Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dallas Symphony: 2008-09 looks like another banner year for the blue-haired ladies

The 2008-09 Dallas Symphony Orchestra season synopsis is here and the detailed schedule (PDF) is here.

Stuff I’ve heard in the last six years includes Brahms’ First Symphony and Double Concerto, Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, Mussorgsky’s Pictures (multiple times, and I’m sure it’s the Ravel orchestration again), Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto, Schumann’s Fourth, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and more.

Oh, and in a semi-repeat, why is the DSO performing a concert version of Madame Butterfly, when it’s been performed recently by the Dallas Opera?

Other stuff is “filler.” Why Prokofiev’s Seventh? He’s nowhere near the greatest symphonist of mid-20th century. When the DSO hasn’t programmed Hindemith in who knows how long, Honegger in who knows how much longer, ditto for Myaskovsky, and possibly never for Krenek, we get Prokofiev’s Seventh instead? Hell, if it’s Prokofiev, give me one of his ballet-derived orchestral suites instead. (Not that the Seventh doesn’t reflect themes from some of his ballets, anyway.)

When Bela Bartok, Aram Khachaturian, Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss Jr. are among the newbies to the playlist since I’ve been a season-ticket holder, it’s pretty thin gruel as well as a sad commentary on the narrowness of the repertoire of years past. Apart from the Stuckey piece about LBJ in 1964, and a couple of other new pieces, the only items that really interest me on the schedule are Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto (with Cho Liang Lin), his Chamber Symphony for Strings, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, and Mahler’s Fifth, to hear van Zweeden’s take on Mahler. Webern may be “new,” but “Im Sommerwind” is an early, Romantic work of his. Ehh.

And, some things I’m pretty sure I don’t want to hear? Andrew Litton doing Rachmaninoff’s Third. A relative conducting unknown doing Brahms’ First.

Then, there’s the choice of soloists. Midori for Brahms’ Violin Concerto? I don’t think so. She doesn’t strike me as having the depth and poignancy for the best interpretation. And I’ll pass on anything by Emanuel Ax.

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