Nothing in Boston feels routine this week, and this applied to Thursday night’s BSO concert as well. Wearing a bright colored Marathon jacket, assistant principal violist Cathy Basrak, who ran in this year’s race, explained from the stage that the BSO was dedicating its performance to all those affected by Monday’s bombings. (The orchestra also made free tickets available to that group.)
The program itself, devised long before the week’s tragic events, also happened to be highly unusual as it was performed primarily without a conductor. Modeled on a similar program last season, different sections of the orchestra were showcased separately, each in its own choice of repertoire, and then the BSO as a whole came together for the final work — Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” — itself a piece about the sections of the orchestra.