Anticipation is the spice in the music season. No matter how a season eventually turns out, the certainty of hope is always a feature of the future. This listener can't be sure how good concerts will actually be; all he knows is that he wants to be there when the much-talked about Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov makes his debut conducting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; when the Baltimore Opera presents a rarely performed Verdi masterpiece like "Nabucco"; when a superb, musically knowledgeable opera director such as the Peabody Conservatory's Roger Brunyate turns to a thrice-familiar masterpiece such as Mozart's "The Magic Flute"; and when the dangerously and excitingly spontaneous pianist Elizabeth Leonskaja returns to Shriver Hall. What follows, therefore, are a few of the highlights that one listener awaits with particular expectation.
This is the year that the BSO made a substantial breakthrough in attracting well-known guest conductors. The biggest of them is, of course, Temirkanov (Dec. 18, 19 and 20), whose scheduled appearance here in the 1988-1989 season was postponed because of the BSO strike. There are occasions when the music director of his country's greatest orchestra (the St. Petersburg Philharmonic) conducts like a drunken sailor on shore leave, but this program of Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" should be perfect for him.
The second most prestigious of the BSO's guest conductors is Leonard Slatkin (Jan. 7, 8 and 9), the music director of the St. Louis Symphony. Like Andre Previn, who also grew up in Los Angeles, Slatkin is a marvelous conductor of 20th century British music, and his program includes Vaughan Williams' "A Sea Symphony." Other conductors worth hearing are George Cleve (April, 28, 29, 30 and May 1) in an all-Mozart program; Gunther Herbig, who can make even a worn-out classic like Beethoven's Fifth Symphony seem fresh (May 13, 14 and 15); and, of course, our own David Zinman, who is opening and closing the season with two blockbusters -- Mahler's Symphony No. 9 (Sept. 17, 18 and 19) and Verdi's Requiem (June 10 and 11).
Big-name soloists are always easier to book than conductors of comparable stature, and the most famous of the former is cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who will play three concertos -- a transcription of the Bartok Viola Concerto, Bloch's "Schelomo" and Stephen Albert's Cello Concerto -- on a single program (March 4 and 5). Other interesting soloists include two great pianists -- the Hungarian pianist Zoltan Kocsis in Bartok's Concerto No. 3 (Oct. 29, 30 and 31) and the Brazilian Nelson Freire in Chopin's Concerto No. 2 (April 1 and 2) -- and several gifted young violinists: Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg playing Barber (Dec. 3 and 4); Shlomo Mintz in Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy" (Oct. 1 and 2); Cho-Liang Lin in the Beethoven Concerto; and Maxim Vengerov in the Mendelssohn Concerto (Nov. 20, 21 and 22).
But not all the best soloists will be playing with the
BSO. The Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and its music director Anne Harrigan will collaborate this season with two genuinely great musicians who just happen to be Baltimoreans: Leon Fleisher (Nov. 4), who will play one of the pieces -- Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 4 -- on which he long ago established a personal patent; and BSO principal oboist Joseph Turner -- who does for that sensual instrument what Marilyn Monroe did for the pinup -- will play the Vaughan Williams concerto.
Big news: 'Nabucco'
The big news in Baltimore's opera world is the Baltimore Opera Company's production of "Nabucco" (April 24, 28, 30 and May 2), the 1842 opera that made Verdi's reputation with the Cecil B. DeMille-like raw energy and violence with which the composer ++ treated his Biblical subject. The other operas on the BOC roster are Puccini's "Turandot" (Oct. 17, 21, 23 and 25) and Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore" (March 27, 31, April 2 and April 4).
Passing from opera -- music's grandest genre -- to recitals and chamber music -- its most intimate form -- the Shriver Hall Series will be presenting its best series in years. It begins with that sizzling fiddler Elmar Oliveira (Oct. 3) and closes with a concert by the elegant young British cellist Steven Isserlis (April 4). Other highlights include a recital by the great young baritone Thomas Hampson (Dec. 12), an appearance by the chamber group Tashi (Feb. 7), and pianist Elizabeth Leonskaja (March 13).
