I attended a performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra this afternoon at Symphony Hall in Boston.
Friday January 6, 2012, at 1:30 p.m.
HAYDN: Symphony no. 88 in G
TURNAGE: “From the Wreckage,” Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra
Håkan Hardenberger, trumpet
STRAUSS: “Also sprach Zarathustra,” Tone Poem for Large Orchestra, Opus 30
Marco Lehninger was the conductor, filling in for Andris Nelsons who canceled to stay with his wife for the birth of their first child. Lehninger is an assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
I was unhappy with the performance of the Haydn symphony. So as not to tweet anything unkind on the spur of the moment, I tweeted during intermission that maybe I had not been in the mood for the Haydn, but, to be frank, I really think the orchestra’s performance was subpar. It was as if they don’t know what a Haydn symphony, or this one in particular, is supposed to sound like. The performance lacked any sparkle, and it seemed as if the players were not 100% ensemble for some of the ensembles. It also appeared that the conductor was not in control of the orchestra, and I don’t think that would be entirely his fault.
The Turnage trumpet concerto, about fifteen minutes long, was not unpleasant. The soloist first plays a flugelhorn, then a standard trumpet, and finally a piccolo trumpet. What the piece has to offer is largely superficial. I don’t think that repeated listening would yield any additional depth or nuance. The composer came on stage at the end to receive some of the applause. He had not taken part in the pre-concert talk of Robert Kirzinger and Håkan Hardenberger. It was very gracious of Mr. Hardenberger to participate in the talk, and it was a pleasure to hear him.
After intermission came Richard Strauss’s tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra. On the whole I enjoyed it. The orchestra sounded wonderful at times, and never less than OK.
Reviews of the Thursday night performance:
Boston Classical Review
Boston Musical Intelligencer
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