The era of the guest conductor continues in the BSO’s 132nd season, with 17 conductors presiding over 26 concerts. BSO principal players and sections also once again will perform in a conductor-less program. Artistic Administrator Tony Fogg has put together a season with a fine variety of repertoire and soloists.
In a reprise before the regular season starts, Bramwell Tovey conducts a special concert performance of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Sept. 27-29). Itzahk Perlman will make his conducting debut with the BSO in the non-subscription opening concert, appearing in the dual roles of soloist and conductor in an all-Beethoven concert on September 22 nd. BSO Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink closes the season with music of Brahms, Schubert, and Mahler (April 25-30 and May 2-4). In between, Charles Dutoit, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and Daniele Gatti lead three programs each, and Christoph von Dohnányi leads two. Vladimir Jurowski makes his BSO debut leading Mendelssohn and Shostakovich (Oct. 11-13), Andris Nelsons makes his subscription series debut with music of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky (Jan. 31-Feb. 5), and Stéphane Denève returns to Symphony Hall for the third consecutive season (program TBA, Nov. 29-Dec. 1). Composer-conductors Thomas Adès (Nov. 15-17) and Oliver Knussen (April 12-13) lead programs including music of their own; an impressive list of other 20th-century and contemporary composers includes works by Henri Dutilleux, James MacMillan, Kaija Saariaho, Roberrto Sierra, and Augusta Read Thomas. Pianist-conductor Christian Zacharias is showcased in music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven (Nov. 23-27). Other returnees to the Symphony Hall podium include Christoph Eschenbach, Giancarlo Guerrero, and Juanjo Mena, as well as New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert and BSO Assistant Conductor Marcelo Lehninger.
The BSO press office provided this week-by-week summary:
ITZHAK PERLMAN LEADS THE BSO AS CONDUCTOR AND SOLOIST IN ALL-BEETHOVEN PROGRAM SEPTEMBER 22
Legendary Israeli-born violinist Itzhak Perlman joins the Boston Symphony Orchestra as both soloist and conductor on September 22 to begin the 2012-13 season with an all-Beethoven Opening Night at Symphony. The program begins with the composer’s lyrical early Romances No. 1 and 2 for violin and orchestra, dating from 1798-1802, and concludes with the dance-infused Symphony No. 7—dating from about a decade after the Romances—which the composer himself acknowledged as one of his finest works.
BRAMWELL TOVEY CONDUCTS CONCERT PERFORMANCES OF GERSHWIN’S PORGY AND BESS
Reprising one of the highlights of Tanglewood 2011, English conductor Bramwell Tovey, the BSO, a distinguished cast of soloists—headlined by Alfred Walker and Laquita Mitchell in the title roles—and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus present concert performances of George Gershwin’s great American masterpiece, the blues-and-jazz-inflected Porgy and Bess, a view of African-American life in the South Carolina fishing community of Catfish Row during the 1920s. Described by the composer as an “American folk opera,” Porgy and Bess premiered on Broadway in 1935 and only slowly gained traction in the traditional world of opera. Three quarters of a century later, it has assumed its rightful place among the greatest works of America’s music.
JOSHUA BELL JOINS BSO AND CONDUCTOR MARCELO LEHNINGER FOR BERNSTEIN’S SERENADE (AFTER PLATO’S “SYMPOSIUM”) OCTOBER 4-6
Acclaimed for his previous Boston Symphony performances at both Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall, the young BSO assistant conductor Marcelo Lehninger leads an October 4-6 program pairing the Romantic with the ruminative. American violinist Joshua Bell is soloist in Bernstein’s five-movement Serenade—a violin concerto in all but name—inspired by Plato’s immortal dialogue on the nature and value of love, Symposium. Also on the program are two audience favorites: Tchaikovsky’s emotionally charged fantasy-overture Romeo and Juliet, and Dvořák’s bucolic Symphony No. 8, written a few years before the composer’s famous visit to the United States. On October 9, in place of Joshua Bell, the Hawthorne String Quartet, made up of four BSO members, is featured in the multi-faceted Concerto for String Quartet and Wind Orchestra (1930) of Ervin Schulhoff, a gifted Czech composer-pianist whose music reflects influences ranging from Baroque and dance-based- musical forms to blues and jazz, and whose life was cut short during World War II.
IN HIS BSO DEBUT, VLADIMIR JUROWSKI LEADS SHOSTAKOVICH’S SYMPHONY NO. 4 AND MENDELSSOHN’S VIOLIN CONCERTO FEATURING ARABELLA STEINBACHER OCTOBER 11-13
Making his Boston Symphony debut, Vladimir Jurowski, principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, leads the BSO October 11-13 with German violinist Arabella Steinbacher as soloist in Mendelssohn’s sparkling Violin Concerto. Though the concerto is now a familiar repertoire staple, its solo-violin opening and three movements flowing together without pause were quite unusual for their time. The program concludes with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4, a dark but powerfully majestic work the composer finished in 1936. He withdrew the work prior to its premiere due to fears of official condemnation, writing instead the universally acclaimed, heroic Fifth the following year. The Fourth waited another quarter-century for its first performance.
