August 29, 1999 performance reviewed by Dave Conlin Read
The Boston Symphony Orchestra, along with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, gave the swansong of their 1999 Tanglewood season with Mstislav Rostropovich conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Opus 125.
It was fascinating to focus on Maestro Rostropovich, who at times gave the impression of being the single musician on stage, playing a human instrument. It’s no accident that one waxes metaphysical during a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth, and we were all over the idea-map during the concert.
Since Beethoven’s work figures prominently in the soundtrack of the Stanley Kubrick film, “A Clockwork Orange”, it occurred to us that that work of art from the era of the’60s, and the artist conducting the orchestra today, represented opposite responses to the horrors of the Cold War.
There were other incongruous, if more mundane, thoughts as well, such as that the venerable shed stage is so amorphous: now bearing 250 musicians and looking like that was what it was designed to do – but just six days earlier, the same space was occupied by Bonnie Raitt and her four-man band and that looked like a perfect fit, too. I’m sure all Bonnie Raitt concerts are memorable events, but this one seemed extra-special.
Ms. Raitt was so generous with the audience that you almost felt you were attending a workshop; also, she reminisced about the days of the fabled Music Inn, and you believed her when she said she wanted to play longer than the curfew allowed. Her old pal Jackson Browne opened the show and joined her onstage for a nifty set.