I don’t claim to be an expert in classical music and would never pretend to be a music critic. Music 101 was considered a “gut” course in college, as we listened to the classics on scratched vinyl records, our thoughts wandering to what we would be doing that weekend.
Then one day my Scout leader took me to Tanglewood, and I discovered the power of a great symphony orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony No. 6.
Last month, I sat in a packed Vets Auditorium and listened to our own Rhode Island Philharmonic, under the leadership of maestro Larry Rachleff, perform the familiar classic, and I silently thanked Sam Bogan for introducing me to the wonderful world of classical music.
While not an expert, I know great music when I hear it, and I hear it every month when I attend a Rhode Island Philharmonic concert. My feelings are reinforced when guest artists consistently tell me what a great conductor and orchestra we are blessed with.
Rachleff is recognized internationally for his talents, and while standing ovations are nothing new for our state, the more sophisticated audience at the Vets is quick to rise in recognition of the superior performances.
Rachleff is a genius when it comes to programming, always willing to play the familiar, like the Pathetique, and never afraid to introduce the audience to something new, like last week’s world premier of a “living composer: Michael Udow’s “The Shattered Mirror: Suite” or something unusual, like Stravinsky’s musically difficult “Violin Concerto in D major.”
Acclaimed pianist Robert Levin will join the orchestra on April 12 at 8 p.m. for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20. Rachleff will open the program with Ives’ “The Unanswered Question,” keeping the “something different” tradition alive. After intermission the orchestra will treat us to Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.
The Rush Hour series on the previous Friday, April 11 at 5:50 p.m. presents an abbreviated, intermission-less concert.
The season finale on May 10 features “Beethoven With Alon Goldstein.” Pianist Goldstein joins Larry Rachleff and the Providence Singers in a concert that includes Strauss’ “Don Juan,” Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloe: Suites 1 & 2.”
Join the Philharmonic in a grand gala to celebrate their 70th season on Sunday, June 1, at 7 p.m., when the guest musician will be Yo-Yo Ma.
The RI Philharmonic has also announced their program for next season. Call 248-7000 for information, reservations and become a season subscriber to this Rhode Island treasure.