CHARLES DUTOIT, NIKOLAI LUGANSKY, AND SOLOISTS FROM THE ORCHESTRA IN DEBUSSY, MARTIN, AND RACHMANINOFF OCTOBER 18-23
Acclaimed conductor Charles Dutoit leads the orchestra October 18-23 in a program overflowing with virtuosity. Soloist Nikolai Lugansky makes his BSO debut in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, a massive and daunting work that tests every aspect of a pianist’s skill. Not to be outdone, the orchestra’s first-chair wind players step to the front of the stage to demonstrate the BSO’s own resident virtuosity in Frank Martin’s mid-20th-century Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra. Rounding out the program are Debussy’s Fanfares and Symphonic Fragments from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, from the composer’s incidental music to Gabriele d’Annunzio’s mystery play of the same name.
CONDUCTOR DUTOIT RETURNS OCTOBER 25-27 FOR OPERATIC DOUBLE-BILL OF STRAVINSKY AND RAVEL
Charles Dutoit takes the podium for a second week October 25-27, leading the BSO, an international cast of vocal soloists, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in a compelling operatic double bill pairing Stravinsky’s The Nightingale and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortileges (The Child and the Magic Spells). Stravinsky’s 1914 opera The Nightingale—begun before but completed after his famous trio of ballets for Sergei Diaghilev—is based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a Chinese emperor and two nightingales—one real, the other mechanical. Completed in 1925, Ravel’s one-act opera L’Enfant et les sortilèges—the story of a child movingly taught the meaning of love and affection—is infused with whimsy and magic.
JUANJO MENA LEADS AMERICAN PREMIERE OF SAARIAHO’S CIRCLE MAP NOVEMBER 1-6
Spanish conductor Juanjo Mena, chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, leads the BSO’s November 1-6 program, including the American premiere of influential Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s Circle Map, for orchestra and electronics, a BSO co-commission here receiving its American premiere. Violinist Gil Shaham, a frequent guest with the orchestra, joins the BSO for Benjamin Britten’s rarely performed Violin Concerto, and the program concludes with Dvořák’s darkly majestic Symphony No. 7, which bespeaks both his love for his native Bohemia and the influence of his mentor, Johannes Brahms.
CONDUCTOR GIANCARLO GUERRERO AND PIANIST DANIIL TRIVONOV COLLABORATE NOVEMBER 8-10 IN TCHAIKOVSKY’S PIANO CONCERTO NO. 1, ON A PROGRAM WITH MUSIC OF PROKOFIEV AND SIERRA
At the heart of the BSO’s November 8-10 program—led by Costa Rican conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, music director of the Nashville Symphony, and featuring Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov in his BSO debut—are two powerhouse Russian works: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, a fan-favorite and repertoire staple, and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, described as a “hymn to free and happy Man,” which the composer wrote in 1944 amidst the chaos of World War II. Puerto Rican-born composer Roberto Sierra’s colorful Fandangos for orchestra (2000) opens the program.
COMPOSER/CONDUCTOR THOMAS ADÈS, SOPRANO DAWN UPSHAW, AND PIANIST KIRILL GERSTEIN JOIN BSO NOVEMBER 15-17
English conductor Thomas Adès, who is also renowned as a composer and pianist, takes the podium November 15-17 to lead the BSO in a program including his own composition In Seven Days, for piano and orchestra, featuring soloist Kirill Gerstein. Gerstein also performs Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1, a brief yet brilliant early work dating from the composer’s student years at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Framing the program are two works by Sibelius—his mystical tone poem for soprano and orchestra Luonnotar, a musical take on the Finnish creation story, featuring American soprano Dawn Upshaw, and his poetic, fantasia-like Symphony No. 6.
CHRISTIAN ZACHARIAS LEADS HAYDN, MOZART, AND BEETHOVEN NOVEMBER 23-27
Christian Zacharias displays both his podium and keyboard skills in an all-Classical program November 23-27. Featuring the three great masters of the Austro-German Classical style, the concerts begin with Haydn’s Symphony No. 76, a typically inventive work from 1782. The program continues with Mr. Zacharias at the keyboard for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 18, from 1784, the year he became friends with Haydn in Vienna. For the second half of the program, the BSO plays its first-ever performances of Beethoven’s complete ballet score to The Creatures of Prometheus, dating from 1801.
STÉPHANE DENÈVE AND JEAN-YVES THIBAUDET JOIN BSO IN A PROGRAM FOR FRANCOPHILES NOVEMBER 29 – DECEMBER 1
Returning to the BSO podium for the third consecutive season, French conductor Stéphane Denève, chief conductor designate of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, leads the BSO in a trio of works by composers from his native country: Berlioz’s dynamic overture to the unfinished early opera Les Francs-juges, Albert Roussel’s Suite No. 2 from his 1930 ballet Bacchus et Ariane, and Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 5, Egyptian, with fellow Frenchman Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist. Also on the program are the Three Interludes from The Sacrifice, Scottish contemporary composer James MacMillan’s 2006 opera on a story from The Mabinogion, an ancient collection of Welsh folktales.
