Recent News
12.19.14
John Luther Adams
OPUS 3 WELCOMES JOHN LUTHER ADAMS 
12.18.14
John Luther Adams , Julian Wachner, Ludovic Morlot, David Robertson, Robert Spano, Renaud Capucon, Daniel Hope, Jennifer Koh, Gil Shaham, Alisa Weilerstein, Béla Fleck, Brooklyn Rider , Maya Beiser, Rosanne Cash, Voces8 , New York Polyphony
End of Year 2014 'Best Of' Roundup
12.15.14
Shai Wosner
Norman Lebrecht Album of the Week
Sinfini Music
12.15.14
Stefan Jackiw
Violin in good hands with soloist, orchestra
The Columbus Dispatch
12.12.14
Jeremy Denk
Concert review: Denk shuffles Schubert, Janácek with creative panache
The Philadelphia Inquirer
12.12.14
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
New Ailey dance pays tribute to civil rights icon
Associated Press
12.11.14
Stefan Jackiw
ProMusica's commissioned violin concerto brings together two friends
The Columbus Dispatch
12.11.14
Benjamin Beilman
Violinist Benjamin Beilman joins the roster
12.11.14
New York Polyphony
Preview: New York Polyphony adds a modern flair to old music
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
12.11.14
Inon Barnatan
From Bach to Barber with Barnatan
The Boston Musical Intelligencer

News archive »

Fill-ins prove up to challenge of BSO's Dutch program

08.08.07
Stefan Jackiw
The Boston Globe

 

BY MATTHEW GUERRIERI

LENOX -- Corporeal frailty caused a minor existential crisis Sunday at Tanglewood. As part of the summerlong "NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires" initiative, the afternoon's Boston Symphony Orchestra concert was to feature a Netherlandish baton, soloist, and composer. But conductor Edo de Waart suffered a back injury, and violinist Janine Jansen canceled because of illness. Replacements by BSO assistant conductor Ludovic Morlot and local-grown rising star Stefan Jackiw left the Dutch raison-d'être somewhat diluted.

What remained was the world premiere of Robin de Raaff's "Entangled Tales," referencing both Hawthorne's "Tanglewood Tales" and de Raaff's experience as a Tanglewood Music Center fellow. The first section features the brass -- sustained tones fragmenting into jagged mutterings -- while other instruments daub washes of plush color. The second starts slower and more impressionistic, cresting on a series of heavy punctuations. Both dovetail into the same climactic passage.

The sound was often deeply luminous, and de Raaff's running rhythms provided motion, but the compact, self-contained motives narrowed the perspective, keeping a sense of the whole at arm's length. Morlot's direction was emphatic; the playing was assured.

Jackiw took the stage for Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. Playing with a silvery, fine-grained tone, his phrasing -- expansive upbeats, lingering high notes -- was thoroughly Romantic, which put him at odds with Morlot, who seemed to want a more Classical, forward-moving rhythm. Jackiw's sensitivity to nuance and articulation, which carried him through the first movement, dulled somewhat in the second, where he retreated into the cocoon of his voluminous sound. But the quicksilver finale found both soloist and ensemble in precise, glittering agreement.

The balance of the program offered the sweeping grandeur of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Third Symphony. Morlot led a rich, restrained performance. Emphasizing tempo contrasts between phrases instead of within them, he and the orchestra found the Apollonian balance beneath the lush surface. The performance suggested that interpretive practice born of countless high-fructose Hollywood imitations may be the real culprit behind the work's relative neglect; shorn of sentimental excess, the music revealed an incisive power. Accustomed to close-ups on Rachmaninoff's decorative details, we sometimes forget that he also expertly framed the sets.

Honored at concert's end were retiring BSO cellist Luis Leguía and bassist John Salkowski. After acknowledging the audience (Leguía bowing shyly, Salkowski blowing kisses) and applauding their colleagues, the pair punctuated a collected 85 years of BSO experience with a double high-five.