April 15, 2021
THIS WEEK: THE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA’S ONLINE PERFORMANCE (WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW)
BSO NOW NEW ONLINE VIDEO STREAMS CONTINUE TODAY AT NOON WITH THE RELEASE OF THE FIRST BSO PERFORMANCE OF THE SERIES PATHWAYS OF ROMANTICISM; BSO MUSIC DIRECTOR ANDRIS NELSONS LEADS A PROGRAM OF BRAHMS AND SCHUMANN, WITH CHAMBER MUSIC BY MARTI EPSTEIN, AVAILABLE AT WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW
Click here to listen to short excerpts of the BSO performing Brahms’ Serenade No. 2 in A major, Op. 16 and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120, under the baton of BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons
ALL NEW BSO NOW ONLINE CONCERTS—UNDER THE TITLE MUSIC IN CHANGING TIMES—LAUNCH ON THURSDAYS AT NOON AT WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW; EACH VIDEO STREAM IS AVAILABLE FOR 30 DAYS BEYOND ITS ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE
BSO NOW ONLINE PRESENTATIONS—AVAILABLE STARTING THURSDAYS AT NOON, NOVEMBER 19 THROUGH APRIL 29—FEATURE NEWLY RECORDED HOUR-LONG VIDEO PERFORMANCES BY THE BOSTON SYMPHONY, BOSTON POPS, AND BSO MUSICIANS IN CHAMBER MUSIC, ALONG WITH BEHIND-THE-SCENES STORYTELLING WITH CONDUCTORS, COMPOSERS, AND MUSICIANS, PLUS MUCH MORE
BSO NOW VIDEO STREAMS LAUNCHING IN APRIL: THREE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PERFORMANCES WITH THE THEME PATHWAYS OF ROMANTICISM, AVAILABLE AT WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW
• Available at noon today through May 15: Andris Nelsons conducts the BSO in Brahms’ Serenade No. 2 in A, Op. 16, and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120; chamber music performance to feature Marti Epstein’s Komorebi, with BSO musicians John Ferrillo, oboe; William R. Hudgins, clarinet; and Elita Kang, violin
• Thursday, April 22, at noon; available through May 22: Andris Nelsons leads a program of Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 10 in B minor; Weber’s Concertino in E-flat for clarinet and orchestra, with BSO Principal Clarinet William R. Hudgins as soloist; and Schumann’s Concert Piece for four horns and orchestra, with the BSO’s Richard Sebring, Michael Winter, Rachel Childers, and Jason Snider as soloists; chamber music performance to feature Still’s Suite for violin and piano, with BSO violinist Victor Romanul and pianist Randall Hodgkinson
• Thursday, April 29, at noon; available through May 29: Andris Nelsons leads an all-Strauss program, including Serenade in E-flat for Thirteen Wind Instruments and three Interludes from the opera Intermezzo; chamber music performance to feature Jennifer Higdon’s Autumn Music for wind quintet, with BSO musicians Cynthia Meyers, flute; Robert Sheena, oboe; Thomas Martin, clarinet; Richard Ranti, bassoon; and Rachel Childers, horn
BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, Principal Clarinet William R. Hudgins, Associate Principal Horn Richard Sebring, Second Horn Rachel Childers
BSO NOW STREAMS PREVIOUSLY RELEASED IN MARCH AND APRIL, INCLUDING TWO ARCHIVAL STREAMS AND TWO BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ONLINE PERFORMANCES THEMED “A FRAGILE PIECE: BETWEEN THE WARS,” ARE STILL AVAILABLE AT WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW
• Available for viewing through April 17: David Robertson leads the orchestra in an all-French program of Milhaud’s La Création du monde, Honegger’s Pastorale d’été, and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G with Inon Barnatan as soloist; chamber music performance to feature American composer Marion Bauer’s Forgotten Modes, Op. 29, for solo flute, with Elizabeth Klein, BSO Assistant Principal Flute
