Monday, May 05, 2008

Why I won't be renewing my DSO season tickets

First, even among “warhorse” composers, the DSO had neglected a number of them for years if not decades.

When is the last time it played a Chopin piano concerto? A Schubert symphony besides the Unfinished? Much by von Weber or Franck? A Verdi overture or two?

Amongst modern Americans, but of the no-longer-living, there’s PLENTY of folks besides Barber. That includes Roger Sessions, William Schumann, Walter Piston and Alan Hovhaness off the top of my head.

As for 20th-century composers, besides my beloved Alfred Schnittke, the DSO is out of the loop on Nikolai Myaskovsky, Ernst Krenek, Paul Hindemith, and at least a snippet of Stockhausen, among others.

As for stuff to retire for at least five years?

Rachmaninov’s Paganini Variations. If you must hear some variations on the Paganini Caprice, try Szymanowski’s.

Pictures at an Exhibition. If you most play it, use somebody’s orchestration besides Ravel’s. Try Stokowski’s for the lush Romantic sound. Or Sarasate for a more modern version than Ravel.

Brahms First Symphony. If you need Brahms, when was the last time his Second, not first, Piano Concerto was done here.

And, ticket prices continue to go up faster than at least the nominal rate of inflation. The Pick Four deal from this year didn’t get offered for 2008-09 or I might have sprung. Unfortunately, the Fort Worth Symphony doesn’t offer a smaller package than the full-season 10-concert deal.

They could stand to add two performances, as their rep continues to grow, and make it a 12-concert season with two split packages.

Oh, beyond that, though, and back to Dallas.

Audience behavior, such as coughing (by people who apparently think the cough drops in the lobby aren’t for them), shuffling of feet, etc., is getting worse, I think. How about adding this to the “turn off your cell phone” announcements?

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