Taking the message to Europe

BSO tour: Perils aside, the show goes on, to the great musical cities of the continent.

November 19, 2001

AFTER weeks of angst, fear and gloom, Europe is getting good news from America on the condition of the human soul. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is flying to begin its three-week, six-country tour of musical capitals, with the first concert Thursday in Glasgow.

On its first tour of Europe in 14 years, the BSO will be the only American orchestra there, providing assurance that life in America goes on and that the spirit survives, even thrives in adversity.

None of this was anticipated when the tour was arranged. The musicians considered the current lack of confidence in air travel and decided to go ahead.

The carefully chosen program, which Baltimore audiences have heard piece by piece this season, includes a lot of Brahms in the United Kingdom, Beethoven's "Eroica" in Berlin and Shostakovich's "From Jewish Folk Poetry" during a two-night stand in Vienna, where the rise of crypto-neo-Nazism makes it appropriate.

This is a chance to raise the reputation of the Baltimore Symphony in great music cities where music director Yuri Temirkanov is a draw, but not previously in connection with this orchestra.

The tour coincides, as always, with a state economic development mission, which is more needed in the trough of recession than on the crest of a boom.

Baltimore audiences will miss these musicians until mid-December, but at least will know they are serving their city and nation proudly at this moment in history.

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