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The Boston Globe

Music

Music Review

New England Philharmonic’s brave Britten and Sibelius

For their final concert of the season, music director Richard Pittman and the New England Philharmonic chose an unlikely quartet of 20th- and 21st-century works: Steven Stucky’s “Rhapsodies for Orchestra” (2008), Benjamin Britten’s Piano Concerto (1938), Gunther Schuller’s “Five Bagatelles for Orchestra” (1964), and Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7 (1924).

The juxtaposition of Britten and Sibelius was particularly intriguing: Whereas Britten in his concerto suggests five or six composers, Sibelius doesn’t sound like anyone else in the history of Western music. The performances of these two interpretively difficult works weren’t entirely stellar, but it was good to hear them all the same.

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