Breaking Free of Chains- Sanders Theatre
February 23, 2012
Composer Witold Lutoslawski said of his Concerto for Cello and Orchestra that the solo should be played with a sense of “Just you wait and see!” It’s an appropriate motto for the third concert of the Boston Philharmonic’s 2011-2012 season, an evening of stirring and inspirational music celebrating heroic passion and defiance. Conducted by Maestro Benjamin Zander, the program features Alexander Baillie, acclaimed cellist and star of the 2006 documentary Dvo?ák…Who?, as “hero” soloist for Lutos?awski’s striking concerto. Baillie’s cello fights valiantly against nasty interjections from the brass and waves of sound from the strings and winds in this evocative instrumental face-off.
The program concludes with Richard Strauss’s semi-autobiographical Ein Heldenleben, a tone poem also composed around a rousing melody that represents a courageous figure. This sweeping and powerful piece features several recognizable characters, from the hero’s nagging critics (the winds) to his true love (the violin), as well as borrowed phrases from Strauss’s many well-known compositions.