Boston Symphony Orchestra concert programs, Season
One of the gifts of the 19th century (along with Tchaikovsky, Tolstoi, others)
was the ritual of the "family silver." It was in those elegant times when bringing
out the "family silver" came to mean a profound or joyous occasion
hand, one that called for something beyond the ordinary.
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BSO CHAMBER MUSIC PRELUDES
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6 PM Concerts
(Followed by Dinners at 7 pm)
Schubert String Trio #2
Hindemith String Trio #2
FEBRUARY 22, 24
Beethoven Serenade, op. 25
Mozart Flute Quartet in C
Prokofiev Sonata for
Prokofiev Flute Sonata
APRIL 12, 14
Mozart 6 Major Duo
FOR TICKET INFORMATION PLEASE CALL
THE SUBSCRIPTION OFFICE AT 266-1492
Colin Davis, Principal Guest Conductor
Joseph Silverstein, Assistant Conductor
Ninety-Eighth Season 1978-1979
The Trustees of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
M. Banks, Chairman
Mrs. Harris Fahnestock, Vice-President
Allen G. Barry
Richard P. Chapman
George H.A. Clowes, Jr.
C Epps III
Morton Jennings, Jr.
Edward M. Kennedy
George H. Kidder
Roderick M. MacDougall
Edward G. Murray
Mrs. John M. Bradley
Sidney Stoneman, Vice-President
Philip K. Allen, Vice-President
Paul C. Reardon
David Rockefeller, Jr.
Mrs. George Lee Sargent
John Hoyt Stookey
Albert L. Nickerson
Harold D. Hodgkinson
Mrs. James H. Perkins
Administration of the Boston
Thomas W. Morris
Daniel R. Gustin
Joseph M. Hobbs
Director of Promotion
Director of Development
Director of Business Affairs
Director of Sales
Dorothy M. Sullivan
Anita R. Kurland
Manager of Box Office
Donald W. MacKenzie
Berkshire Music Center
Director of Publications
Symphony Orchestra, Inc.
of Overseers of the Boston
Symphony Orchestra Inc.
Norman L. Cahners
Mrs. Frank G. Allen
David W. Bernstein
Mary Louise Cabot
Mrs. Jerome Rosenfeld
Mrs. George Rowland
Francis P. Sears,
Colman M. Mockler, Jr.
Mrs. John Fitzpatrick
William A. Selke
Mrs. Peter van
Mrs. C. Russell Eddy
Mrs. Jim Lee
Amory Houghton, Jr.
Johns H. Congdon
Howard E. Hansen
Mrs. Kelton Burbank
Levin H. Campbell,
Mrs. Richard D. Hill
Mrs. Robert Gibb
Mrs. Stephen V. C. Morris
Edward S. Stimpson
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CBS Reports on China
A special, hour-long CBS Reports on the Boston Symphony's visit to the People's
Republic of China will be aired on CBS-TV/Channel
Friday evening, 27 April
and other aspects of the trip. CBS correspondent Ed Bradley and two camera
crews were among the press party that accompanied the Orchestra.
will include film footage of concerts, coaching sessions, classes,
System Offers Matching Grant
The Bell System has earmarked $150,000 for the Boston Symphony in the form of
a matching grant against Tanglewood contributions. The Bell System, in association with New England Telephone, is a major corporate contributor to the BSO at
Tanglewood as part of the "Bell System American Orchestras on Tour" program,
a plan of financial support for continuing national tours by seven major American orchestras from now through 1982. Additional future funding from the Bell
System will assist the Orchestra in its out-of-town tours during the subscription
season as well as
The Musical Marathon— Over the Top!
The 1979 BSO/WCRB Musical Marathon exceeded its goal of $175,000 by $29,000,
bringing in a whopping total of $204,000 by the time the telephones died down at
around one in the morning on Monday, 26 March. This brings the collective total
for the past nine Musical Marathons to over one million dollars, and congratulations and thanks are in order for everyone whose help contributed to the success
of this important and crucial undertaking.
Weekend at Tanglewood
By popular request, the Council is again offering a Friends' Weekend at Tanglewood. Departing Friday, 20 July at 12:30 by chartered Greyhound motor coach,
the Friends will be staying at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, one of New England's most distinguished and popular hostelries, and returning home on Sunday afternoon, 22 July.
Some of the exciting features of the weekend are: the best tickets for the Friday
and Saturday concerts; admission to the Saturday morning rehearsal; a reception
for the artists in the Tent after a concert; dinners at a private home and at
Seranak, former residence of Serge Koussevitzky; luncheon and tour of the
Shaker Village in Hancock, Massachusetts.
The cost of this weekend, including transportation, lodging, tickets, and the
aforementioned events, is $215 double occupancy, including a contribution of $50
to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, $265 single occupancy, again including the
Because of the popularity of this
reservations as soon as
possible by calling the Friends' Office at 266-1348. There are only a limited
ber of rooms available to us; therefore the group
in order of receipt.
you are not a Friend, you
may become one
by sending a contribution
limited to 42. Reservations
are eligible to subscribe to this.
make your reservaSymphony Hall, Boston,
to the Friends' Office,
Don't miss the Annual Meeting of the Friends on Wednesday, 9 May, promptly
at 11:15 a.m. at Symphony Hall. The traditional Pops rehearsal will be followed
by cocktails and lunch. This is the occasion which Friends look forward to each
year. If you are not a Friend and would like to attend, please drop by or call the
Friends' Office to enroll.
Those unfamiliar voices you hear on the Symphony telephone when calling in
belong to our own Council volunteers!
