Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 13, 2009

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
July 12, 2009
by Debra Tinkham

Home, Sweet Home! Tanglewood that is; summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the start of their 128th season. Today's incredibly brilliant performance began on an incredibly beautiful Berkshirian day, with Herbert Blomstedt, who made his conducting debut with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, in February 1954. First up was Ludwig van Beethoven's short Overture from the incidental music" to Goethe's "Edgmont," Opus 84, a story of victory, and ultimately, tragedy, which was first performed at Tanglewood in 1940.

Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Opus 26" featuring the lovely and talented Joshua Bell, was a show stealer. This three-movement concerto was so beautifully performed that the only downside was that it ended much too soon. Bruch's love of the violin and his "desire to compose music that is immediately…comprehensive to the bulk of the audience on first hearing," was truly evident. So passionately and captivatingly performed, it was as if all other sounds paused to enjoy the "Allegro moderato prelude, Adagio, and Allegro energico finale." Bell's love of the violin began at the age of 12 and today he plays a 1713 Gibson Stradivarius.

Symphony No. 8 in G, Opus 88, a four-movement symphony by Antonin Dvorak, completed today's delicious venue. Its introduction was rich with cellos, clarinets, bassoon and horns, with ebbs of passion growing and waning throughout. Dvorak handled the many key changes craftily, leaving the listener with nothing but the feeling of flowing harmonics.

Today's music on the mountain left many speechless. The atmosphere, while packing up, and those lagging behind, was euphorically somber. Next Sunday's performance, with James Levine conducting an "All-Mozart Program" will be something to look forward to, for there's no such thing as disappointment at the summer home.