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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2018 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Friday, May 3, 2013

With a Spring in Their Step

A Preview of Spring For Music at Carnegie Hall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
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With the arrival of May in New York City, it's time for what has become an annual tradition: the Spring For Music Festival at Carnegie Hall. This six day event showcases orchestras from around the country playing repertory that is slightly outside the lines.

While past festivals have imported ensembles from Texas, Oregon and even faraway Alberta, the notorious belt-tightening across the music industry in the last year gives this year's slate a more local, East Coast feel. This year the orchestras are:

  • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Baltimore, MD)
  • Albany Symphony (Albany, NY
  • Buffalo Philharmonic (Buffalo, NY)
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra (Detroit, MI)
  • National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, DC)

This year's festival opens with the other BSO, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra directed by Marin Alsop. They'll start with John Adams' gorgeous Shaker Loops followed by the New York premiere of Concerto 4-3 by the important Philadelphia-based composer Jennifer Higdon. The concert ends with Prokofiev's Fourth Symphony.

New York is famous for its Philharmonic, but this festival offers the chance to hear two prominent ensembles from further upstate. On Tuesday night, the Albany Symphony will play a Suite from John Harbison's 1999 opera The Great Gatsby and George Gershwin's Second Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra.

Wednesday marks the New York premiere of Morton Gould's Symphony No. 3. The next night, the Buffalo Philharmonic will present Ilya Murmets, the massive Third Symphony by the important but rarely heard Russian composer Reinhold GliƩre.

The long-awaited New York return of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (Thursday and Friday) provide a climax to the festival, with Leonard Slatkin conducting works by Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins, followed by a Friday night cycle of all four Charles Ives symphonies.

The National Symphony Orchestra ends the festival on Saturday with Slava, Slava! a tribute to the great cellist (and former NSO music director) Mstislav Rostropovich, a beloved figure whose nickname "Slava" is the same as the Russian word for "glory." The all-Russian program features whorls by Shschedrin, Schnittke and Shostakovich, whose Fifth Symphony will be conducted by NSO music director Christoph Eschenbach.

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.