More great chamber music can be heard at Howard County's Candlelight Concerts. Just a few of the highlights in this 12-concert series are an appearance by the Waverly Consort in music from the time of Columbus (Oct. 17); the Emerson String Quartet (Jan. 29); the pianist Richard Goode (Jan. 29); and the Kalichstein-Robinson-Laredo trio (April 20).
The Chamber Music Society of Baltimore has scheduled what promises to be a brilliant season of mostly new music at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The distinguished soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson will appear with the young pianist Mark Markham, an extraordinary musician who may be the next Gerald Moore, to give the local premiere of Charles Wuorinen's setting of Dylan Thomas' "A Winter's Tale" (Feb. 22). Other highlights include an evening of the music of Hugo Weisgall and Lawrence Moss on April 4; and appearances by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Dec. 14) and the New World String Quartet (Jan. 25).
Two of the most promising events of the year are free concerts sponsored by the Gordon Trust. Last year Alexander Toradze, a Russian emigre whose playing is all fire and ice, gave an idiosyncratic but fascinating account of the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto with the BSO. On Oct. 17, he will give a recital at Goucher College that includes Ravel's "Gaspard de la Nuit," a piece he plays with ghoulish intensity. And on Dec. 13 at Har Sinai Congregation, the young Peabody-trained, Naumburg Award-winning Awadagin Pratt will play his first public recital. This talented young man has a golden tone, an electrifying dynamic scale, a thrillingly heart-on-sleeve approach, a beautiful face and great hair -- he's an African-American Paderewski.
And for those who insist on hearing chamber music performed on reproductions of old instruments and with attention to re-creating earlier styles of performance, there are the concerts of Pro Musica Rara, Baltimore's premier early music ensemble. Few of PMR's concerts at the Baltimore Museum of Art are ever without interest, but an all-Bach program Nov. 15 seems specially appealing. Other concerts take place Sept. 20, Feb. 7, March 28 and April 25.
Choral music is never in short supply in this city, and this season the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and its musically ambitious music director, Tom Hall, will present an unusually interesting series of concerts. One highlight will be a performance of the first half of Bach's "Christmas Oratorio" (Nov. 1 in Kraushaar Auditorium); others will include the society's annual Christmas concert (Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Kraushaar); an all-Mozart program that includes the "Requiem" (Feb. 20 in Meyerhoff Hall); and the 1750 version of Handel's "Messiah" (April 4 in Meyerhoff Hall). The society will also act as an impresario, presenting concerts by Peter Schickele (the creator of P.D.Q. Bach) Oct. 9 (Kraushaar) and the Choral Arts Society of Washington in a rare performance of Rachmaninoff's "Vespers" May 16 (the Cathedral Mary Our Queen).
The Handel Choir of Baltimore and its music director T. Herbert Dimmock are continuing their investigation of some of the less frequently performed masterpieces of the composer from whom the choir takes its name. Dimmock will conduct "Saul" (March 28 at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation) and a potpourri of choral and orchestra works June 27 (First English Lutheran Church).
And one can always depend on fine choral performances from conductor Edward Polochick and his Concert Artists of Baltimore. Polochick and his fine players and choristers will perform Schubert's Mass No. 5 (Nov. 7), Renaissance madrigals and motets (Jan. 30), Bach's Mass in B Minor (March 28) and Brahms' Songs for Chorus (May 15).
Last but not least, there's the Peabody Conservatory, which will present more than 60 public concerts this year. Peabody Opera Theatre director Roger Brunyate always does interesting things with Mozart, and one looks forward with anticipation to his interpretation of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" (Nov. 19, 20, 21 and 22). There will also be a Peabody Opera Workshop production of a world premiere of "With Blood, With Ink" by composer Daniel Crozier and librettist Peter Krask (March 7) and a Puccini double bill of "Suor Angelica" and "Gianni Schicchi" (March 19 and March 20).
