This week’s BSO concert is entitled “Three Romantics,” and features Canadian pianist Louis Lortie. Juanjo Mena is conducting, and the program includes R. Strauss’ Don Juan, Schumann’s piano concerto, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 3.
I like the romantic period, but I can’t say I am particularly well-versed in any of these pieces, or composers really. So I perused the program notes to see if there was anything interesting. Here are some highlights:
Strauss’ first two tones poems were unsuccessful, but his third, Don Juan, went well. It was inspired by Wagner. Make of that what you will.
Before their marriage, Robert wrote to Clara: “I cannot write a concerto for a virtuoso. I must think of something else.” By a “concerto for a virtuoso” he was thinking of his contemporaries Paganini, Liszt, Thalberg and Hummel, who wrote works that served mostly to display their extraordinary technical abilities while the orchestra played discreetly in the background. In an article in his Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Schumann praised a concerto by Moscheles because the piano “makes an imaginative interplay with the orchestra, each instrument having its own role, its own say and its own significance.” And this is what he achieved in his own concerto: a dialogue of soloist and orchestra, with the woodwinds—especially the solo clarinet and oboe—having particularly prominent parts.
His symphony no. 3 is subtle. Also ruggedly masculine.
They liked girls.
The concerts are Thursday, May 13 and Friday, May 14 at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff and Saturday, May 15 at 8 pm at Strathmore. In the immortal words of Dennis Owen: there you are. Now sit down and shut up.
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