Opening on September 22nd with Holst’s view of our solar system in orbit, Boston Symphony Orchestra inks a season of vibrancy and variety. Eighteen works by living composers, including seven world- and American premieres will share the stage with a Nelsons-led concert performance of Act III of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, the continuation of the Shostakovich cycle, and signature repertoire works by Bach, Beethoven, Bernstein, Brahms, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. Click HERE for the complete calendar. Subscription renewals are open now, and general ticketing beings on August 8th.
Mark DeVoto opines: “The BSO’s 142nd season includes much to admire and anticipate with pleasure: A number of new works by young and promising composers, including even a few Americans; many young guest conductors; a relatively low quotient of tired warhorses (Sibelius 5, Strauss Alpensymphonie, Enescu Rumanian 1), and a few grand old long-neglected but beloved warhorses (Planets, Rachmaninoff 2 — good to see those fellows listed again). BSO last did Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, a piece I derided as bad-taste in my callow youth but now recognize as an inspired work of genius, at Symphony Hall in 2016 and Tanglewood in 2018 Over the years it trended toward status as a Pops staple. Some unexpected rarely-heard major items are planned as well: Mozart’s B-flat Major Piano Concerto, K. 456, which I heard with delight 30 years ago in Symphony Hall (Orpheus with Radu Lupu); Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade for violin and orchestra, a much more valuable piece than the drab Chichester Psalms with which it shares the program; Mahler’s Sixth Symphony (an entire concert!), which back in 1966 the BSO actually recorded with Leinsdorf, and stunningly; Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin Suite, of surpassing orchestral brilliance. Stravinsky’s 1947 Petrushka (only a connoisseur recognizes it as orchestrally inferior to the original 1911 version) and Perséphone, which aesthetically is not to every Stravinskyan’s taste. We’re getting rather too much Shostakovich, as usual, but this is one of Andris Nelsons’s current fixations and we have to give in to him; at least we get both of the piano concertos on a single concert. If Rachmaninoff seems too heavily represented with three works, at least we will hear the Symphonic Dances, his last composition (and IMHO his best — remind me to tell you how it sums up his achievement). A whole evening of Wagner’s Tannhäuser! And a tribute to Lili Boulanger with her charming D’un Matin de printemps; though it should be no one else’s concern, this is gratifying to me also because I have been president, off and on for 40 years, of the struggling Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund, Inc., which has promoted her legacy. So what of the weak spots in the season? Well, Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto is pretty bad, and so is Górecki’s Symphony no. 3; and I wish management included more American classics, such as works by Copland or Piston who were performed all the time when they were alive. I suppose you can consider Bloch’s Schelomo an American classic; I remember when Samuel Mayes played it at Tanglewood in the summer of 1959 when Bloch died, so it will be good once more to hear the “voice crying in the wilderness,” like much else we hear every day. ”
The BSO believes that music can impart a deeper understanding of our common humanity. Voices of Loss, Reckoning, and Hope, a three-week festival, March 3–18, will explore stories of perseverance and justice in society with powerful works by American composers: Julia Wolfe’s Her Story, which broadly speaks to the continuing struggle for women’s rights; Anthony Davis’ haunting clarinet concerto, You Have the Right to Remain Silent, with soloist Anthony McGill, about the emotional consequences of experiences with law enforcement; and Uri Caine’s The Passion of Octavius Catto, which reflects on the life of the Philadelphia civil rights activist. The Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI) will present programming featuring guest speakers, panel discussions, and chamber music concerts that encourage dialogue on social change by expanding on the subjects covered by the festival’s featured works. Complete details to be announced at a later date.
Musical perspectives on the tragedies of war and conflict, including Osvaldo Golijov’s Falling Out of Time, Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, Ella Milch-Sheriff’s The Eternal Stranger, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, Babi Yar will constitute another intense thematic focus.
Andris Nelsons “… looks forward touching hearts and revealing the many stories and emotions that bring us together as a human family. We welcome an extraordinary spectrum of composers and artists who will share their unique musical perspectives with the orchestra and our audiences.” CEO Gail Samuel adds, “Music has a profound ability to bear witness.”