Music lovers should also pay attention to the concerts conducted by Hajime Teri Murai, who has been doing great things with Peabody's student orchestras. In the don't-miss category are programs that include Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 with the fine young cellist Ronald Thomas (Oct. 3); Robert Hall Lewis' "Images and Dialogues" and Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (Oct. 24); Ives' Symphony No. 3 (Nov. 14) and Symphony No. 4 (Feb. 4); and Mahler's Symphony No. 3 (April 15). There is also a cornucopia of recitals. Four that particularly whet this listener's interest are those by bassoonist Philip Kolker (Nov. 4); the distinguished guitarist (and Peabody alumnus) David Starobin (Jan. 20); horn player Peter Landgren (March 2); and the great violist Kim Kashkashian (April 13).
Best bets . . .
* David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Mahler's Symphony No. 9 (Sept. 17, 18 and 19).
* Pianist Awadagin Pratt at Har Sinai Congregation (Dec. 13).
* Yuri Temirkanov and the BSO in Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" (Dec. 18, 19 and 20).
* The Peabody Opera Theatre's production of Mozart's "Magic Flute" (Nov. 19. 20, 21 and 22).
* The Baltimore Opera Company's production of Verdi's "Nabucco" (April 24, 28, 30 and May 2).
Selected fall music schedule
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
* Peter Schickele Cabaret, Oct. 9-10.
* Bach: Weihnachts Oratorium Parts I-III, Nov. 1.
* "Christmas for Kids," Dec. 19.
-! * Christmas Concert, Dec. 20.
Baltimore Opera Society
Lyric Opera House
* "Turandot," by Giacomo Puccini, Oct. 17, 21, 23, 25.
* "L'Elisir d'Amore," by Gaetano Donizetti, March 27, 31, April 2, 4.
* "Nabucco," by Giuseppe Verdi, April 24, 28, 30, May 2.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Joseph Meyerhoff Hall
0 * BSO gala, "Decade of Greatness," Sept. 12.
* David Zinman, conductor; Mahler Symphony No. 9; Sept. 19.
* Christopher Seaman, conductor; Zoltan Kocsis, piano; Bartok: Piano Concerto No. 3; Richard Strauss: "Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks"; Oct. 31.
* Ivan Fischer, conductor; John Adams: "Fearful Symmetries"; Dvorak: Symphony No. 7; Nov. 14.
* Yuri Temirkanov, conductor; Rimsky-Korsakov: "Scheherazade"; Dec. 19.
* David Zinman, conductor; Mahler: Symphony No. 9; Sept. 17-18.
* David Zinman, conductor; Shlomo Mitnz, violin; Christopher Rouse: Concerto per Corde; Bruch: Scottish Fantasy; Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3; Oct. 1 and 2.
* Christopher Seaman, conductor; Zoltan Kocsis, piano; Mendelssohn: "The Hebrides"; Bartok: Piano Concerto No. 3; Schubert: Symphony No. 8, "Unfinished"; Richard Strauss: "Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks"; Oct. 29 and 30.
* Ivan Fischer, conductor; Mihaly Virizlay, cello; John Adams: "Fearful Symmetries"; Dohnanyi: Cello Concerto; Dvorak: Symphony No. 7; Nov. 12 and 13.
* Sergiu Comissiona, conductor; Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin; Ravel: "Rapsodie Espagnole"; Barber: Violin Concerto; Falla; "Three-Cornered Hat"; Dec. 3 and 4.
* Yuri Temirkanov, conductor; Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5; Rimsky Korsakov: "Scheherazade"; Dec. 18, 19 and 20.
* David Zinman, conductor; Larry Moss, "Clouds"; George Crumb, "Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death"; David Dzubay, Chansons Innocentes; Arvo Part, "Tabula Rasa"; Oct. 23.
* David Zinman, conductor; Ju-Hee Suh, piano; Mussorgsky: "Khovantchina" -- Introduction; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.5, "Emperor"; Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances; Sept. 25, 26 and 27.
* Christopher Seaman, conductor; Baltimore Symphony Chorus; Brahms: A German Requiem; Oct. 16, 17 and 18.
* Ivan Fischer, conductor; Maxim Vengerov, violin; Rossini: Overture to "L'Italiana in Algeri"; Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto; Dvorak: Slavonic Dances; Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn; Brahms: Hungarian Dances; Nov. 20, 21 and 22.