Mrs. Sherman Thayer and Mrs. Richard Schanzle organized this project last fall
in collaboration with the management and staff to provide better service to the
ticket resales or special ticket requests
Tanglewood's Berkshire Music Festival and the Boston Pops season are featured
in Carol Price Rabin's A Guide to Music Festivals in America, recently published by
the Berkshire Traveller Press of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. BSO Concertmaster
Joseph Silverstein wrote the foreword for the book, which covers classical,
operatic, jazz, pop, country, and folk music festivals throughout the United
BSO Members Live on WGBH-89.7-FM
BSO members continue Saturday mornings on The Orchestra
segment of WGBH-FM's Morning Pro Musica, hosted by Robert J. Lurtsema. Principal bassoon Sherman Walt will be featured on 21 April, principal trombone
Ronald Barron on 28 April, and, together on 5 May, BSO Director of Promotion
Peter Gelb and BSO Director of Publications Michael Steinberg. This series of
interviews is made possible by grants from BASF Systems and Pastene Wine and
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In the fall of 1973, Seiji Ozawa became
the thirteenth Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since the
Orchestra's founding in 1881.
Born in Shenyang, China in 1935 to
Japanese parents, Mr. Ozawa studied
both Western and Oriental music as a
child and later graduated from Tokyo's
Toho School of Music with first prizes in
composition and conducting. In the fall
of 1959 he won first prize at the International Competition of Orchestra
Conductors, Besancon, France.
Charles Munch, then Music Director of
the Boston Symphony and a judge at the
competition, invited him to Tanglewood
for the summer following, and he there
won the Berkshire Music Center's highest honor, the Koussevitzky Prize for
outstanding student conductor.
While working with Herbert von Karajan in West Berlin, Mr. Ozawa came to the
attention of Leonard Bernstein, whom he accompanied on the New York Philharmonic's spring 1961 Japan tour, and he was made an Assistant Conductor of that
orchestra for the 1961-62 season. His first professional concert appearance in North
America came in January 1962 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. He
was Music Director of the Chicago Symphony's Ravinia Festival for five summers
beginning in 1963, and Music Director for four seasons of the Toronto Symphony
Orchestra, a post he relinquished at the end of the 1968-69 season in favor of guest
conducting numerous American and European orchestras.
Seiji Ozawa first conducted the Boston Symphony in Symphony Hall in January
of 1968; he had previously appeared with the Orchestra at Tanglewood, where he
was made an Artistic Director in 1970. In December of that year he began his
inaugural season as Conductor and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony
Orchestra. The Music Directorship of the Boston Symphony followed in 1973, and
Mr. Ozawa resigned his San Francisco position in the spring of 1976, remaining
Honorary Conductor there for the 1976-77 season.
As Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Ozawa has strengthened the Orchestra's reputation internationally as well as at home. In February/
March 1976, he conducted concerts in Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna, Munich,
Berlin, London, and Paris on the Orchestra's European tour. In March 1978 he
brought the Orchestra to Japan, leading thirteen concerts in nine cities, an occasion
hailed by critics as a triumphal return by Mr. Ozawa to his homeland. Then, at the
invitation of the People's Republic of China, he spent a week working with the Peking Central Philharmonic Orchestra, and became the first foreigner in many years
to lead concerts in China.
Mr. Ozawa pursues an active international career and appears regularly with
the orchestras of Berlin, Paris, and Japan. Since he first conducted opera at Salzburg
in 1969, he has led numerous large-scale operatic and choral works. He has won an
Emmy Award for outstanding achievement in music direction for the BSO's Evening
at Symphony television series, and his recording of Berlioz's Romeo et Juliette has won
a G rand Prix du Disque. Seiji Ozawa's recordings with the Boston Symphony on
Deutsche Grammophon include works of Bartok, Berlioz, Brahms, Ives, Mahler,
and Ravel, with works of Berg, Stravinsky, Takemitsu, and a complete Tchaikovsky
Swan Lake forthcoming. For New World records, Mr. Ozawa and the Orchestra have
recorded works of Charles Tomlinson Griffes and Roger Sessions's When Lilacs Last
Edward A. Taft
Helen Sagoff Slosherg chair
Philip R. Allen chair
Vernon and Marion Alden chair
Helen Horner Mclntyre chair
Harold D. Hodgkinson chair
Bo Youp Hwang
Evelyn and C. Charles Marran chair
Participating in a system of rotated seating
within each string section.
Roger Louis Voisin chair
Sylvia Shippen Wells chair
Walter Piston chair
AnnS. M. Banks
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Colin Davis, Principal Guest Conductor
Joseph Silverstein, Assistant Conductor
Thursday, 19 April
COLIN DAVIS conducting
Romeo and /w//ef, Overture- Fantasy after
Symphony No. 1
Andante con malinconia
Maestoso— Brioso ed ardentemente
This concert will end about 12:10
Deutsche Grammophon, Philips, RCA, and
New World records
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Colin Davis, Principal Guest Conductor
Joseph Silverstein, Assistant Conductor
Thursday, 19 April
Friday, 20 April at 2
Saturday, 21 April at 8
Tuesday, 24 April
COLIN DAVIS conducting
En Saga, symphonic poem, Opus 9
Symphony No. 1
Andante con malinconia
Maestoso— Br ioso ed ardentemente
Thursday's, Saturday's, and Tuesday's concerts will end about 9:50 and Friday's about 3:50.
Deutsche Grammophon, Philips, RCA, and
New World records
The program books
for the Friday series are given
memory of Mrs. Hugh Bancroft by her daughters
Cox and Jane Bancroft Cook.
ON 'GBH RADIO
Join Morning Pro Musica host
insights in to the Orchestra's
Robert J. Lurtsema
management, production and
for a fas-
cinating series exploring the
inner workings of a
modern symThis week's guest:
Sherman Walt, bassoon
Each week, special guests from
the Boston Symphony Orchestra
will he on hand to share their
Morning Pro Musica
Saturday 7:00-12:00 noon
possible hy grants from
BASF, Magnetic Tape Division and Pastene Wine and
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Romeo and Juliet, Overture-Fantasy
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born at
Votkinsk, district of Vyatka, on 25 April
May (new style)
(old style) 17
Petersburg on 6/18
He completed Romeo and Juliet
1869. Nikolay Rubinstein conducted the
performance at a concert of the Russian Musical Society in Moscow on 4/16
1870. The first performance by the
Symphony was given on 7 Febru-
ary 1890, Arthur Nikisch conducting.
