Among the BMInt staff, many writers have intact memories. Within that subset, several have submitted lists of their favorite concerts of the last season. We thank them for their reflections. Some have chosen to nominate concerts they have reviewed while others have chosen from concerts which they merely attended. This exercise reminds us of how much to be grateful for the musical life of Boston and its environs, which last season, once again, witnessed more than 2,500 concerts. Is that too many? Certainly not every auditorium operated at capacity. Should players do the Trojan Women thing and limit intercourse with audience until halls fill? We’re not worried about shrinking audiences. The Boston Globe famously wondered about the future of classical music in Boston since the average age at BSO concerts hovered at something over 60…but that was in 1908!
We salute all of our players, writers and presenters. We thank our loyal and sizable audience, as many as 7,000 in a single day, for having read and commented upon upwards of 5,404 reviews since our founding in 2009. Once again, we find a musical community writing about itself with rapt interest. Many follow our decree: If you hear something, write something. And so we say Happy New Year to all.
And 2 and ONE…
Not that most of us need to sit through another Beethoven 5, but if you did last February, Benjamin Zander and the Boston Philharmonic celebrated their 40th with a properly propelled rendition which got the opening right rhythmically and proceeded powerfully from there:
Everyone (horns! winds! above all the basses!) got more than one workout over the remaining three movements, including the last with its 41 measures of tonic-dominant including 29 C-major chords. If not always perfect technically, it rocked, it rolled, it unrolled, the ensemble ablaze. Each movement struck with the new force of this work as here structured and paced. … [If] musicality of phrasing, shapeliness of line and section, dynamic range, beauty of tone, purity and precision of play were all on the low side … it doesn’t matter. For propulsion like this, none of that is paramount: letting first-decade-1800s Beethoven be Beethoven rules. … More than once during the concert I wished I had brought my children and grandchildren. Get the CD of Zander’s Fifth, study his sermons, relearn this piece as fully as you can stand — as you already know, but as will be the more impressed upon you, this is Beethoven in peak “grab you by the lapels” mode.