Having just walked off the stage of Benaroya Hall after what can only be described as a stunning performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Turangalila Symphonie”, I was immediately immersed in a wonderful mix of thoughts relating to where we have been and where we are going.
The Seattle Symphony has recently announced its 2013-14 season, elegantly trumpeted from the cover of its new brochure. Our exciting new music director has assembled a potent mix of timeless masterpieces and gorgeous new works into a tasting menu that juxtaposes such powerhouses as Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” and Berlioz’ “Symphonie Fantastique” with generous splashes of Ravel and Stravinsky and an amuse-bouche or two. A season which includes Tschaikovsky’s “Sixth Symphony” plus his three piano concertos and violin concerto, plus Stravinsky’s three great ballets, Orff’s sure-to-sell-out “Carmina Burana” and major works by Mahler and Verdi is now surely one of the most anxiously awaited in America.
All this while simultaneously leading American orchestras in the quality and insightfulness of its programming of “music of our time”. How did Maestro Morlot obtain for Seattle’s concert-going public exciting premieres by Alexander Raskatov and Pascal Dusapin, and with such compelling artists as violinist Renaud Capuçon and pianist Tomoko Mukiayama? By the way, Raskatov’s opera, “A Dog’s Life”, performed last season at the English National Opera and scheduled for performance this March at the Teatro alla Scala with Valeriy Gergiev conducting, has immediately propelled Raskatov to the forefront of today’s living composers. Pascal Dusapin, his Gallic partner on our docket of spectacular premieres, while a mainstay on recent seasons and recordings of the Berlin Philharmonic, is in our country a rarely heard spectral pioneer and yet undiscovered heir to Ravel, Debussy and Messiaen.
One cannot find a more inclusive, or exciting season anywhere. Much like our international draw with Wagner’s Ring cycle, cognoscenti worldwide will find a trip to Seattle to be a necessary component of their cultural calendar. Perhaps in Ludovic Morlot, the Seattle Symphony has found the catalyst for its “destination tourism” piece and an essential core element. I know you will be subscribing. Please urge your family and friends, and your colleagues and neighbors to join us at Benaroya Hall both this Saturday evening for the joyous roller coaster that is Messiaen’s “Turangalîla” and next year as subscribers for the Seattle Symphony’s amazing 2013-14 season.
Winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Engineered Classical Album, producer/engineer
David Sabee has been a Seattle Symphony cellist since 1986.