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“Congratulations to a very deserving fellow who gives 70 a good name. Thanks for the music, the enthusiasm, and the future you bring the world.”

Pat Fuller

Largely on the strength of Prof. Patterson’s excellent review I attended the Sanders Sunday iteration of this concert, and was very glad to have been there.  The Nielsen 4th has been a very important work for me for many years (I won’t bore readers why) and I thought the BP and Maestro Zander gave an absolutely top-notch and thrilling performance of this neglected masterpiece, very much the equal of several recorded versions I have heard, and significantly more successful than some.  The sense of unified purpose that streamed between Mr. Zander and his excellent players was palpable and very moving in itself.

Perhaps Mr. Zander could be urged to perform the 3rd and especially the 5th Nielsen Symphonies?  He certainly seems to be as persuasive an advocate for this Danish original as he is for Mahler.

John W. Ehrlich

This wonderful concert brought strongly to mind the first time I heard the Chaikovsky violin concerto, which was at Tanglewood on August 4, 1949, with Heifetz, Koussevitzky, and the BSO. This performance thrilled me in just the same way. One of the most elegant touches was right at the end of the cadenza, where the flute begins the melody and Ilya Kaler descended with an arabesque to the low D, exquisitely timed to bring out the lyrical harmony with the flute. A Bach fugue could not have been played more sympathetically. And the prologue, Sibelius’s eternal black swan on black water, a “death force” evoked by Peggy Pearson’s haunting solo, was eloquent and strangely peaceful.

To hear the Nielsen Fourth Symphony “Det Uudslukkelige” (“The Inextinguishable”, or “The Life Force”) was a great and novel treat. There are many traps for the conductor in this piece, including the temptation either to draw it out or to end it too abruptly. Mr. Zander and the BPO met every challenge brilliantly with skill, vigor, taste, and a deep comprehension and sympathy for the meaning of the work. And the dueling timpanists were awesome.

Professor Patterson’s quibble with Mr. Zander’s analysis of the harmony at the beginning and the evolving root tonality misses the point. The spoken introduction fired up an audience with many schoolchildren to a rapt appreciation of a rare and difficult work, and a tumultuous acclaim for its ultimately triumphant ending. This is the kind of thing that builds audiences of all ages, and in today’s world we should be grateful for such effective advocacy for the art we love. Nielsen’s mighty Fifth also has an evolving root tonality, as well as two fugues and a manic snare-drummer who is instructed to improvise so as at all costs to stop the progress of the orchestra. As Mr. Ehrlich suggests, we need to hear that soon from Benjamin Zander and the BPO.
 

William Carragan
Contributing Editor, Anton Bruckner Collected Edition, Vienna

Hello, my name is Sameena Khan, I am writing to you because I came to a performance at the Sanders Theater at Harvard last month with a friend. Mind you I had never been to a classical concert and did not know what to expect. I was floored, the most beautiful awe inspiring experience I have had. Moving and passionate.

Many thanks to Benjamin Zander, he approached my friend and I spotting us from afar, in benounced to me that I was speaking with the conductor before the performance,as the brief conversation took place I mention I had been to plenty of rock shows but never anything like this, Zander was so nice at this point I am speaking with the conductor. Wow!

I was amazed at the music. Thank you for mentioning me by name before the show. And taking a picture with me after, truly a great experience.

Thanks again Sameena. Ben Zander rocks!!!

 
Sameena

Heard the interview in WBUR on line, after I heard this concert at Jordan Hall Saturday night. This was the most entertaining,fun concert I have heard in years. All three pieces were exceptionally well done. Mr. Zander outdid himself. I don't know how he selects programming, but I couldn't help but think of a rarely done Symphony that would be just perfect for this wonderful Orchestra, Louis Glass' Symphony #1 for some future season.

 
Gary

Hi Bostonians,

Sorry to boast--but I witnessed a great rehearsal in Somerville last night. It was the final preparation for the BPO concerts this weekend. The orchestra is at Jordan Hall, Saturday evening, and Sanders Theater, Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon.

Alice and I watched as 100 musicians performed last night--as if for us alone--on a cavernous floor of an armory. It was an intriguing 'peaceful takeover' of modernized military building.  The gorgeous program was charged with Ben Zander's compulsion for energy and emotion. It was a great experience.

The exclusive winter spectacle should have been reserved for worthy winners of Boston contests--not us.  We got a prize experience that should have gone to Boston's greatest teacher, youthful musician, or marathon runner.  But instead we 'lottery winners'--as it were--got to sit on the warm confines of a spacious couch and drink in the orchestra from  20 feet away.  Those royal patrons in ancient Bavaria never had it so good. 

Our classical mosh pit brought us as close to the terrifying and heartbreaking pathos of Vaughan Williams Tallis Fantasy, the surprising Szymanowski Second Violin Concerto, and the brilliant Elgar Enigma Variations. The Elgar--instead of returning us to the warm safety of the English countryside--picked us up with grand strength and swept us away.  Alice said it best.  She asked me, do you ever close your eyes and let the music carry you up to heaven?  That happened last night.

Jimmy

This is simply to tell you, Maestro, how much I enjoyed the concert of February 24. Your passion in leading the three magical pieces (especially the Elgar, for me) was evident and contagious. It is not too much of an overstatement to say to you that I experienced the rare but wonderful ecstasy that comes when the passion of the conductor and his musicians connects.

 
Barbara

Hello Mr. Zander,

Let me say that your performances are spectacular.....the last rendering on Feb 24 was extrodinary. I have a request....Ed Meltzer, a friend,on your board, and a marvelous timpani player would be well served to be recognized in your program.He and I volunteer in an Adaptive ski program where he also shines as a coach, and board member. Hoping this might happen in next years program.

Thank you for your consideration,

Ursula

I have just watched Your speech on TED! My English is poor, I can't describe how grateful I am for what You have given me. I would vote You the Minister of culture and media in my country, this instant!

Radmila
an actress from Belgrade and Serbia