Every year, I put together a little pocket guide to the Seattle Symphony subscription season for my symphony friends to help them decide which ticket package they want. As before, you might find it helpful, you might not, but either way, you're going to have to suffer through it. Here's the at-a-glance season guide for Gerard Schwarz's 25th and penultimate season as the orchestra's music director.

Week Program Comments 22 13 10A 10B 7AB 7CD 7EF 7G 4A 4B MS BB MM PC SS
09/24
2009
§ Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn
Mozart: Concerto for Two Pianos #10
§ Golijov: Fantasía sobre La Pasión según San Marcos
Brahms: Symphony #1
Awesome
Awesome
Nervous
Excellent
§
 
§
 
*
§
 
§
 
§
 
§
 
§
 
§
 
   
§
 
§
 
             
10/01
2009
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Mahler: Symphony #5
Awesome
Polarizing
  *                          
10/08
2009
Ravel: Alborada del gracioso
Poulenc: Aubade
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto #1
Dvořák: Symphony #8
Awesome
Okay
Good
Excellent
                   
 
 
 
 
       
10/22
2009
Prokofiev: Symphony #1 "Classical"
Martinů: Oboe Concerto
Dvořák: Legends #6, 7, 9
Haydn: Symphony #88
Awesome
Okay
Excellent
Excellent
                             
10/30
2009
Handel: Alexander's Feast Excellent                       §      
11/01
2009
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #2
Beethoven: Symphony #6 "Pastoral"
Excellent
Excellent
Awesome
                             
11/05
2009
§ Beethoven: Leonore Overture #1
§ Borodin: Symphony #3
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
§ R. Strauss: Ein Alpensinphonie
§ Shostakovich: Symphony #15
Good
Good
Awesome
Good
Okay
§
§
 
§
§
§
§
 
§
§
 
§
§
 
§
§
 
§
§
 
§
§
 
§
§
 
§
§
             
11/12
2009
§ Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn
§ Mendelssohn: Overture Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde
Spohr: Violin Concerto #8
§ Brahms/Schoenberg: Piano Quartet in g minor
§ Orff: Carmina Burana
Awesome
Good
Good
Awesome
Awesome
§
§
 
§
§
§
§
*
§
§
       
§
§
 
§
§
               
11/19
2009
Jensen: The Drover
Mozart Piano Concerto #21
Tchaikovsky: Symphony #6
Okay
Awesome
Excellent
  *                          
12/03
2009
§ Glinka: Russlan and Ludmilla Overture
Vivaldi: Viola Concerto, RV 417
§ Tchaikovsky: Three Dances from Nutcracker
Dukas: The Sorcerer's Apprentice
§ Dvořák: Three Slavonic Dances
§ Bizet: Farandole from L'Arlésienne
§ Humperdinck: Prelude to Hansel und Gretel
§ Smetana: The Moldau
§ Rimsky-Korsakov: Polonaise from Christmas Eve
Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Suite
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Awesome
Awesome
Awesome
Good
Excellent

Excellent
Awesome
§
 
§
 
§
§
§
§
§
 
§
 
§
 
§
§
§
§
§
 
     
§
 
§
 
§
§
§
§
§
 
     
§
 
§
 
§
§
§
§
§
 
§
 
§
 
§
§
 
§
§
 
       
12/30
2009
§ Bach: Orchestral Suite #3, BWV 1068
§ Brahms: Liebeslieder Waltzes
Beethoven: Symphony #9
Excellent
Excellent
Awesome
                   
 
 
 
     
§
§
 
01/07
2010
Mozart: Symphony #40
Bruckner: Symphony #4 "Romantic"
Excellent
Good
                             
01/17
2010
Purcell: Indian Queen Suite
Corelli: Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 4
Handel: Organ Concerto Op 7 No 1
Handel: Organ Concerto Op 4 No 5
Rameau: Les Indes galantes Suite
Wildcard
Good
Good
Good
Good
                             
01/27
2010
Mozart: Symphony #27
Mozart: Adagio for Violin and Orchestra
§ Mozart: Rondo in C major for Violin and Orchestra
Beethoven: Romance #2
Mendelssohn: Symphony #4
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Awesome
                         
 
§
 
 
   
02/04
2010
Busoni: Turandot Suite
R. Strauss: Violin Concerto
Schumann: Symphony #3 "Rhenish"
Okay
Okay
Good
  *                
 
 
 
       
02/11
2010
Barber: Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance
Barber: Violin Concerto
§ Shostakovich: Symphony #15
§ Brahms/Schoenberg: Piano Quartet in g minor
Okay
Okay
Okay
Awesome
 
 
§
§
       
 
 
