If you were one of the more than one thousand members who called during our fall fund drive, thank you, thank you for your financial support!
I celebrated the end of the drive by going to hear Beethoven’s Erioica with the BSO on Saturday evening. Two debuts: the German violinist, Kolja Blacher, playing Schumann’s Concerto and the German conductor, Markus Stenz, who bookended the program with an obscure (to me) piece by Jena-Féry Rebel, Chaos from Les Élémens and then Beethoven’s anything but obscure Symphony No. 3.
I love the lyrical, falling melody that Schumann uses as a repeating motif in his Violin Concerto (and which he hints at in other pieces too), and a highlight for me was the gorgeous second movement cello solo from our new Principal, Darius Skoraczewski—who will be joining Jonathan Carney for the Brahms Double Concerto later this month. A lovely thing is that Kolja Blacher came into the auditorium after playing the concerto to hear the Eroica, a lovely indication that he is not just a jaded musician who turns up to play his part, but he still enjoys hearing music for the sake of the music. (As he brushed past my seat, I noticed that he has the most startling blue eyes up close, by the bye.)
And the Eroica was well worth hearing. Markus Stenz used a smaller orchestra, the size that Beethoven would have used in his time, and he arranged it in a way that is not typical in our day and age: 1st and 2nd violins on stage right and left respectively, the cellos split into two sections on the inner side of the violins, the violas in the center in front of the conductor, and the string basses divided into two sections behind the cellos. It took a little getting used to from a visual point of view and I’m curious to know how the orchestra members felt about being outside their comfort zones but it sounded really good. The ensemble playing was subtle and nuanced with deft dynamic shifts, and the orchestra seemed to be responding to the conductor with a lovely energy.
- There’s a wonderful Beethoven portrait in the current BSO program.
- This is the closest I could find, but the other is even better because he has a half smile.
Baltimore Symphony, Beethoven, SCHUMANN