Sunday night MIT threw a family party for John Harbison’s 75th birthday in a celebratory concert at Kresge Auditorium which made manifest the depth of his abiding love for jazz, and the centrality of his role as educator. [continued]
Emplying a roster of virtuoso instrumentalists and 48 voices, Cantata Singers filled the ornate marble spaces of St. Paul Church, Cambridge, on Saturday evening with the opulent and sometimes exotic sounds of Claudio Monteverdi’s 400-year-old Vespers of the Blessed Virgin. [continued]
A Far Cry’s “Melting Pot” at the Gardner Sunday was either a tapestry of the American musical experience or a demonstration of the “salad bowl” conceit of being an international tourist in one’s own country. Withal the Criers were winsome and adept. [continued]
A sold-out concert is a splendid problem for presenters, but a different kind for latecomers. On Friday, the smart audience members showed up well in advance at St. Paul’s Church in Harvard Square, for a concert by the Vienna Boys’ Choir. [continued]
At Jordan Hall on Sunday the Celebrity Series of Boston celebrated “The Art of the Piano,” as supervirtuoso Marc-André Hamelin brought his trademark technique and economical, no-nonsense delivery to bear on three evocations of water and wind. [continued]
The Harvard/Radcliffe Chorus joined by a first rate professional period instrument orchestra and three vocal soloists under the direction of Edward Elwyn Jones gave an always commendable, at times stunningly more than that, reading of the Dryden/Handel Alexander’s Feast in Sander’s Theatre on Saturday evening. [continued]
At the Gardner Museum on Thursday night, A Far Cry placed Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in a context of three new works, casting a new light on the influence of a program’s one “classical” work. Performances and works deserved kudos. [continued]
Giselle Ty’s remarkable staging of Dido and Aeneas for Harvard Early Music Society is running Thursday through Saturday at Harvard’s Agassiz House, but I won’t describe one particular scene until tomorrow to avoid spoiling the production for those attending tonight [now the description is added]. [continued]
First Monday’s unusually large audience at NEC’s Jordan Hall audience might have come for the great Schubert C major Quintet, but they also got an idiosyncratic composition from Britten and an idiosyncratic performance of Haydn. [continued]
The New England Conservatory Philharmonia, under David Loebel’s direction, gave a performance at Jordan Hall last night that was as forthright, sensitive, and polished as any recent concert I have heard or expect to hear from any but the most renowned orchestras in the world. [continued]
Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend was made memorable by a wonderful and well-attended concert given in Lexington’s Follen Community Church by Winsor Music. [continued]
The Boston Early Music Festival’s Chamber Opera Gala on Sunday at Jordan Hall showcased the organization’s recent seasons via musical flashbacks, as Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs led a thirteen-member instrumental ensemble with nine elegant singers. [continued]
Whichever of the four strings 22-year old violinist Paul Huang was playing, the tone was vividly one of polish and clarity. His Beethoven, Ysaÿe, Messiaen, Ravel, Debussy, and Saint-Saëns at the Gardner this Sunday proved to be as billed: a Young Concert Artists Showcase. [continued]
The Handel and Haydn Society with Harry Christophers leading the Society’s chorus, period orchestra and soloists in Handel’s Messiah last night at Symphony Hall, began its 160th annual offerings of the famous oratorio. [continued]
A large congregation gathered in Back Bay’s Church of the Covenant on Sunday November 24th for Coro Allegro’s warm and well-crafted performances of religious-themed, millennium-spanning settings of Ave Maria, Pärt’s Berliner Messe, Britten’s Cantata Misericordium, and Corigliano’s Fern Hill with Krista River as soloist. [continued]
Discovery Ensemble and conductor Courtney Lewis brought three ambitious, contrasting works to Jordan Hall on November 24th. Though the music spanned three centuries, the pieces seemed linked by a sense of musical adventure and were delivered with compelling insights and immense versatility. [continued]
The second series of subscription concerts during the latest conducting stint of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos began atypically on a Tuesday night at Symphony Hall because of the Thanksgiving holiday. On the program were favorite works of Beethoven and Brahms. [continued]
The crowd of several hundred who braved biting wind and freezing temperatures on Sunday night to hear the Boston Chamber Music Society’s latest concert at Sanders Theatre was rewarded with a fine trio of musical offerings. [continued]
Led in its fourteenth season by BSO violinist Wendy Putnam, Concord Chamber Music Society makes its native town a destination. Quintets by Dvořák and Brahms with an appetizing trio by Sibelius proved a perfect recipe for enjoyment on Sunday. [continued]more reviews →
When we heard about the Boston Chamber Music Society’s plan to pair the sublime music of Brahms with works by the obscure Sergei Taneyev, we wondered, who/why Taneyev? Last week, when we received postcards with their look-alike images (at least as old men) announcing the first concert this Friday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 in Kresge Auditorium , we speculated anew about the reasons for conjoining the composers. As has so often been the case, BCMS Artistic Director Marcus Thompson could tell us more. [continued...]
