The BSO in 2013-14
The Boston Symphony Orchestra announced its 2013-14 season today; full details here. Of highlights, there are several: Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem," a concert performance of Richard Strauss's Salome , Beethoven's Five Piano Concertos played by Yefim Bronfman. some world (Justin Dello Joio, Mark Neikrug and Bernard Rands) and U.S. (Mark-Anthony Turnage) premieres, and the first BSO performance since '01 of one of the defining musical works of the young century, Osvaldo Golijov's St. Mark Passion . Some pretty fancy soloists are coming to Symphony Hall, too, alongside others that I find less interesting. But my yawns might be your yays, so I'll keep my opinions on which is which to myself.
What there is not, however, is the consistent, overarching artistic vision and planning that a music director would provide. That's because the BSO is still without a music director, nearly two years after James Levine resigned from the post. Whether or not you liked what Levine did during his tenure — and I'm somewhere in-between — he certainly did lots of artistic visioning and planning, bringing a focus and buzz to the BSO it had lacked for years with his challenging programming and compelling interpretive skills. No offense to the elder statesmen or up-and-comers who'll be conducting next season. But considering that Levine was hampered by health issues for the latter part of his tenure, it means that it will be up to a half-decade before one of the world's greatest orchestras will have put together and performed a season to rival those of, well, its rivals, and to make a strong statement of its own. Until then, the music may still sound very fine in concert and on Sunday afternoons on WFCR. But that final, highest degree of pride and and purpose will be missing. BSO Nation deserves better.