The 2008/2009 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 22 13 10A 10B 7AB 7CD 7EF 7G 4A 4B MS BB MM PC BS
09/25/2008 Mahler: Symphony #8 Polarizing                              
10/02/2008 Albert: Anthems and Processionals
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto #1
R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben
Nervous?
Good
Good
                             
10/09/2008 Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto #2
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade
Good
Awesome
                             
10/17/2008 Handel: Concerto Grosso Op. 6, #6
Vivaldi: Violin Concertos
Bach/Respighi: Three Choral Preludes
Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances #1
Bach/Schwarz: Art of the Fugue, Nos. I, III, VII, IX
Good
Excellent
Good?
Excellent
Good?
                   
 
 
 
 
 
       
10/23/2008 Haydn: Symphony #16
Mozart: Horn Concerto #4
Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Haydn: Symphony #82 "The Bear"
Excellent
Awesome
Awesome
Awesome
                             
11/06/2008 Mozart: Overture to Le nozze di Figaro
Mozart: Symphony #39
Vaughan Williams: Symphony #5
Awesome
Awesome
Okay?
                             
11/13/2008 Gerschwin: Concerto in F
Beethoven: Symphony #7
Excellent
Awesome
                             
11/20/2008 Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy
Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Sibelius: Symphony #2
Awesome
Awesome
Awesome
                             
12/11/2008 Handel: Concerto Grosso
Vivaldi: Oboe Concerto in C, RV 447
Tchaikovsky: Symphony #1
Good
Awesome
Excellent
                   

 
 
       
01/02/2009 Beethoven: Symphony #1
Beethoven: Symphony #9
Excellent
Awesome
                             
01/09/2009 Bach: Orchestral Suite #1
Bach: Violin Concerto #1 in a
CPE Bach: Symphony
Leclar: Suite from Scylla et Glaucus
Excellent
Awesome
Good
Wildcard
                             
01/15/2009 M. Haydn: Symphony in G, MH 334
Mozart: Piano Concerto #24, K 491
Haydn: Symphony #60 "Il distratto"
Excellent
Awesome
Good
                             
01/21/2009 Tilson Thomas: Street Song
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto #5
Tchaikovsky: Symphony #5
Wildcard
Polarizing
Awesome
                             
01/29/2009 Borodin: Symphony #2
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations
Shostakovich: Symphony #9
Awesome
Awesome
Okay
                             
02/05/2009 Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédict Overture
R. Strauss: Burleske
Liszt: Piano Concerto #1
Hanson: Symphony #1 "Nordic"
Good
Excellent
Awesome
Nervous
                             
02/12/2009 Ravel: La Valse
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto #1
Fauré: Requiem
Awesome
Awesome
Good
                   
 

 

 
       
02/19/2009 Mozart: Symphony #41 "Jupiter"
Vanhal: Double Bass Concerto
Schubert: Symphony #5
Awesome
Nervous?
Awesome
                             
03/06/2009 Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Patterson: Lusławice Variations
Piazzolla: The Four Seasons
Awesome
Wildcard
Nervous
                             
03/12/2009 Elgar: Violin Concerto
Dvořák: Symphony #6
Okay
Excellent
                             
03/19/2009 Friedman: Revelation
Stravinsky: Violin Concerto
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
Wildcard
Wildcard
Excellent
                             
03/26/2009 Grieg: Piano Concerto
Bruckner: Symphony #3
Awesome
Polarizing
                             
04/02/2009 Diamond: Rounds for String Orchestra
Samuel Jones: Trombone Concerto†
Brahms: Violin Concerto
Nervous?
Nervous?
Awesome
                             
04/16/2009 Schumann: Symphony #4
Hovhaness: Lousadzak "The Coming of Light"
Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin Suite
Excellent
Nervous?
Okay
                             
04/23/2009 Liszt: Mazeppa
Schubert-Liszt: Wanderer Fantasy
Liszt: Totentanz
Schubert: Symphony #3
Okay
Awesome
Awesome
Awesome
                             
05/07/2009 Donizetti: Concertino
Ravel: Tzigane
Saint-Saëns: Havanaise
R. Strauss: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
Good?
Excellent
Excellent
Polarizing?
                             
