August 26, 2014

in: Reviews

Another Maverick Marathon

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For the second consecutive day the Maverick Concerts program was unusually long. The Jupiter String Quartet played Mozart, pianist Ilya Yakushev played Bach-Busoni, and they collaborated on Strauss’s rare Piano Quartet and Brahms’s deservedly popular Piano Quintet in performances which generally served the music well.     [continued]

August 25, 2014

in: Reviews

Free But Not Alone

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Works of competition laureate Josh Newton along with some Vivaldi and Brahms concluded the season for the Portland Chamber Music Festival Saturday at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Center. There were no grounds for cavil at the performances.    [continued]

August 24, 2014

in: Reviews

Maverick Spanish Marathon

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The annual chamber orchestra concert at Maverick Concerts in Woodstock was indeed an “extravaganza,”  lasting 3 hours and 15 minutes, and including two mezzo-sopranos, a pianist, and a widely varied chamber orchestra. All the Lorca-related music was performed very well, but there may have been too much of it.     [continued]

August 22, 2014

in: Reviews

PCMF Delivers Robust Performances

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Featuring works of Boccherini, Copland and Elgar, the final weekend of this year’s Portland Chamber Music Festival kicked off on August 21st was dedicated to the memory of Marc Johnson, long-time cellist of the Vermeer Quartet and PCMF participant for the past five years.     [continued]

August 21, 2014

in: Reviews

Old West Hall Needs To Be Wilder

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Local Baroque keyboardist and musicology scholar Matthew Hall essayed all Bach on the Fisk Organ in the Old West Organ Society summer series last Tuesday to mixed results but with much promise.     [continued]

August 20, 2014

in: Reviews

A Best of All Possible Candides

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The spirit of Bernstein smiled Saturday night on a first-rate rendition of his convoluted farce by the BSO, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, Bramwell Tovey, and a coterie of soloists. [continued]

August 19, 2014

in: Reviews

CCCM at 35: Lights-Out Fireworks

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Old instruments fought imbalances as a half-dozen sterling musicians, alone and together, created a wide-ranging and effective festival tribute to founder Samuel Sanders  at the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival last Friday.     [continued]

August 19, 2014

in: Reviews

Fellows’ Orchestra Luxuriates in Russians

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There was a buzz in the air on a brilliant Sunday afternoon as the young residents of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra entered the Koussevitzky Shed stage with conductor Charles Dutoit for the Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert. This year’s all-Russian affair offered Stravinsky’s Scherzo Fantastique, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and Stravinsky’s Firebird (complete).     [continued]

August 18, 2014

in: Reviews

Bayreutherdämmerung

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As in the rest of his Bayreuth Ring, Frank Castorf’s Götterdâmmerung came and went with unclear messages and happenings. By many accounts, he did not look at Wagner’s score or evidently listen to much of it.     [continued]

August 18, 2014

in: Reviews

Tanglewood: Nobility, Tyranny, Triumph

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Under Deneve leading the BSO, Ax and the Emperor were plenty polished Friday in the Shed, but it was Prokofiev and Manistina who took us beyond the movie to the inspiring battlefield.     [continued]

August 16, 2014

in: Reviews

Das ist kein Ring!

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A second Bayreuth report comes from our far-flung correspondent and local pianist/gadfly Deveau, reporting further on a strange Ring featuring high-quality singing and playing along with assault weaponry and happy crocs.    [continued]

August 15, 2014

in: Reviews

Philharmonia Baroque Revives Teseo at Tanglewood

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For three hours last night in Ozawa Hall, Nicholas McGegan led Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and an amazing ensemble of singers in a stellar concert performance of Handel’s Teseo.
[continued]

August 14, 2014

in: Reviews

Rational and Mad: Bach and Ives From Denk

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Pianist Jeremy Denk offered Ozawa Hall listeners a superb recital Wednesday comprising only two works, both colossal: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and Charles Ives’s Concord Sonata.     [continued]

August 14, 2014

in: Reviews

Certain Joyful Cellist Wows Tanglewood

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Child’s play, dying power, and sophisticated drama made for a full and beautiful afternoon of Tchaikovsky at Tanglewood.     [continued]

August 14, 2014

in: Reviews

Kavakos on Fire in Familiar and Profound

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Last Saturday Stéphane Denève led a satisfying Tanglewood BSO program of Debussy, Szymanowski, and Tchaikovsky, each piece seeming effortlessly to spring from the others.     [continued]

August 13, 2014

in: Reviews

Musings from Bayreuth

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Another submission from one of BMInt’s far-flung correspondents follows, this time the first of three Bayreuth reviews from pianist and gadfly David Deveau.     [continued]

August 13, 2014

in: Reviews

Pi-Hsien Chen’s Keyboard Characterizations

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The solo recital portion of the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts music festival at Walnut Hill concluded with most satisfying renderings, by pianist Pi-Hsien Chen, of works big and small and full of color and character.     [continued]

August 12, 2014

in: Reviews

Jeremy Denk’s Concord and Goldberg

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Jeremy Denk was at the Steinway in the Shalin Liu Performance Center Monday night pairing Bach with Ives. There could be nothing more irresistible.   [continued]

August 12, 2014

in: Reviews

When They Were Good, They Were Very….

