Aleksandr Borodin: a full grown man with resplendent whiskers.
Having gone over some violin concertos, I feel it only fair to rundown some lesser known symphonies which don’t get much play in San Diego. Brahms is not on this list since, including this season, we’ve gone through all four of his symphonies twice at the San Diego Symphony.
In my opinion the number one symphony which needs a performance is Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 3. This is Vaughan Williams’ “pastoral” symphony. No one does pastoral better than uncle Ralph. Nature is a consistent theme across the music of Vaughan Williams.
Nobody does pastoral better than Vaughn Williams
I feel his Symphony No. 3 as being appropriate around Thanksgiving. I’m not sure why that but I find myself giving it a stream, not a spin, every autumn. In all likelihood this piece would be scheduled in spring. If not Vaughan Williams’ third then maybe his fifth? The fifth is more introspective but no less beautiful.
We, and every other city with a symphony orchestra, have had our fill of Tchaikovsky symphonies, but what we rarely get is a Borodin symphony. Borodin’s From the Steppes of Central Asia is certainly famous but I find his Symphony No. 2 to be the work of a full grown man with resplendent whiskers. What I’m trying to say is that this symphony has swag and plenty of it.
You have to know I’m putting Bruckner on this list. While we get a steady diet of his pupil, Gustav Mahler and his frenetic woodwinds, we rarely get the masterful Bruckner. Last season The San Diego Symphony did perform Bruckner’s Symphony No.8 and we also got his Symphony No. 4 a few years ago. However, I think a Bruckner symphony 5, 6, 7, or 9 is required before we get Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 again. I'd settle for Bruckner's third.
In 2015 we got a part of Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 at a free concert in Balboa park, but I want the full thing. Is this the most prestigious symphony in the world? No, but it’s one of the loudest so I want to hear it.
There you have it, a list of symphonies I want to hear. I might have to start traveling more.