I put together this little pocket guide to the 2006/2007 Seattle Symphony subscription season for my symphony friends to help them decide which ticket package they wanted. Maybe it'll help you, too. Maybe not. But since I already put it together, I may as well post it. Explanatory notes follow the table.

Weekend Program Comments M L E O B C A S P G F
09/28/2006 Rachmaninov: Third Piano Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony #3 (Eroica)
Excellent
Awesome
                     
10/05/2006 Copland: Music for the Theatre
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Brahms: Symphony #1
Okay?
Awesome
Excellent
                     
11/02/2006 Berlioz: Royal Hunt and Storm
Harbinson: Double Bass Concerto†
Tchaikovsky: Symphony #5
Okay?
Nervous?
Excellent
                     
11/09/2006 Brahms: Hungarian Dances
Bartók: Violin Concerto #2
Stravinsky: Petrouchka
Excellent
Okay?
Polarizing
                     
11/16/2006 Grieg: Peer Gynt
Williams: Bassoon Concerto
Schumann: Symphony #1 (Spring)
Excellent
Wildcard?
Excellent
                     
12/01/2006 Weber: Invitation to the Dance
Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake (excerpts)
Prokofiev: Cinderella (excerpts)
Ravel: La Valse
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Awesome
        ½            
12/28/2006 Beethoven: Symphony #9 Awesome                      
01/04/2007 Dvořák: Serenade for Strings
Barber: Cello Concerto
Elgar: Enigma Variations
Excellent
Okay?
Good
                     
02/01/2007 Kernis: Newly Drawn Sky
Kodály: Hary Janos Suite
Brahms: Piano Concerto #2
Nervous?
Good
Awesome
                     
02/08/2007 Grieg: Piano Concerto
Bruckner: Symphony #9
Awesome
Polarizing
                     
02/15/2007 Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Overture
Pärt: Tabula Rasa
Sibelius: The Swan of Tuonela
Sibelius: Symphony #7
Excellent
Polarizing?
Okay?
Good
                     
03/03/2007 Beethoven: Piano Concerto #2
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #1
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #3
Excellent
Awesome
Awesome
        ½            
03/15/2007 Beethoven: Egmont Overture
Beethoven: Triple Concerto
McKinley: Symphony #7†
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements
Good
Good
Nervous?
Polarizing
                     
03/22/2007 Weber: Ruler of the Spirits
Mozart: Violin Concerto #4
Shostakovich: Symphony #10
Good?
Good?
Polarizing
                     
04/05/2007 Beethoven: Missa Solemnis Good                      
04/12/2007 Stravinsky: Feu D'artifice
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto #3
Messiaen: L'Ascension
Debussy: La Mer
Good?
Good
Polarizing?
Excellent
                     
04/19/2007 Ravel: Ma Mère L'oye (Mother Goose)
Szymanowsky: Symphony #4
Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition
Excellent
Nervous?
Awesome
                     
04/29/2007 Prokofiev: Symphony #1 (Classical)
Bobby McFerrin Improvisation
Bizet: Symphony in C
Excellent
Excellent?
Good
                     
05/31/2007 Martinů: Double Concerto
Kurtág: ... quasi una fantasia ...
Bartók: Bluebeard's Castle
Nervous
Nervous?
Wildcard
                     
06/07/2007 Janáček: Glagolitic Mass Nervous?                      
06/14/2007 Mendelssohn: The Hebrides
Bruch: Scottish Fantasy
Stock: Symphony #5†
Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier
Good
Excellent
Nervous?
Polarizing
                     
06/21/2007 Schoenfield: Klezmer Rondo
Poulenc: Gloria
Dvořák: Symphony #8
Wildcard?
Nervous?
Excellent
                     
06/27/2007 Mahler:Symphony #3 Polarizing                      
† Premiere
Masterpiece
Listener's Choice
Encore
Ovation
Bravo
Crescendo
Applause
Musically Speaking
Popular Classics
Allegro
Afternoons with the Symphony

Notes:

This chart doesn't include "one-off" concert series such as the Visiting Orchestras or Distinguished Artists series.

Two boxes in the Bravo series are marked ½. The Thursday Bravo series includes the Ravel concert, whereas the Saturday Bravo series includes the Beethoven concert.

The comments column very crudely categorizes the works to assist my less-classically-aware friends. This is, of course, a highly subjective rating system, but I tried to view each piece from the ears of somebody new. Thus, I rated downward pieces that I personally like but which others might not. These predictions have, of course, proven wrong in the past. For example, this season, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of my friends started getting into Kodály after hearing the Dances of Galanta. (I consider Kodály an acquired taste.)

Here's what the comments mean:

  • Awesome: Guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
  • Excellent: You will definitely like this piece.
  • Good: You will probably like this piece.
  • Okay: You may like this piece.
  • Nervous: I have a bad feeling about this one.
  • Polarizing: Some people will love it; others will hate it.
  • Wildcard: I have no idea what will happen.

A question mark means that I am not familiar with the piece and am basing my evaluation on what I know about the composer (or am just guessing).