• Available for viewing through April 24: Andris Nelsons conducts the BSO in an all-Russian program of Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 and Tahiti Trot; chamber music performance to feature American composer Eda Rapoport’s Poem, Op. 14, for viola and piano, with BSO violist Michael Zaretsky and pianist Randall Hodgkinson
• Available for viewing through May 1: Colin Davis (BSO Principal Guest Conductor, 1972–84) leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey” from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, originally recorded on April 3, 1976; Sibelius’ Symphony No. 6, originally recorded on November 29, 1975; and Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture (In London Town), originally recorded on January 7, 1978
• Available for viewing through May 8: Seiji Ozawa (BSO Music Director, 1973–2002) conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra in excerpts from Acts II and III of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, originally recorded on October 25, 1978
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ABOUT THE FIRST-EVER STREAMING BSO YOUTH CONCERT (RELEASED MARCH 5) AND ARCHIVAL BSO FAMILY CONCERT VIDEOS (RELEASING APRIL 30)—BOTH FEATURING THOMAS WILKINS—AS WELL AS INFORMATION ABOUT A NEW PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE BSO AND BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
BSO FAMILY CONCERT STREAM TO BE RELEASED TO GENERAL PUBLIC FREE OF CHARGE ON MAY 13, AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND THROUGH JUNE 30 AT WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW
Thomas Wilkins speaking at a Family Concert (photo credit: Hilary Scott)
INFORMATION ON HOW TO ACCESS BSO NOW NEWLY RECORDED ONLINE VIDEO CONTENT TO BE DISTRIBUTED AT WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW, THURSDAYS AT NOON, THROUGH APRIL 29
• THE COMPLETE SERIES OF BSO NOW PROGRAMMING IS AVAILABLE IN RECOGNITION OF DONATIONS OF $100 OR MORE BY VISITING WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW; PRICING STRUCTURE FOR BSO NOW ONLINE STREAMS TO CHANGE WITH FURTHER DETAILS TO BE ANNOUNCED AT A LATER DATE
• DETAILS ABOUT THE ESSENTIAL WORKERS ACCESS PROGRAM AND COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS FOR BSO SUBSCRIBERS, COLLEGE CARD HOLDERS, CORPORATE PARTNERS, AND CURRENT BSO, POPS, AND TANGLEWOOD DONORS OF $100 OR MORE, AS WELL AS INFORMATION ABOUT A COMPLIMENTARY 24-HOUR TRIAL ACCESS PROGRAM FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC, ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW
FURTHER DETAILS ABOUT BSO NOW
CONCERT STREAMS SCHEDULED FOR APRIL
BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons leads works by two closely associated composers, Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, in the first of three programs in “Pathways of Romanticism,” the final series of the BSO’s 2020-21 streaming season.
These two composers, in their very different ways, help define German Romantic music in the middle of the 19th century. Brahms’ Serenade No. 2, which opens the program, reflects the composer’s deep reverence for the German and Viennese musical traditions. Contrasting strongly with his tumultuous Piano Concerto No. 1, written at about the same time in the late 1850s, the Serenade No. 2 reveals hidden depths of expression within its fundamentally bucolic warmth and high spirits. Brahms’ friend and mentor Robert Schumann composed his Symphony No. 4 originally in 1841. It was the second symphony he’d embarked on, having written the Symphony No. 1 earlier the same year. However, dissatisfied with the result of the new symphony, he shelved it for ten years before revising the orchestration and structure, at which time he published it as his Opus 120. Influenced by the Fifth Symphony and other Beethoven works, Schumann uses recurring thematic ideas to tie together the four movements of this majestic score.
