When looking over the Houston Symphony Orchestra's classical season, I find myself saying "Ooh! I can't miss that one! Ooh! Or that one either!" It's going to be a good year here in Houston, for classical music. There are also some great specials concerts, not part of the classical season, that shouldn't be missed either.
All the goodies start this coming weekend, with the opening classical concert, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Now, if THAT isn't a way to open the season, I have no idea what is. I know a lot of orchestras play that piece for their season closer, but I think it's perfect for an opener. It sets the tone, if you will, for the rest of the reason.
Concerts that really interest me are:
Sept. 22, 24, and 25: Ein Heldenleben. As a double bassist, I love this piece. As a regular human being, I can't stand this piece, because I think it's ridiculous. It's pompous and arrogant and so self centered, and I hate it so much that I love it, and I love it so much that I hate it. It's a strange feeling, I know. I don't want to miss this concert. Also, Olga Kern is playing Liszt's Piano Concerto no. 2, another piece not to miss.
Sept. 30, Oct. 1, and 2: Schubert "Unfinished" Symph. No. 8. I remember hearing this piece as a youngster, and I've loved it ever since. Andre Watts will be playing Beethoven's awesome Emporer Concerto as well. I'm rather gutted that I'll be on vacation during these concerts, so sadly I'll be missing them.
Oct. 20, 22, and 23: Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe Suite no. 2. I don't miss out on this work--it's too spectacular. In general, I don't like to miss out on any Ravel. After Mahler, he is one of my fave composers. Also on the concert is Daniel Mueller-Schott, playing Haydn's Cello Concerto in D major. I'm really looking forward to this one!
Nov. 18, 19, and 20. Emanuel Ax is playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25. Need I say more?
Dec. 6: MAHLER SYMPHONY NO. 5 Christoph Eschenbach is conducting. One night only. I cannot miss this. If I don't get to any other concert this season, I MUST make it to this one. It's Mahler. It's Eschenbach. It's going to be EPIC.
Jan. 5, 7, and 8: This is the first concert of the RachFest, which goes on throughout January, and it's a good way to start such a festival, with Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Symphonic Dances.
Jan. 13, 14, and 15: The second concert of RachFest: Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 1 and 4.
Jan. 19, 21, and 22: The third and final concert of RachFest, featuring Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.
Feb. 18: Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra, Copland's Appalachian Spring, and Adams Short Ride in a Fast Machine. In addition to those awesome pieces, they'll be displaying an HD film based on footage of the Earth, taken by NASA.
March 16, 17, and 18: Prokofiev Symph. No. 5. This piece is on my "Top 10 Fave Pieces" list, and missing out on it would surely be a tragedy. Also on the concert is awesome violinist Chloe Hanslip, playing the Bruch Violin Concert No. 1.
March 30, 31, and April 1: Hilary Hahn, one of the best violinists on the planet currently, will be here to play Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto. I'm sure these concerts will sell out--she tends to do that!
May 3 and 4: Shostakovich Symph. No. 11, "The Year 1905". This is an epic symphony that everyone on earth should hear. First time I ever heard it, I was left shaking. 'Nuff said.
May 17, 19, and 20: Orff's Carmina Burana closes out the classical season. I think many people just listen to the first movement of it, and forget the rest, but it is a fantastic piece of music from beginning to end. Not one to miss, for sure!
As you can see, there's a LOT of good stuff happening this season at the Houston Symphony Orchestra. I'm looking forward to it all!