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Pianist Jon Klibonoff joined the Amernet String Quartet at Maverick Concerts on Sunday for a program of music by European composers who came to America. Most of the playing was quite good and so was some of the music, but Korngold’s Piano Quintet proved a wasted half-hour.     [continued]

more reviews →

August 19, 2014

in: News & Features

Sing What Thing?

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Ben Roe's parting gift.

Ben Roe makes parting gift.

As a huge fan of choral music—okay, I might consider myself infatuated—I sometimes wonder what it means to be a “choral ensemble.” What is choral singing?

The latest attempt to answer that question may be from WGBH-TV, in the form of an 11-part cattle call and beautyfest for local groups. Beginning this fall, a friendly competition called Sing That Thing! makes its debut, as it happens, in something of a swan song for the newly departing Ben Roe, who had only left his previous role as WGBH radio’s Director of Classical Services last January. (The next chapter in Roe’s working life opens at the Heifetz International Music Institute, a six-week summer program for string students, based in Staunton Virginia. We wish him well there.)

According to Roe and WGBH-TV GM Liz Cheng, along with Boston Children’s Chorus conductor Anthony Trecek-King, the station is creating an exciting and novel program. The initiative intends to celebrate the choral tradition by hosting a multi-round competition that encourages choruses of all sizes, dynamics, and genres. In the final rounds there will be discussions, as a way to engage and educate audience, to better understand the inner workings of this fascinating ensemble form. [continued...]

August 16, 2014

in: News & Features

Remembering Donald Teeters (1936-2014) Updated

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teetersA funeral service will be celebrated on Wednesday, September 3 at 7:30 p.m. at All Saints Church, Brookline.  The address of the church and directions can be found here.  There will be other celebrations of his life and work in October and November.

The recent, very unexpected death of Donald Teeters fills me with profound sadness.

Former Music Director of The Boston Cecilia, former Music Director of All Saints Parish, Brookline, and current Professor of Music at the New England Conservatory, Donald apparently died of heart disease just shy of his 78th birthday, which we were to celebrate—as we do annually on September 2nd—with a lobster dinner in my home in Gloucester.

Donald was a mentor extraordinaire, teaching hundreds of students at the conservatory and coaching countless singers and instrumentalists. One of his many passions was to seek out young, highly gifted musicians, and give them a chance on the Boston stages such as Jordan Hall or Sanders Theatre.

[continued...]

August 14, 2014

in: News & Features

An Appreciation: Frans Brüggen (1934-2014)

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rpbrueggenIn commemoration of the life of Frans Brüggen, BMInt is pleased to reprint this extended excerpt from the 1985 book “Reprise: The Extraordinary Revival of Early Music, with text by Joel Cohen and photos by Herb Snitzer.”

Of all the melody instruments, the most important during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was unquestionably the violin; the transverse flute trailed forlornly at a distant second place. Yet the first modern superstar to emerge from the early music ranks was neither a violinist nor (primarily) a traverso player. His instrument was the one favored by countless thousands of early music enthusiasts—the recorder. He was a Dutchman named Frans Brüggen (b. 1934). His enormous public success surpassed anything previously conferred on an early instrument specialist (except perhaps for harpsichordist Wanda Landowska two generations earlier). [continued...]

August 11, 2014

in: News & Features

The Big Trill and Rapture

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Jay-WenkFrom time to time BMInt writers relate surprisingly germane anecdotes. Such is the case of Jay Wenk’s remembrance of a noted professor from nearly 70 years ago.

In 1951, I used the GI Bill to study composition at Juilliard. I had no background other than listening to and being moved by every form of music I had heard since childhood. After discharge from the Army, in 1946, I started to study the trumpet; as a child of the movies, I fantasized playing blues in smoky nightclubs. I wrote some short pieces for orchestral instruments at that time, and a musician friend urged me to apply to Juilliard. I resisted, but then gave in, and was accepted provisionally.

I was older than the other students. They were already professionals, and I believe I was admitted because I had a modicum of talent, a lot of desire, but mainly because I was a returning veteran. I guess the faculty had some hope for me, so I was given the chance. [continued...]

August 6, 2014

in: News & Features

Music Academy Within and Without Walls

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Longykids-ViolinLongy School of Music of Bard College begins its second annual El Sistema Summer Academy on its Cambridge campus on August 11th. Designed by the Longy faculty and staff especially for students from local El Sistema-inspired programs, the two-weeks of musical training mentored by Longy faculty, guest faculty and graduate students also includes extra-musical activities like yoga, singing, dance and theater games.

More than 80 students are participating altogether. They play the full range of orchestral instruments, range in age from 7 to 12, and come from El Sistema-inspired music programs in Chiapas, Mexico and the greater Boston area.