John Harbison turns 75 this month, and his colleagues and friends are giving him quite a bash. A lot of musical worthies of the classical and jazz persuasions will be on hand, including some surprise guests. John will variously lead, play and listen to music representative of his varied oeuvres as composer and conductor, including: Harbison’s Cortège for percussion ensemble; premieres of some of his jazz songs with lyrics by MIT students and a piece for violin and jazz trio; J. S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 118, performed by MIT Chamber Chorus and members of the MIT Wind Ensemble conducted by Harbison; performances by MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and MIT’s faculty jazz quintet, Strength in Numbers: John Harbison, piano; Keala Kaumeheiwa, bass; Fred Harris, drums; Dylan Sherry, tenor saxophone; Mark Harvey, trumpet; and special guest Rose Mary Harbison, violin. It’s all free on Sunday at Kresge Auditorium at 7:00.
An appreciation of the man and his work appears after the break. After that, the complete program. [continued...]
Harvard Early Music Society returns this Thursday through Saturday with Henry Purcell’s 1688 masterwork Dido and Aeneas. Based on Book IV of Virgil’s Roman epic The Aeneid, Purcell’s opera, with a libretto by Nahum Tate, is enduring and beloved; its hallmark aria, “When I am laid in earth,” also known as Dido’s lament, is among the entire canon’s most emotionally intense. The production team of undergraduates and theater professionals brings the work with a “simple staging” to an audience of 50-60 at the intimate Horner Ballroom of Aggasiz House, a decidedly non-traditional space for opera.
Over the weekend, I had to opportunity to conduct an interview with Giselle Ty, the production’s stage director and an emerging star in her own right on Boston’s operatic horizon. She told me that “Opera can be thrilling, profound, and very sexy.” [continued...]
The 2014 Tanglewood season from June 28 to August 30 has something for everyone—summer enjoyment above all, with plenty of variety to choose from, classical or popular, in the Shed or in the smaller Ozawa Hall, from Renaissance to standard Romantic to modern to film music, from solo recital to chamber to opera to avant-garde to “Prairie Home Companion” (on June 28). There are the usual warhorses—Tanglewood and summertime mean enjoyment above all—but there are quite a few challenging items as well for those who look for more than just relaxed listening on the lawn. [continued...]
Frequent Boston Symphony Orchestra guest conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos begins a two-week stint tonight in a program including the world premiere of Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra, a BSO co-commission written by Marc Neikrug and featuring BSO principal bassoonist Richard Svoboda. Neikrug, who is also an active pianist and conductor, has written works for many of the country’s major orchestras. Opening the program is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, Pastoral, and closing it are the Suites Nos. 1 and 2 from Manuel de Falla’s sparkling and evocative The Three-cornered Hat. BMInt posed some questions to the concerto soloist.
BMInt: Do you consider the bassoon a cheerful or a poignant instrument?
Richard Svoboda: Both. It is commonly known as the clown of the orchestra and Shostakovich called it the soul of the orchestra. [continued...]
The MIT Visiting Artist Series in collaboration with MIT Music and Theater Arts has announced series of concerts by the Jupiter String Quartet featuring Beethoven’s complete string quartet cycle in six visits to the MIT campus as part of a two-year residency. The series begins this Friday in Kresge Auditorium, and include quartets Op. 18, No. 6; Op. 59, No. 3; and Op. 127. At the other end of Massachusetts Avenue at exactly the same time, the Chiara String Quartet will be offering one the concluding concerts in its residency at Paine Hall with this program: Mozart: String Quartet No.8 in F major, K.168, Edgar Barroso: Engrama, Marta Gentilucci: Proof Resilience, Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115, with Todd Palmer, clarinet. Read more on the Blodgett succession here.
BMInt spoke with Professor Marcus Thomson about the significance of the MIT announcement:
The string quartet program at Kresge seems to be gaining steam again with the announcement of the Jupiter’s six-concert Beethoven cycle; this seems like old days. [continued...]
Leonidas Kavakos is one of the world’s musical originals. Violinist, conductor and aesthetic high priest, he spoke to BMInt briefly about his concerts with the BSO this week, his Celebrity Series engagement in February, and his Tanglewood visit next summer, while also imparting more than 5,000 words on larger themes.
You play the famous “Abergavenny” Stradivarius violin of 1724, yet you own a lot of modern violins too, and bows both ancient and modern. How many violins do you need, and how many do you actually play in concert? [continued...]
Last week we learned that WCRB’s manager of classical services Benjamin Roe is moving to WGBH TV in a role auguring increased commitment to visual presentation of our kind of music. “I look forward to expanding that commitment [to classical music and performance art] with a focus on programs and events that connect more community members with Boston’s classical music traditions,” said Roe. Anthony Rudel, author of “Classical Music Top 40…” will replace him on the dark side.
A day later came the news that KUHA, the 24/7 classical station in Houston Texas, laid off its entire on-air staff and plans a shift to jukebox mode by putting its coin in the slot of Classical 24, a nationally syndicated service from Minnesota Public Radio.
Is that an approach Boston listeners can expect? While WGBH spokesmen declined to comment on the KUFA news, they were very happy to converse with BMInt on the changes they have recently announced via press release here.
Lee Eiseman: It’s exciting that the imaginative and energetic Ben Roe will be bringing his programming genius to WGBH television. Is this a reward or a punishment for his nearly three years at WCRB? [continued...]more news & features →