Subsequent performances were led by
Emil Paur, Wilhelm Gericke, Karl Muck,
Max Fiedler, Pierre Monteux,
Burgin, Serge Koussevitzky, Albert
Leonard Bernstein, Charles
recently in Boston, Claudio Abbado, in February of 1971. Seiji
two flutes, piccolo, two oboes, English horn, two
soons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, cymbals,
In a dear distant day before campuses became politicized and student protest
endemic, when "town-and-gown" implied peaceful coexistence with only occasional high jinks, many a plangent collegiate voice was raised in close harmony
to these lines in the Glee Club Songby Fred Newton Scott (1860-1931):
am the hero of this little tale;
am that sadly susceptible male.
I'm Romeo, Romeo.
With or without apologies for the inelegance of this lyric, Tchaikovsky's Romeo
and Juliet would be less comprehensible in any other perspective.
Not, of course that Pyotr Ilyich actually encountered the Scott doggerel. Even
granted that such dubious verse could have been written by a child, presumably
it was not yet perpetrated and in any case it was not yet published when
Tchaikovsky composed his "overture-fantasy" in the autumn of 1869. The point
is rather how very similarly Tchaikovsky identified with Shakespeare's hapless
swain. That inference
maybe argued— as
on all the supinto question. Beyond any reason-
history always is— but
its validity cannot be called
Tchaikovsky in his thirtieth year could have said of himself, like
Romeo in the Glee Club Song, "Scarce did a lover e'er do as I did.
To be sure, the primary extramusical connotations of Romeo and Juliet are an
irrevocable part of every listener's identification with the Shakespearean prototype (and its by-products down to West Side Story). But the background of
Tchaikovsky's score does include something extra: the only woman who ever
him into a
catharsis of heterosexual love.
Perhaps significantly, she was not Russian but French. Her name was Desiree
She was a soprano, and from all reports an extremely gifted one. The
dependable Hermann Laroche reflected the consensus when he wrote of her: "It
is not too much to say that in the entire realm of music, through the entire gamut
of lyric emotion, there was no idea or form of which this admirable artist was
unable to give a poetic account." Tchaikovsky had been enchanted by Artot's
company) at the Bolshoy. Shortly thereafter,
thanks initially to prodding from Anton Rubinstein, he overcame his shyness
long enough to pay her a call. They hit if off from the first, and from then forward he was seeing her daily.
Less than four months after that Otello, the die seemed to be cast: on New
Year's Day, 1869, Tchaikovsky informed his father that "if nothing prevents it,
our wedding will take place this summer." The "if" was, however, no small consideration. In the same letter he confessed misgivings over Mile. Artot's plan to
continue her career, marriage or not: "On the one hand I love her, heart and soul,
feel that I cannot exist without her any longer; on the other hand, cool common
sense tells me to weigh more carefully the misfortunes with which my friends
They insist that if I marry a famous singer I shall play the
pitiful role of 'his wife's husband'; that I shall live at her expense and follow her
about Europe; and finally that I shall lose all chances for work, so that when my
first love has cooled I shall have nothing but disillusionment and depression. The
risk of such a catastrophe might be avoided if she would agree to abandon the
we have agreed that I am to visit her this summer at
stage and live in Russia
a touring Italian
her country place (outside Paris),
The Colonnade Hotel.
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Their fate would be decided well before that, as
turned out— and unfor-
tunately not by Tchaikovsky.
In detailing this affair
most of the biographers are
at a loss to
they apparently perceive as behavior unbecoming to a homosexual. The exception as usual is Herbert Weinstock, who resolves the dilemma in a sentence: it
may be assumed that Pyotr
with the dazzling artist Desiree Artot rather than with the woman herself." Be that as it may,
the truth is that we will never know how the romance might have developed
because Tchaikovsky's intentions were thwarted by a Spanish baritone in Warsaw (whither the peregrinating opera troupe had proceeded from Moscow).
Early in February the composer was devastated by the news that Artot had
become the bride of one Mariano Padilla y Ramos. So that was that. But even by
the following December, while he was finishing Romeo and Juliet, Tchaikovsky by
no means had recovered from his rejection. Artot that month returned to the
Bolshoy to sing Marguerite in Faust. The forlorn composer did not fail to attend.
We are told that "he sat rigid in his seat throughout the performance, opera
glasses to his eyes, tears running down his cheeks."
Diagnosis from a distance is a perilous business, even when it can be done in
the safety of ex post facto hindsight. Still, it seems not unreasonable to conjecture
that Artot's spurning him for another man merely confirmed, in the composer's
heart of hearts, a conviction of masculine inadequacy that already had troubled
Tchaikovsky and now would possess him. A competent psychoanalyst could
have been very helpful just then— but therapy also might have prevented the
composer from sublimating his mortification in such eloquent expressions as
Romeo and Juliet.
in love, he observes, "but
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Listeners disinclined to Freudian notions
refuge in the view perhaps
by Alfred Frankenstein: "Tchaikovsky's father died peacefully of natural causes and still his son was able to write a Hamlet; there is a difference
between a symphonic poem and a diary, and the events of the day may sometimes be conditioned by the writing of the music rather than the other way
Whatever the true clinical picture, Tchaikovsky would not again give his love
to a woman. (Eight years later he did, in fact marry one; but this union was to collapse without consummation after forty-eight ghastly hours that drove the composer to an almost-successful attempt at suicide.) And it remains an open question to what extent Romeo and Juliet represents a return on Tchaikovsky's enormous emotional investment in Desiree Artot. That there is nevertheless some
meaningful correlation would seem to be quite beyond argument.
In all objectivity it needs to be mentioned that the specific impetus for this
music came from Mily Balakirev, who had himself composed an overture to King
Lear and who had then decided that the Shakespeare of Romeo and Juliet would be
particularly amenable to Tchaikovskian sensibilities. Balakirev was right,
though not necessarily for the reasons he had in mind. Pyotr Ilyich accepted the
suggestion with alacrity— and to implement it he even put aside several projects
then in progress, which may or may not be a commentary on the unrequited
affaire de coeur with Desiree Artot.
