The 2007/2008 Seattle Symphony subscription season at a glance


Every year, I put together a little pocket guide to the Seattle Symphony subscription season for my symphony friends to help them decide which ticket package they want. As before, you might find it helpful, you might not, but here it is anyway.

Weekend Program Comments 18 12 9A 9B 6A 6B 6C 6D 6E 4A 4B MS MM PC
09/27/2007 Bright Sheng: Tibetan Love Songs
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto #1
Tchaikovsky: Symphony #4
Nervous?
Good
Excellent
                           
10/04/2007 Stravinsky: Pulcinella
Bartók: Violin Concerto #1
Schumann: Symphony #2
Excellent
Okay
Excellent
                           
10/12/2007 Mozart: Requiem Excellent                            
10/25/2007 Beethoven: Creatures of Prometheus Overture
Mozart: Piano Concerto #23
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture
Schubert: Symphony #2
Good
Awesome
Excellent
Awesome
                     

 
 
 
   
11/01/2007 Stravinsky: Jeu de cartes
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G
Fauré: Pelléas et Mélisande
Debussy: Ibéria (Images)
Okay?
Excellent
Good
Excellent
                           
11/08/2007 Brahms: Piano Concerto #1
Brahms: Symphony #2
Awesome
Awesome
 
 
                         
11/10/2007 Brahms: Piano Concerto #2
Brahms: Symphony #4
Awesome
Excellent
 
 
                         
11/15/2007 Britten: Russian Funeral
Liszt: Piano Concerto #2
Shostakovich: Symphony #11 "The Year 1905"
Nervous?
Excellent
Polarizing?
                           
11/29/2007 Corelli: "Christmas" Concerto
Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Cellos
Granger: Molly on the Shore
Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker (excerpts)
Good
Good
Excellent
Awesome
                           
01/03/1008 Beethoven: Leonore Overture #2
Mozart: Piano Concerto #20
Beethoven: Symphony #5
Excellent
Awesome
Awesome
                     

 
 
   
01/17/2008 Mozart: Symphony #1
Mozart: Concertone for Two Violins
Mozart: Violin Concerto #3
Haydn: Symphony #102
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Awesome
                           
01/31/2008 Brahms: Tragic Overture
Schönberg: Pelléas und Mélisande
Brahms: Symphony #1
Excellent
Nervous
Awesome
                           
02/07/2008 Varèse: Intégrales
Herbert: Cello Concerto #2
Rachmaninov: Symphony #3
Nervous
Good
Okay
                     

 
 
   
02/14/2008 Wagner: Die Meistersinger (Excerpts)
Samuel Jones: Horn Concerto†
Dvořák: Symphony #9 "New World"
Good
Nervous?
Awesome
                           
02/28/2008 Mozart: Symphony #38
J. C. Bach: Flute Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony #4
Awesome
Good?
Excellent
                           
03/13/2008 Kernis: World Premiere
Glazunov: Violin Concerto
R. Strauss: Symphonia domestica
Wildcard?
Excellent
Polarizing
                     
 


 
   
03/20/2008 Bach: Mass in b minor Good                            
03/27/2008 Liszt: Prometheus
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto #1
Saint-Saëns: Symphony #3 "Organ"
Okay
Awesome
Excellent
                           
04/03/2008 Bruch: Violin Concerto #1
Bruckner: Symphony #5
Excellent
Nervous
                           
04/17/2008 Mozart: Don Giovanni Overture
Mozart: Piano Concerto #27
Schubert: Symphony #9 "The Great"
Excellent
Awesome
Excellent
                           
04/24/2008 Mendelssohn: Sinfonia #10 in b minor
Dvořák: Cello Concerto
Sibelius: Symphony #1
Excellent?
Awesome
Good
                           
05/04/2008 Vivaldi: The Four Seasons Awesome                            
05/29/2008 Martinú: Symphony #3
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Various: Genesis Suite (Chihuly visuals)
Nervous?
Okay
Nervous?
                           
