In Friday’s (3/4) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “On Wednesday came the unshocking news that [James] Levine, 67, whose poor health had once again forced him to withdraw from his scheduled performances at the Boston Symphony for the rest of this season, would face reality and give up his position after seven years. … As Mr. Levine conceded in an interview on Wednesday, it might have been too much for him to take on the Boston Symphony while continuing his full-time commitment to the Met [Opera], two of the most prestigious and demanding musical posts in America. As he started his tenure in Boston, my guess was that if he decided to cut back his relationship to one of these institutions, it would be the Met. … But the music director of a major orchestra has to be in place and in charge week after week. … Typically an orchestra has a constricted schedule, about a week, for rehearsing and performing such a program. If a music director is not fit, prepared and on the job, the project is compromised … On Wednesday, recalling Mr. Levine’s first two seasons, the Boston Symphony’s managing director, Mark Volpe, said that ‘it was glorious, and things artistically were incredibly inspired.’ ”

Posted March 4, 2011