March 9-15, 2006
musicpicksBoston Symphony Orchestra
Of the "big five" orchestras in America Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Boston only New York has a real legacy of American leadership, as personified by the iconic Leonard Bernstein. That situation is now changing, as a true Yank, James Levine, settles into his second season at the helm of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Why does it matter? An answer might be found in the program that Levine and his glorious ensemble will present when they visit the Kimmel Center this week, an exhilarating balance of two great standards from the German repertoire, Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 and the tone poem "Til Eulenspiegels," by Richard Strauss, as well as another pair of works from the New World. Peter Lieberson wrote his Neruda Songs for the voice of his wife, the splendid mezzo-soprano Lorriane Hunt Lieberson. There will also be music of Elliot Carter, his Three Illusions for Orchestra, representing a uniquely brash, smart, provocative American voice, one now in its ninth decade and going strong. With all due respect to the venerable European leaders who pioneered orchestral music on these shores, there is something uniquely fulfilling about hearing American music performed by an American ensemble under the baton of an American maestro.
Fri., March 10, 8 p.m., $40-$126, Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St., 215-893-1999, www.kimmelcenter.org.