Boston Symphony In Rehearsal With Serge Koussevitsky, Conductor – January 10, 1949 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
This weekend it’s The Boston Symphony in rehearsal from January 10, 1949, featuring Music Director Serge Koussevitsky leading the orchestra in rehearsals of David Diamond‘s Spring Rounds for Orchestra and Aron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with Wesley Addey as the narrator
David Diamond’s most popular piece is Rounds (1944) for string orchestra. Among his other works are eleven symphonies (the last in 1993), concertos including three for violin, eleven string quartets, music for wind ensemble, other chamber music, piano pieces and vocal music. Many of his works are tonal or modestly modal. His early compositions are typically triadic, often with widely spaced harmonies, giving them a distinctly American tone, but some of his works are consciously French in style. His later style became more chromatic. He also composed the musical theme heard on the CBS Radio Network broadcast Hear It Now (1950-1951) and its TV successor, See It Now (1951-1958). He was also named honorary composer-in-residence of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
Described by announcer Olin Downes as “a peach of a score”, Koussevitsky runs the orchestra through the last movement, before settling in to the Copland.
As with all of these rehearsal programs, the complete works aren’t featured. As it was last week and will be for all of these programs, it is a fly-on-the-wall glimpse of an orchestra at work with the Conductor, shaping a piece for performance.
The Diamond Spring Rounds is probably not familiar to a lot of people, but it should be. Serge Koussevitsky, not only a champion of new talent (like Leonard Bernstein), he was also a tireless champion of new music (such a Aron Copland, who received a number of commissions from Koussevitsky). To hear him work with the orchestra gives further evidence of just how much love and respect he got from the musicians, but also the composers who worked with him.
Enjoy and come back next week.