By Robert D. Thomas
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News
Each season, one “warhorse” piece seems to pop up on multiple orchestra concerts. Last fall Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 was played four times by different orchestras within a one-month span (plus the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s concerts during last May’s “Brahms Unbound” festival). This year the early winner in this dubious category of programmatic clash is Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, which will be played four times within a fortnight by orchestras throughout Southern California, plus at least twice more later in the season.
In chronological order:
• Oct. 13 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa
Marinsky Theatre Orchestra; Valery Gergiev, conductor
This world-class ensemble, known in the Communist era as the Kirov, makes its first appearance in five years at Segerstrom Concert hall. The first of two concerts pairs the fifth and second symphonies; the second performance, on Oct. 17, is Tchaikovsky’s third and fourth symphonies. These are the concert pairings that Gergiev and the orchestra are playing tonight and tomorrow night at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Information: www.philharmonicsociety.org
• Oct. 13, 14 and 15 at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Los Angeles Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
The Venezuelan maestro, who made his local debut in 2005 at Hollywood Bowl conducting Tchaikovsky’s fifth (LINK), leads it for the first time in Disney Hall. The weekend’s programs also include Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3, with Yefim Bronfman as soloist. The Thursday and Saturday programs open with Orion by Montreal native Claude Vivier (the Casual Friday program omits the Canadian work). Information: www.laphil.org
• Oct. 23 at Royce Hall (UCLA)
American Youth Symphony; Alexander Treger, conductor
One of the region’s top youth orchestras, the AYS opens its 2011-2012 season with a free concert that concludes with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. It also includes Rod Gilfry singing songs from Carousel, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd and The Most Happy Fella. Information: www.aysymphony.org
• Oct. 29 at Ambassador Auditorium
Pasadena Symphony; Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
The Pasadena Symphony’s opening concerts (performances at 2 and 8 p.m.) finishes with Tchaikovsky’s fifth symphony. Earlier, Taiwanese-born Mei-Ann Chen (music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta and Memphis Symphony, and a rising star in conducting circles) leads Saibei Dance (from Sabei Dance Suite No. 2) by An-Lun Huang, and Korngold’s Violin Concerto, with James Ehnes as soloist. NOTE: my article on Mei-Ann Chen will be posted later this week and will also appear in Pasadena Scene magazine. Information: www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org
And, if that wasn’t enough, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 pops up twice in January, as well. Charles Dutoit leads the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London playing the piece on Jan. 25 on tour at Copley Hall in San Diego (curiously, the orchestra wasn’t booked at any other Southland hall).
Meanwhile, Carl St.Clair and the Pacific Symphony play the piece Jan. 12-15 at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. The program for the first three nights will include Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov’s Sidereus, which was played last monthy by Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LINK).
(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.