The schedule at Powell Hall was packed this weekend, with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony playing a Whitaker Foundation "Music You Know" concert on Friday and a pair of regular subscription concerts on Saturday and Sunday.
This weekend local classical fans get a double header with two different St. Louis Symphony concerts: a Whitaker Foundation "Music You Know" program on Friday, March 13, and music of Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and James MacMillan on Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15. David Robertson is at the podium for both.
This weekend the second of the symphony’s four "Beethoven Festival" concerts brings us music of Beethoven, a younger contemporary of Beethoven, and a 20th century composer who acknowledged Beethoven as a major influence—all done up by guest conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada in that dramatic, late Romantic Austro-German style I associate with the recordings of Bruno Walter and Otto Klemperer that were so much a part of my youth.
In his program notes for this weekend’s concerts, Paul Schiavo suggests that the theme running through all three works is the way in which they strongly suggest visual images to the listener. Let me suggest an additional one: all three composers represented here—Glinka, Bartók, and Mussorgsky—drew heavily on folk traditions in their respective cultures. One way or another, they were all proponents of musical nationalism.