John Flanagan, Flynn Center
A preview of Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s final 18-19 Masterworks performance at the Flynn Center, Saturday, April 27. Tickets and information are available at www.flynntix.org.
Baseball’s back, motorcycles are everywhere, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra is closing out its ‘18-19 Masterworks series at the Flynn: it must be April again.
It’s hard to keep track of all that’s happened on the global stage since the series began in October, and despite the stream of breaking news, little seems to have changed. England is still weighing should they stay or should they go; Venezuela is still mired in chaos; the seas are still rising with still increasing rapidity; and despite anticipations of a Genesian flood, the Mueller report was more drizzle than tempest.
But hyper-locally, as in here at the Flynn locally, the stage as been considerably more inspiring.
Brahms’ fourth and final symphony opened the VSO’s cold-weather series on the MainStage six months ago, and this Saturday, Rachmaninoff’s achingly beautiful second symphony closes it out. The two pieces bookend a string of programs that offered just enough escapism and just enough context to nurture some sanity amidst the chaos, an apt reminder of how art transcends the temporal, ideally taking us with it.
With regular access to world-class art being limited in a rural state, sitting in a vintage theater immersed in a Schumann sound bath is an experience someone who lives in the woods is lucky to have so close to home. As entertainment becomes ever more confined to the small screen, it’s imperative to question at what cost—beyond a Netflix subscription—we pay for such convenience. It’s become trite to harp on, but there is something truly transformational about simply being there, an exultation in being alert among a crowd in the presence of great skill that no British bake off can rise to.
From Esterháza to Ojai, this Masterworks season has brought us a full spectrum of the current classical and new music landscape, programmed so as not to rely too strongly on the canonized crowd-pleasers while eschewing the overly avant-garde. Saturday will be no different. In addition to the Rachmaninoff, Jaime Laredo leads the orchestra in Max Bruch’s violin concerto of violin concertos, showcasing internationally-renowned violinist Pamela Frank therein. The evening opens with Ravel’s brief, stunning ode to a (fictional) dead princess, atypical of the impressionist composer’s more famous fare, but resplendent and ephemerally moving just the same.