Listening Week 2: Great soloists with the BSO

BSO at home: Listening Week 2
Great soloists with the BSO

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Great Performances from the BSO Archives, selected by BSO Artistic Administrator Anthony Fogg.

In selecting a sampling of BSO archival performances from the last 70 years featuring some of the hundreds of distinguished soloists who have appeared with the orchestra, I wanted to include a mixture of beloved concerti, in addition to a couple of less well-known corners of the repertoire. Most recordings this week are of Tanglewood concerts, but there are a couple of special rarities from Symphony Hall.

Listening Week 2 Playlist Preview Week 3

For continuous playback of each day's music at the highest fidelity, choose the SoundCloud player. For the ability to listen to individual movements separately, choose the "Listen" button on each day's section.

 


 

The BSO sincerely thanks our generous donors whose gifts supported concerts, guest artist appearances, and pieces for performances that were scheduled to take place this week:
Thursday, April 2: Sponsored by Delta Airlines
    Thursday evening's performance of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F is supported by a gift in memory of John P. Meyer, from his wife Jo Frances Meyer
    Thursday evening’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 is supported by a generous gift from Prof. Ernest Cravalho and Dr. Ruth Tuomala
Friday, April 3: The Gilbert Family Concert
Saturday, April 4: The Kristin and Roger Servison Concert


 

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Van Cliburn was perhaps the best-known American pianist of all time. He first played with the BSO in October 1958, the year in which he won the Tchaikovsky competition in Russia – the event which made him a household name. There are several commercial recordings of his interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto, but this account with a frequent collaborator, Erich Leinsdorf, captured at Tanglewood on July 23, 1966, stands with the greatest of them.

 

During the early years of the Tanglewood Festival, the orchestra devoted the opening week of programming to the music of J.S. Bach, performing in the old Theater-Concert Hall on the Tanglewood property. Here are two works from concerts in July 1957: Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 (in effect, a concerto for flute and strings) featuring the great principal flute of the BSO, Doriot Anthony Dwyer; and the concerto in C minor for two pianos, with Lukas Foss and Seymour Lipkin. Ms. Dwyer, who passed away just two weeks ago at age 98, was appointed to the principal chair of the orchestra by Charles Munch in 1952, where she remained until her retirement in 1990. It is wonderful to have this chance to remember and celebrate her artistry.

 

Doriot Anthony Dwyer is also one of the seven wind soloists in an intriguing concerto by the Swiss composer Frank Martin (1890-1974). Accompanied by timpani, percussion, and strings, this performance featured the legendary woodwind and brass players of the BSO, joined by timpanist Everett (Vic) Firth. Seiji Ozawa masterfully balances the distinctive sound world of this singular work.

 

Another unique performance this week – and perhaps one of the most important historical recordings we’re bringing you – is the world premiere performance in 1949 of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety. This is one of Bernstein’s most significant scores for the concert hall – a multi-movement orchestral meditation on W.H. Auden’s poem of the same name, featuring an intricate and highly virtuosic role for solo piano. Bernstein himself only played the jazz-inflected solo on a handful of occasions, and this recording captures one of only three concerts in which he collaborated with his great mentor, Serge Koussevitzky.

 

Completing this week’s offerings are three favorite concerti from Tanglewood, with three great soloists in signature repertoire. There’s an astonishing performance of Brahms’ violin concerto with Isaac Stern (whose 100th birthday this year is being celebrated worldwide); Leon Fleisher partners with Pierre Monteux for an electrifying reading of Brahms’ first piano concerto; and Rudolf Serkin and Seiji Ozawa bring immense spontaneity and charm to Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

 

Anthony Fogg

 


Van Cliburn
Photographer: Heinz Weissenstein

 

March 30
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3
     1. Allegro ma non tanto
     2. Intermezzo
     3. Finale
Erich Leinsdorf, conductor
Van Cliburn, piano
(Tanglewood, July 23, 1966)

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Lukas Foss and Seymour Lipkin, 1958

March 31
J.S. BACH Orchestral Suite No. 2
J.S. BACH Concerto No. 1 in C minor for two pianos
     1. Allegro
     2. Adagio
     3. Allegro
Charles Munch, conductor
Doriot Anthony Dwyer, flute
Lukas Foss and Seymour Lipkin, pianos
(Tanglewood, July 8 and July 5, 1957)

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Isaac Stern and Charles Munch rehearsing, 1955
Photographer: Walter Alford

April 1

BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D, Op. 77
     1. Allegro non troppo
     2. Adagio
     3. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace -- Poco piu presto
Pierre Monteux, conductor
Isaac Stern, violin
(Tanglewood, July 24, 1959) 

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Leonard Bernstein and Serge Koussevitzky, 1949
Photographer: Heinz Weissenstein

April 2

BERNSTEIN Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety
     1. Prologue
     2. The Seven Ages
     3. The Seven Stages
     4. The Dirge
     5. The Masque
     6. The Epilogue
Serge Koussevitzky, conductor
Leonard Bernstein, piano
(Symphony Hall, April 9, 1949)

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Doriot Anthony Dwyer, playing her fluteApril 3

MARTIN Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra
     1. Allegro
     2. Adagietto
     3. Allegro vivace
Seiji Ozawa, conductor
Doriot Anthony Dwyer, flute
Ralph Gomberg, oboe
Harold Wright, clarinet
Sherman Walt, bassoon
Armando Ghitalla, trumpet
Charles Kavalovski, horn
Ronald Barron, trombone
Everett Firth, timpani
(Symphony Hall, September 30, 1977)

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April 4Leon Fleisher at Tanglewood
Photographer: Walter H. Scott

BRAHMS Concerto for Piano No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
     1. Maestoso
     2. Adagio
     3. Allegro
Pierre Monteux, conductor
Leon Fleisher, piano
(Tanglewood, July 20, 1958)

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Rudolf Serkin and Seiji Ozawa, 1981
Photographer: Walter H. Scott
April 5

MENDELSSOHN Concerto for Piano No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25
     1. Molto allegro con fuoco
     2. Andante
     3. Presto. molto allegro e vivace
Seiji Ozawa, conductor
Rudolf Serkin, piano
(Tanglewood, July 18, 1975)

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Archival images courtesy BSO Archives

 

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