BPOnDemand continues through June, with new performances first available to ticket purchasers at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, and then streaming for a month.
The May 11 program is billed as Dvořák’s Serenade and features his Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22. A bit surprisingly, Falletta says, “I have never conducted the work before, but I am very much looking forward to doing so, as I think that it is miraculously beautiful. Since this concert is right around Mother’s Day, we decided to also program "The Mother and Child," a shorter piece—almost a lullaby—by William Grant Still, who many consider to be the dean of African-American composers. Haydn’s irresistible Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat major, op.84 was last performed by the BPO thirty years ago. Concertmaster Chooi, one of the soloists, will be joined by principal cello Roman Mekinulov, principal oboe Henry Ward, and principal bassoon Glen Einschlag at center stage in the high-spirited work. “I think that it’s special when we can feature members of the orchestra who are more than friends and more like family,” says Falletta.
The May 25 program features Soviet era composer Rodion Shchedrin’s 1967 highly creative and satisfying ballet Carmen Suite for string orchestra and percussion. An exuberantly iconoclastic interpretation of Bizet’s opera, Shchedrin composed the piece for his wife, Maya Plisetskaya, the longtime prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre and, while initially attacked by purists, it has proven to be a favorite with audiences ever since. “One of the reasons that I wanted to program this piece is that it gives us the opportunity to showcase the members of our fabulous percussion section, who have had few opportunities to appear in most of the small scale works that circumstances dictated we program,” says Falletta. “The other work on the program, the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams, could not be more different as it is an ethereal interpretation of mystical sixteenth century chant music, where the orchestra strings are divided into three sections, each with their own concertmaster, with the nine players in the rear top row almost becoming a heavenly choir.”