(LENOX, Mass.) – On Saturday, August 4, 2012, pianist Yefim Bronfman joins the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood under conductor Christoph von Dohnányi at 8:30 p.m. for a program including Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a prototypically Brahmsian work in its combination of formal mastery and expressive ingenuity, as well as typically monumental in scale and scope, stretching to almost an hour and requiring four movements instead of the typical three. The night before, Friday, August 3, at 8:30 p.m., baritone Gerald Finley joins revered maestro Lorin Maazel, a TMC fellow in 1951 and ’52, and the BSO for Ravel’s Don Quichotte à Dulcinée — the last work Ravel completed before succumbing to the debilitating neurological condition that silenced him in his final few years—and arias from Così fan tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, and Don Giovanni by Mozart, a composer in whose music Finley is especially respected. The program also includes Ravel’s colorful Alborada del gracioso and Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2 — a BSO specialty and a work that was performed in the first Tanglewood season in 1937 — as well as Mozart’s Symphony No. 38, Prague.
Maazel once again takes the podium Sunday, August 5, at 2:30 p.m., to lead the BSO in a program featuring the world premiere of Night Train to Perugia, a new BSO-commissioned work by Michael Gandolfi, who was a TMC Fellow in 1986 and has been a member of the TMC Faculty since 1997. The elegant and engaging French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is soloist in Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 5, Egyptian, nicknamed for the fact that it was written in that country and was influenced by the music of its region. The concert concludes in thrilling fashion with Berlioz’s Symphonie fastastique, another work at the heart of the BSO repertoire and which the orchestra first performed in 1885.
The title for Michael Gandolfi’s brief and fast-paced Night Train to Perugia came to him with the assistance of Boston-based writer Dana Bonstrom, who suggested a number of titles based on experiments carried out at the CERN particle accelerator. Gandolfi said that “the image of a neutrino beam traveling at light-speed underground from Switzerland through Perugia, Italy, among a host of cities, and ultimately to the Gran Sasso laboratory, to empirically test the boundaries of physics, aligned perfectly with the abstract imaginings of my piece.”
Upon further investigation, Gandolfi says he became awestruck by humankind’s ability to conceive of and then construct the equipment required to realize the CERN experiments. He also notes that while he believes the creativity and ingenuity exhibited in the scientific community intersects with the creative requirements of musical composition, there is one major difference: “if a scientific experiment is not construed and executed with absolute precision, it simply fails, whereas a musical composition doesn’t ‘fail’ under similar conditions; it wobbles, and sometimes the wobble produces results that outshine those of the original design! I don’t intend for Night Train to Perugia to ‘run off the track,’ but if it does, the piece will exist; albeit with a few surprises and perhaps, unforeseen improvements.” The BSO was involved in the commissioning of his Impressions from ‘The Garden of Cosmic Speculation’ and the Boston Symphony Chamber Players premiered his Plain Song, Fantastic Dances in 2005. He is currently composing a work for organ and orchestra — a BSO commission to be premiered in 2015.