Bernstein's Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront and Respighi's Pines of Rome.
(Some emphasis added.)

The usual background information is available on that page. It looks like a pretty full evening of music.
I'm sorry for the confusion. It looks like a concert worth listening to.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Tanglewood — 2017/07/07-09

The BSO's Tanglewood season begins this weekend. With a couple of exceptions, when other groups such as the Boston Pops and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra will be on stage, they will play concerts every Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 from July 7 through August 27. WCRB will stream and broadcast the Friday and Saturday concerts live, and they will present the Sunday concerts at 7:00 p.m. In addition to their homepage (previously linked), with its Listen Live button, WCRB also has a Tanglewood page, which gives highlights of the season and links a half-hour podcast preview with the orchestra's Artistic Administrator, Tony Fogg.

Since the programs aren't [resented earlier in the week, there are no reviews available. Sometimes I may have thoughts of my own. Some of the pieces to be played were included in concerts in Symphony Hall over the winter. In that case, there may be a review of the earlier concert.


Friday, July 7, 2017.  The opening night gala gives us a single work, described as follows by the orchestra's program detail page:

JUL 7
 2017 
FRIDAY, 8:00 PM

Opening Night at Tanglewood
MAHLER Symphony No. 2, Resurrection

Tanglewood 

Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA - View Map




Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra open their 2017 Tanglewood season Friday, July 7, with a gala performance of Mahler's grand, deeply emotional, and ultimately triumphant Symphony No. 2, Resurrection. Soprano Malin Christensson (in her Tanglewood debut) and mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink join Mr. Nelsons and the orchestra, along with the all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

(Some emphasis supplied.)
The program detail page also includes links to performer bios (click on the thumbnail pictures), program notes, and audio previews.


Saturday, July 8, 2017.  The first, non-BSO concert of the season brings the Boston Pops and singers for this program of Sondheim. Once more, the program detail page tells us about it:


JUL 8
 2017 
SATURDAY, 8:00 PM

Sondheim on Sondheim at Tanglewood
Boston Pops Orchestra

Tanglewood 

Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA - View Map




Hailed as "a funny, affectionate, and revealing tribute to musical theater's greatest living composer and lyricist," the symphonic Sondheim on Sondheim  with the Boston Pops is not to be missed! This retrospective of the life and work of America's finest contemporary musical theater creator is told through his own words via film, live performers, and his amazing music. Experience this acclaimed sampling of Sondheim's extraordinary output, now for the first time with lush new arrangements for full orchestra.

(Some emphasis supplied.)

Sunday, July 9, 2017.  The Boston Symphony "returns." Of course, since there is considerable overlap in the membership of the BSO and the Pops most of them were not away on Saturday evening. This time, as the BSO program detail page tells us, it's for Mozart and another Mahler Symphony. There also links as described in the discussion of Friday's concert.


JUL 9
 2017 
SUNDAY, 2:30 PM

Andris Nelsons conducts Mozart and Mahler

Tanglewood 

Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA - View Map



Andris Nelsons returns to the podium for his second concert of the season on Sunday, July 9, for an afternoon program featuring 15-year-old Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovich in his BSO and Tanglewood debuts performing Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3, and Mr. Nelsons' second Mahler symphony of the weekend-Symphony No. 4 featuring soprano Kristine Opolais. 
(Emphasis supplied.)

Remember, WCRB delays the broadcast/webstream until 7:00 p.m.