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Thread: Just heard BSO with Andris Nelsons for the first time.

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    Default Just heard BSO with Andris Nelsons for the first time.

    They played Beethoven's 4th and 5th. During the 4th I was very impressed by their homogeneity. The violins sounded like one instrument. The woodwinds and horns handed off to each other seamlessly. But I also thought, "Hmmm... should that be my main take away from this symphony?" During the fifth it dawned on me that NO ONE in the orchestra moved at all! Nothing but the arms or hand needed to play their instruments. I saw three or four individuals move with the music for a half minute or so and then stop, obviously catching themselves. I couldn't enjoy the perfection of the music for feeling sorry for the musicians. And, anyway, is "perfection" the word one wants to apply to the fifth?

    Do any of you have experience with Nelsons and the BSO under his leadership? What do you think?

    TIA
    LAS

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    I've been picking up the Shostakovich symphonies played by the BSO under Nelsons as they come out. None better. But I've never seen a live performance.


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    Senior Member Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    Minor point, some of us who don't keep up with the who's who of the music world might wonder (as I did) which BSO, there are 9 listed in Wiki

    Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Maryland, United States
    Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Beijing, China
    Berliner Sinfonie Orchester, Berlin, Germany
    Bloomington Symphony Orchestra (Minnesota), United States
    Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, Ankara, Turkey
    Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, England
    Boston Symphony Orchestra, Massachusetts, United States
    Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, England
    The Brian Setzer Orchestra, a United States band of the late 1990s swing revival


    Personally for me BSO means Bournemouth Symphony my local Orchestra or maybe Birmingham Symphony both of which I have seen live.
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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorsetmike View Post
    Personally for me BSO means Bournemouth Symphony my local Orchestra or maybe Birmingham Symphony both of which I have seen live.
    Another minor point ... Birmingham is actually the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - CBSO

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    I'm guessing Boston are the oldest here. I think the initials BSO are more associated with the Boston orchestra than with any other.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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    Senior Member Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    Yes Boston is the oldest 1881, with Bournemouth next 1893; I suppose it could be where you live, USA would think BSO = Boston, UK would think BSO= Bournemouth: CBSO was formed 1920 and included players from the Birmingham symphony which was formed 1906 and continued until 1918, Elgar was one of the conductors.
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    Boston Symphony Orchestra

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAS View Post
    Do any of you have experience with Nelsons and the BSO under his leadership? What do you think?
    I've seen him conduct the BSO about a dozen times. Like any conductor, he has strengths and weaknesses. His Mahler and Shostakovich have been superb. I couple of weeks ago, he and the orchestra played a terrific Elgar Enigma Variations, following a very perfunctory Haydn #93. His Bach B Minor Mass was just OK, but his conducting of Strauss operas - Elektra and Rosenkavalier so far - has been fabulous. Looking forward to the Bach Christmas Oratorio this weekend, but more for the chorus than for Nelsons' conducting. OTOH, I can't wait to hear him conduct the Dvorak Stabat Mater in the spring.

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    Default When you next see him, would you observe the demeanor of the players,...

    ... and then reply with your thoughts to this thread?

    tia
    las



    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I've seen him conduct the BSO about a dozen times. Like any conductor, he has strengths and weaknesses. His Mahler and Shostakovich have been superb. I couple of weeks ago, he and the orchestra played a terrific Elgar Enigma Variations, following a very perfunctory Haydn #93. His Bach B Minor Mass was just OK, but his conducting of Strauss operas - Elektra and Rosenkavalier so far - has been fabulous. Looking forward to the Bach Christmas Oratorio this weekend, but more for the chorus than for Nelsons' conducting. OTOH, I can't wait to hear him conduct the Dvorak Stabat Mater in the spring.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAS View Post
    ... and then reply with your thoughts to this thread?
    The Christmas Oratorio performance on Saturday night was excellent. And no, the orchestral players are not particularly demonstrative. The first violins tend to slouch rather than sit up on the edge of their seats (as do the players in the Gewandhausorchester), but the orchestra's relative inactivity isn't an impediment to my enjoyment. For some instruments, it's not easy to produce a consistent sound when you're moving around a lot.

    BTW, the principal trumpet, Thomas Rolfs, was as fantastic as he always is, and he had plenty to do in this work.

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    Default Interesting!

    I went to the Oratorio also and was going to post a comment here about my original thought. I wondered if the whole first row (4) of violins had been brought in as baroque experts, because the bounced and wove like you expect musicians to do (not excessive). Harbison's program notes talked a lot about how the BSO hadn't played Bach since 1951 (or 2?) and how Nelsons had never conducted him. Not to worry, of course, because for sure the Tanglewood Chorus has sung Bach oodles of times. There was also a woman in the back row who bobbed and wove who I thought I'd seen at Emmanuel Music, when 2 Leipzig musicians were in the ensemble. Does anyone know if the BSO might have brought in visitin firepeople?

    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    The Christmas Oratorio performance on Saturday night was excellent. And no, the orchestral players are not particularly demonstrative. The first violins tend to slouch rather than sit up on the edge of their seats (as do the players in the Gewandhausorchester), but the orchestra's relative inactivity isn't an impediment to my enjoyment. For some instruments, it's not easy to produce a consistent sound when you're moving around a lot.

    BTW, the principal trumpet, Thomas Rolfs, was as fantastic as he always is, and he had plenty to do in this work.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAS View Post
    I went to the Oratorio also and was going to post a comment here about my original thought. I wondered if the whole first row (4) of violins had been brought in as baroque experts, because the bounced and wove like you expect musicians to do (not excessive). Harbison's program notes talked a lot about how the BSO hadn't played Bach since 1951 (or 2?) and how Nelsons had never conducted him.
    I didn't read the notes, but if Harbison actually wrote that, he's incorrect. Nelsons conducted the B Minor Mass a year or two ago with the BSO. And the BSO has played the major choral works within recent memory - another B Minor Mass under Ozawa shortly before he left, and a St. Matthew under Haitink.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I didn't read the notes, but if Harbison actually wrote that, he's incorrect. Nelsons conducted the B Minor Mass a year or two ago with the BSO. And the BSO has played the major choral works within recent memory - another B Minor Mass under Ozawa shortly before he left, and a St. Matthew under Haitink.
    Huh!! We just threw out one of our programs this morning. If I find the other I'll get the exact quotes.

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