It’s hard not to approach this year’s Spring for Music festival, a critically hosanna-ed venture that brings some of America’s finest regional orchestras to Carnegie Hall on the strength of imaginative programming, without feeling melancholy. Now in its third year, the producers have announced that next year’s series will be the last, since funding could not be secured to sustain it. And the ensemble that scored the breakthrough hit of the festival’s debut year, the Oregon Symphony, had to cancel a return engagement, also due to
a cash shortage.
Set that woe aside, however, and there’s plenty to get excited about. Spring for Music opens on Monday with the always-welcome Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and its dynamic conductor, Marin Alsop, for a program that includes a new concerto written by Jennifer Higdon for crossover trio Time for Three. On Tuesday, the Albany Symphony Orchestra offers an all-American affair, including the premiere of a Morton Gould symphony in its original form. JoAnn Falletta conducts the Buffalo Symphony in trenchant Kancheli and grandiose Glière on Wednesday.
The resurgent Detroit Symphony Orchestra, back from the brink of collapse, offers two concerts under the direction of Leonard Slatkin—one filling the hole Oregon left. The May 9 program is an unlikely, intriguing mix of Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Weill; May 10 brings all four of Ives’s numbered symphonies. For the grand finale on May 11, Christoph Eschenbach leads the National Symphony Orchestra in a tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich, conducting pieces by Shchedrin, Schnittke and Shostakovich.—Steve Smith