Alan Gilbert, in his 20th-anniversary look with the BSO, whom I wrote about [HERE] in 2009, likes to assemble uncommon packages. This time he dropped at Boston a big discovery, hidden away for therefore a few years: the Serenade in F Main, op. 31, by Wilhelm Stenhammar, composed 1909-14. Numerous sources hail Stenhammar (1871-1927) as Sweden’s barely youthful reply to Finland’s Sibelius, certainly a post-Wagnerian late Romantic just like the Czech Josef Suk, whose work this one jogged my memory of. Its 5 actions final a little bit greater than half an hour. The Overtura begins principally with brightly hurrying and even frantic higher strings, elegantly answered with a quartet of solo cellos. Winds have a lesser, principally punctuating position right here, which might be why the Canzonetta second motion introduced forth extra distinguished wind sound, starting with a high quality cantilena for clarinet in heat dialogue with cellos. This motion was actually a waltz, filled with rubato and northern melody similar to Tchaikovsky would have admired. The scherzo that adopted, marked Presto, was a wild trip, furiously developed with vibrant horns, and plenty of speedy four-bar teams coalescing right into a march supported by an emotional snare drum. The top of this lengthy scherzo settled on a low E pedal within the strings that rose octave by octave into the excessive register and gently led into the Notturno fourth motion, a chorale in A minor with an eloquent oboe solo, adopted by paired flutes, oboes and clarinets over unison strings. The finale begins with a noticeable Russian sixth (see my observe about this attribute northern gesture HERE, and a dawn horn name, quickly altering to galloping triplets with dotted rhythm, however this quickly turned a spaciously modulating texture, a well-controlled post-Brahmsian chromatic language refreshingly enriched with Debussyan ninths. Finally the dawn turned a quiet sundown, and the whole motion led to a transparent, excessive pianissimo F main, not shocking however satisfying. The comparatively excessive tessitura of most of this good-looking work’s string texture validated it as a real serenade, not as a symphony nor even a sinfonietta. Maybe as a result of certainly one of Alan Gilbert’s common conducting properties is The Royal Opera in Stockholm, this little-known Swedish masterpiece reached Tangelwood in 2021 and Symphony Corridor this weekend. (On his subsequent go to he ought to deliver some extra Stenhammar, and even a symphony by an amazing Swedish predecessor, Franz Berwald, 1796-1868.)
Justin Dello Joio’s 20-minute-long Piano Concerto Oceans Aside obtained its long-delayed premiere on this sequence; composed as a Boston Symphony co-commission for Garrick Ohlsson, the work was meant for a premiere a number of years in the past however was not accomplished in time. One cause for the delay might have been the very massive orchestra required, with woodwinds by threes, brass with 4 totally different sorts of mutes, a number of divided strings, and an enormous percussion division. The composer, carrying a shawl round his shoulders, got here to the stage earlier than the efficiency to elucidate the private and political significance of the title: folks of as we speak shifting an increasing number of away from one another. This clarification helped me perceive why the brand new work didn’t sound in any respect like La mer, despite advanced Debussian orchestral textures in speedy divided string figurations of indefinite notes continually in senza misura, the propensity of particular person gamers beginning and stopping irregulary, and the abundance of regularized arpeggios in bunched woodwinds. The orchestra was continually combating with itself with accents in shouts, growls, wails, and sffz barks, and glissing strings that always seemed like an Onde Martenot; sometimes a perceptible beat sample emerged with a particular sense of ahead movement. The piano half took on extra regularity of patterns, alternating between broken-chord teams shifting by chromatic scale up and down the keyboard à la Liszt, and big-fisted chords within the Tchaikovsky 19th-century grand method concerto type. In some delicate moments, a particular harmonic language emerged, although typically blurred by the general sound: distinguished tritones with octave doubling in the beginning and returning equally close to the top; Ravel’s beloved inverted-ninth sonority (think about B flat-C sharp-E-A in shut place), suggesting jazz keyboard type; and a haunting, poignant look of pure triads in a quiet piano cadenza. I loved watching one trombonist continually juggling mutes: straight mute, Harmon B – Aluminum Wow Wow mute, cup mute, and rubber plunger (I seemed for a bucket mute however didn’t see one). With just a few exceptions, within the quietest passages, I couldn’t hear a lot of the frilly percussion, apart from the rainstick, bell tree, and small gong imitating a thunder sheet, which proved eerily efficient. One had a tough time comprehending Oceans Aside as a concerto within the sense of joint motion in cooperative dialogue. Within the unique Latin sense concertare tranlates to wrestle, “to take care of zealously.” One might digest it although as oceanic separation of struggles. Garrick Ohlsson, probably the greatest pianists alive, grasped this nettle—gloves-off—with assertive confidence and even delight. Gilbert assembled all the things with precision.
The live performance had begun with a brisk, five-minute, cheerful, post-Impressionist sendoff. Lili Boulanger’s D’un matin de printemps, contains adumbrations of Ravel’s concord of the late Twenties though Lili Boulanger, a near-genius and the primary girl ever to win the Premier Prix de Rome in composition, died in 1918 at age 25. Lili’s older sister Nadia Boulanger devoted a lot of her lengthy life to propagating Lili’s work. Full disclosure: I’m president of the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund, Inc., established by Nadia, and which is able to welcome contributions in assist of younger composers and performers (the Boston Symphony nonetheless contains one high quality musician who benefited some years again).
Antonin Dvořák’s Carnival Overture, op. 92, composed in 1891, accomplished this system. This acquainted burst of joyful A significant (similar key as Berlioz’s Roman Carnival, however no different similarities) is extra standard than the later symphonic poems, and the Boston Symphony first performed it in 1895. Gilbert’s energetic drive bought the Friday afternoon codgers to cheering.
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