ALAN GILBERT AND VIOLINIST LISA BATIASHVILI BEGIN THE NEW YEAR JANUARY 10-15
In-demand young violinist Lisa Batiashvili is featured in Tchaikovsky’s ultra-Romantic Violin Concerto at the heart of a January 10-15 program conducted by New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert, who also also leads the BSO in three 20th-century works: Dutilleux’s Métaboles for Orchestra, in which the composer endeavors to “present one or several ideas in a different order and from different angles, until, by successive stages, they are made to change character completely”; Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, the first major work the composer wrote after moving to the United States in 1939; and Ravel’s remarkable musical deconstruction of dance, La Valse.
DANIELE GATTI MARKS VERDI BICENTENNIAL WITH THE COMPOSER’S REQUIEM JANUARY 17-19
To mark the bicentennial of the composer’s birth in 1813, the Italian conductor Daniele Gatti, music director of the Orchestre National de France, leads the BSO in three performances of Verdi’s Requiem January 17-19 with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and four vocal soloists all making their BSO debuts: soprano Fiorenza Cedolins, mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova, tenor Fabio Sartori, and bass Carlo Colombara. One of the greatest of all works for orchestra, soloists, and chorus, Verdi’s massive, theatrical Requiem was completed in 1874, dedicated to the memory of the great Italian poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni—a personal hero of Verdi’s—and premiered on the first anniversary of Manzoni’s death.
CHARLES DUTOIT RETURNS JANUARY 24-26, JOINED BY PIANIST STEPHEN HOUGH
Conductor Charles Dutoit returns for his third week of concerts of the season January 24-26 leading a program featuring virtuoso English pianist Stephen Hough in Liszt’s pyrotechnic Piano Concerto No. 1. The program begins with Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes of Weber—which translates material from works by Carl Maria von Weber into a virtuoso showpiece for orchestra—and concludes with music from Prokofiev’s sweeping and colorful ballet score Romeo and Juliet.
ANDRIS NELSONS AND BAIBA SKRIDE JOIN THE BSO FOR SHOSTAKOVICH AND TCHAIKOVSKY JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 5
Latvian conductor and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra music director Andris Nelsons, who has conducted the BSO at Carnegie Hall, makes his subscription series debut January 13-February 5, joined by the exciting young Latvian violinist Baiba Skride. Ms. Skride makes her BSO debut as soloist in Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, written in the late 1940s but only premiered in 1955 after Stalin’s death helped relax the constraints on artistic expression in the USSR. The second half of the program is devoted to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, the second of his well-known last three symphonies, all representing musical takes by the composer on the subject of fate.
CHRISTOPH VON DOHNÁNYI LEADS THREE REPERTOIRE STAPLES FEBRUARY 7-12
The eminent German conductor Christoph von Dohnányi leads three masterpieces from the heart of the orchestral repertoire February 7-12. The program begins with Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn, a prime example of theme-and-variations form that happens also to be Brahms’s earliest orchestral masterpiece. French violinist Renaud Capuçon, in his BSO subscription series debut, then joins the orchestra for Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, a pinnacle of the concerto repertoire, and uniquely Sibelian in atmosphere. The program concludes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, a work needing no introduction.
DOHNÁNYI RETURNS WITH PIANIST RADU LUPU FOR MOZART AND BRUCKNER FEBRUARY 14-16
In three concerts February 14-16, revered Romanian pianist Radu Lupu—known for his individual interpretations of the great masterpieces of the piano repertoire—joins Christoph von Dohnányi and the orchestra for Mozart’s elegantly soft-spoken Piano Concerto No. 23, completed in 1786 when Mozart was at the height of his popularity in Vienna. Also on the program—Bruckner’s expansive Symphony No. 4, Romantic, marked by the soaring grandeur and long-breathed melodies so characteristic of that composer.
RAFAEL FRÜHBECK DE BURGOS LEADS MUSIC FOR VOICES AND ORCHESTRA BY STRAVINSKY AND HAYDN FEBRUARY 21-26
Veteran BSO conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos joins the BSO February 21-26 for two very different works for orchestra and voices: the complete music from Stravinsky’s 1919 ballet Pulcinella—an early example, reinterpreting Baroque music, of the composer’s neoclassical style, and named for a character from Italian commedia dell’arte—and Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, composed in 1796 during the series of European wars following the French Revolution. These concerts feature the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, soprano Alexandra Coku, mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, tenor Matthew Polenzani, and, in his BSO debut, bass Ildebrando D’Arcangelo.
