STORY AND LINKS: Taking the “Fifth” — six times

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily


Mei-Ann Chen will lead
the Pasadena Symphony in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 on Oct.
29, one of four performances of this familiar work during the next three weeks.


Each season, one “warhorse” piece seems to pop up on
multiple orchestra concerts. Last fall Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 was played four
times by different orchestras within a one-month span (plus the Los Angeles
Philharmonic’s concerts during last May’s “Brahms Unbound” festival). This year
the early winner in this dubious category of programmatic clash is
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, which will be played four times within a
fortnight by orchestras throughout Southern California, plus at least twice
more later in the season.


In chronological order:


Oct. 13 at the Rene
and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa

Marinsky Theatre
Orchestra; Valery Gergiev, conductor

This world-class ensemble, known in the Communist era as the
Kirov, makes its first appearance in five years at Segerstrom Concert hall. The
first of two concerts pairs the fifth and second symphonies; the second
performance, on Oct. 17, is Tchaikovsky’s third and fourth symphonies. These
are the concert pairings that Gergiev and the orchestra are playing tonight and
tomorrow night at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Information:


Oct. 13, 14 and 15
at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Los Angeles
Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

The Venezuelan maestro, who made his local debut in 2005 at
Hollywood Bowl conducting Tchaikovsky’s fifth (LINK), leads it for the first
time in Disney Hall. The weekend’s programs also include Bartok’s Piano Concerto
No. 3, with Yefim Bronfman as soloist. The Thursday and Saturday programs open
with Orion by Montreal native Claude
Vivier (the “Casual Friday” program omits the Canadian work). Information:

Oct. 23 at Royce
Hall (UCLA)

American Youth
Symphony; Alexander Treger, conductor

One of the region’s top youth orchestras, the AYS opens its
2011-2012 season with a free concert that concludes with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony
No. 5. It also includes Rod Gilfry singing songs from Carousel, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd and The Most Happy Fella. Information:


Oct. 29 at
Ambassador Auditorium

Pasadena Symphony;
Mei-Ann Chen, conductor

The Pasadena Symphony’s opening concerts (performances at 2
and 8 p.m.) finishes with Tchaikovsky’s fifth symphony. Earlier, Taiwanese-born
Mei-Ann Chen (music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta and Memphis Symphony,
and a rising star in conducting circles) leads Saibei Dance (from Sabei
Dance Suite No. 2)
by An-Lun Huang, and Korngold’s Violin Concerto, with
James Ehnes as soloist. NOTE: my article on Mei-Ann Chen will be posted later
this week and will also appear in Pasadena
magazine. Information:


And, if that wasn’t enough, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5
pops up twice in January, as well. Charles Dutoit leads the Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra of London playing the piece on Jan. 25 on tour at Copley Hall in San
Diego (curiously, the orchestra wasn’t booked at any other Southland hall).


Meanwhile, Carl St.Clair and the Pacific Symphony play the
piece Jan. 12-15 at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. The program for the
first three nights will include Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov’s Sidereus, was played last month by
Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LINK).



(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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