- The Masterworks Series kicks off with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, one of the most widely acclaimed and stirring works of all time.
The Masterworks Series kicks off the weekend of Sept. 15-16 with a program headlined by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, one of the most widely acclaimed and stirring works of all time. Also on the weekend’s program is Johannes Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra, a grand and complex work which, nonetheless, was reportedly viewed unfavorably by Brahms’ friend Clara Schumann.
One should not hold this against the concerto, however, but rather view it as a cautionary tale for mournful indie-rock guys — writing a piece to impress your manic pixie dream girl keyboardist rarely, if ever, works.
Rounding out the weekend’s program is the overture to Gioachino Rossini’s opera “The Italian Girl in Algiers,” famous for its opening “surprise,” a musical tribute to Rossini’s early hero Franz Joseph Haydn (or, for the kids, something like an orchestral jump-scare).
The Philharmonic’s Signature Series, formerly known as the Vanguard Series, opens Sept. 29-30 with “Beautiful Finland,” a program featuring Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä performing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 and two contemporary works by Finnish composers: a symphonic arrangement of Jaakko Kuusisto’s string quartet “Wiima” and the North American premiere of Kalevi Aho’s Violin Concerto No. 2.
Later in the year, on Oct. 13-14, Philharmonic attendees can look forward to performances of Igor Stravinsky’s “Petrushka” — a ballet burlesque and exploration of puppets in love that predates Charlie Kaufman’s uncomfortable film Anomalisa by 104 years — Claude Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn” and “Petite Suite,” and contemporary American composer Wang Jie’s 2006 work Death of Socrates. The weekend of Nov. 10-11 brings an interestingly varied program for Veteran’s Day in “With Honor: Composers Who Served,” featuring works by Charles Ives, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Fritz Kreisler, Samuel Barber and Maurice Ravel. The Signature Series, meanwhile, brings an exploration of the singular genius of Gustav Mahler on Oct. 20-21 with performances of his work The Song of the Earth.
As a brief aside, the reason I avoid referring to all orchestral music or art music as “classical” is, on a pedantic level, because the Classical period refers to art music written roughly between the years of 1730 to 1820. But on a larger scale, once unmoored from a specific era in music or art, the term “classical” becomes entirely subjective. Could one, for instance, refer to the post-grunge of the early 2000s as a “classic” era of music?
Well, sure, you could. And, with that in mind, see this week's music listings.
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