LANG LANG JOINS FRÜHBECK DE BURGOS FOR RACHMANINOFF’S PIANO CONCERTO NO. 2 FEBRUARY 28-MARCH 2
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos again takes the podium February 28-March 2 for a program featuring the sensational Chinese pianist Lang Lang, making his BSO subscription series debut in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a prime example of the composer’s Russian-tinged Romanticism. Kicking off the program is Hindemith’s Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass, commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky and the BSO on the occasion of its 50th anniversary in 1931. Bartók’s ingeniously kaleidoscopic Concerto for Orchestra, a Koussevitzky commission premiered by the BSO in 1944, brings the concert to a close. On April 2, Frühbeck de Burgos and the orchestra repeat the works by Hindemith and Bartók, but this time in a program featuring American pianist Garrick Ohlsson in Rachmaninoff’s ever-popular Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
CHRISTOPH ESCHENBACH, LYNN HARRELL, AND BSO COLLABORATE IN WORLD PREMIERE OF AUGUSTA READ THOMAS’S CELLO CONCERTO NO. 3 MARCH 14-16
A new BSO-commissioned work receives its world premiere performances March 14-16 when Lynn Harrell is the featured soloist in American composer Augusta Read Thomas’s Cello Concerto No. 3. Conducted by National Symphony Orchestra music director Christoph Eschenbach, the program also includes Saint-Saëns’s sonorous Symphony No. 3, his so-called Organ Symphony, featuring French organist Olivier Latry in his BSO debut, as well as Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, Jupiter, the composer’s final work in the genre and a pinnacle of the Classical style.
DANIELE GATTI, MICHELLE DEYOUNG, AND THE BSO MARK WAGNER BICENTENNIAL MARCH 21-26
Daniele Gatti, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, and the BSO celebrate the bicentennial of Wagner’s birth with music from four of the composer’s operas—the ethereal Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin; the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, a twenty-minute distillation of Wagner’s four-hour paean to love; orchestral excerpts from Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), the final opera of Wagner’s gargantuan Ring cycle; and vocal and orchestral excerpts from his great final opera, Parsifal, whose title character attains spiritual transcendence as a Knight of the Holy Grail. Also on the program is Wagner’s chamber-musical Siegfried Idyll, composed as an intimate birthday present for his wife Cosima in 1869.
GATTI LEADS MAHLER’S SYMPHONY NO. 3 MARCH 28-30
For his third program of the season, March 28-30, Daniele Gatti conducts Mahler’s multi-faceted and emotionally wide-ranging Symphony No. 3, a work notable for its length, difficulty, and overwhelming cumulative impact. For this performance, the expanded ranks of the BSO are joined by the eminent Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and the boys of the PALS Children’s Chorus. Across its nearly 100-minute length, the broad musical canvas of Mahler’s Third Symphony incorporates a full range musical and emotional expression, moving through rousing fanfares, tender lyricism, and melancholy to the height of exaltation.
COMPOSER/CONDUCTOR OLIVER KNUSSEN LEADS PROGRAM FEATURING HIS OWN WORKS
The distinguished British composer/conductor Oliver Knussen leads music of his own in two concerts April 12 and 13. For his Violin Concerto (2002)—of which Knussen writes that “At times the violinist resembles a tightrope walker progressing along a (decidedly unstable) high wire strung across the span that separates the opening and closing sounds of the piece”—he and the BSO are joined by veteran virtuoso Pinchas Zukerman as soloist, for whom the piece was written. Then, English soprano Claire Booth takes center stage for Knussen’s 1992 Whitman Settings, for soprano and orchestra. The program opens with the Symphony No. 10 by the little-known Russian composer Nikolai Miaskovsky (who wrote twenty-six symphonies in all), and closes with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in a rarely heard orchestration by Leopold Stokowski.
WORKS FOR INDIVIDUAL SECTIONS OF THE ORCHESTRA ALLOW BSO MUSICIANS TO SHINE
Following the great success of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s “members-only” concerts in January 2012, the individual sections of the orchestra again take the stage conductor-less, April 18-23, to play Britten’s Fanfare for St. Edmundsbury, Mozart’s Serenade No. 11 in E-flat for winds, K.375, Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings, and Tippett’s Praeludium for brass, bells, and percussion. The full ensemble then joins forces for Britten’s well-known Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, which—in keeping with the program’s overall spirit—shines a spotlight on each section of the orchestra in turn.
BSO CONDUCTOR EMERITUS BERNARD HAITINK LEADS SCHUBERT AND MAHLER APRIL 25-30
BSO Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink—who was the Boston Symphony’s principal guest conductor from 1995 to 2004—takes the helm for the last two weeks of the season, beginning April 25-30 with symphonies of Schubert and Mahler. First comes the teenaged Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, a bracingly youthful work suggestive of Haydn and Mozart, composed in just a few weeks in the summer of 1816. After intermission, Swedish soprano Camilla Tilling joins Haitink and the orchestra for Mahler’s mellifluous Symphony No. 4, a musical journey from earth to heaven that’s also the last of Mahler’s symphonies to use words from the folk poetry collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Youth’s Magic Horn).
