One can only hope that Gail Samuel’s hiring means that the BSO’s welcome-but-fitful efforts at expanding its repertoire and engaging the community of late will become central to its post-pandemic mission.
If ever there was a season the BSO needed to put its right foot forward — balancing the core repertory with some strong steps outside of it — this is the one.
A collection that provides a fascinating bit of context for how Andris Nelsons has developed as a conductor over the last decade-plus, and an honest, mostly flattering, tribute to a much-loved conductor, the late Mariss Jansons.
Terrific, fiery playing from George Li, one of the most compelling young pianists on the scene; Mariss Jansons’ recording of Shostakovich’s Tenth trudges from start to finish; irrefutable proof of Andris Nelsons’ excellence as a new-music conductor.
In the right hands, Shostakovich’s Twelfth can come off as nothing less than an intriguing, lively symphonic essay.
Arguably, the strongest entry in the BSO’s complete Shostakovich symphony cycle thus far; Esa-Pekka Salonen’s 2016 Cello Concerto is emotionally direct and, at times, simply gorgeous; the resurgence of interest in the music of Boston-educated composer Florence Price is a good thing.
The final two concerts of the BSO’s season were in the orchestra’s sweet spot.
The fact is, the BSO’s 2019-20 season doesn’t risk enough and lacks a true spirit of adventure.
Conducting Lumina, Andris Nelsons was entirely in his element, capably drawing out the music’s shimmering gestures — string flourishes, brass fanfares, woodwind filigrees, and the like – from a locked-in BSO.
As good an interpreter of large-scale forms as he’s becoming, Andris Nelsons has always been a terrific conductor of new music.