It should be noted also that the premiere of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet— at
Moscow, Nicholas Rubinstein conducting, on 16 March 1870 — was not at all successful. The ever self-critical composer devoted much of that summer and fall to
overhauling the score. The final version, thanks again to the elder Rubinstein,
was brought out the following May by the prestigious German house of Bote und
Bock. Even as revised, however, the work made its way slowly. (Balakirev, who
had made a damned nuisance of himself during the period of composition, never
could bring himself to express unqualified approval of what had been done with
"his" idea.) But happily the composer lived to see this "overture- fantasy"
securely ensconced in the international repertoire.
Although Romeo and Juliet as published is in pure sonata form, it does not
invite formal analysis because so many of its programmatic implications are
unmistakable. The quasi-ecclesiastical harmonies in the introductory pages
patently depict the sympathetic ministrations of Friar Laurence. Furtive pizzicati
and ominous timpani rolls clearly foretell the conflict to come. Soon we hear
masses of tone rushing from opposite sides of the orchestra, as if to summon the
forces of the feuding Montagues and Capulets. The ensuing love scene is
unfolded with a pair of poignant melodies: one for each of the young lovers, as it
were. These themes are interwoven with affecting melancholy, but the gently
trembling ardor inevitably gives way to the animosity of the hostile households.
Tensions mount. The strife assumes terrible proportions. At the height of this
unreasonableness we are thematically reminded of the star-crossed couple, and
this time the full passions of the orchestra are unleashed. After an overwhelming
climax the cacophony abates, and the low strings testify that Romeo and Juliet
are dead. There is a metamorphosis of the first love theme into a tender song of
mourning. And then, as with the immortal play to which it alludes, the
Tchaikovskian drama is done.
late James Lyons, editor of The American Record Guide, won the Deems Taylor Award of
American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers for his Boston Symphony program notes.
Ozawa Andre Previn
Gunther Schuller • YehudiWyner
Jean (Johan Julius Christian) Sibelius
at Tavastehus (Hameenlinna),
Finland, on 8 December 1865 and died at
Jarvenpad on 20 September 1957. In
1893, in response to a request from the
Viipuri Student Corporation of the University of Helsingfors (Helsinki), he
wrote music for a series of tableaux on
the history of Karelia, conducting the
performance at the University on 13
November of that
The Karelia Suite
consists of three of those movements.
Overture, published separately as
was played by
under Max Fiedler
1911 and later
under Karl Muck. The Alia marcia has
been played at Boston Pops concerts on
and Colin Davis conducted
concerts in April
1977, but these performances are the first by the Orchestra of the entire suite.
Sibelius wrote the
summer and fall
ducted the first performance at Helsingfors on 16 February 1893.
invited Sibelius to
Chicago on 29 April 1904.
Max Fiedler conducted
in Berlin in the fall of 1902, the composer
occasion for thoroughly revising the score, introducing the
edition in Helsingfors on
the first Boston
at a concert in
mances on 4 and 5 March 1910, with later performances being led by Eugene Goossens
and Tauno Hannikainen. The present performances are the Orchestra's first since Hannikainen's in February 1940.
The Karelia Suite
scored for two flutes and piccolo, two oboes and English horn, two
two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani,
drum, bass drum, cymbals, and strings. TheEn Saga orchestra omits pic-
English horn, timpani, and snare
Among Finnish intellectuals
not specifically engaged in politics, nationalism
in the later years of the nineteenth century expressed itself particularly in
forms: reading and discussing the Kalevala, a synthetic folk epic assembled and
published earlier in the century by Elias Lonnrot, and taking a new interest in
the history of Karelia. Now the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic,
swampy, densely wooded land directly east of Finland, extending
over to the White Sea and north to the Gulf of Kandalaksha. It was a strong,
independent state until the seventeenth century, when the Swedes annexed it. In
1721 it was ceded to Russia, which was also to happen to Finland proper in 1809.
The performance in April 1892 of Kullervo, a large symphonic poem for
soloists, chorus, and orchestra, based on the Kalevala, had quite suddenly made
the twenty-six-year-old Sibelius something of a national and cultural hero, and
that made him a natural choice to compose the music for the University's Karelia
pageant. The occasion was more political than musical, and Sibelius wrote to his
brother that little could be heard of his score since everyone was either applaudKarelia
When John Hancock
on WCRB,you won't
wind up humming the
proud to announce that
The John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance
Company will sponsor this season's Boston
Symphony Orchestra. The concerts will be
on Saturday evenings over
radio. With no commercial
commercial time to programs in the public
Like provocative discussions with
Sarah Caldwell, Vernon Alden and many
We know how
special these live per-
formances of the Boston Symphony are
you. And we hope that
listening to people
like these will
these evenings even
ing or shouting. According to a newspaper account, the final scene
land, a virgin
holds in one
the shield with the lion, while the other
draped about a young Karelian woman who stands close to her as if inviting protection," and it all ended with a brilliant setting of the national anthem, in whose
singing the public joined.
The Intermezzo with which the Suite begins is a march of the sort in which the
music seems to begin at a distance, come closer, and then recede once more. (The
same thematic material is found in the Overture to the Karelia pageant.) The
Ballade, marked Tempo di menuetto, is the music to the fourth tableau, in which
Karl Knuttson, a fifteenth-century King of Sweden and Finland, is seen at
Viipuri castle listening to the song of a minstrel. The Alia marcia, originally
called March on an old motif, is an engagingly tuneful swashbuckler. That anyone
would guess its composer seems wildly unlikely.
En Saga, for Sibelius, came closer in atmosphere to the Icelandic Eddas than to
the Kalevala. Not surprisingly, the composer over the years had to field many an
inquiry as to whether in writing En Saga, which simply means A Saga,, he had had
any particular saga in mind. His most illuminating comment on the subject was
he told his secretary that "En Saga [was] the expression of a
had undergone a number of painful experiences at the time, and
no other work have
revealed myself so completely.
explanations in terms of literature quite alien."