BSO BRINGS SEASON TO A CLOSE WITH BRAHMS AND SCHUBERT MAY 2-4
Bernard Haitink returns to the podium May 2-4 to lead the BSO’s final concerts of its 2012-13 subscription season. To start the program, the compelling Danish violinist Nikolaj Znaider is featured in Brahms’s soaring Violin Concerto. Mr. Haitink and the orchestra then end the season in grand fashion with Schubert’s Symphony in C, The Great—the composer’s ultimate symphony (in both senses of the word: it is his biggest and last word in the genre)—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.”
Click here for the BSO 2012-13 Season Listing.
40 Comments [leave a civil comment (others will be removed) and please disclose relevant affiliations]
Hope it’s an improvement on the one currently winding down..Embarrassingly Shabby!!..Being the richest orchestra in the country certainly doesn’t guarantee consistency..conductor or no conductor.
Comment by Steve brown — April 21, 2012 at 2:19 pm
The most rewarding BSO season since the Koussevitzky days?
Scroll down for the particulars:
Comment by Richard Buell — April 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm
Steve Brown is absolutely right! Next season looks extremely conservative and much of the same, I am not very hopeful.
Comment by Robert Summers — April 22, 2012 at 11:14 am
“BSO principal players and sections also once again will perform in a conductor-less program”
But this past season we had only half a conductor-less concert, no?
I in no way share the negativity expressed by others with respect to the quality of this seaon’s performances — quite the contrary — yet on the whole the programming continues to be rather humdrum. As expected. Caretaker stuff.
Comment by Jerome — April 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm
*As a Bostonian who heard Koussy live and followed his career as proponent of new music I don’t think that the upcoming season is as dull as the current one. I don’t think that Steve Brown meant that the past season was dull, just inconsistently performed. Though I thought it was dull in terms of repertoire. At my advanced age I do not want to hear the standard pieces unless a Cantelli is doing them. New is what we need, perhaps Ades as associate conductor to whoever is chosen to take the big job. Since the administration has the whatever to let various sections take over a whole concert they might let them loose on some very much more “modern” sounding pieces. Look at the San Francisco programming on line to see what Tilson Thomas does or allows as Music Director; and he is not as far out as he might be. His concerts, however, in New York of few weeks ago demonstrated a healthy commitment to modern music that wasn’t even really new. Anyway the new season looks promissing. I’ll be listening from NJ. (ps I don’t see any great young–not too– and wise eough conductors anywhere on the horizon to take over.)
Comment by Ed Robbins — April 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm
I am furious. They let Perlman to lead No. 7 symphony in the season opening concert.
It is doomed to be a disaster.
Comment by Thorsten Zhu — April 23, 2012 at 12:49 am
*YAWN! Same old programming, many of the same old war horses and many of the same 2nd rate conductors. Are the great young to middle age conductors like Salonen, Spano, Nezet-Seguin, Vasily Petrenko and Morlet all unavailable?
Yes, I’m looking forward to Tovey, Dutuit, Ades, Lehninger, Jurowski and Gatti as well as a few of the programs.
Fortunately tickets and subscription prices have again not increased and Eschenbach is here only
Mr. Zhu, yes the Perlman 7th will a disaster but I find it odd that this is your only comment about the season! It is one single concert, not 3, 4 or 5 and an extremely expensive concert at that!
Comment by Ed Burke — April 23, 2012 at 1:32 am
*Does anyone have any idea about why Spano and Petrenko have not been invited to conduct for the grand prize? Does Gatti’s conducting one of the three Carnegie Hall programs next season mean anything, or am I just instilling a drop of paranoia in the hearts of the would be’s. As for Perlman conducting a forty minute program before the champagne flows on opening night, why not? Maybe a concert performance of Lulu would be more appropriate? Sorry.
Comment by Ed Robbins — April 23, 2012 at 9:57 am
I find it odd that this is your only comment about the season! It is one single concert, not 3, 4 or 5 and an extremely expensive concert at that!
How should I read your comment, Mr. Burke? You have seen through my shallow wallet? I don’t know what was in your mind.
It is not odd (I am glad you bring this up), because Beethoven is more important than anybody else. It is painful to think about how frequently a major orchestra should play his symphonies. But Perlman has very very slim chance to do it right. It reminds me of a Europa Koncert, where C. Addabo offered similar program. The 7th was not great.
Am I obligated to tell BMI all my opinions? No.
They finally decided to have a Bruckner symphony. That is comforting, but it is still overshadowed by 2 Mahler concerts. I’d love to hear Schubert’s 5th, just before Mahler 4, BTW.
I hate Wagner excerpts. His works are too serious to be split, be selected and serve for public educational purpose. I esp. hate a concert almost full of Wagner excerpts. A concert of an entire act is very acceptable.
