Bartók Concerto for Orchestra Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5
This most life-affirming of concertos was written by a composer already in the throes of the leukemia that was to claim his life. Not even the faintest trace of what the exceptionally courageous and self-reliant composer was suffering is detectable in the music. It was written as a celebration of, and a torture test for, one of the world’s greatest orchestras – the Boston Symphony. Bartók could not, in his wildest dreams, have imagined that it would one day be played by a youth orchestra! We are especially happy to be performing this masterwork in Symphony Hall, where Serge Koussevitzky and the BSO gave the world premiere in 1944.
The Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony is, of course, a great favorite with audiences, and, securely tucked into the category of “romantic blockbuster,” is known to just about everybody. It is also, if truth be told, one of the most hackneyed pieces in the entire repertory. But Mr. Zander's take on the piece is bracing and fresh. He has performed it many times, in many parts of the world, and always audiences are stirred by the experience of having the familiar made new again.