Tuesday, February 7, 2012

End of 'Best Of ... '

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has terminated its "Best Of ... " programming experiment.

In 2008, the group introduced the idea of one-hour programs featuring shorter works and excerpts as a way to build audiences in some of its outlying venues, including the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. In the first season, I recall these shorter movements being linked together with narration, drawn from historical documents. The spoken word idea was abandoned pretty quickly and last season I noticed a return to more traditional programming.

This year, the NJSO scrapped the "Best Of..." idea altogether, returning to full programs of standard length. These concerts at outlying venues will be built around traditional repertoire, with few risks. But at least they'll be full-length concerts and complete works.

I'm glad the NJSO saw fit to make the change and I hope they see a boost in their ticket sales as a result. The "Best Of ... " just felt like a waste of a really good orchestra.

You'll be able to read my other remarks about the NJSO's upcoming 2012-13 season in Sunday's Asbury Park Press (Feb. 12).

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