I am completely dissatisfied with the practice that they constantly mixed those interesting works with American compositions together. The interesting works include Dvorak 7th, Sibelius 6th and …
Fortunately, neither Perlamn nor Shaham has to play Brahms VC. BSO is exhausing the famous concerto repertoire very quickly. Is this a good thing? Maybe they think it is easier to achieve success with soloists. Brahms’ concertos are symphonic. Without a good conductor, last year’s PC2 was horrible.
The closing concert says it all. It could be a great season in some way, but will not be THAT great. Let us wish Schubert 9th’s 4th movement ends more quickly.
Ok. I think I have shared more than enough.
Comment by Thorsten Zhu — April 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm
*Does anyone know whether Ivan Fischer is a candidate for the BSO position. If not, why not? I think he’s the best out there.
Comment by Allan Kohrman — April 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm
Agree whole heartedly with Ed Rollins comments that Thomas Adès should be considered for at least associate conductor (I previously posted same) and where are the young extremely gifted conductors? I am looking forward to the following conductors next season, too few in number: Thomas Adès, Stéphane Denève, Christoph von Dohnanyi, and Oliver Knussen, and new to me Daniele Gatti, and Andris Nelsons.
Comment by Robert Summers — April 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm
Ed Robbins misses the point with his attempt to be a smart aleck re Lulu. Perlman is the problem, not the repertoire.
Check out programming in St. Louis and Seattle in addition to SF.
Note as well that Fogg has had a pretty free hand even during Levine’s tenure. At this point I begin to wonder if he’s part of the problem, too wedded to Levine’s belief that visitors should be allowed to conduct what they think is their best. That’s not exactly letting the inmates run the asylum, but close. Someone needs to have a view wider and highet than the street-level view of mixing in the soloists and giving the TFC enough to do. The vision thing, as GHW Bush had it,
Comment by Jerome — April 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm
The season reminds me of classical music radio programming – a little of this and a little of that to fill the time alloted. With almost as many conductors as concerts, a mix of war horses with some new pieces, and not much migration from the BSO’s comfort zone (I think they’ve only played two or three Bruckner symphonies in the last 15 years, and they’re repeating one of them next season), it will be a pick and choose season for me. On top of that, the BSO has eliminated the open rehearsal subscription series in an attempt to better fill the hall for the regular concerts. Many people will be excluded by price. This is a shame for the many retirees who frequented the reasonably priced rehearsal series. I can’t image many 75 year old couples standing in line for rush tickets.
Comment by Val Zanchuk — April 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm
This noon, I went to the BSO website to see if there were seats availableon May 4, that I could exchange my May 3 subscription ticket for. None came up under the “select your own seats” option. I checked to see if the system was working by seeing if anything was available on April 26. There were 16 seats available for purchase.
Does the fact that a Debussy, Mozart, Beethoven program with Haitink and Fellner seems to be virtually sold out and a Stravinsky, Beethoven one with Haitink and singers seems completely sold out — does this say anything to us about the way programming should be done if management wants to attract audiences for classical music?
Comment by Joe Whipple — April 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm
*Joe: Ordering tickets via the BSO website is, like everything else about the site, a disaster.
There are many occasions when the ticket site is down… a good friend who is very computer
literate has often had many problems when attempting to order tickets in this manner,.
Interesting..when you go to the box office on the same day that you attempt to order tickets on the website, they almost always have a wide choice of seats. Yes, I know that many people are not able to do this because of great inconvience and time constraints.
Since you are a subscriber you are able to call the box office directly and exchange your tickets
with no additional charge if you pick up the tickets on the night of the performance. Now they make you xerox or scan tickets along with faxing copies of the tickets. All of the info will be relayed to you via telephone: sometimes it takes a few phone calls before you get through to them. I went throught this process around April 10th when I exchanged my April 13th subscription tickets for the April 14th concert…(Salonen concerts).
Comment by Ed Burke — April 23, 2012 at 9:00 pm
Jerome, thank you for calling me a smart aleck. I hope I earn that accolade again. Yes, I know that Perlman will turn the 7th into gefulte fish–I’m Jewish–don’t het excited, and I hate gefulte fish. St. Louis and San Francisco have conductors with great imaginations. I made a comment earlier here about Thomas’ remarkable New York programs of a few weeks ago. He began the first concert with a song cycle by Cage. I suggest that this web site offer a prize to the best yearly set of programs one of us wise assed intellectuals or aesthetes can come up with, along with a five dollar contribution to the save the children from pomposity organization.
Comment by Ed Robbins — April 23, 2012 at 11:47 pm
*My leaving the Boston area for at least two years could not come at a better time. The only BSO concert I’ll be sorry to miss is the one conducted by Ades. I believe Gatti is conducting two of the Carnegie Hall concerts (in addition to his three “blockbusters” here), a circumstance that suggests management is giving him a very hard look despite his apparent European commitments. It is, to say the least, “disappointing” that not once in these two years of “try-outs” has there been an appearance by David Robertson or Robert Spano, both of whom are superb (American!) musicians with a penchant for interesting repertory. Why are they conspicuously avoided? Does anyone have any “insider-trading” knowledge here?
