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Live Review: Brute and Beautiful – Petrenko & Shostakovich @ the BSO (2009.01.31)

vasily_petrenkoWith supple force, sometimes delicate, sometimes with iron fist, conductor Vasily Petrenko (pictured left) gave the BSO players room to conquer.

Riffs mounting to tensions that a lesser composer, say John Williams, would have to barter his soul for. And that was just the Shostakovich. “O a steep, stiff drink,” we all cried.  For after the Shostakovich #8, our souls were burning amber embers. Smoldering under a brute glory from Russia’s darkest days: 1943. Think Guernica in five movements.

But first, let me say I am proud to live in a city where on one Saturday night, I had to choose between hearing Shosta’s #8 at the Meyerhoff, Shosta’s #10 at Peabody, or avant-garde jazz at An Die Musik. ‘Tis the season. Don’t miss the glut of live music going on now.

I don’t regret my decision at all. One musician (who shall remain nameless and sectionless) prayed that Mr. Petrenko would come again, saying: “Sometimes this symphony is all dressed up with nowhere to go.” But the places they went that night! Read the rest…