"Meet Us at the Meyerhoff" events
* Red Army Chorus and Dance Ensemble, Oct. 28.
* Africa Oye!, Dec. 2.
* Handel's Messiah, Dec. 9.
* Boys Choir of Harlem, Dec. 19 and 20.
* Vienna Choir Boys, Dec. 21.
-! * "Christmas Carol," Dec. 22.
* Erich Kunzel Meets the Phantom of the Opera, Oct. 8, 9, 10 and 11.
* Manhattan Transfer, Nov. 5, 6, 7 and 8.
0$ * Dixie Carter, Nov. 27, 28, 29.
/# * "Babar and the BSO," Oct. 10.
Baltimore Chamber Orchestra
* Anne Harrigan, conductor; Leon Fleisher, pianist; Prokofiev's Piano Concerto; Nov. 4.
L * Anne Harrigan, conductor, holiday concert, Dec. 15 and 16.
Candlelight Concert Series
Howard Community College
* American Chamber Players, Sept. 26.
* The Waverly Consort, Oct. 17.
* Emerson String Quartet, Oct. 31.
7+ * Boston Chamber Music Society, Dec. 5.
Chamber Music Society
Baltimore Museum of Art
G; * The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Dec. 14.
Concert Artists of Baltimore
Graham Auditorium, Walters Art Gallery
* "Our Russian Heritage," Sept. 20.
* "Handel and Other Baroque Masters," Oct. 25.
* "Rediscover America," Nov. 29.
Friedberg Concert Hall at Peabody
C7 * Works of Ward-Steinman, Mozart, Schubert; Nov. 7.
Handel Choir of Baltimore
* Concert for chorus and brass at Basilica of Assumption, Oct. 18.
* Performance of "Messiah," Dec. 12 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Dec. 13 at St. Joseph Church, Fullerton.
* Sylvia Adalman Memorial Concert; Marianna Busching, mezzo soprano; Michael Cordovana, piano; Sept. 16.
* Noel Lester and Nancy Roldan, piano duo; "Music of the Americas"; Sept. 30.
* Peabody Symphony Orchestra with Hajime Teri Murai, conductor, and Ronald Thomas, cello; works of Barber, Shostakovich and Dvorak; Oct. 3.
* Peabody Concert Orchestra with Shirley Givens, violin, Christian Colberg, viola; works of Chavez, Mozart, Brahms; Oct. 9.
* Peabody Camerata, with Gene Young, conductor, Oct. 18.
* Peabody Wind Ensemble; works of Schuller, Jacob, Schuman; Oct. 21.
* Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Hecht and Sandra Shapiro, piano duo; works of Robert Hall Lewis, Mozart and Strauss; Oct. 24.
* Evening of chamber music with Phillip Kolker, bassoon; Robert Willoughby, flute; Jane Marvine, oboe; Robert Weirich, piano; Nov. 4.
* Peabody Camerata; works of Knusseun, Schoenberg; Nov. 8.
* Smithsonian Chamber Players, early music, Nov. 13.
* Peabody Concert Orchestra, Nov. 14.
* The Peabody Opera Theatre, Roger Brunyate, artistic director; Peabody Symphony Orchestra, Frederik Prausnitz, Peabody conductor laureate; "The Magic Flute"; Nov. 19, 20, 21, 22.
* Wind Ensemble, Dec. 2.
* Peabody Renaissance Ensemble, Dec. 4.
* Peabody Singers, Peabody Chorus, Symphony, Dec. 5.
* Jazz Ensemble, Dec. 6.
L * Peabody Preparatory Winter Holiday Dance Concert, Dec. 13.
* Symphony Orchestra, Dec. 17.
-! * Concert Orchestra, Dec. 18.
Pro Musica Rara
Baltimore Museum of Art
* The Classical Clarinet, with Lawrence McDonald, Sept. 20.
5) * Zimmermann's Coffee House, Nov. 15.
Shriver Hall Concert Series
Johns Hopkins University
* Elmar Oliveira, violin, Oct. 3.
* Muir String Quartet, Nov. 8.
* Thomas Hampson, baritone, Dec. 12.