Just what had so pained Sibelius in 1892 is not altogether clear. The main
events of that year were the immensely successful premiere of Kullervo and, two
months later, his marriage to Aino Jarnefelt. The marriage would, over the long
run, prove harder on the stoic, occasionally depressive, and beguilingly pretty
wife than on her boozy and wandering husband. For the young man, whose
handsome appearance had not yet made the decisive shift from the human to the
sculptural-monumental, the problem of the moment was figuring out how to
make a steady living. (He reckoned that while he required 3,000 marks as a
bachelor, he and the highly organized Aino together could make it on 2,500!) The
two leading senior figures in Finnish musical life, Martin Wegelius, who had
founded the Helsingfors Music Institute in 1882, and Robert Kajanus, who had
started the first professional symphony orchestra in the country the same year
and a conservatory soon after, both gave him work in their schools. Sibelius took
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pupils in theory and violin, a bit reluctantly, for he was, by his own estimate, a
poor teacher and surely an unsystematic one. But still, it beat going back to play
in an orchestra, of which he had had his fill as a student in Vienna.
Kajanus, who became the first important Sibelius conductor and left some
revealing recordings, also asked his young friend to write something for his
Philharmonic, and En Saga was the quick, electrifying response to that request.
We need to remember, though, that the concentrated symphonic poem we know
today is the revised score of 1902, the work, therefore, of the Sibelius who had
meanwhile added the Kalevala Legends (The Swan of Tuonela is the most famous
of these) and the first two symphonies to his catalogue. A semi-slow introduction
proposes a series of contrasting ideas from which the dramatic, forward-thrusting allegro is generated. That kind of driving is something we do not often
and it is in fact the more characteristically Sibelian halts
were eliminated in the revision. En Saga moves with a
fiercely obsessive energy, and only near the end is there a moment for reflection.
The last page, with its subtly accented string chords under the fifty-four-measure
clarinet solo, is from a bleak dream that grows more grey and more distant withassociate with Sibelius,
and tempo changes
out ever losing
sense of menace.
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Symphony No. 1
William Turner Walton, knighted by
King George VI in 1951, was born at
Oldham, Lancashire, England, on 29
March 1902 and now lives on Ischia in
Bay of Naples. He began his
Symphony No. 1 in 1932 and completed
the finale in the summer of 1935. The first
movements were introduced by
London Symphony Orchestra on 3
December 1934, and the premiere of the
complete work took place at a concert by
Symphony Orchestra on
November 1935. The Chicago Symphony
gave the American premiere on 23 January 1936. All these performances were
conducted by Sir Hamilton Harty. The
only previous performances here were
given by the Boston
Symphony under Charles Munch on
and 4 February 1950. The
score calls for two flutes (one doubling piccolo), two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons,
four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani (two players), tarn
snare drum, and strings. The dedication
William Walton was thirty, a young man, when he took on his first symphony.
Already, he was an experienced and immensely successful composer as well as
obviously a brilliant one.
A string quartet, which has not survived in the reper-
name on the map internationally when it was selected as one of
works to be played at the first festival of the International Society
for Contemporary Music at Salzburg in 1923. Still more significant, and certainly
a more personal statement, was the first public hearing by an audience in part
delighted and in part scandalized of Facade, the recitation to dazzlingly apt
chamber- musical accompaniment of Edith Sitwell's crackling and nostalgic
poems. There followed the vigorous Portsmouth Point Overture (1925) after a print
by the early nineteenth-century caricaturist, Thomas Rowlandson*; a Sinfonia
concertante for orchestra with piano (1927); the Viola Concerto (1929), the finest
example of the genre; and the gaudy oratorio Belshazzar's Feast (1931), for which
Osbert Sitwell had drawn a libretto from Psalms and the Book of Daniel. And by
time Walton completed the Symphony, he had taken his first plunge into the
activity that would eventually bring him his widest audience, namely the writing of film scores. (Walton's first film was Escape Me Never, an Elisabeth Bergner
weepie, the most famous of his later ones being Major Barbara and Laurence
Olivier's Shakespeare films, the apparently lost As You Like It (1936, also with
Bergner), Henry V, Hamlet, and Richard III.)
The Symphony thus represents the culmination of Walton's conquest of maturity. Colin Davis's contention that Walton is, like Britten and Humperdinck, a
one- work composer is something to be argued with, but one can make a strong
Walton wrote but subsequently destroyed a Pedagogic Overture Doctor Syntax,
named for a character who appears in many of Rowlandson's drawings.
case for saying that the
a level of ambition, concentration,
1 is at
and sheer human urgency and strength
Walton would not reach
tain later compositions of masterful facture, like the Violin Concerto he wrote
for Jascha Heifetz in 1939 or his
not devoid of either
charm or sentiment, but
Troilus and Cressida (1951), are
their sugar content
a digestive system.
Walton's father was a teacher of singing, and it was from him that the boy
received his first musical instruction. At ten, he entered Christ Church Cathedral
School at Oxford and was sufficiently precocious to matriculate as an undergraduate at sixteen. He flunked out, or, as the English so much more nicely say,
was sent down, but not before he had read many scores and had formed some
crucial friendships, particularly among literary colleagues like Ronald Firbank
and the three Sitwells. As a musician, he was essentially self-taught, though once
in a while he went for advice to Busoni, to Ernest Ansermet, and, specifically on
matters to do with conducting, to Eugene Goossens. And, as Walton's
"the Oxford connexion
years later by the conferment of an honorary D.
and an honorary
Studentship (fellowship) of Christ Church."
The work of Jean Sibelius represented the ideal of contemporary symphonic
writing to English musicians and to the English musical public in the early 1930s,
the point being made with particular force in a widely read book, Music Ho!: A
Study of Music in Decline, by another member of the Sitwell circle and a close
friend of Walton's, the composer and conductor Constant Lambert. Walton's
way far from Sibelius:
indeed, as David
Cox aptly puts
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"William Walton began like a seventh member of Les Six. The style was marked
continental, pointed with wit and satire, bursting with exuberance. Nothing
folky." But the Andante of the Sinfonia concertante introduces a new tone of voice,
a new color of sentiment, and what is begun there is pursued and splendidly
fulfilled in the Viola Concerto. Buoyed, no doubt, by the success of Belshazzar's
Feast at the 1931 Leeds Festival, Walton, at the time of beginning his Symphony
No. 1, was absolutely ready to commit himself to an uncompromisingly grand
and serious statement.
