Sunday, March 13, 2011

Boston Symphony Orchestra-March 11, 2011

Roberto Abbado

Peter Serkin

Both the conductor, James Levine, and the piano soloist, Maurizio Pollini, had to withdraw from  this week's performances because of illness.  On short notice the BSO was able to engage the Italian conductor Roberto Abbado, nephew of the eminent conductor Claudio Abbado, and pianist Peter Serkin, son of the illustrious pianist Rudolf Serkin and grandson of the influential violinist Adolph Busch.  As a result selections by Schoenberg and Mozart from the original program were replaced with compositions by Haydn, Bartók and Beethoven.

Abbado began the program with energy and vigor in Haydn's Symphony No. 93 in D.  The orchestra and Peter Serkin next enthralled us with Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 3, a remarkable work which the composer wrote at the very end of his life as a gift for his wife, a pianist.  For me this was the highlight of the evening. 

The audience showed their enthusiasm with thunderous applause and a standing ovation as Serkin shook hands with the 1st violinist.

Béla Bartók Piano Concerto No.3-1st movement-Allegretto-Orchestre Symphonique de Birmingham under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle and András Schiff, pianist

After intermission the program concluded with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor.  As Abbado raised his baton the orchestra began with the very familiar first movement Allegro con brio.  The entire performance was a delight.  Abbado conducts with much gusto and fervor and with great flourishes.  I found myself watching for his last final grand flourish and he did not disappoint me!

Beethoven Symphony No. 5, 1st movement-Claudio Abbado, Roberto's uncle, conducts the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

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