By Lindsey Davis
Boston, MA – Last Thursday the technically perfected sounds of the Boston Symphony Orchestra filled Boston Symphony Hall — the first of four performances that will consist of these two particular pieces of musical art. The first was the exciting and bouncy ballet in one act, “Pucinella” by Stravinsky, which was followed by the slower, more classical piece, Haydn’s “Mass in Time of War.”
Both works called for soloist vocals but Haydn’s “Mass” required a choir as well, represented here by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Veteran conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos led the Orchestra, and although his age restricted him to an office chair while conducting, there was no emotional inflexibility whatsoever.
Stravinsky’s “Pucinella” was clearly intended as a dance, each note getting whisked up by the last, and speeding past each other until the song erupted into a grand sweeping melody. The excess staccatos made for bouncy, bright passages, only occasionally interrupted by minor notes thrown in for suspense.
The second piece was more deliberate, moving along at a rhythm that allowed the more than 100 people onstage to follow it. There were grand dramatic sections as well, where each note whether sung or played served as a proclamation, some passages cascading into a waltz while others were punctuated by short staccato exclamations. The singing bounced between the soloists and the choir as both continually introduced the other and took their turn, enthusiastically singing each Latin phrase with power and articulation.
Nearly every seat in Boston Symphony Hall was filled for the performance, one comprised of two contrasting musical numbers both delivered with a deep love of delicate illustrious melodies.
(The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s perform Stravinsky and Haydn this Tuesday, February 26 at 8 p.m. at Boston Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. For tickets, call BSO’s SymphonyCharge at (617) 266-1200 or (888) 266-1200 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)