Thanksgiving with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

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BSO conductor James Levine.

BSO conductor James Levine. Michael Lutch hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Lutch
Levine.

Levine. By Koichi Miura hide caption

itoggle caption By Koichi Miura
Violinist Christian Tetzlaff.

Violinist Christian Tetzlaff. hide caption

itoggle caption

Listen: Hear Beethoven's Violin Concerto in Real Media

Listen: Hear Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World" in Real Media

Listen: Hear Beethoven's Violin Concerto in Windows Media

Listen: Hear Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World" in Windows Media

To celebrate Thanksgiving, the venerated Boston Symphony Orchestra and conductor James Levine performed two beloved classical masterpieces earlier this month: Beethoven's exquisite Violin Concerto, full of searching beauty and elegance, and a symphony inspired by Native American songs and African-American spirituals: Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World." The last movement of the symphony contains one of the most simply satisfying melodies in all of music.

As soloist in the Violin Concerto, Christian Tetzlaff navigates the shimmering, trilling passages with ease, even veering off the written score to add his own improvisations. He's in good company: The soloist at the first performance in 1806 took the liberty of inserting his own solo between the two halves of the concerto, and played it with his instrument held upside-down. The first performance didn't go that well: Beethoven didn't finish the music until the last minute, and the players didn't have adequate time to learn it. Beethoven's Violin Concerto eventually became known as one of the most graceful and challenging concertos in the violin repertoire.

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