The culmination will come in two concerts, both free and open to the general public, featuring all the Summer Academy students performing works by Brahms, Rossini and Merle Isaac alongside members of the Longy Conservatory Orchestra and Summer Academy faculty Marielisa and Mariesther Alvarez, Jorge Montilla, Courtney Getzin, Taide Prieto and David Hurtado, all under the direction of Jorge Soto. The first concert will be performed in Harvard Square at 3 p.m. on August 21st. The second will be at 4 p.m. on August 22nd at Longy’s Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall.

BMInt: This summer’s program at Longy sounds like something of a music camp. Does it go beyond that? [continued...]

July 30, 2014

in: News & Features

Music Festival Begins at Walnut Hill

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The redoubtable Cathy Chan

The redoubtable Cathy Chan

The admirable Dr. Catherine Tan Chan 譚嘉陵and her Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts have done enormous service to the Boston area classical music community over the last 23 years. One of the most valuable and perhaps most unsung examples (at least among general audiences) is the Summer Music Festival at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick. Each summer 40 students from age 14 to whatever are enrolled in an intensive three-week program with a really illustrious faculty. Not only are there private lessons, but also chamber music ensembles, orchestra readings, masterclasses, workshops, and, of most interest to BMInt readers, concerts with faculty members; the public events begin with a piano recital by Yinfei Wang at 7:30 on Thursday, July 31st. Other concerts we recommend include piano recitals by Hung-Kuan Chen, George Li, Ming-Chieh Liu, Pi-Hsien Chen, and a concerto competition’s winner in recital with Mercury Orchestra at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. The complete calendar including masterclassess and lectures is here, and the public events are highlighted in BMInt’s “Upcoming Events” as well as on the summary  here. [continued...]

July 23, 2014

in: News & Features

Manfred Honeck To Conduct Dohnányi’s Programs

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The beloved Felix comes to Tanglewood

The beloved Felix comes to Tanglewood

Austrian Manfred Honeck, who conducted memorably with the BSO at Symphony Hall last season, including an arresting Eroica, is about to make a last-minute debut at Tanglewood to cover for Christoph von Dohnányi, taking the latter’s programs intact. Friday night is Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture and then Mozart Piano Concerto 12 with Paul Lewis before concluding with the Mendelssohn Italian Symphony. On Saturday it will be Mahler’s Second. BMInt had a long and interesting conversation with Honeck:

FLE: You work a lot with our mutual friend Till Fellner, but do you have an ongoing collaboration with that other Brendel protégé Paul Lewis?

MH: I have never worked with Paul Lewis, but he was on my radar, and he’s a very serious and eloquent and clear and pure pianist with a fantastic reputation and recordings of Beethoven. And now to do Mozart with him: I’m really looking forward. I know what commitment Brendel had for all his students, and Till Fellner is for me one of the best Viennese classical players, and I expect the same from Lewis. Knowing that he is in a musical environment around Alfred Brendel gives me a good feeling that it will be a wonderful collaboration. [continued...]

July 22, 2014

in: News & Features

More Britten for Boston

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brittenwFor Boston Opera Collaborative’s next production, the award-winning team of conductor Andrew Altenbach and director Katherine Carter bring Benjamin Britten’s delightful British comedy Albert Herring to the stage of the Strand Theater. Performances from Thursday to Sunday offer FREE ADMISSION through a generous grant from The Free for All Concert Fund, Inc. The third BOC production in the historic Strand, located Uphams Corner, Dorchester, this is also BOC’s third collaboration with The Free for All Concert Fund, Inc., which has helped BOC bring performances throughout the Boston community.

The scene: The zany residents of Loxford, England are preparing for their local May Day festivities. The problem: The town lacks any young ladies sufficiently chaste to be named the May Queen. The solution: The May Day committee identifies the local greengrocer, young Albert Herring, for the dubious honor of May King. Follow Albert Herring as he discovers that sometimes it’s OK to break the rules. [continued...]

July 17, 2014

in: News & Features

Smetana’s Bartered Bride Comes to Tsai

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Bedrich-SmetanaSince 2006 Boston Midsummer Opera has offered operatic confections during a season when opera manes are in need of a sugar fix. This season’s outing, Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, will run on July 23, 25 & 27 at Tsai Performance Center at Boston University with a witty staging by Antonio Ocampo-Guzman and a sparkling new translation by J. D. McClatchy. Susan Davenny Wyner will lead the BMO orchestra.

Set in a Bohemian village, the opera’s plot about comical tribulations of young lovers constitutes a fine scaffold for delightful music.

Susan Davenny Wyner answered some questions for BMInt:

BMInt: The settings for your summer opera productions are always witty and sparkling. I gather that Bartered Bride will be in correct period and place. Please tell us more about the look of this one.

SDW.: The set design is beautiful and playful, with references to the changeable sky and rural landscape of the Bohemian countryside. Costumes are colorful and incorporate elements of traditional Czech garb [continued...]

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