After more than 25 years of lying dormant in the archives of the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) library, Tchaikovsky's underperformed
Manfred Symphony will be debuted by Dutch conductor Jaap Van Zweden on the
following dates this year (2012):
Thursday December 20th at 8pm, Friday December 21st at 1:30p, and
Saturday December 22nd at 8pm at Symphony Center in downtown Chicago, IL
Tickets range from $35-220 USD.
The program is as follows:
- Shostakovich: Festive Overture
- Rouse: Heimdall's Trumpet for Solo Trumpet and Orchestra (CSO
Commission, World Premiere)
- Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony
Chicago, IL USA
Manfred will be performed at the BBC Proms on August 18th and will be
broadcast live. It will be televised for showing on Aug.24th on BBC4 –
probably the first time Manfred has been televised. Vladimir Jurowski
conducts the London Philharmonic. The rest of the programme is Weber’s
‘Freischutz’ Overture amd Mahler’s ‘Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’ with
Alice Coote. Some programme!
In response to Joseph Brand’s comment, Manfred has been televised many
times, including from the proms in 2010. You can still see this complete
performance on Youtube with Petrenko and the Liverpool Philharmonic.
Temirkanov conducted it in the proms in 1992, it was televised and you can
get it on DVD. That performance is ruined however by cuts. Going back even
further Mariss Jansons conducted it on TV with the BBC Welsh Symphony
Orchestra in 1986.
Having heard the Manfred Symphony of different performances over the
years, I am now curious as to why it’s not very well known by general
public and seldom performed throughout the world. Is it because it’s
musically poor, except for the first movement, as stated by Tchaikovsky
himself? Or is it because it’s too difficult, technically, for many
orchestras to play? I know Tchaikovsky required the largest assembly of
orchestra including an organ. Maybe it’s too long. Perhaps that’s why so
many versions including Temirkanov’s version cut the symphony from 55
minutes or so to about 45.
I am also curious how Milii Balakirev reacted to the finished work
since he was so eager to persuade Tchaikovsky to compose the work. I have
not come across with any statement made by Balakirev whether he approved
of Tchaikovsky’s work.
John C. Chou