Twenty-four hours and count until the opening night of BSO

Béla Bartók (file photo)

“Led by both Music Director Andris Nelsons and Boston Pops award-winning conductor John Williams, the BSO is once again welcoming audiences live to Symphony Hall after an absence of nearly 20 months. Opening of concerts on September 30e and October 2sd, Nelsons will conduct Beethoven Consecration of the house Overture, the first work ever performed by the BSO, before Williams stepped onto the podium for the first performances in Boston of his Violin Concerto No.2. The dedicatee Anne-Sophie Mutter will fulfill the role of soloist. by Bartok Concerto for orchestra, one of the most famous BSO commissions, originally created by Serge Koussevitzky in 1944, closes the concerts.

The BSO press service answered our questions:

FLE: Tell us about the nervousness of the opening night. The BSO audience has been absent for so many months. What are you waiting for and what are you worried about?

BSO Press Office: After a very successful season at Tanglewood, with the BSO performing two programs each weekend over a six week season, we are very excited to reopen the venue and perform again on a regular basis. for a live audience. We’re confident we’re doing everything we can on the health and safety front, but hope customers will understand as we implement our new protocols for the first time this week.

I believe Andris Nelsons shared the Tanglewood stage with John Williams, but is this the first such collaboration at Symphony Hall?

Yes it is! Sharing the Symphony Hall stage with these two masters should be a real treat for the audience at our season opening concerts. I am sure that for many clients it will be an emotional moment as they will attend their first concert in over a year and a half.

The debut at Tanglewood of the Williams Second violin concerto with laureate Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist, drew praise on these pages this summer. How are the rehearsals going for the debut at Symphony Hall?

We are very much looking forward to starting the rehearsals this week for our opening program, and we hope they will go smoothly, especially since the orchestra, Anne-Sophie and John performed the work so recently at Tanglewood.

Serge Koussevitzky received a lot from the dying and impoverished Béla Bartók when he commissioned the Concerto for orchestra. Remind us what the BSO paid for.

It should be noted that the Orchestral Concerto, although commonly considered a commission from BSO, because the orchestra premiered, was in fact commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky through his Koussevitzky Music Foundation. As part of the BSO program note for the works, we are publishing a reproduction of the commissioning letter sent to Bartók directly from Koussevitzky. He indicates that the total price of $ 1,000 would be paid in two installments of $ 500, the first upon acceptance of the order by Bartók and $ 500 upon receipt of the completed manuscript, which was to be dedicated to Natalie’s memory. Koussevitzky.

According to the BSO Henry database, the BSO performed the Orchestral Concerto approximately 150 times, including performances under Andris Nelsons two seasons ago. Seiji Ozawa conducted it 18 times and Erich Leinsdorf conducted it 24 times. How do you explain the popularity of this signature BSO piece, and could it be the orchestra’s most successful commission?

Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra captured the attention and imagination of listeners from the first performance of the BSO in December 1944. Its lasting power over eight decades to move and excite us is a perfect example of the mystery of music to bring meaning and deep emotional rewards. to our lives. It is one of the most convincing examples of a work that perfectly combines Western artistic music with European folk musical traditions. These qualities, along with the work’s departure from traditional tonal music, brought us music that impacted its time and remains one of the greatest orchestral works ever written. We will be eternally grateful to BSO founder Serge Koussevitzky for many things, including the commission of the Concerto for orchestra.

How safe should we feel with the 2,000 people in the room? Tell us a bit about the Covid mitigation measures.

Koussevitsky studies Bartok’s score in 1944

The BSO is committed to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our players and customers as we come together for the 2021-22 season. All visitors two years of age or older are required to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test each time they enter Symphony Hall, all in line with those of many other arts organizations from Boston and the Northeast. Orchestra protocols will continue to be informed by recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, and the BSO’s own team of medical advisers and experts, including 9Foundations .

In addition, Symphony Hall has achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR ™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared installations, indicating that we have implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and prevention of infectious diseases. The BSO has also been awarded a WELL health and safety rating for the operation and management of the Symphony Hall facilities.

As conditions change over the next few months, the BSO will communicate directly with ticket buyers regarding any subsequent changes to its protocol at Recognizing that clients may prefer additional flexibility over the coming months, the Orchestra is offering BSO ticket buyers exchanges or credits up to 24 hours before the start of each performance until the end of the 2021 season. 2022 BSO April 30.

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