This week’s BSO concert is entitled “Russian Perfection,” because, let’s face it, where classical music is concerned it usually is. The program starts with a new piece by a Baltimore composer named Jonathan Leshnoff, then Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. But the best is saved for last: the Stravinsky Violin Concerto performed by Gil Shaham.
Fact: Stravinsky is awesome in both the modern and ancient senses. I like what he has to say about how he approached the solo in the program notes:
The Violin Concerto in D is a shining example of the spirit and manner of Stravinsky’s neo-classical period. In full revolt from late Romanticism and his early folk-Russian style, the composer since the early 1920s had espoused a rigorously abstract aesthetic inspired by the forms and musical language of the 18th-century Baroque masters. In creating his Violin Concerto, he dismissed the standard concertos as models and harkened back to Bach. “The subtitles of my Concerto—Toccata, Aria, Capriccio—may suggest Bach, and so, in a superficial way, might the musical substance. I am very fond of the Bach Concerto for Two Violins as the duet of the soloist with a violin from the orchestra in the last movement … may show. But my Concerto employs other duet combinations too, and the texture is almost always more characteristic of chamber music than of orchestral music.”
He liked Bach. A wise man.
The full concert is on Thursday, April 29 at 8 pm at Strathmore and Friday, April 30 at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff. There’s also an Off the Cuff concert on Saturday, May 1 at 7 pm with just the Rachmaninoff if your taste runs that way, but I think you’re silly to skip the Stravinsky.