Last night was my return to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I’ve heard James Levine conduct the Met Opera Orchestra, both in opera and in concert settings and have always been impressed. This was my first opportunity to see what he has been doing in Boston.
I went to college in Boston and had a subscription to the BSO. Now I wish I had saved those programs…lots of eye opening experiences (ok, ear opening) highlighted by hearing the Shostakovich 4th…unprepared!!
Anyway, the Berg Violin Concerto is one of the greatest 20th century compositions and a highlight of serialism, not to mention beauty and profundity. One of my favorite pieces of music. I could go on and on, but I won’t. If you’re not familiar with this piece, listen to it about a dozen times.
The other piece on the program was one of my least favorite, by one of my least favorite composers…the Mahler 9th. I know I know, it’s one of those “important” works, full of profundity, but I have the same reaction to Mahler that I do to Chopin…”too many notes, Mozart”.
Here is my impression of Mahler..
noodle noodle noodle noodle …. Oh, that’s pretty … noodle noodle noodle noodle… oh that’s exciting….noodle noodle noodle noodle… Oh look , the horns are standing up…Jeezus, my butt hurts, what time is it…
Yes, he can evoke lots of orchestral color, blah blah, but only someone whose ego is bigger than…anything… would think that everything he has to say should take so long.
I should have left at intermission, with that great Berg ringing in my ears. I would have missed the occasionally sloppy passage work and fleeting intonation problems as well.