Our chamber music work is Cambridge-based composer Marti Epstein’s nuanced trio Komorebi, a musical meditation on the Japanese term for light shining through tree leaves—and a contemporary composer’s take on the Romantic age’s love of imagery. The BSO musicians performing the work are John Ferrillo, oboe; William R. Hudgins, clarinet; and Elita Kang, violin. (Latvian violinist Baiba Skride, a frequent collaborator with Andris Nelsons and the BSO, was originally scheduled to perform Schumann’s Violin Concerto in D minor on this program. Unfortunately, she was not able to travel to the U.S. at the time of recording.)
Click here to listen to a short excerpt from Marti Epstein’s Komorebi with BSO violinist Elita Kang, clarinetist William R. Hudgins, and oboist John Ferrillo
In the second episode of our final series, BSO members are centerstage in two Romantic concertos. BSO Principal Clarinet William R. Hudgins is soloist in Carl Maria von Weber’s brief Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra, which the BSO hasn’t performed since 1884. (The Pops played it most recently in 1983.) This virtuosic theme-and-variations piece straddles the Classical and Romantic eras: written in 1811, it’s an early work in the catalog of the composer who virtually invented German Romantic opera. Four BSO horns perform Robert Schumann’s unusual Conzertstück, which was premiered in Leipzig in 1850 and which Schumann called “one of my best pieces.” The soloists here are treated as a collective rather than four completely independent voices. The BSO’s string sections are highlighted in the opening work, Felix Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 10. Mendelssohn—whose childhood precocity rivaled Mozart’s—wrote this assured, stormy piece over five days in May 1823 at age fourteen. Closing this episode is William Grant Still’s Suite for violin and piano (1943), the three movements of which were each inspired by works by three great African American sculptors of the mid-20th century.
In the final program of our 2020-21 season, Andris Nelsons returns to a focus of his recent conducting activity: music of Richard Strauss. Strauss was only 18 when his Serenade for Winds, Op. 7, was premiered in Dresden. Its classical clarity is in stark contrast to the lush, almost cinematic orchestral Interludes from the composer’s 1923 opera Intermezzo, composed 40 years later. Based on an episode in Strauss’ life, the plot of the libretto (written by the composer himself) revolves around a misunderstanding that drives the wife of a conductor to jealous extremes. Strauss called his opera a “bourgeois comedy with symphonic interludes,” indicating the importance of the purely orchestral music of the four interludes, which respectively tell of the bustle and joy of travel, an introspective scene by the fireside, a card-playing scene, and a brief happy ending touching on many of the opera’s main themes. The American composer Jennifer Higdon’s colorful, energetic 1995 wind quintet Autumn Music, which was in part inspired by Samuel Barber’s Summer Music, is this program’s chamber music work.
As with the season’s other BSO NOW offerings, this month’s three online video streams are accompanied by magazine segments. These features put Romanticism in historical and cultural context. This week’s magazine feature, “Hallmarks of Romanticism,” explores how influences from painting and literature were strong factors in the work of such early Romantic composers as Weber, Mendelssohn, and Schumann.
The BSO NOW concert streaming platform launched in November and was created in response to the live performance hiatus in place since March 2020, due to the restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic. Most BSO NOW concert streams are available for on-demand viewing for 30 days past their original launch dates through bso.org/now. Formal BSO titles for conductors referenced in this release: Andris Nelsons is the Ray and Maria Stata BSO Music Director and Thomas Wilkins is the BSO’s Artistic Advisor, Education and Community Engagement, and Germeshausen Youth and Family Concerts Conductor.
WEEKLY ENCORE BSO CONCERT BROADCASTS ON CRB CLASSICAL 99.5 FM AND WWW.CLASSICALWCRB.ORG
CRB Classical 99.5 FM and www.classicalwcrb.org continue to feature encore Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts on Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. The program for Saturday, April 17, led by Andris Nelsons, features Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, with pianist Hélène Grimaud as soloist, and the composer’s Symphony No. 4, as well as the world premiere of Timo Andres’ BSO-commissioned Everything Happens So Much. This performance originally took place in November 2016.
