The trip of 2.5 hours to the quiet, quaint town of Lenox, MA brought us to the oasis that is Tanglewood, a music venue praised for its summer music festival that brings flocks of music aficionados and amateurs from around the country to enjoy some of the most beautiful music that has graced the history of humanity.
The program of Brahams Piano Concerto no. 1 and Shostakovich Symphony no. 5, performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, brought us heavily nuanced and conflicted melodies. The piano concerto, performed by legendary pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, showcased the budding virtuosity of a young Johannes Brahams, who struggled to write the piece but nevertheless triumphed due to the mentorship of Clara Schumann. The iconic theme of the first movement led to a subsequent gentle second movement, in turn followed by a grand and boisterous conclusion brought the audience to its feet. Buchbinder played an encore from the opera Die Fledermaus, which elicited an amused laugh from the crowd. Buchbinder's technique and articulation were impeccable throughout, and the BSO impressed as always.
The Shostakovich Symphony no. 5, known affectionately as "Shosty 5" voices the anti-communist sentiment of Shostakovich during the reign of Stalin, establishing it as a watershed piece in the cultural history of Russia and the world in general. The confluence of brass, harp, strings, and piano was ingeniously manufactured. Conductor Andris Nelsons' intensity throughout was palpable. The 39 year-old Director of the BSO clutched his head at one point in the last movement, and his final flourish brought another standing ovation.
OH MY! What a spectacle of music.