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Seventy-five years ago, an American institution was born: Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a cultural mecca to arts lovers and the musical refuge for generations of young artists.
To celebrate, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's opening-night performance for this season was a replication of the very first concert they gave under Serge Koussevitsky's baton at Tanglewood in summer 1937. Guest conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi led Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth Symphonies and the Leonore Overture No. 3, which the late critic, musicologist and BSO program annotator Michael Steinberg called "one of the great emblems of the heroic Beethoven."
As Howard Taubman of the New York Times wrote after a 1938 Beethoven Ninth that celebrated the dedication of the venue's famous Shed, "More than ever the festival appeared to have caught the public's imagination. Hours before concert time every one of the 5,600-odd seats under the new shed was sold, and hundreds of additional chairs had to be placed under the colonnade that circles the shed ... Here was great music superlatively played in verdant surroundings that could only intensify the emotional impact." The glow of that Tanglewood magic, so strong even seven decades ago, has only intensified with time. (Have your own memories of Tanglewood to share? Head over to Classical New England's "Tanglewood Tales" project, where they're inviting fans to share stories, photos and video links.)
Leonore Overture No. 3
Symphony No. 6, "Pastoral"
Symphony No. 5