06/05/2008 Weill: The Little Mahagonny
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
Good
Excellent
                           
06/12/2008 Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky Polarizing?                            
06/19/2008 Hindemith: Concert Music for Strings and Brass
Bloch: Schelomo, Hebraic Rhapsody
Franck: Symphony in d minor
Nervous
Nervous?
Excellent
                     

 
 
   
06/26/2008 Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod (Tristan and Isolde)
Mahler: Symphony #6
Polarizing
Polarizing
                           
      18 12 9A 9B 6A 6B 6C 6D 6E 4A 4B MS MM PC
†  Premiere
MS  Musically Speaking
MM  Mainly Mozart
PC  Popular Classics

Notes:

This chart doesn't include "one-off" concert series such as the Visiting Orchestras or Distinguished Artists series.

Explanations for the partial blocks: The 18A series gets the 11/8 program; 18B gets 11/10. The Musically Speaking concerts typically omit one of the pieces from the evening program, substituting on-stage commentary.

The comments column very crudely categorizes the works to assist my less-classically-aware friends. This is, of course, a highly subjective rating system, but I tried to view each piece from the ears of somebody new. Thus, I rated downward pieces that I personally like but which others might not and rated up pieces that I may not find musically satisfying but which nevertheless tend to be crowd-pleasers. These predictions have, of course, proven wrong in the past. For example, this season, my rating of "Okay" for Copland's Music for the Theatre was too optimistic.

Here's what the comments mean. Note that they do not indicate whether the piece is significant in a musicological sense; they're just my guess as to whether my friends are going to like it.

  • Awesome: Guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
  • Excellent: You will definitely like this piece.
  • Good: You will probably like this piece.
  • Okay: You may like this piece.
  • Nervous: I have a bad feeling about this one.
  • Polarizing: Some people will love it; others will hate it.
  • Wildcard: I have no idea what will happen.

A question mark means that I am not familiar with the piece and am basing my evaluation on what I know about the composer (or am just guessing).

Comments (9)
  1. Anonymous says:

    " Shostakovich: Symphony #11 "The Year 1905""

    That’s almost a reason to book a flight to Seattle right there. I’m guess I’m positively polarized. :-)

  2. Anonymous says:

    I had the pleasure of performing the New World Symphony when I was in a youth orchestra in Fort Worth, TX. It is probably my all time favorite piece, ever. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of art ever created. Another one we played with the runner up of the Van Cliburn piano competition was Brahms: Piano Concerto #2. It is also one of the greatest all time works.

    (Note: Even though it was a youth orchestra, we were very good. The year before I made it in, they actually performed with Van Cliburn, the Van Cliburn).

  3. Anonymous says:

    Now I wish I lived in Seattle to make use of that chart.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m with mschaef on the Shostakovich — I’m a big Dmitri fan.  And you’re certainly right, Raymond, about the subjectivity: the Bach b-minor Mass is one of my favourite pieces… and it only gets a “Good” from you.  À chacun, son goût, indeed.

    I can see the nervousness about the Martinu, though I like him.  But there’s little to be nervous about in either the Hindemith or the Bloch on 6/19 — neither is particularly “challenging” to the listener.  Probably both should be “Okay”.

    A friend once told me a story of when he and his parents first heard Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra”.  They hated it so much that they just started using the word “Bartok” (spoken with their Boston accent, so rather like “BAH-tawk”) to refer to any horridly annoying music.  (It’s OK… my friend got better, and came to love the piece as an adult.)

    What a good concert season!

    Thanks for posting this.  Even though it doesn’t do me a lot of good, it’s fun to see it.

    [My fear was that the new listener may find the Bach tedious. -Raymond]
  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh, the chart makes quite a bit more sense when not viewed through an RSS reader.  All the cells show up blank in Sage (Firefox extension).

  6. Anonymous says:

    Get over your nervousness wrt the Bruckner 5th.  It’s huge and accordingly lays out a lot of material to work with; but it is his clearest and least mannered work and the final fugue is one of the very greatest triumphs of the human mind and spirit.  If the last phrase of the chorale doesn’t raise every hair on your body, it just isn’t being played right.  Don’t take my word: check out the recordings by Haitink or Harnoncourt or Barenboim.

    [I like Bruckner, but my friends don’t… -Raymond]
  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ve sung some of Sam Jones’ work, and it’s quite tuneful and lovely.  Just in case you wanted more info.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The pocket reference guide for 2008/2009.

Comments are closed.