BSO at Home: Heroic Performances
Andris Nelsons, conductor
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
Kristine Opolais, soprano
WAGNER Overture to Tannhäuser
WAGNER "In fernem Land" from Lohengrin, Act III
WAGNER Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde
Arias and duets by MASCAGNI, CATALANI, and PUCCINI
RESPIGHI Pines of Rome
Andris Nelsons leads operatic excerpts by Wagner, Puccini, Mascagni, with guest vocalists Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufman
May 17: BSO at Home is pleased to offer this very special recording of Andris Nelsons' inaugural performance at Symphony Hall as BSO Music Director from Saturday, September 27, 2014.
This wide-ranging one-night-only event celebrates the start of current BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons’ tenure with the orchestra, and features two close colleagues of the conductor as soloists—the acclaimed Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais, and the outstanding German tenor Jonas Kaufmann. Each sings selections from the Wagnerian and Italian verismo repertoires, after which they join forces for a powerful duet from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut.
The concert opens with Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture—the work that first inspired a five-year-old Nelsons to a life in music—and closes with Respighi’s spectacular orchestral showcase, Pines of Rome.
Available to stream through July 1.
Erich Leinsdorf, conductor
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5
Erich Leinsdorf conductS Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5
May 10: Erich Leinsdorf leads the BSO in a thrilling performance of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony in April 1969, near the close of his seventh and final season as the orchestra’s music director.
“Since I shall return in practically no time as a guest conductor, I cannot find the tears for a sad farewell,” he wrote in that week’s program book. Nevertheless, the physical intensity of his conducting and the sense of connection with the orchestra here suggest an extra degree of energy and engagement. The result is a performance of power and beauty acknowledged by the Symphony Hall audience with spontaneous and sustained appreciation at its conclusion.
Tchaikovsky wrote his Fifth Symphony between May and late August 1888 and led the premiere in St. Petersburg that November. One of its distinctive features—already explored in his Symphony No. 4 from a decade earlier—was its use of a “motto” theme that is heard in each of the four movements. That theme—which is interspersed with and sometimes interrupts the flow of more “standard” thematic ideas—represents a fateful force that must be contended with. This tune is first heard played by the two clarinets right at the start of the symphony and in the finale is transformed into a blazing and triumphant fanfare.
Available to stream through June 24.
Seiji Ozawa, conductor
MAHLER Symphony No. 9
SEIJI OZAWA CONDUCTS MAHLER'S SYMPHONY NO.9
May 3: Seiji Ozawa led his final concerts In Symphony Hall as BSO Music Director in April 2002. His 29 years as the BSO’s leader was the longest in its history, surpassing even Serge Koussevitzky’s legendary tenure. After stepping down from his BSO position, Maestro Ozawa was named the orchestra’s Music Director Laureate – a title he still holds.
Strong emotions are palpable in this farewell performance as Ozawa takes the stage. After greeting the musicians, he gathers himself briefly before turning to face the audience, which rises to a standing ovation before the performance begins. Famous for conducting from memory with his score closed on the music stand, Ozawa conducts as though dancing, his movements expressively elegant. Time seems suspended in the finale, which features some of the most moving music in the symphonic repertoire.
Ozawa’s strong connection to Mahler is well documented in his recordings with the BSO of the composer’s complete symphonies. He chose the Ninth Symphony for his final concerts as music director in part for its famously valedictory mood. Mahler was very much aware of his own mortality when he began the symphony in 1909 and completed it in April 1910, a few months before his 50th birthday. It was the last piece he finished. Although in its opening movement and finale the symphony seems to contemplate mortality as well as what lies beyond death, the second and third movements delve deeply into the energy, humor, and sweetness of life.
Available to stream through June 17.
Andris Nelsons, conductor
Yefim Bronfman, piano
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K.491
RAVEL Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2
Andris Nelsons conducts Bartók, Mozart, and Ravel featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman
April 26: BSO at Home presents this lively performance from the BSO 2019-2020 season recorded live at Symphony Hall on January 31, 2020.
Conducted by Music Director Andris Nelsons, this program was also scheduled to be performed during the BSO's February 2020 East Asia tour that was cancelled due to increasing concerns over the spread of COVID-19. The recorded performance features renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman playing Mozart’s innovative and theatrical C minor piano concerto. Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra is likely the most famous of the many works given their world premieres by the BSO. A remarkable blend of drama, humor, and folk-music pungency, the Concerto for Orchestra was commissioned by BSO conductor Serge Koussevitzky, who gave the premiere in December 1944, only a few months before the composer’s death. Completing the program is the Suite No. 2 from the work Ravel considered his best, the 1912 ballet Daphnis et Chloé. The Suite No. 2 is the ballet’s Part III, which incorporates a sunrise, a sensual flute solo, and the raucous danse générale.
Available to stream through June 10.
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