05/28/2009 D. Stock: Cello Concerto†
Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances
Nervous?
Awesome
                             
06/04/2009 Stravinsky: Song of the Nightingale
Conus: Violin Concerto
Liadov: Baba Yaga, Kikimora, A Musical Snuff-Box
Scriabin: The Poem of Ecstasy
Nervous
Nervous
Nervous
Nervous
                             
06/11/2009 Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain
Adès: Violin Concerto "Concentric Paths"
Stravinsky: The Firebird
Awesome
Nervous
Excellent
                             
06/18/2009 J. S. Bach: Violin Concerto #2 in E
Schnittke: Rondo
Schubert: Rondo in A
Prokofiev: Symphony #5
Awesome
Nervous
Good
Polarizing
                             
06/25/2009 Kernis: New Work†
Holst: The Planets
Nervous
Awesome
                             
      22 13 10A 10B 7AB 7CD 7EF 7G 4A 4B MS BB MM PC BS
†  Premiere
MS  Musically Speaking
BB  Basically Baroque
MM  Mainly Mozart
PC  Popular Classics
BS  Boeing Symphony

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 Musically Speaking concert on 10/19 includes only one of the Vivaldi concertos, and the concert on 2/12 omits the Rachmaninov.

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, last 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).

And who knows, maybe by next season they'll know who their concertmaster is.

Comments (12)
  1. Nathan_works says:

    I’m going to guess that the far-right column labels are the names of the ticket subscriptions one can buy ?

    (It’s not immediately clear what those labels are, so this seems to be the best guess..)

    [It may not be immediately obvious, but it’s eventually obvious: Look at the bottom of the chart. -Raymond]
  2. fangelico says:

    Dude ,dont even think about it

    Liszt: Piano Concerto #1

    You HAVE to listen that one.

    Its so beautiful ,and so diverse.

    Cheers:

    And anything from J.S Bach of course

  3. GD says:

    [That’s because I couldn’t find a way to rotate text in Firefox. See, Firefox users, I’m looking out for you! -Raymond]

    As a regular Firefox user, it’s noted and appreciated.  :)  Now if only my company’s antiquated AS400 timekeeping system could do the same…  

  4. MSDN Archive says:

    Must.. have.. ical links…

    http://culturemob.com/artists/383254

    Unfortunately, the subject line for each of the entries just says "Seattle Symphony Orchestra", and you have to open up the entry do find out what they’re playing that night.

  5. That’s how it shows up in the RSS feed, too, without the full theater names.

    I have to know what that brighter orange segment means.

  6. Trevel says:

    You don’t get the full text at the top/bottom of the coloured columns in Firefox.

    In IE, though, on my low-resolution laptop, it’s too wide for my screen and columns vanish off the side. Probably columns are vanishing under Firefox as well — it’s hard to tell what’s *not* being shown.

    I could send the site over to my other computer with the larger monitor, but since I don’t live in Seattle and can’t attend any of the concerts anyways (a shame, the Grieg concert next year looks nice), I’ll probably be fine without looking.

    [That’s because I couldn’t find a way to rotate text in Firefox. See, Firefox users, I’m looking out for you! -Raymond]
  7. Michael Traylor says:

    I love Vaughn-Williams.  His sound is archaic and modern at the same time. My wife and I just might have to make the trip up from Oregon to hear this one.  Thank you for this post.

  8. Matt Green says:

    I can’t get enough of Rachmaninov. It sounds so epic and powerful. Anyone know any other composers that sound like him? I have done some research on this but I can’t seem to find much that resembles Piano Concerto No. 2.

  9. David Citron says:

    Matt,

    Well, the Grieg A-minor piano concerto bears much (proto) similarity to the Rach 2. Rachy was definitely aware of it :-)

    Amy Beach is a somewhat-rarely heard composer whose piano concerti resemble Rachmaninoff’s in some fashion. You may want to check them out.

    Other than that, I agree that Rachmaninoff had a very distinctive sound. I, too, keep him in a category by himself.

  10. g says:

    Stuart: The comments at the bottom explain that the brighter orange means "only one of the concertos included".

    (And if I’ve understood correctly from Raymond’s similar post last year, what’s going on is that there are two concerts that day with slightly different program[me]s.)

    I’m impressed by how few of the rows have "?" on them. (Especially the one that appears to be a premier, but maybe the "?" is implicit there…)

  11. Raymond, you really should listen to the Art of the Fugue; it is not “Good?”, it is the peak of contrapuntal music.

    If you do not have a recording at hand, you might listen to those for a first impression:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=h_COVQ0jB1c (Contrapunctus I)

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=cH_C3Yt3NBI (Contrapunctus IX)

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=X2EQmQUXXIc (Contrapunctus XIV, Part 1)

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=NE0FMAJ0RKY (Contrapunctus XIV, Part 2)

    [I’m not sure how much of a fan of contrapuntal music my friends are, though. Remember, the rating is what I think my friends will like, not what I personally like. -Raymond]
  12. I read the posting again, and I must excuse myself for having overlooked that before.

    Too much enthusiasm while posting ;)

Comments are closed.