Did anyone catch Keeping Score last night on PBS? Michael Tilson Thomas walks us through the Tchaikovsky 4th symphony, with especially interesting insight (for classical beginners as well as the crusty veterans). From the excerpts I heard, it sounded like a fantastic, incandescent performance of the 4th by the San Franciso Symphony. The whole program, including the complete performance of the 4th, is available on DVD from:
- MTT driving around San Francisco in his Volvo talking about the symphony
- How much work it takes to prepare a performance. We're talking weeks of work by lots of people!
- The crazy things instrumentalists do, like soaking and tuning the natural skins for the timpani, or the oboe player making, scraping, cajoling new reeds for his instrument.
- Interesting high-end audio in various players' homes: MTT has a pair of Egglestons, another player had an audio production console, and I spotted a pair of HD-580s in the symphony monitoring room
- The great community relationship the SFSO has.
- And of course, the performance. I've ordered the DVD, and I can't wait for it to arrive --- it may supplant Mravinsky/Leningrad for me.
I think it will be a regular series, but the press release seem to say that they're only going to do one episode a year. In the meanwhile, the DVD is available, the Keeping Score site has some video excerpts from the show.
I was thinking the same thing, too: this is a great show to introduce new people to classical music.