One of our most knowledgeable subscribers challenged me to write a program
note on Walton's Symphony without mentioning the name of Jean Sibelius, but it
is not to be done. The Finnish master's concept of symphony is too insistently
present, as are some of the techniques by means of which he realizes his ideas.
And, of course, a Sibelius- Walton program was not put together by pulling
names out of a hat. For all that, Walton's Symphony is a free, strong, individual
statement, as far beyond mere imitation as, say, the First Brahms. Not many
would wish to call Walton one of the great twentieth-century composers, but the
claim that his First Symphony is one of the few great twentieth-century
symphonies is not excessive.
Walton begins this way: there is a soft timpani roll on B flat, to which, even
more quietly, the four horns, entering one at a time, add more B flats, an F, and a
G. Meanwhile, also in ghostly triple piano, the second violins begin an insistent
rhythmic drumming, also on B flat and F. An oboe melody in uncannily slow
motion unfolds across this, its initial D flat identifying the key as B flat minor.
Now this melody and what proceeds from it is a wide-ranging affair; nonethe-
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And when the B flat at last
it is to a G pedal of twelve measures, whose purpose is to prepare the
appearance of another of these firm harmonic anchors, this time C. I have
described this in some detail because no one feature of Walton's symphony is
more characteristic than these massive pedals. Walton got them from Sibelius,
but he extends them so remarkably that they come to remind us of music he is
unlikely to have known in 1932, the organa of the twelfth-century masters of
music at Notre Dame in Paris, compositions whose magnifying-glass basses
move rarely, but never without some sense of cataclysm. Walton's huge pedalpoints achieve two things: they convey by their very physicality the sense of
largeness for which he strives and they provide a strong anchor in the face of
some intensely dissonant buffetings. In fact, they themselves are responsible for
some of the dissonance, and one characteristic that comes across at once powerfully and engagingly is the joy of dissonance as a stimulant not yet exhausted.
The ideas with which this allegro is built are tightly related to one another. The
whole movement, with its expansive development and drastically compressed
recapitulation, suggests the effect of a single intense, enraged climax.
tempo mark tells us, malice. Rhythmic
patterns shift between the mercurial and the obsessive. We notice, as well,
Walton's pleasure in orchestral virtuosity: he demands from players and conductor the utmost in concentration and skill.
The melancholy Andante is full of virtuoso orchestral writing in another, nonIn the scherzo,
more rage and,
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aggressive sense. The feeling at the beginning, for example, that the pedal
sharp is both absolutely still and vibrantly alive is achieved by the most
fastidious and subtle distribution of colors and accents across horns and
divided strings, all muted. In this inconclusive, quietly pained music we hear
further manifestations of Walton's preference for growth and variation as
against literal restatements.
Up to that point, work
Walton had gone quickly, though the Andante had
cost him more time than the first two movements together. The problem of the
finale seemed for a while to stymie him as in one way or another it had so many
composers from Schubert on. The planned premiere had to be postponed and,
rather than announce a second postponement, Walton allowed Sir Hamilton
performance of the first three movements only. But having heard
1934, Walton, revitalized and encouraged, resumed work. He
conceived for his finale a strong design in which a majestic music stands at the
beginning and end, with three kinds of quicker, more nervously excitable writing accounting for most of the span: first, a fiery, ardent music in Walton's
violent Belshazzar manner; then a fugue on a leaping, long, ten-measure subject;
and after that, something scherzando in quicker, shorter measures. The two timpanists enter with a view to breaking it up. They succeed, and their summons
opens the way to the triumphal peroration.
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an excellent book, generously illustrated (ScribBrown is just out and it is the beginning of a large-scale superb and badly needed study (Norton). The Life and Letters
of Tchaikovsky by the composer's brother Modest is basic, but readers should be
warned of the hazards of Modest's nervous discretion and of the inaccuracies in
Rosa Newmarch's translation (Vienna House, available in paperback). A lot of
sneering goes on in The Music of Tchaikovsky, a symposium edited by Gerald
Abraham, but several chapters, including Edward Lockspeiser's biographical
sketch, are useful (Norton, available in paperback). Colin Davis and the Boston
Symphony will be recording Romeo and Juliet shortly after this concert performance. Among the many recordings available now, the ones of exceptional interest are those by Claudio Abbado and the Boston Symphony (Deutsche Grammophon, with Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy), Sir Adrian Boult's with the London
Philharmonic (Quintessence, with excerpts from Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet, or,
less attractively coupled, on Odyssey with Tchaikovsky's Marche slave and 1812),
Andre Previn's with the London Symphony (Angel, also with Tchaikovsky's two
military blockbusters), Arturo Toscanini's with the NBC Symphony (RCA, with
music by Glinka, Liadov, Sibelius, and Smetana— monaural only).
Robert Layton's Sibelius in the Master Musicians series is a satisfactory basic
life-and- works (Dent paperback), and Layton is also the translator of Erik
Tawaststerna's more ambitious biography— excellent on the life, a bit commonplace on the music— whose first volume, all that is so far available, goes
through 1905 (University of California). There are excellent recordings of the
Karelia Suite by Sir John Barbirolli (Angel, with various short pieces by Sibelius)
and by Sir Alexander Gibson (London, with the Symphony No. 5). No one, however, equals Sir Thomas Beecham's swagger in the Alia marcia (Odyssey— the
record is called Beecham Favorites). For En Saga, both Paavo Berglund and the
Bournemouth Symphony (Angel, with Symphony No. 5) and Eugene Ormandy
and the Philadelphia Orchestra (with Finlandia, Valse triste, and The Swan of
Tuonela) do well; however, you will probably want to wait for the appearance of
the recording Colin Davis will be making with the Boston Symphony for Philips
Tchaikovsky by John
The Early Years by David
after these concerts.
The basic Walton book
but available in
by Frank Howes (Oxford, not in print in this country,
A vivid and engaging portrait of Walton emerges from
of Sir Osbert Sitwell's biography, Laughter in the Next Room).
