BOSTON – That’s the theme of these tough times: If the pandemic has ruined your big birthday party, just throw it a year (or two) later.
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project – BMOP, globally – turned 25 last April. But this Unique, priceless populationsunder its founding direction Gil Rose, offers performances and key recordings of contemporary hits and American music, often long overlooked in the last 100 years, only to to have fun earlier on Friday, with a bunch of free songs concert here at Symphony Hall.
The show is a lovely if thoughtful eccentric show, starring organ players Paul Jacobs in By Stephen Paulus score sensitively, quite enchanting Big Concerto for organ and orchestra (2004) and the fun of Joseph Jongen Symphonie Concertante (1926) for equal forces. They were paired with an orchestral rewritten organ work – By Elgar Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in C 1922 arrangement – and an orchestral work that was later rewrite for organ: Messiaen’s early, lovely “L’Ascension” (In 1933).
If it’s not quite a quintessential BMOP concert – one can expect Aaron Copland or Lou Harrison rather than Jongen, and certainly a live composer, if expectations are something Rose bothers her about – it’s still characteristically creative, often brilliant, and always dedicated. It’s a cheerful reminder of the latent power this free-spirited group has become in music that very few others dare tap into.
Even so, it’s not just cause for celebration, but for reflection – especially on the financial and infrastructural inequalities that are shaping our music’s rise from the pandemic. .
Two years ago, it was widely predicted that some smaller suits would succeed in the face of public health constraints, and possibly even some larger suits. Although individual musicians have Fight hopelessand some have left their chosen jobs, economic assistance programs largely hinder that end result at the institutional level, although the effects will feel everywhere for many years.
The major orchestras were able to return relatively quickly, if not firmly: On Friday afternoon, I heard Herbert Blomstedt proceed Boston Symphony Orchestrawhose resources have allowed it to maintain a full baseline schedule this season.
Smaller groups were forced, or selected, to take longer. Using freelancers who are frequently exposed to the virus when they travel on business, these groups face the cost of underwriting testing; difficulties in finding a replacement in a short time; and the risk of cancellation – if, their familiar location is available for rent. Symphony Hall aside, many bigger Hall which was used frequently in Boston, under the control of universities, which imposed strict restrictions on outside groups in the name of student protection.
“The big organizations just have a different reality,” Rose said in an interview days before the show, noting that he was able to avoid laying off any of his five staff members. .
“I’ve told a lot of freelancers that the first year is going to be really tough for the players, and the second year is going to be tough for the organizations,” he added. “In the first year, nobody is really producing that much, but they get government aid and the foundations are strengthening, so you get more income than usual and don’t spend it. a lot of. Now that it’s all stopped, it feels like reality is coming.”
BMOP has always been a special syndicate, conceived in stark contrast to the subscription season model, and with significant fundraising potential. While it has never lacked critical acclaim, it rarely draws large audiences – although Friday is a welcome, if not a lucrative exception.
“When I started this work, everyone thought it was about new music, but it was always about the orchestra model,” says Rose, nodding to the “project” part called BMOP. “I’m glad I don’t rely on ‘The Nutcracker’ or ‘The Messiah’.”
Instead, what BMOP relies on is its catalog of award-winning recordings. Rose’s eclectic interests were captured in his own 69 recordings BMOP / sound label before March 2020, including three commissions – Lisa Bielawa’s “In the intermediate res,” Andrew Norman’s “Play” and Lei Liang’s “A thousand mountains, a million streams,” the last two winners of the honor Grawemeyer Award – the orchestra will perform at the opening Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2023.
Instead of experimenting with streaming or community concerts, Rose took time out during the pandemic to free up a huge backlog of audio files that had accumulated over a decade – releasing 16 more recordings and, in June, restarting sessions at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Mass.
BMOP albums are a mix of forgotten gems and impressive new music, with a brave focus about Boston composers and an interesting variety of styles, including Charles Wuorinen and Matthew Aucoin. Press into a broader diversity is coming: Rose’s next big projectThe five-year effort to present and record operas by Black composers Anthony Davis, Nkeiru Okoye, William Grant Still, Ulysses Kay and Jonathan Bailey Holland, had been made in works long before there is racial discrimination. wipe out the music industry since the death of George Floyd.
It is for the future; on Friday, the focus is on the past. If Jongen needed a little more tonal depth and lyrical bloom for his Symphonie to really shine, it made Paulus’ Grand Concerto stand to benefit by comparison. The compelling piece is his third organ concerto, and it proves he is a master of the genre; Jacobs’ clever registrations at the famed Aeolian-Skinner Symphony Hall show that not many composers have the same skill at blending organs into an orchestral board while giving an instrumental space a glimmer. shining.
That’s exactly the kind of depth that the BMOP specializes in, an opportunity to grapple with the music left behind by other ensembles that will wither. How long can this group continue.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/20/arts/music/boston-modern-orchestra-project-bmop.html Discrete and priceless, a unique orchestra returns