My apologies in advance for dropping an F-bomb so soon in this review, but there's just one word, and one word only, that can adequately describe this opening number... a word that more conservative and learned reviewers usually avoid: fun.
This weekend, Portlandia's ultimate cover band ended their program with Aaron Copland's Symphony #3 - a composition whose well-known brassy chorales of American triumph made it an easy dedication to the recently terrified people of Boston.
Instead of simplistic, romantic notions of war draped in patriotic glory, the listener encounters a more difficult and nuanced 20th-century musical landscape of existential questions, gruesome descriptions, defiant submissions and cold dissonance.
Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 6," clocking in at over 80 minutes and requiring over 90 musicians, is massive even by Mahlerian standards; frankly, just witnessing the logistics of this performance was worth the price of admission.
But I'm happy to report my slightly unhealthy relationship with Benjamin Britten is still very much in its honeymoon phase after the band's knockout performance of Four Sea Interludes & Passacaglia Monday night.