Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mena Madness

Dear readers, after two successful weeks with our Music Director Marin Alsop (read Tim Smith's review here), we return to one of our very favorite guest conductors Juanjo Mena (pictured), who started rehearsals with us on Tuesday. I was too busy with practicing and with many other non-BSO related things (helping my oldest son get ready for his audition for Baltimore School for the Arts among them) to write last week, but I'd be curious to hear what everyone thought of the now-not-so unusual format of lots of verbal as well as musical communication from the podium. Marin is hands down better at it than most, and judging from the reception from the hall and Q&A period on Saturday (that was about as long as Shostakovich's Symphony itself), you like it. It'd be great to hear some comments from you, our readers and audience.

There are no plans for any words coming at you from the stage this week, and that may be a pity, since Juanjo has that quintessential soft latino accent that makes him sound even more charming than he is. However, he should have no trouble getting that charm across through the music. And Haydn's Symphony No. 85 exudes with typical humor and charm. On the program is Brahms' gorgeous Violin Concerto featuring 26-year-old Augustin Hadelich, who makes his BSO debut this week, as well as a local premiere of Puerto-Rican born Roberto Sinfonia's No. 4. We just started rehearsing it Tuesday morning, and it has many moments where one can imagine a great movie, yet to be made, that the score could accompany. Any producers among us?

-Ivan Stefanovic

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