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Tanglewood 2024 Looks Good

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This summer’s two months at Tanglewood offer a more varied and richer schedule than ever, on the fully equipped campus in Lenox that has abundances for every taste. The Boston Symphony shares the Shed and other halls with several other orchestras; recitals and chamber music abound, beginning with a String Quartet Marathon of three concerts on June 30th. The calendar is HERE. Tickets go on sale March 19th .

The listing that I received has some gaps (programs not yet determined), but Beethoven’s orchestral music appears on no fewer than six dates (July 5 and 21, August 4, 18, 24, and 25), including four symphonies (of course the 9th) and three concerti. Stravinsky appears on four dates (July 12 and 15, August 9 and 10). There’s an entire evening of Richard Strauss (July 7). Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony will be performed twice, by the TMC Orchestra on July 8 with Nelsons, and the National Children’s Symphony of Venezuela on August 8 with Dudamel.

Picnic on the lawn (Hilary Scott photo)

The Fourth of July is honored by James Taylor and his All-Star Band, a benefit concert for Tanglewood, with fireworks to follow. Tanglewood on Parade on August 6th will provide the usual Tchaikovsky. I am opposed to pyrotechnics for environmental and economic reasons, but what can you do about these two beloved traditions? The summer doesn’t offer any Bach, and only a little Dvořák (7th), Mahler (4th), Brahms (3rd), Rimsky-Korsakov (Scheherazade), quite a bit of Mozart including four piano concerti (14, 17, 20 and 25 with Emanuel Ax), but Copland’s Piano Concerto, a rarely heard jazzy gem, will be on July 28, and Chopin’s No. 1 on August 23th, and Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety on July 19th. (Orchestra players are supposed to detest the Chopin concertos, but those who do are wrong; they should listen.)

There will be some remarkable specialties. The Boston Pops Orchestra will accompany a projection of Jurassic Park with John Williams’s score, live! As if in contrast, the entire Act III of Wagner’s Die Götterdämmerung, with Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde, will be heard on July 20. I hope that next year they will do Act I, which is Wagner at the absolute peak of his powers. A “Koussevitzky 150th Celebration” is featured on July 26, to include Scriabin’s Prometheus and Koussevitzky’s own Concerto for Double Bass, with the BSO’s own Edwin Barker playing the solo. (Stravinsky’s Memories and Commentaries, 1960, mention how Koussevitzky came on stage with his double bass to play a recital piece, and the publisher Byelayev “turned to me and said, ‘Until now, such things have been seen only in circuses.’” Koussevitzky was of course well known as a virtuoso bass player, but he was also a rival publisher, doubtless to Byelayev’s annoyance.)

The TMC Festival of Contemporary Music, what some of us still call Fromm Week, July 25th-29th, offers seventeen composers, plus works by Tania León and Steven Mackey, directors, on each of six programs. There will be piano recitals by Jeremy Denk and Yuja Wang, and all manner of chamber music, and, on August 30th, even Judy Collins and friends. Lastly, once can savor a list of debuts and represented living composers HERE.

Mark DeVoto, musicologist and composer, is an expert on the music of Alban Berg, Debussy, and other early 20th-century composers. A graduate of Harvard College (1961) and Princeton (Ph.D., 1967), he has published on many music subjects, and edited the revised fourth (1978) and fifth (1987) editions of Harmony by his teacher Walter Piston.

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  1. I was hoping for Bruckner but will keep hope
    alive for the 2024-25 season. Nelsons has recorded the cycle with Dresden; how about performing the Fifth this coming year.

    Comment by William Keller — February 2, 2024 at 7:04 pm

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