By Dave Read, Lenox, MA, July 16, 2023 performance – This program played out during a lull in the rainy weather that has tried the patience of tourists and wreaked havoc with Tanglewood‘s acres of grasstop parking lots. Not only did the ticketed audience seem happy for the respite from rain, but the avian inhabitants of the grounds around the Koussevitsky Music Shed chirped their joy too.
That’s one of the best things about Tanglewood – the splendor of the Berkshires reminds us of our subordination to the reign of laws more perfect than the ones we dream up! And so we don’t begrudge sparrows and wrens from having their say.
keep politics out of music
I don’t know how anybody thinks it makes sense for any generation but his own to judge the character of a composer, but the sad fact is that Carl Orff seems destined to be blamed by posterity for not liberating Germany from Hitler.
Ludwig von Beethoven, on the other hand, had the good sense to born before the invention of radio, which is the mass media that extended the reach of politics beyond the well-read cohort to the hoi polloi, who always are putty in the hands of people like Mussolini, Hitler, and the Nixon-through-Trump machine.
Much of Beethoven’s music leads me to feel as if I’ve been returned to a primordial place, and it’s a worry-free place because politics only enters the Beethoven-sphere to remind us that the great man “undedicated” his third symphony to France’s own great tyrant, Napoleon! (see image) Today’s piece, Leonore Overture No. 3, one of the four overtures he composed for the opera Lenore, fairly sums up Beethoven’s work in the genre, which would’ve included more if things had gone his way!
Here is a link to the article we wrote about the previous performance of Carmina Burina at Tanglewood in 2009.
BSO program notes – July 16, 2023
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelsons, conductor
Erin Morley, soprano
Reginald Mobley, countertenor
Will Liverman, baritone
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
?James Burton, conductor
Boston Children’s Chorus
?Emily Howe, conductor
?Kenneth Griffith, music director
BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3
ORFF Carmina burana
Sung in Latin with English supertitles