Review: Boston Symphony premieres Wooten piece featuring solo electric bass

Posted on: November 1, 2021

“Last year’s Boston Symphony Orchestra concert of music by African-American composers was cancelled due to the pandemic. For the third annual celebration, Thomas Wilkins and the BSO broke new, plugged-in ground Thursday night at Symphony Hall: for the first time in 141 seasons, the ensemble presented a concerto for electric bass and orchestra,” writes Jonathan Blumhofer in Friday’s (10/29) Boston Classical Review. “The piece in question was Victor Wooten’s La Lección Tres, an expansion of Wooten’s 2008 solo-bass essay, ‘The Lesson.’ Premiered in a livestream concert last June, Thursday night offered the first performance of La Lección before an in-person audience…. La Lección is an undeniably terrific showpiece. And Thursday’s solo performance was brilliant—rhythmically taut, flexibly phrased, and multi-colored…. La Lección … was enthusiastically received by Thursday’s house. The same reception was given to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Suite from Hiawatha … left as a piano sketch at his death in 1912 and orchestrated posthumously by Percy Fletcher…. [In] the BSO’s performance of six movements from Duke Ellington’s Suite from The River … Wilkins drew the most balanced and idiomatic playing from the orchestra in … the swinging ‘Giggling Rapids,’ atmospheric ‘Lake,’ and stately ‘Village of the Virgins.’ ”