RCA has let Andre Previn's very good recording of the Symphony
go out of print, but there may be some copies left in stores (the catalog numLSC-2927). Other recordings of interest in this context are those of the Sinfonia concertante with pianist Peter Katin and the composer conducting (Musical
Heritage, with other works by Walton), the Viola Concerto with violist Paul
Doktor and with Edward Downes conducting (Odyssey, with Hindemith's
and preferable to the Menuhin- Walton recording on Angel),
and Belshazzar's Feast, for which I would suggest the recording by Andre Previn
with baritone John Shirley-Quirk (Angel).
Pant, pant, pant...
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time only to have your stomach
rumble during the pianissimo
Adjoining the Boston
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Colin Davis, Principal Guest Conductor of the Boston Symphony, is Music
Director of the Royal Opera, Covent
Garden, and Principal Guest Conductor of the
Orchestra as well.
He has been deco-
rated by the governments of England,
Italy. His European
engagements include regular concerts
with the Berlin Philharmonic, the
Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the
Orchestre de Paris. Since his American debut in 1959 with the Minneapolis Symphony, Mr. Davis has
conducted the orchestras of New
York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and
his debut at the
Metropolitan Opera in 1967 with a new production of Peter Grimes and returned
there for Pelleas et Melisande and Wozzeck. He has conducted the Boston
Symphony Orchestra annually since
1967 and became the BSO's Principal Guest
Conductor in 1972.
1959 to 1965, Mr. Davis was Music Director of Sadler's Wells (now
English National) Opera, where he conducted over 20 operas.
Covent Garden debut with the Royal Ballet in 1960, and his operatic debut there
came in 1965. He was Principal Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra until
1971, at which time he became Music Director of the Royal Opera. New productions he has led at Covent Garden include Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Don
Giovanni, La clemenza di Tito, and Idomeneo, Tippett's Midsummer Marriage, The
Knot Garden, and The Ice Break, Wagner's R ing cycle, Berlioz's Les Troy ens, and
Britten's Peter Grimes. The first British conductor ever to appear at Bayreuth, Mr.
Davis opened the 1977 Festival there with Wagner's Tannhauser, a production
recently filmed by Unitel.
Among Mr. Davis's many recordings on the Philips label are Mozart's Le nozze
di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cos) fan tutte, symphonic and operatic works by Sir
Michael Tippett, a near complete Berlioz cycle for which he has received the
Grosse Deutschen Shallplattenpreis, and, with the Boston Symphony, the complete
symphonies of Sibelius, for which he was awarded the Sibelius Medal by the
Helsinki Sibelius Society. Recent recordings include Berlioz's Beatrice
and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis; Verdi's Un
Entfuhrung aus dem Serail are forthcoming.
hallo in maschera
and Mozart's Die
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Colin Davis, Principal Guest Conductor
Joseph Silverstein, Assistant Conductor
PRE-SYMPHONY CHAMBER CONCERTS
Thursday, 19 April
Saturday, 21 April at 6
EMANUEL BOROK, violin
VYACHESLAV URITSKY, violin
MICHAEL ZARETSKY, viola
G for violin and viola, K.423
Allegro ma non troppo
Terzetto in C,
Vivace— Poco meno mosso— Vivace
Tema con variazioni
Wolfgang Amade Mozart
Duo in G for violin and viola, K.423
and richer than most non-string players
of violin and viola has not been
suspect, though this particular
much favored by composers. Mozart's two duos, written in the summer or early
fall of 1783, are the summit of the genre. It seems that Mozart wrote them as a
kindness to Joseph Haydn's younger brother Michael, who had been part of the
musical establishment of the archiepiscopal court and cathedral at Salzburg since
1762. Haydn was an alcoholic, often in difficulties with deadlines. Two of his students report that he found himself kept by illness from finishing a set of six duos
commissioned by Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg, that the Archbishop
ordered Haydn's salary stopped until the music was delivered, that Mozart,
upon hearing the story "without saying a word to his poor friend went home
and two days later brought him the duets fully written out in fair copy. Except
for Michael Haydn's name on the title page, nothing more was needed for them
to be turned over to the Archbishop." (Mozart's so-called Symphony No. 37 is a
symphony by Michael Haydn to which Mozart added a slow introduction for the
same concert for which he wrote the Linz Symphony in November 1783.) The six
duos, at any rate, were published by Johann Trag— whose name means
"slothful"— in 1788, Haydn's name in the first advertisements getting mixed up
with that of a contemporary composer and arranger called Heidenreich. Mozart
wrote his two duos in the middle of his work on the demanding string quartets
that he dedicated to Joseph Haydn. He was, in sum, at the top of his chambermusical form, and both pieces are abundantly inventive and richly worked.
string duet literature
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Terzetto in C for two violins and
Dvorak's Terzetto has been punished
for its unusual scoring, punished by
neglect. (Presumably the uncommon
title stems from the composer's
desire to distinguish between this
combination and the more common
string trio group of violin, viola, and
cello.) Dvorak wrote the piece in
January 1887, which places it about
half way between the Seventh and
Eighth symphonies, and just before
what has become his most popular
piece of chamber music, the Piano
As a young man, Dvorak
had made his living as a string
from his father's
yj combination of butcher shop and pub
to the pit of the Prague Opera House, and now, forty-six and famous, he wanted
to write something for himself to play on the viola with two violinist friends,
Josef Kruis, a chemistry student, and Jan Pelikan, a professional in the orchestra
of the National Theater. (The first violin part turned out too hard for Kruis, and
Dvorak wrote a set of Bagatelles to fulfill the original intention.) The Terzetto is,
in any event, a beautifully made piece, intimate, full of invention, and with no
intimations of music-minus-one. The furiant-and- waltz scherzo is especially
endearing, and the ten variations that make up the finale— unexpectedly in C
minor until almost the end— are inventive and colorful, including even a sweetly
pathetic operatic recitative.