Comment by Dan Farber — April 24, 2012 at 8:52 am
Jaap van Zweden
Comment by Richard Buell — April 24, 2012 at 10:26 am
Please consider to the top of the possible new music director list Susanna Mälkki. Her concert during the 2010 – 2011 season was phenomenal, the orchestra reaction to her was the most enthusiastic and involved that I have seen in many years. Her guest appearance with the Chicago Symphony was characterized by one Chicago critic as “sensational”.
Tom Service will be starting on Friday a weekly series in the Guardian on contemporary composers commencing with Elliott Carter. Half of all the works played by the BSO each season should be by composers of our own era. More information can be found at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2012/apr/23/welcome-new-contemporary-music-guide
Comment by Robert Summers — April 24, 2012 at 2:48 pm
Is there anywhere on the BSO’s website where I can get a straight, no-frills PDF file of the season from start to finish? I hate muddling through websites that are too flashy.
Comment by Don Drewecki — April 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm
Comment by Richard Buell — April 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm
Thanks, Richard! After looking at this, I must agree with most posters here — Supermasterpieces all season. Very disappointing, except for the Thomas Ades concert and the Dutoit one with Stravinsky’s The Nightingale. Dutoit’s three T’wood appearances and three subscription weeks — does this foretell something, now that he is leaving Philadelphia?
Comment by Don Drewecki — April 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm
Robert Summers writes: “Please consider to the top of the possible new music director list
Susanna Mälkki. Her concert during the 2010 – 2011 season was
phenomenal, the orchestra reaction to her was the most enthusiastic and
involved that I have seen in many years.”
I heard that concert on the radio and found that her performance of Stravinsky’s Symphony in C was sluggish, as were most of the other performances. And, very strangely, she placed that unfamiliar work at the _end_ of her concert, with the Pulcinella Suite as the second piece. If she had reversed her Stravinskys, it would have made a more satisfying conclusion.
Conductors just don’t know how to program anymore.
Comment by Don Drewecki — April 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm
Nowadays, most artists want to be likable. Few of them want to make choices.
Even conductor like Haitink would not argue much with the program, which is pretty much the idea of the Artistic Admin (How strange is that?!)
Comment by Thorsten Zhu — April 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm
Tell me, Thorsten, do you like anything?*
Comment by Waldo — April 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm
In response to the comment about Charles Dutoit, I don’t think he’s a realistic candidate for a music director’s position in Boston. He’s in his seventies, recently married, and probably enjoying his globe trotting life style. His role in Philadelphia was as a careful preservationist and an enlightened conductor. He was very successful given his 30 year history with the orchestra and its sonic characteristics. Such a role (chief conductor) may be needed in Boston – someone to maintain artistic integrity until a music director is found, engaged, and finally arrives to conduct enough concets to begin to make an impression. Dutoit’s history with the BSO may make him a candidate if he wants to take on this responsibility again. Given the new music director experience in Philadelphia and Chicago, the new MD search could take several more years.
Comment by Val Zanchuk — April 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm
Don Drewecki is talking about a concert Ms. Mälkki conducted with the BSO replacing Yuri Temirkanov on April 23 through 25, 2009. Reviews were extremely positive see (http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=7017). And since when is Stravinsky’s Symphony In C “unfamiliar”?
The BSO concert I attended with Susanna Mälkki conducting was on 2/12/11 and included the following:
Haydn Symphony No. 59 In A, “Fire”Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (2008) American Premier by Korean-German composer Unsuk Chin, Alban GerhardtDvorak “Silent Woods”, Opus 68, NO 5, Arranged for Cello and OrchestraSibelius Symphony No. 5 In E-Flat, Opus 82
She knocked my socks off!! Tremendous performance!!! The audience reaction was similar to mine.
This Friday and Saturday Ms. Mälkki will be conducting the San Francisco Symphony in a program of Grisey (Modulations from Les Espaces acoustiques); Prokofiev (Piano Concerto No. 3, with Horatio Gutiérrez), and Sibelius (Symphony No. 1) in Davies Symphony Hall. Where is the management of the BSO, are they still out to lunch!
Ms. Mälkki has conducted most if not all the major orchestras on planet earth. Why does the BSO continue not to engage her? Time for a change in management!
More on Susanna Mälkki
Comment by Robert Summers — April 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm
in this season, Mutter (and Mutter only), Mahler 1 (I hated the review though).
I thought serious music is all about perfection and not to abuse the word ‘perfection’. Great music works usually don’t serve as doses of happiness, neither do good music critiques.
