Boston Symphony Orchestra

Suzuki Conducts Bach

Thursday, April 21, 2011
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Masaaki Suzuki has, over the course of many years, established an approach to Bach's sacred music that combines scholarly thoughtfulness with a lyrical interpretive style that elucidates the relationship of the text and music. His dozens of recordings of Bach's cantatas with the ensemble he founded, Bach Collegium Japan, have engendered a wide following amongst audiences and critics.

Suzuki conducts his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut with Bach's St. John Passion in the final version by Bach, revised in 1749 in the year before his death.

The soloists include soprano Hana Blažíková, mezzo-soprano Ingeborg Danz, tenor Christoph Prégardien, and bass-baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann.

Here are excerpts from the Boston Symphony Orchestra's program notes, written by Helen M. Greenwald.  The complete notes and text translation are available from the BSO.
 

Traditional Holy Week observance includes the daily reading and/or musical performance of accounts in the four Canonic Gospels—Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John—of the events in the last week of Jesus’s life. The term “Passion” refers specifically to the suffering of Jesus, and John’s version of it, read each year on Good Friday, ends at the burial after the crucifixion ... Bach’s St. John Passion is thus a text-driven work with a well-defined functional history...

... It is important to understand its two intersecting planes—the first, a narrative (recitatives and choruses) and the second, commentary and reflection (chorales and arias). The story is told by the Evangelist, and selected events are reenacted through dialogue between characters—Jesus, Pilate, the Girl, Peter, and the Servant—and the crowd...

... In 1749, when he conducted the St. John Passion at St. Thomas [right], his eyesight had been failing for quite some time. By 1747, he had already delegated some of his cantor’s responsibilities to his pupil and copyist, Johann Nathanael Bammler, for whom he later wrote a reference—the last known document in Bach’s own hand, dated April 12, 1749, just a week after his final performance of the St. John Passion.

The "Emperor," With Jonathan Biss

Thursday, April 14, 2011
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Harpist Ann Hobson Pilot

Thursday, April 14, 2011
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The Chaconne Through The Orchestral Prism

Friday, April 8, 2011
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Haydn and Mozart, the Masters of Classicism

Friday, April 8, 2011
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Making his Symphony Hall debut, conductor Johannes Debus leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the Symphony No. 32 and Clarinet Concerto by Mozart, and the Symphony No. 97 by Haydn.  Debus talked with BSO broadcast producer Brian Bell about the program:


Conductor Johannes Debus


Featured in the Clarinet Concerto by Mozart is BSO Principal Clarinetist William R. Hudgins, who talked with Brian Bell about one of Mozart's greatest masterpieces:

Clarinetist Williams R. Hudgins


For complete program notes, visit the BSO, where you can also see the original program page from the 1882 performance of Haydn's Symphony No. 97, during the BSO's second season.



William R. Hudgins, clarinet soloist in Mozart's Clarinet Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Debus, conductor;  April 7, 2011 (photo:  Stu Rosner)

Celebrating Liszt With Conductor John Nelson

Thursday, March 31, 2011
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