Feb. 23rd, 2017

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Not a very large crowd showed up at Davies to hear Scheherazade.2: Dramatic Symphony for Violin and Orchestra by John Adams. The ".2" as in a software version 2.0 release (a reference the composer made in his pre-concert talk) is the only acknowledgment the piece makes to Rimsky-Korsakov, though the works have a strong structural resemblance, being long rambling works in four movements with Scheherazade represented by a solo violin, which, however, gets a lot more work here than in Rimsky; it's a violin concerto in all but name. It was played by Leila Josefowicz, for whom the piece was written. Adams says he was inspired de novo by the original story and wanted to give Scheherazade her feminist voice back in response to the Sultan's marital abuse.

However, I'd rather hear the Rimsky. In the role of villains trying to oppress Scheherazade, Adams' orchestral parts were rather anemic. And, purely as music, his work sounded more like a garrulous piece from the Richard Strauss school of Giganticism than like anything that might have distantly descended from Minimalism.

Second half was a reprise of an old MTT success, a big wad selected from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. This was pieces from the original ballet score, not the composer's reworked suites. I prefer the suites.

That morning I got a call from the box office alerting me, a couple weeks in advance of the next season subscription mailing, that they're eliminating the Wednesday concert series altogether. I'm not too surprised. Years ago, the main concert programs were on Wednesday and Friday, with some Saturdays and an occasional Thursday matinee. But in recent years they've been cutting back on Wednesdays and piling up the Fridays and Saturdays.

However, in the last couple years they've introduced some Thursday evening concerts for weeks without a matinee, and the box officer told me they'll be beefing the number of those up next year. So since I'm often attending other events down here on weekends and it gets uncomfortably crowded in the City on weekends, Thursday it'll become for me.

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