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Violinist Vyacheslav Uritsky was
born in Kherson, U.S.S.R., was
brought up in Odessa, began his
musical training there with Olga
Goldbown, and studied at Odessa
State Conservatory with Leonid Lambersky. After graduating from the
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A violist with the Boston Symphony
since 1973, Russian-born Michael
Zaretsky began his musical studies as
a violinist at the Central Music
School in Moscow. He graduated as a
from the Moscow State Conservatory and became a member of
the Moscow Philharmonic String
Quartet and the Moscow Broadcastviolist
ing Orchestra. In 1972 he emigrated
where he became principal
Orchestra. Leonard Bernstein recommended him for fellowship study at
violist of the
Tanglewood's Berkshire Music Center, and, while there, Mr. Zaretsky
successfully auditioned for the BSO.
for the Court
April 22 at 8. Sanders Theatre. Cambridge
including Come, Ye Sons of Art
for the Church
April 29 at 8. Emmanuel Church, Boston
including the Scena: In Guilty Night
Music for the Theatre
Sunday May 6 at 8. Jordan Hall, Boston
King Arthur (complete music with narration)
Tickets: $6.50, $5, $4, $3 per concert from
The Cecilia Society, 1773 Beacon St., Brookline 02146
or telephone 232-4540
ARTS/Boston Vouchers welcome.
and Visa accepted.
by the Mass. Council on the Arts
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Malcolm Frager, World-renowned Pianist
Wednesday, 25 April
Michel Sasson, Music
Thursday 'C Series
Friday, 27 April -2-3:15
Saturday, 28 April
YASUKO HAYASHI, soprano
PATRICIA PAYNE, mezzo-soprano
NEIL ROSENSHEIN, tenor
ROBERT LLOYD, baritone
CHORUS, JOHN OLIVER,
A taste of
WITH A FLOURISH!
Saturday April 28: 10 am 6 pm
Sunday April 29: 10 am 5 pm
Friday April 27: 12
D minor, Choral
Newton Music School
COLIN DAVIS conducting
All Seats Reserved
Thursday, 26 April
NEWTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Michael Steinberg will discuss the program at 6:45 in the Cabot-Cahners Room.
Mozart and Schumann Concertos
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SYMPHONY HALL AMENITIES
SYMPHONY HALL, AND ALL CONCERT AND TICKET INFORMATION (617)-266-1492
THE BSO IN GENERAL: The Boston Symphony
performs twelve months a year,
about any of the Orchesin Symphony Hall and
tra's activities, please call Symphony Hall, or write the Boston Symphony
Orchestra, Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
THE BOX OFFICE
until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Symphony concerts go on sale twenty-eight days prior to
open from 10 a.m.
and phone reservations
will be accepted. For outside events at
weeks before the
Hall, tickets will be available three
will be accepted for these events.
FIRST AID FACILITIES for both men and women are available in the Ladies'
Lounge on the first floor next to the main entrance of the Hall. On-call physicians attending concerts should leave their names and seat locations at the
ing in advance.
Symphony Hall may be made by call-
House personnel stationed
entrance to the Hall will assist patrons in wheelchairs into the building and to
ROOMS are located on the first floor, first violin side, next to the stair-
the back of the Hall,
and on the second
on the Massachusetts Ave-
nue side near the elevator.
MEN'S ROOMS are located on the first floor on the Massachusetts Avenue side
by the elevator, and on the second floor next to the coatroom in the corridor on
LOUNGES AND BAR SERVICE:
There are two lounges in Symphony Hall. The
Hatch Room on the first floor, and the Cabot-Cahners Room on the second, serve
drinks from one hour before each performance and are open for a reasonable
amount of time after the concert. For the Friday afternoon concerts, both rooms
will be open at 12:15, with sandwiches available until concert time.
CAMERA AND RECORDING EQUIPMENT may not be brought into Symphony
Hall during the concerts.
LOST AND FOUND
located at the switchboard near the
AN ELEVATOR can be found outside the Hatch Room on the Massachusetts
side of the
COATROOMS are located on both the first and second floors in the corridor on
violin side, next to the
Huntington Avenue stairways.
TICKET RESALE: If for some reason you are unable to attend a Boston
Symphony concert for which you hold a ticket, you may make your ticket availby calling the switchboard. This helps bring needed revenue to the
Orchestra, and makes your seat available to someone who wants to attend the
concert. You will receive a tax deductible receipt as acknowledgement for your
able for resale
LATECOMERS are asked to remain in the corridors until they can be seated by
ushers during the
convenient pause in the program. Those
leave before the
of the concert are requested to
do so between program pieces
in order not to disturb other patrons.
RUSH SEATS: There are a limited number of Rush Tickets available for the Friday
afternoon and Saturday evening Boston
Symphony concerts (subscription con-
The Rush Tickets are sold at $3.00 each (one to a customer) in the
Huntington Avenue Lobby on Fridays beginning at 10 am and on Saturdays
beginning at 6 pm.
BOSTON SYMPHONY BROADCASTS: Concerts of the Boston Symphony are
many parts of the United States and Canada by delayed broadcast.
89.7), WMEH-FM (Bangor 90.9), WHEA-FM (Portland 90.1), WAMC-FM (Albany
90.3), and WFCR-FM (Amherst 88.5). Saturday evening concerts are also broadcast live by WGBH-FM, WMEH-FM, WCRB (Boston 102.5 FM), and WFCR-FM.
Most of the Tuesday evening concerts are broadcast live by WGBH-FM, WAMCaddition, Friday afternoon concerts are broadcast live by
FM, and WFCR-FM. If Boston Symphony concerts are not heard regularly in
your home area, and you would like them to be, please call WCRB Productions
(617)-893-7080. WCRB will be glad to work with you to try to get the Boston
Symphony on the air in your area.
BSO FRIENDS: The Friends
are supporters of the
in all of
endeavors. Friends receive the monthly BSO news publication and priority ticket
information. For information about the Friends of the Boston Symphony, please
call the Friends' Office Monday through Friday between nine and five. If you are
already a Friend and would like to change your address, please send your new
address with the label from your BSO newsletter to the Development Office, Boston
Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
ing the mailing label will assure a quick
and accurate change
of address in our
give handicapped kids
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The Cotting School for Handicapped Children offers a 12-year
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