Saturday, January 7, 2017

BSO — 2017/01/07

The orchestra returns to Symphony Hall this week with an unusual program, featuring wind players of the orchestra as soloists in generally unfamiliar works. The BSO performance detail page describes it as follows:
Soloists from the ranks of the Boston Symphony Orchestra take center stage in this highly unusual, far-ranging program led by BSO Assistant Conductor Ken-David Masur. BSO piccoloist Cynthia Meyers performs Vivaldi's delightful Piccolo Concerto in C. BSO principal clarinet William Hudgins and clarinetist Michael Wayne are soloists in Mozart-contemporary Franz Krommer's Concerto No. 2 for two clarinets. BSO principal trumpet Thomas Rolfs is soloist in French composer André Jolivet's Concertino for trumpet, piano, and strings, a dynamic, three-movement work from 1948. BSO principal trombone Toby Oft plays the Trombone Concerto of Italian composer Nino Rota-best known for scoring Coppola's The Godfather but a versatile and prolific composer of concert and stage works as well. Finally, Robert Schumann's Konzertstück ("Concert-piece") for four horns provides an exhilarating showcase for principal horn James Sommerville and his virtuoso colleagues Rachel Childers, Jason Snider, and Michael Winter.
(Most emphasis added.)

I was there for the performance on Thursday, and I found it all pleasant enough — except for the Jolivet, which I'd call "not unpleasant." As originally programmed, the Jolivet concerto was to finish the first half, but I guess they decided it would be better not to have the Vivaldi and Krommer adjacent. I thought everybody played very well, except for a couple of wobbles in the horns. The Jolivet trumpet concert was "modern." The others, including the Rota, were normal music. But none of them were particularly memorable. In the Krommer clarinet concerto, I imagined the Hudgin's tone was a bit brighter, and Wayne's a bit mellower. The BMInt reviewer suggests something similar. So it was a great night for the wind players to have some time in the spotlight. I'm glad I was there for it, and I think you be glad to have listened, if you do.

The reviews are favorable. The Globe noted the occasional problems with the horns. The Boston Musical Intelligencer gives a fairly good synopsis of the music (and likes the Jolivet much more than I did).

The horn soloists in the Intelligencer photo are, l.-r., Snider, Winter, Childers, and Sommerville. Clint Hutchinson, flute player, is in the center, just slightly behind Ms. Childers. In the back, behind Mr. Hutchinson, is assistant tympanist Daniel Bauch. The conductor, Ken-David Masur, is standing on the right, and in the back row behind him are two trumpeters, but I'm never sure which is which.

Anyway, you can listen, beginning at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time, over WCRB. There's another page on their website which has a link to their podcast, with interviews with three of the evening's soloists. It also has a link (fine print upper left, to the remaining broadcast schedule for the season. I'd have expected this concert to be rerun on January 16, but they don't say they will.

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