The National SO's 75th anniversary season starts in a month, and for
the second year in a row I have NSO season tickets. I wrote about last
season several times, so thought I'd start out this season by detailing
how I eventually chose which concerts to attend.
An NSO season ticket has a choice of three plans. But it's not take
it or leave it; there is an unlimited, free, one-time exchange into any
components of the other plans. So you theoretically can mix and match
from any of the scheduled concerts. After one exchange, they charge $5
to swap. And, if you do swap, there is no guarantee that you can stay
in the price range of your original ticket. But if you go early enough
before the season starts, there is generally no trouble swapping tickets.
In two years, I have yet to be shut out of a concert I wanted to attend,
and only once did I have to pay for a ticket that was out of my price
range (and a paltry $2.50 at that). I also need to say that while season
tickets are definitely my baby, I do have the interests of my wife and
my 16-year-old trumpet playing son to keep in mind. Here's what my
original plan contained, along with my exchanges:
1. On October 13, the NSO and Pinchas Zukerman are doing a Bach Chaconne,
the Berg VC, and Harold in Italy. I enthusiastically kept this concert.
My wife will be out of town -- there is no truth to the rumor that she
fled in order to avoid the Berg VC -- so I bought an extra ticket to No.
2. On November 10, Ashkenazy is conducting three works by Sibelius:
Prelude to The Tempest, excerpts from the same, and the Violin Concerto.
Also on the program is Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin, and Roussel's
Suite No. 2 from Bacchus et Ariane. Having tried but been unable to
warm up to the Sibelius VC, I swapped out of this one for a program
consisting of Brahms's Tragic Overture, the Bruch VC1, and Corigiliano's
Symphony No. 1. Corigliano's Piano Concerto was one of the highlights
of last season, so I am hoping for a similar unexpected treat with this.
I am also hoping that, like last year, Corigliano himself will appear
at the scheduled Afterwords discussion session hosted by Leonard Slatkin.
3. On January 12, there is the Mozart Symphony 36 (Linz), and the
complete Act 1 of Die Walkuere. I had to swap out of this as I will be
out of town at Colorado MahlerFest. Pity. The rest of the family are
not devotees of vocal music, still less of Wagner, so I'm sure they were
just as glad. Instead, I swapped into an evening of Richard Strauss:
Four Last Songs, Don Juan, and Til Eulenspiegel. I am eagerly anticipating
my first FLS in live performance, Katarina Karneus doing the honors.
4. On February 2 is the world premiere of Missa Latina by Serra.
I have no doubt it would have been a pleasant surprise, but I swapped
into a program consisting of Mozart 38 (Prague), the world premiere of
Schwantner's Morning's Embrace, Hindemith's Concert Music for Brass and
Strings, and Tchaikovsky's VC1 with Midori.
5. On March 16 I was to have attended a program consisting of Barber,
Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance; Dvorak's PC; and Schumann's
Rheinish. In deference to a pointed question about why we never hear
any Bach, I swapped into the St. Matthew's Passion.
6. On April 20 is a program of Beethoven Symphony No. 6, Prokofiev's
VC 2, and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. I kept this one.
7. On June 8 is the highlight, and the reason I bought this particular
plan: Mahler 8. The extra ticket from the Berg VC went to this one so
I could see it twice.
I'll let listers know whether these choices were justified.