A rather odd night at the symphony

BoulezI went to see the TSO last night because there was a Boulez piece programmed that I wanted to hear.  It was a rather odd evening.  It kicked off with Morawetz’ Carnival Overture Op.2.  This was I suppose the designated Canadiana.  It’s a roughly five minute piece that sounds like the Brahms of the Academic Festival Overture crossed with Dvořák.  Too much brass and cymbals for my taste.  Then came about ten minutes of faffing about reorganising the stage for the Boulez followed by Peter Oundjian coming out and making one of those cringingly apologetic speeches for programming something “difficult”.  I hate this.  If an orchestra, opera house or chamber ensemble is going to program atonal, serialist or what you will music (and they should) by all means explain how it works in a program note but don’t patronise the audience and, above all, don’t apologise.  If it needs an apology why are you programming it?

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