all over again
Sometime before dawn Sunday morning I woke up in a cold sweat. A quick check of my schedule confirmed my fears; we did play the Tchaikovsky 4th symphony last season.
Due to his tragic early demise we know Tchaikovsky only left us with three symphonies. But that is still no excuse for playing the same one repeatedly. My cold sweat came on recalling a discussion with a subscriber who elected not to renew. This person attended concerts for a number of years – sitting in pricey box seats, I might add – but grew disillusioned with the experience after hearing the same piece three seasons running. I’m wondering if there is somebody else sitting out in the audience this week, gritting their teeth through the Tchaikovsky 4th and muttering, “Strike Two!” Even if classical music is indeed a dying art there is still a whole cemetery to choose from before we need to repeat ourselves.
Alexander Polianichko led some interesting performances of the Tchaikovsky this week, to say the least, but not interesting enough to justify the orchestra taking a called second strike. In general, the Maestro used a pretty straight-ahead approach I can appreciate. However, some of his hard to follow mannerisms resulted in a few Solti-esque moments of confusion of the type easily mistaken for excitement.
Beyond the Score expanded its scope to include an actress cavorting behind a shadow screen along with the customary image projections, narrator, and actors. All in all, the explication of the symphony ran about fifty percent longer than the work itself. The thrust of it (if that is an appropriate term to use) seemed to focus on the anxiety Tchaikovsky felt facing up to his ill-considered marriage. The whole production was captured on film and will probably be available at some point.