Letters to the Arts Editor

Bill Greene/Globe staff

As Andris Nelsons arrives at the BSO

Re: “Whirlwind welcome for BSO conductor” (Front, June 26, Geoff Edgers): As a longtime BSO subscriber and charter member of the BSO’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus, I too am looking forward to Andris Nelsons as the next music director.

The video accompanying this article has another very heartening portent for the future: BSO concertmaster Malcolm Lowe demonstrating an overhand pitching motion to Mr. Nelsons. Both Mr. Lowe and his stand-mate, associate concertmaster Tamara Smirnova, have been on extended medical leave for shoulder injuries and surgery for most or all of the season. So it’s wonderful to see confirmation of the reports that Malcolm Lowe will be able to return to at least part-time duty this summer at Tanglewood. I look forward to seeing and hearing him in his accustomed position leading the strings. On the evidence of the pitching demo, he looks good! (Fortunately, the BSO has more bench depth in the first violins than the Red Sox have in their bullpen these days.)


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Good to see the BSO is putting a young guy at the helm (as did the LA Phil with Dudamel). Hopefully he will be able to put together programs that will attract younger folks (in addition to us geezers) to the BSO concerts!

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I may have to subscribe again. A young, vital conductor. What a novelty for the BSO. We’ll see if the core BSO audience is ready to be challenged. Based on the response to some of Levine’s programs, I am not optimistic. I enjoyed the Carter along with Mozart and Beethoven. We’ll see if the BSO can become vibrant again. Otherwise, I have a very large CD collection.


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Carter’s music will never be popular with more than a minority of the audience and that problem was compounded by the fact that Levine did nothing to help draw the audience into the music. Too often there was a feeling of being forced to eat our vegetables.


I keep coming back to the miserable job the orchestra and Levine did of promoting the wonderful Schoenberg/Beethoven series they did when Levine first got here. They made such a big deal out of telling people not to be “scared” of Schoenberg that what people actually heard was they should be scared of Schoenberg, and they reacted by closing their minds and ears to the music even though much of it was no more challenging than R. Strauss or Wagner and had been played before without any particular consternation. When “Gurrelieder” was performed back in the day by Ozawa, people were clamoring for tickets to hear this rarely heard and monumental work. When Levine performed it (and in a far superior performance), the hall was full of empty seats at the performance I attended.

The trick is to find a way to blend the new and the old so that they speak to each other and to do it without frightening your audience before they even set foot in the hall. Hopefully, Mr. Nelsons will be able to engage the public in a way that, here in Boston, Levine did not.


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‘Much Ado,’

Re: “Much ado about quite a bit, actually” (g, June 21, Ty Burr): It’s Shakespeare’s best comedy IMO, but as always I have reservations about putting the Bard into a modern setting, particularly after the horror of the Claire Danes/DiCaprio “Romeo and Juliet.”


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Asian art at the MFA


Re: “An afterthought in the East” (Main, June 23, Sebastian Smee): Thank you for this well-crafted obituary of the MFA’s Asian art department (an entity that actually no longer exists). Very little of the department’s gallery space, interpretative programming, and scholarly legacy established during the era of Fontein’s leadership remains. At that time the department was not only the most prestigious in the museum, but among collections of Asian art in the country.


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The Man of Steel and
the power of inflation

I know this is trivial, but the comparison of the dollars earned for the latest Superman movie vs. the 1978 edition is like apples to oranges (Go Figure, Sunday Arts, June 23).

The value of today’s dollars is much less than in 1978. Using the US government’s consumer price index (CPI) inflation calculator, the 1978 version earned a total of $478 million in today’s dollars.

Let’s give the 2013 version a couple weeks to catch up.


Danville, N.H.

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