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The Boston Symphony Orchestra: A Review

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, an institution dating back to 1881, offers weekly concerts honoring a variety of composers and the music that makes them so famous. For example, the list of March performances includes works of Beethoven, Brahms, Stravinsky, Mozart, and Gershwin. As an avid classical music fan and regular symphony supporter, I was excited to see an American premiere of a composer who I did not recognize, Hartmann, and after the intermission, to take in a piece composed for winds by Mozart.

I had mixed expectations about the Hartmann performance: Why did the BSO choose this piece to make an American premiere? Would it be good? If so, surely other Americans would have included it in their repertoire. I found Hartmann’s music at times to be quite beautiful, but it mostly seemed to drift about in one’s ears and attention. Each of the three Hartmann pieces ended in a dramatic plucky ending. By the last piece, the composer’s recipe for a finale was unfortunately too obvious for the audience. A quick gut check with some of the small talk going on at the champagne bar revealed that my sentiments were right on. Just as you were about to enjoy the music, the direction would shift and you were left slightly confused.

Mozart’s Serenade No. 10 for winds after the intermission came with much enthusiasm. Returning to the seats, you noticed that the orchestra was significantly smaller – this next piece of music was solely for the wind instruments. The pieces in this performance of the night were light, happy, while also cohesive. Mozart, a self-proclaimed lover of the clarinet, wrote wonderful music to show off his favorite instrument. This particular piece was not written for performances, but rather to be played as chamber music during glamorous parties of the day. And while pleasant to listen to, it doesn’t require too much concentration.

The night was well-done, but not the best that I’ve witnessed in Symphony history. To be fair, I do believe it is important to test out a variety of music and composers, rather than just cycle through the safe bets. BSO’s Music Director and Conductor had the night off, and another conductor, Ingo Metzmacher, did a fine job conducting in his place. The line-up for the rest of the March schedule looks fantastic, with elegant and well-known pieces on deck. As a student, prices for admission are $15.

Boston Symphony Orchestra
301 Massachusetts Avenue
617-266-1492
Price: $15 Student Tickets

Upcoming Schedule:

March 15 Tuesday
8:00 PM – Wagner: The Flying Dutchman

March 17 Thursday
10:30 AM – Ives, VarŠse and Gershwin (Rehearsal)
8:00 PM – Ives, VarŠse and Gershwin

March 18 Friday
1:30 PM – Ives, VarŠse and Gershwin

March 19 Saturday
8:00 PM – Ives, VarŠse and Gershwin

March 20 Sunday
3:00 PM – Copland, Barber, Strauss and Beethoven

March 22 Tuesday
8:00 PM – Ives, VarŠse and Gershwin

March 23 Wednesday
7:30 PM – Harbison, Stravinsky, Wuorinen and Brahms (Rehearsal)

March 24 Thursday
8:00 PM – Harbison, Stravinsky, Wuorinen and Brahms

March 25 Friday
1:30 PM – Harbison, Stravinsky, Wuorinen and Brahms

March 26 Saturday
8:00 PM – Harbison, Stravinsky, Wuorinen and Brahms

March 14, 2005
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