Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique and The Detroit Symphony Gave Rise to a Haunting Halloween Treat

By Phyllis
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra continued its classic concert series with Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Oct. 29 to 31.

Just in time for Halloween, the DSO handed out harmonious treats that featured the rich musical acumen of conductor Andrey Boreyeko. Hailed as one of the most exciting contemporary conductors to emerge from eastern Europe in recent time, the youthful Boreyeko opened the door to a sweet program.

The opening, a DSO premiere, featured the eerie music of Peteris Vasks’ “Music Dolorosa for the String Orchestra.” The 12-minute score, composed for strings alone represented the turbulent history of Vasks’ native Latvian home.

Vasks’ compositions known in the West since the demise of the Soviet Union, resonated with “tricky” dark and tenuous melodies that moved toward affirmation and faith at the close.

Featured guest artist, violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, performed Samuel Barber’s “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op.14.” The unusual stage persona of the violin diva disappeared, as Salerno-Sonnenberg began to play the spirited work. A thrilling performance marked by daring translations and harmonious intensity hallmarked Salerno-Sonnenberg’s presentation.

Intermission gave featured artist, Salerno-Sonnenberg an opportunity to meet fans and sign autographs.

The Hallowed Eve weekend performance concluded with Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op.74,” known as “Pathetique.” This was one of the composer’s favored works. “I love it as I have never loved any other of my musical offspring,” he wrote, referring to “Pathetique” as if he had given it life.

Ironically, “Life,” was the intended title when Tchaikovsky first began to compose this work. Dissatisfied with the early versions of the work he discarded the project, began again with only a small piece of the original, and instead “Life,” he chose the more provocative title, “Pathetique.”

The DSO classical series continues at The Max M. Fisher Music Center Nov. 19 to 21 with a concert titled “La Mer & Michel Camilo.” Under the direction of conductor Leonard Slatkin, the DSO along with featured pianist Michel Camilo will present the work of Berlioz, Debussy, Ginastera and Camilo.

For most shows, tickets range from about $19 and $123 and may be purchased at the box office, 3711 Woodward Ave., by calling (313) 576-5111, or online at Seniors (60 and up) and students with valid identification can purchase 50 percent off tickets at the box office 90 minutes prior to the concert based on availability.