Lenox, MA August 28, 2022 – The brilliance of Beethoven is that, in the wake of an excellent performance, you’re bound to realize, before you’re out of the parking lot, that all is well, this place is heavenly, and the dopes in office will have it all sorted out soon. At the tail end of the Twentieth century, I attended a performance of the Ninth Symphony, in D minor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007), while playing cello. I recall the music critic’s comment that, at seventy-plus minutes, the performance was too long. (did the maestro stretch the cello parts, inadvertently!)
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts a beautiful performance
That memory popped into consciousness yesterday – in time to note the starts of the third and fourth movements – 3:23, 3:41, and the time the final note vanished – 4:06. Michael Tilson Thomas conducted, maybe for the last time, it was heard in the Shed. It it was his swan song, at the same place his illustrious career got underway in 1968, then he leaves while his musical genius burns brightly.