Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Reading List Part 1

Ok, enough lollygagging. It's time to peruse the repertoire for next season for new and challenging (to me) works. I am not including every work from every concert, just the most prickly ones, so refer to the calendar and you won't miss a thing.

I first played the Mendelssohn Overture to the Hebrides (September 27th Chamber Classics) as a freshman in high school. I found it super difficult then, but very rewarding to finally get it right. The BSO used it as background music to Tanglewood's advertisements on TV back then, showing a car (I guess) driving up the twisty, conifer-lined road leading to the Tanglewood Center. The transcendence of this piece compelled me to mention Mendelssohn in my high school Yearbook write-up. Only once since then have I performed it, in February of 1990 with the KSO. I'd say it's about time, and maestro Jim Fellenbaum thought so, too.

October has a trio of new works for me to Starting with the Concertmaster Series shows on the 14th and 15th, it's Mendelssohn again! And it's a trio. This time, the D Minor piano Trio. How I have missed this gem so long escapes me. I have actually performed the slow movement a couple times, but never the whole thing. Shostakovich's brilliant 1st Symphony, with guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger, comes the very next week, bringing with it a monster cello solo that takes some “living with.” This concert concludes with Resphigi's Pines of Rome, which is no, umm, walk in the park.

On the first of November, “October 32nd,” it's the Haffner Symphony. Every string player's audition nightmare. Mozart's most challenging symphony caps off a lush Chamber Classics concert that also features Mozart's timeless Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Wagner's tender Sigfried Idyll. The other end of November brings guest conductor Shizuo Kuwahara, with two works that I doubt many of our current corps of players have performed; Rachmaninoff's 3rd Symphony and Rodion Shchedrin's 1963 Concerto for Orchestra No. 1 (aka “Naughty Limericks”). Run, do not walk to youTube (here, let your fingers do the running) and check this work out, it's a hum-dinger in the best sense of the word and probably some of the jazziest Russian music ever. These two works will be sandwiched around Tchaikovsky's immortal Piano Concerto No. 1, featuring pianist Stewart Goodyear.

After Christmas, chamber music will be my mantra for a couple weeks in January. While last year's Principal Quartet concert came five months earlier than it had the year before, just after Halloween, this coming season's show rides into town hot on Santa's heels. Three new-to-me (but loved-by-me) works will appear on the January 10th program: Schubert's Quartettsatz “(Quartet Movement),” Prokofieff's 2nd Quartet, and Brahm's 3rd Quartet. Three amazing works whose dry, unassuming titles sadly give no clue to the brilliance that lay within. A scant four days later, Gabe Lefkowitz and Friends (pianist Kevin Class, violist Katy Gawne and I) will collaborate on Dvorak's rollicking Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat. This is a late work of Dvorak that I have been waiting a long time to play. The time has come to break it out of hiding, because that cello part is a BEAR.

You know what else is a bear? Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Our Independence Day Concert is fast approaching and I know that camera is gonna be on me... So I'll finish out the season in a future post. Goodnight!

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