INFORMATION ON THE NEW STREAMING PLATFORM, BSO NOW
On November 19, the Boston Symphony Orchestra launched BSO NOW, an expanded online presence with newly recorded hour-long video streams by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Andris Nelsons and guest conductors; the Boston Pops, under the direction of Keith Lockhart; and BSO musicians in chamber music, as well as BSO Youth and Family Concerts, under the direction of Thomas Wilkins, and special projects featuring the orchestra’s educational and community partnerships. Most BSO NOW video streams feature a magazine-type segment, with behind-the-scenes storytelling with conductors, composers, and musicians, plus much more. All BSO NOW newly recorded programs are released on select Thursdays at noon through April 29, at www.bso.org/now, with each program remaining available for 30 days after its initial posting. The BSO, Pops, and youth-focused video performances are recorded from the stage of Symphony Hall—widely considered one of the top three acoustic concert halls in the world—which is featured for all its beautiful detail and historic significance.
On January 6, 2021, Andris Nelsons returned for the first time to Symphony Hall in nearly a year. (Photo credit: Aram Boghosian)
INFORMATION ABOUT ONLINE PROGRAMMING CREATED IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 CONCERT CANCELLATIONS
BSO NOW—the BSO’s expanded digital content series recorded at Symphony Hall and made available through bso.org/now beginning on November 19—is part of the BSO’s continuing series of online offerings created in response to the live performance hiatus imposed by regulations around the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing health crisis. In response to this hiatus from live performances, the BSO launched its expanded digital offerings on March 26, 2020 with BSO at Home and BSO HomeSchool, followed by Boston Pops at Home (all available at www.bso.org), the Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival (www.tanglewood.org), and Encore BSO Recitals (www.bso.org). The success of these programs, which have generated millions of interactions—both directly with the actual online content and indirectly through posts on the orchestra’s social media channels about that content—has been an inspiration for the orchestra to continue to explore new ways of reaching its music community and beyond with new, innovative, and compelling programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of March 13, 2020, the orchestra has been forced to cancel the remainder of its 2019-20 BSO Youth Concert Series and 2019-20 BSO season and the entire 2020 Boston Pops, 2020 Tanglewood, 2020 Holiday Pops, and 2020-21 BSO seasons. The series of announcements detailing the full slate of cancellations by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, beginning on March 13, 2020, can be found here. The 2021 Tanglewood season will proceed with a six-week schedule of live concerts, from July 9 through August 16; click here for more information about the 2021 Tanglewood season.
INFORMATION ON THE BSO’S REOPENING STRATEGY FOR ITS BSO NOWONLINE RECORDING SCHEDULE AT SYMPHONY HALL
Working with 9 Foundations, Inc., the BSO’s reopening strategy for its BSO NOW online recording schedule at Symphony Hall includes a robust testing schedule, two layers of daily screening, social distancing, universal masking, engineering controls, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. (Click here for additional details.) In addition, BSO musicians sit on a 35.5-foot stage extension—more than doubling the size of the stage—especially built to accommodate official social distancing requirements between orchestra members.
With the health and safety of everyone involved the highest priority, the BSO will continually monitor updates from the Centers for Disease Control, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the City of Boston, as well as its own team of experts, to determine when it can gradually start inviting audiences back to Symphony Hall and its other venues. All official Boston Symphony Orchestra updates will be announced through press releases and postings on www.bso.org.
BSO SEASON SPONSORS:
Bank of America is the Lead BSO Season Sponsor for the 2020-21 season, supporting the Music in Changing Times programming and other BSO digital offerings, including the launch of the essential workers ticket program. Arbella Insurance Foundation, a longtime sponsor, is continuing its major sponsorship for the 15th season as the “Music for All” sponsor, supporting our education and outreach programs so that everyone has access to great classical music in our community. Fairmont Copley Plaza, Official Hotel of the BSO, and Commonwealth Worldwide Executive Transportation, the Official Chauffeured Transportation of the BSO, will support our artists and recording crew’s travel needs for the newly recorded online video content.