Comment by Thorsten Zhu — April 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm
Well, it is always “bitchy” to judge season programs of leaderless orchestra. The orchestra runners piled up into the season a sensible mix of wide public-saleable programs. The season does not look too exciting to me but I am a freak of nature and I would need back-to-back Bruckner and Bach marathons conducted by long time dead conductors to find any excitement in that Symphony Hall. The universal appeal of the programs is something that BSO runners went after and it was for sure a secure bet, even though not too stimulating for some tangential snobs. For my money I am not too disappointed regarding the BSO’s 2013 program. It is what it is, move to Austria or Germany if you want any better. My primary concern is about quality of playing and the “load” or depth of interpretations. As fluffy BSO’s 2013 program is, it still might be an incredibly thrilling season if whatever is scheduled be played “interestingly”. That is what I wish to BSO and to all BMI readers: to have a 2013 season in which quality of performing be able to overshadow the lightweightness of repertoire. Well, against I am coming with my stupid wishful thinning…
Comment by Romy The Cat — April 26, 2012 at 9:48 am
*Well, I admit that a Bruckner/Bach program conducted by a long dead conductor would have irresistible charm — and we could all bring black orchids, silver tulips and white roses to give to the revenant in appreciation, “a la russe.” Which conductor and which pieces do you have in mind for the opening concert?
Comment by Ashley — April 27, 2012 at 9:44 am
Sounds like Romy wants sth like Bruckner 7th 2nd movement + Siegfried Idyll for the opening.
But I would argue, too noble for most audience members. That is the truth.
and why so sentimental (for nothing)?
Comment by Thorsten Zhu — April 27, 2012 at 11:15 am
*** Which conductor and which pieces do you have in mind for the opening concert?
Why juts an opening concert? I am on Bruckner dally diet and I do not mind to endure Bruckner marathon, the longer the better, probably not by BSO thought…An opening concert that would make my tail trembling would something like Gunter Wand taking BSO to Bruckner Eight. I would if somebody like Wand would be able to milk BSO to more serious Sound than necessary to play another grotesque Rite or Sting or another cheesy second suite from Daphnis et Chloé
Comment by Romy The Cat — April 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm
Get well soon Maestro Masur.
Comment by Robert Summers — April 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm
*Dutoit might just be the ticket (excuse the pun). He could serve as Principal Conductor for a full five-year term, provided that the routine work of a music director were not shoved onto his plate, and an assistant conductor whom Dutoit trusted took over the mundane tasks.
This approach has worked well with the London Symphony Orchestra (Colin Davis).
Comment by Dan Lobb — April 28, 2012 at 12:53 am
*As a loyal attendee of the BSO, I thought this season was one of the best, given the many conductors present. The orchestra is the wonderful substrate that keeps us all excited and looking forward to next season. Its a fine orchestra and no need to move to Europe.
Comment by Bentley the Parrot — April 30, 2012 at 10:51 am
“I thought serious music is all about perfection and not to abuse the word ‘perfection’. Great music works usually don’t serve as doses of happiness, neither do good music critiques.
Comment by Thorsten Zhu — April 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm“
Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner on this, but I’ve never thought that it’s “all about perfection.” The composer may seek perfection, as may the performers, but for listeners to demand nothing less is to hold performers to an inhuman and impossible standard, which must doom the listener to constant disappointment. For me serious music is all about enjoyment of good (but usually less than perfect) things, where competent people are doing well.
P.S. My apologies if this is all in italics. The button went haywire after I italicized the quote.
Comment by Joe Whipple — April 30, 2012 at 11:49 am
Bob Summers writes: “Don Drewecki is talking about a concert Ms. Mälkki conducted with the BSO replacing Yuri Temirkanov on April 23 through 25, 2009. Reviews were extremely positive see (http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=7017). And since when is Stravinsky’s Symphony In C “unfamiliar”? “
Bob, I can recall very few performances of the Stravinsky Symphony in C in concerts of the BSO, NY Phil or Philadelphians, all of whom I follow carefully. I can’t think of the last time I saw that work listed on concert programs — more likely I will see the Symphony in Three Movements.
As for Mälkki’s I felt those performances were sluggish, but don’t take my word for it. Listen, if you can, to Stravinsky’s own mid-1950s recording (in mono) with the Cleveland Orchestra. That performance was issued by Sony Classical in its “Masterworks Heritage” series, and it was a revelation. Plus, that set has a 3.5-minute clip of Stravinsky rehearsing at that very recording session, where you hear him ask for lively tempi, sharp accents and a dry sound — “Sec, sec, sec” he says repeatedly.
Here it is at Amazon. If anyone wants to hear tremendous woodwind playing of a kind no longer present in American orchestras, buy this.
Comment by Don Drewecki — April 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm
*The highest compliment from one of my music teachers was, “Imperfect, but thrilling.”
Comment by perry41 — April 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm
some people would never say perfect.
But whatif there is another music player who can make the teacher say ‘perfect and trilling’?
BTW, I noticed that Phoenix stopped listing BSO concerts a few weeks ago. Why is BSO hated by an entertaining newspaper?
Comment by Thorsten Zhu — May 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm
Fwiw, Jeffrey Gantz’s review of this concert in the Globe was on of the best things he has written and one of the alltime great reviews/descriptions of the work, I think. (Requires login.) Tongue of bat indeed.
Comment by david moran — May 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm
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