§
§
                 
02/26
2010
Mozart: Symphony #34
Mozart: Violin Concerto #5 "Turkish"
Mozart: Serenade #9 "Posthorn"
Awesome
Excellent
Excellent
                             
03/05
2010
Rameau: Les Paladins Suite
Mercadante: Flute Concerto in e minor
§ Handel: Concerto Grosso, Op 3 No 2
Rossini: String Sonata #1 in G
Telemann: Suite in C major, TWV 55:C6
Okay
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Okay
                     
 
 
§
 
 
     
03/11
2010
Mendelssohn: Sinfonia #12
Haydn: Piano Concerto in D, Hob. XVIII
Mozart: Divertimento, K136
Mozart: Symphony #29
Good
Excellent
Awesome
Awesome
                             
03/18
2010
Brahms: Double Concerto
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé
Excellent
Excellent
                             
03/25
2010
§ Lutosławski: Symphony #4
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto #4
Sibelius: Symphony #5
Nervous
Good
Excellent
§
 
 
§
*
 
      §
 
 
              §
 
 
 
04/01
2010
Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen Suite
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto #5
Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition
Okay
Okay
Awesome
  *                          
04/15
2010
Enescu: Romanian Rhapsody
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #4
Stravinsky: Pétrouchka (1947)
Excellent
Awesome
Excellent
  *                          
04/22
2010
Haydn: Symphony #93
Dutilleux: Cello Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony #5
Excellent
Nervous
Awesome
                   
 
 
 
       
04/29
2010
Sibelius: Pohjola's Daughter
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto #2
Adams: Harmonielehre
Okay
Awesome
Polarizing
  *                          
05/06
2010
Corelli: Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 3
Tippett: Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli
Tallis: When rising from the bed of death
Elgar: Introduction and Allegro
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis
Good
Wildcard
Wildcard
Good
Excellent
  *                          
05/13
2010
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
Schumann: Piano Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony #4
Good
Excellent
Excellent
                             
06/10
2010
Debussy: Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto #2
§ Ravel: Pavana pour une infante défunte
Chausson: Symphony in B-flat major
Awesome
Excellent
Excellent
Okay
 
 
§
 
   
 
§
 
 
 
§
 
 
 
§
 
     
 
§
 
             
06/17
2010
§ Messiaen: Oiseaux exotiques
§ Mozart: Rondo for Piano K382
§ Wagner: Parsifal excerpts
Mendelssohn: Symphony #2
Nervous
Awesome

Nervous
Good
§
§
§
 
§
§
§
*
     
§
§
§
 
     
§
§
§
 
         
06/24
2010
Bernstein: Chichester Psalms
§ Bernstein: Serenade
§ W. Schuman: Symphony #3
Bernstein: Symphony #2 "The Age of Anxiety"
Okay
Okay
Okay
Okay
 
§
§
 
 
§
§
 
 
§
§
 
 
§
§
 
   
 
§
§
 
 
 
§
§
 
           
      22 13 10A 10B 7AB 7CD 7EF 7G 4A 4B MS BB MM PC SS
† Premiere
MS Musically Speaking
BB Basically Baroque
MM Mainly Mozart
PC Popular Classics
SS Symphony Specials

Notes:

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

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 and rated up pieces that I may not find musically satisfying but which nevertheless tend to be crowd-pleasers. These predictions have, of course, proven wrong in the past. For example, my assessments of Bruckner have always been optimistic. (And I haven't learned my lesson, because this year, I'm rating the Bruckner Fourth Symphony as Good, because this time I really think they will like it.)

Here's what the comments mean. Note that they do not indicate whether the piece is significant in a musicological sense; they're just my guess as to whether my friends are going to like it.

  • 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.

In many cases, I am not familiar with the piece and am basing my evaluation on what I know about the composer (or am just guessing).

Seattle Symphony notes: Principal Second Violin Elisa Barston had worked under the shadow of heartthrob Joshua Roman, but with Roman's departure last year, she has inherited the mantle of taking the lead in appealing to the "youth audience." She's been given increasingly visible solo performances and even authored an entry on the symphony's blog. I for one am pleased by her more prominent profile. She always seems to be genuinely enjoying herself when I see her performing.

Update: Minor corrections as noted in comments.

* Update: Changes were made to the subscription schedule for the UBS Masterworks 13 series after the brochures were printed. (Thanks to Greg for pointing it out.) They have been updated in the chart above. Note that five concerts were deleted but six were added, so the Masterworks 13 concert series actually has 14 concerts.

§ Update: Many changes were made to the subscription schedule in July 2009. They have been updated in the chart above. The concert for the week of October 30, 2009 has been cancelled; ticket-holders will be given tickets for the concert on the week of May 6, 2010.