Saturday, January 28, 2017

BSO — 2017/01/28

A brief new piece and by two familiar ones make up today's concert. The orchestra's program detail page gives further information.
Juanjo Mena leads the American premiere of the fine English composer Julian Anderson's Incantesimi, co-commissioned by the BSO, the Royal Philharmonic Society, and the Berlin Philharmonic, which gave the world premiere in June 2016. Incantesimi is a study in long lines, using "five musical ideas that orbit each other in ever-differing relationships." French pianist/composer Jean-Frédéric Neuburger-introduced to BSO audiences in the 2014-15 season via the world premiere of his composition Aube-makes his BSO debut as piano soloist in Robert Schumann's passionate, lyrical Piano Concerto, which began life as a single-movement work and was written for Schumann's wife Clara, one of the great pianists of the age. Franz Schubert wrote his towering orchestral masterpiece, the so-called Great C major symphony, toward the end of his short life. Its exact dates have never been established, but he composed this formally and harmonically innovative piece at around the same time Beethoven wrote his Ninth Symphony.

Christoph von Dohnányi, upon the advice of his physician, cannot travel at this time due to the flu and has regretfully cancelled his engagement to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra, January 26-28. Conductor Juanjo Mena will replace Mr. Dohnányi for these concerts, also featuring pianist Jean-Frédéric Neuburger, as well as the American premiere of Julian Anderson's Incantesimi, a BSO co-commission. The program remains the same.
(Some emphasis added.)

The reviews are very favorable, both in the Globe and in the Boston Musical Intelligencer. I was there on Thursday and greatly enjoyed it. The Anderson piece is certainly modern, but with the help of the BSO podcast and the program notes, it made sense. I didn't catch all the elements that they talked about, so I'm definitely looking forward to the chance to hear it again. The Schumann was pleasant throughout. I had been afraid that the Schubert would be too much, but it never was. At some point in the fourth movement, I realized that the conductor had kept it light throughout. It kept moving, and remained interesting, never dragging. The reviewers say the same thing in their own words.

I definitely recommend listening over WCRB at 8:00 p.m., Boston Time. Check out their website for all sorts of information about their BSO programs and other features.

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