Friday Quickie: That's not something you see everyday

It's a slow news cycle here in the detritus world of music criticism. And as such...

Symphony in A minor a minor disappointment

Oh. Dear. God.

This week's Minnesota Orchestra concerts, heard Thursday at Orchestra Hall, mark the climax of its season-long Rachmaninoff symphony cycle.

I think the story here is that the Minnesota Orchestra has completely given up on programming good music.

Har har har...see what I did there?

Sorry, I'm sure some of you out there just love Rachmaninoff...but just admit it, you're totally wrong. Right?

Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 3 in A minor is the composer's final symphony and one of the last of his orchestral works.

In fact that the only other orchestral work he composed (Symphonic Dances) was the only other piece he wrote at all until his death seven years after this symphony. Just saying.

As such, it is a nice pairing with the contrastingly youthful "Firebird."

Sure, what the hell.

The first movement opens in deep melancholy, perhaps expressing Rachmaninoff's sense of loss and of time passing.

Perhaps. But if you're basing this on the fact that you heard the Dies Irae, you should note that every piece Rachmaninoff ever wrote has the Dies Irae in it...or something like that.

So, how was this symphony "a minor" disappointment?

Wigglesworth missed the depth of emotion, stressing orchestral precision over passion, the result feeling somewhat cerebral and cold.

Well, that's not something you read everyday. Rachmaninoff -- "cerebral"? Surely you jest.

figure don't see that everyday: It is just as true today as it was in his day. Amen.


Actually, Rachmaninoff's music isn't not cerebral. It's just so much more common for his music to be inundated with superlatives extolling the emotional genius of his music. I mean, it's not like he's Bruckner or something.