The 2012-'13 season for the Dallas Symphony Ochestra has been announced, and it will be a celebration of Music Director Jaap van Zweden's fifth year with the orchestra. It contains a combination of major choral works, big name soloists, distinguished guest conductors, a European tour and even some Wagner opera.
The most interesting part of the season is the tour. This will be the fifth that the DSO has undertaken and the first with van Zweden on the podium. The itinerary includes performances in Amsterdam, Eindhoven (The Netherlands), London, Vienna, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Hanover. Hopefully, the international attention that this endeavor will bring to the orchestra will enhance the reputation of the orchestra and let the rest of the world see what wonders van Zweden is working here in Dallas.
Violinist Hilary Hahn will tour with the orchestra performing the spectacularly difficult Violin Concerto by Eric Korngold. Other planned repertoire includes Mahler's Sixth Symphony; the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde by Wagner; Steven Stucky's Elegy and the Suite from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss.
Three major choral works are on the docket. The biggest by a mile is Benjamin Britten's massive War Requiem in November. The first act of Wagner's opera Die Walküre will be presented in concert form in May, 2013 and Carl Orff's splashy Carmina Burana will be trotted out just two weeks later.
There will be a Mozart festival in January. While it is questionable that the world needs another Mozart festival, it is hard to argue against hearing his music regularly. Unfortunately, this festival doesn't explore some of the lesser-known masterpieces, but presents well-known works instead. We will hear Symphony No. 40 and Symphony No. 41, Jupiter; the Violin Concerto No. 5, Turkish, with violinist Augustin Hadelich; and Piano Concerto No. 24 with pianist Yefim Bronfman; and overtures to the operas The Abduction from the Seraglio and Idomeneo.
The only premiere is only one for North America, the Double Concerto for Violin and Cello by Philip Glass on Sept. 20-23, 2012, with soloists Michael Guttman, violin, and Wendy Sutter, cello. More premieres would have been welcome and might do as much for the reputation of the orchestra as the planned tour.
The opening night gala will take place on Sept. 8, 2012 and in keeping with past practice will feature one of the top marquee names in classical music – this time cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He will play Schumann's concerto and the orchestra will play Dvorak's well-worn Symphony No. 9 "From the New World."
In looking down the list of concerts, a few items stand out:
Sept. 20-23, 2012: The orchestra will play Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, but not in the usual Ravel orchestration. This time, it will be the one by conductor Leopold Stokowsky
Sept. 27-30: The superb conductor Hans Graf returns to conduct Garrick Ohlsson in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Tchaikovsky's lesser-heard Symphony No. 3, "The Polish"
Nov. 8-10: The not-to-be-missed performances of Britten's War Requiem
Feb. 14-17, 2013: Guest conductor Julian Kuerti will conduct guitarist Manuel Barrueco in Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. This is a welcome relief from the usual parade of pianists, violinists and the occasional cellist doing soloist duties. They will also play Prokofiev's Suite from Romeo and Juliet
Feb. 28-March 2: A performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 6 will be oddly paired with two Vivaldi concerti for recorder. Erik Bosgraaf will toot.
April 25-28: Some of the outstanding principal players in the symphony will be featured in some C.P.E Bach and Haydn Baroque pieces. Once again, this will be paired with a massive symphony, this time Bruckner's Symphony No. 8.
May 17 and 19: Ho-yo-to-ho and grab your spear as the first act of Die Walküre flies in.
May 23-26: From the Gods of Valhalla we move to the questionable fantasies and satires of the church written by a group of student monks in the 11th and 12th centuries, Carmina Burana, as set to grandiose music by Carl Orff in 1936.
As far as Pops go, Bugs Bunny will return on Oct- 5-7. Marvin Hamlisch, Pops conductor, will celebrate Frank Sinatra on Oct. 26 and 27. Guest conductor Bob Bernardt will fête John Williams ands Arthur Fiedler on Feb. 8-10, 2013. Also on the tribute list is Tom Petty, May 10-11. The season will close, May 31-June 2 with Hamlisch on the podium in a concert called "Wicked Divas." No shortage of those.
A family concert called the Haunted Orchestra will be performed on Oct. 28. The annual Christmas extravaganza will start on Dec. 7 and run for weeks. New Years Eve will take place on duh, New Years Eve.
It is regrettable that this season ignores, other than Philip Glass, works by American composers, living or dead. It is a season chock full of the frequently heard music of Romantic-era European male composers. If the DSO aspires to becoming one of the great orchestras of the world, an easily reachable goal, then it must be active in advancing frontier of the music of our time and promoting our homegrown American composers. If not us, who? Shall we leave it to foreign orchestras to nurture our talent? The phrase "buy American" is a mark of patriotism and pride when it comes to everything except music, it seems. The DSO has done much better about this in the past and one hopes that this retrenchment is not a harbinger of Euro-centric seasons to come.
For the complete schedule of concerts on the classical, pops and other series, go here.