Monday, April 29, 2013


At the beginning of the season, Joshua and I had penciled into our calendars a Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concert for Sunday, May 5, at Ted Mann Concert Hall.  (The Sunday performance was to be the only performance that weekend at a traditional concert venue—and we prefer traditional concert venues to church venues, where acoustics are variable and unpredictable.)

The original program:  Schoenberg’s Ten Early Dances; Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 2; Webern’s Langsamer Satz (from the composer’s String Quartet); and Mozart’s Symphony No. 28.  The conductor/soloist was to be Thomas Zehetmair.

Somewhere along the line, the program was quietly changed to:  Schoenberg’s Ten Early Dances; Mozart’s Symphony No. 28; Heinz Holliger’s Sketches For Violin And Viola; and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364.  In the revised program, Zehetmair’s wife was to have joined the orchestra as viola soloist in the final two works.

Performances for the first weekend in May have been shelved.


For the second weekend in May, the SPCO was scheduled to play solely in church venues—but the program had been so interesting that Josh and I had penciled it into our calendars as a prospective concert of interest.

The original program:  Andrew Norman’s Gran Turismo; Schumann’s Cello Concerto; and Hartmann’s Symphony No. 4.  Zehetmair was again scheduled to conduct; the announced cellist was Steven Isserlis.

SPCO concerts will resume that weekend, and Zehetmair and Isserlis will honor their contracts.  However, the program has changed.

The new program:  Mozart’s “The Marriage Of Figaro” Overture; Schumann’s Cello Concerto; Schoenberg’s Ten Early Dances (saved from the discarded program of the previous week); and Mozart’s Symphony No. 39.

We shall not go.  The Hartmann was what we had most wanted to hear.


We had penciled into our calendars another SPCO concert for Sunday, May 19, at Ted Mann Concert Hall (it was, again, to be the sole performance of the weekend at a traditional concert hall).

Zehetmair was once again scheduled to be on the podium.

The original program:  J. Strauss, Jr.’s “Roses From The South” in the Schoenberg arrangement; J. Strauss, Jr.’s “Emperor” Waltz in the composer’s own arrangement for small orchestra; Charles Wuorinen’s Spin 5 For Violin And 18 Players; and Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 (now moved up to the previous week).

The amended program:  Honegger’s Pastorale d'été; Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 2; Holliger’s Three Sketches For Violin And Viola (rescued from the amended program for the first week of May); and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante (also rescued from the amended program for the first week of May).  Both Mr. and Mrs. Zehetmair will participate in the program.

We shall not be in attendance.  We shall be in Dallas that weekend, attending Josh’s brother’s commencement at S.M.U. (and hearing the Dallas Symphony in Act I of “Die Walküre”).


We had penciled into our calendars another SPCO concert for the first weekend in June, to be played in the Ordway.

The original program:  Berlioz’s Les nuits d'été; and Erwin Stein’s chamber arrangement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4.  Edo de Waart was the scheduled conductor, Isabel Leonard the scheduled soloist.

The program has been amended:  Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 will now replace the Mahler.  Conductor and soloist remain unchanged.

It is very unlikely we shall attend.  If we go, it will be because of Leonard, and not because of de Waart.


In January of this year, the SPCO had offered each SPCO player a $10,000 signing bonus to be paid at the time a new deal was reached.

The final terms of the agreement provide only for a $3,000 signing bonus.

Everyone in town knows the circumstances of the reduction, but I doubt news outlets will address the matter.

No comments:

Post a Comment