Cocktail Conversation: Becca Stevens

Road Trip

I'm off to Beantown to attend this weekend's Boston Symphony concerts, which mark Seiji Ozawa's first appearances at Symphony Hall since his departure in 2002 after 29 years as the BSO's Music Director. (I was at Ozawa's final concert at Tanglewood later that summer.) In addition to Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique, he'll be nodding to the Messiaen centennial with a performance of the Trois Petites Liturgies de la Présence Divine (1945), with Peter Serkin and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Ozawa has a long history with Messiaen's music: he conducted the premiere of Saint François d'Assise in 1983, and later toured the world with an abridged version of the opera. The BSO has an even longer history with the composer, having commissioned his Turangalîla-Symphonie in 1949 and invited him to teach at Tanglewood numerous times over the last forty years of his life.

After you're done watching the slightly-cheesy video homage to Seiji - with a soundtrack including everyone from Isaac Hayes to Steppenwolf - go check out this very cool feature, which lets you compose like Messiaen, using percussion, strings, and even bird sounds. Can't think of a better way to spend an idle half-day at the office.

(pictured: Messiaen and Ozawa at Tanglewood in 1975, courtesy of the BSO Archives)