Reviews

October 31, 2014

Speed Goes Viral at BSO

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At the BSO last night, Frank Peter Zimmerman’s menacing tempos in the Sibelius Violin Concerto seamed to cast a spell on guest conductor Juanjo Mena in Schubert’s Symphony in C; “The Great” took its first real breath with truly expressive freshness from John Ferrillo’s oboe.     [continued]

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Sonorous Explorations

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At his Jordan Hall NEC Faculty recital on Wednesday, trumpeter Benjamin Wright sang with his instrument, exuding a familial connection through a calm and collected demeanor.     [continued]

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October 30, 2014

Kholodenko’s Comic Keyboard Sensibility

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28-year-old Ukraine-born pianist Vadym Kholodenko, gold-medal winner of last year’s Cliburn Competition, offered up an unusual motley of fare, Handel to Classical to Balakirev to Glazunov for the Celebrity Series at Longy last night.     [continued]

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Windsbacher Knabenchor: Richness Resounding

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In the Groton School’s towering, Gothic, St. John’s Chapel, bedecked with intricate dark oak wood carving and blessed with ideal acoustics, the far-famed Windsbacher Knabenchor, performed last night.     [continued]

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October 28, 2014

The Organ Abides

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This is turning out to be a great year for the pipe organ in Greater Boston, right up through this weekend which saw important recitals by Thomas Murray and Isabelle Demers. A flurry of organ activity beginning in spring with the National AGO convention has continued, proving that such venerable machines are not dead.    [continued]

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An Elder Communes with the Up-And-Coming

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The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center dispatched the eminent and not-so-young-any-more pianist Gilbert Kalish along with two youngsters, violinist Benjamin Beilman, and cellist Julie Albers, to the Gardner Museum for a richly rewarding concert of Beethoven and  Dvořák on Sunday.     [continued]

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October 27, 2014

The Variation Principle as a Theme

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The Boston Chamber Music Society continued its season-long exploration of variation featuring works of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Schumann on Sunday at Sanders Theater in a program that was distinguished by commendable pacing and richness of sound.     [continued]

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Divining Mozart’s and Rachmaninoff’s Intentions

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Frequent chamber music partners and N.E.C. colleagues violinist Miriam Fried violist Kim Kashkashian duoed in a powerful performance of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Boston Philharmonic under Ben Zander Saturday night at Jordan Hall. Rachmaninoff’s second symphony completed the program.     [continued]

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October 26, 2014

Shall We Dance with the New England Philharmonic?

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Organized around the rubric of “Shall We Dance?,” the New England Philharmonic’s program under Richard Pittman Friday at the Tsai Center at Boston University was long, yet with two important premieres, it was every bit as exciting as it promised.     [continued]

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Hyla to Bluegrass with a Cash Bar

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“Shaken, Stirred, and Straight up” evoked certain expressive qualities and, as might be guessed, alluded to the pre-performance cocktail hour at The Davis Square Theater on Friday. Dinosaur Annex New Music Ensemble is an essential part of our new music scene.     [continued]

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October 24, 2014

Sorrow and Comfort at Symphony Hall

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The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey conducting, blessed its audience with Bach and Brahms, aided and abetted by Rosemary Joshua and Bryn Terfel. Thursday’s astute pairing, showcasing fine musicianship, was a memorable evening in Symphony Hall.     [continued]

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Operatic Magic Theater

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South Africa’s Isango Ensemble has brought a unique interpretation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute to Emerson’s Cutler Majestic Theatre this week. This inspired production places its emphasis squarely on the magic.     [continued]

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October 22, 2014

Thistles Abounding: Juilliard String Quartet

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Prickles and burs as well as rounded fattiness were in evidence Saturday at Jordan Hall as the long-lived Juilliard String Quartet showed its full engagement with Viennese masterworks of two centuries.     [continued]

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Bachian or Not, Zelenka Superb

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The program presented Saturday by Juilliard415 and Yale’s Schola Cantorum under Masaaki Suzuki at St. Mary’s church in New Haven (also at Jordan Hall on Friday and in New York), consisting of just of Zelenka’s Ouverture à 7 concertanti and the Missa Dei Patris, made a rousing case for taking Zelenka’s unique, thrilling musical language on its own terms.     [continued]

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October 21, 2014

An Orphic Christoph Willibald at Mem Church

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On Sunday afternoon conductor Edward Elywn Jones gathered the Harvard University Choir, the period ensemble Grand Harmonie, and three fine soloists to present a free concert version of Orfeo ed Euridice at Harvard’s Memorial Church.   [continued]

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Unquestioned Virtuosity from String Master

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Violist Roberto Diaz along with pianist Max Levinson performed a recital in Boston Conservatory’s String Masters Series at Seully Hall Sunday night that was as fine an evening of music making as I have ever heard.     [continued]

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Cecilia Gives Hyphenated Tribute to Teeters

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In the “Czech-American Connection” from Boston Cecilia at Brookline’s All Saintes Church on Sunday, Nicholas White led the 139-year-old chorus in an evocative tribute to its late director Don Teeters.     [continued]

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October 20, 2014

The Real Story from Marlboro

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Musicians from Marlboro advanced steadily in their Sunday concert at the Gardner Museum to an extraordinary finish. Some of the best harp playing I have ever heard came from harpist Sivan Magen, and Marlboro’s string quintet delivered a story so real, so natural, so Beethoven.   [continued]

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Two Schools From Vienna

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Boston’s Back Bay Chorale fantastically performed a First and Second Viennese School program at Sanders Theater on Saturday, meeting the challenges of sustaining the constantly shifting textures in high professional style.     [continued]

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October 19, 2014

A Nameless Mass As Sweet As Any

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The vocal ensemble Blue Heron opened its 16th-annual subscription series with a performance Saturday of an anonymous “Mass for St. Augustine of Canterbury” at the First Church in Cambridge, Congregational. Those who heard it must rejoice for its survival and for its superb restoration by Sandon and performance by Blue Heron.     [continued]

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Laboratory of Unexpected Music

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Symphony Nova’s “Dawn to Dusk,” on Friday at Old South’s Gordon Chapel under Lawrence Isaacson  featured paper maple leaves placed on the seats and small pumpkins adorning the aisles.  The performances impressed and even delighted throughout, but I was especially grateful to hear once more four strong and gratifying works that have all been concealed for too long.     [continued]

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October 18, 2014

Emmanuel Music Crosses the Charles

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Emmanuel Music’s “Crossroads” at Friday night at the Longy School on Friday under Ryan Turner allowed wide-ranging repertoire from Mendelssohn to Stravinsky to a new work by John Harbison, not only to achieve a cogent unity but also to reveal some fascinating interconnections.     [continued]

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October 17, 2014

Fischer and Buchbinder Exhibit Fine Chemistry

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Thierry Fischer made his widely anticipated debut with the BSO at Symphony Hall Thursday, directing Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1, with soloist Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder and Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4.     [continued]

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Feast of Fraught from Padmore and Biss

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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall was the destination for a capacity crowd on Sunday as British tenor Mark Padmore was joined by Boston pianist Jonathan Biss in an ambitious program exploring art song extremes of agony and ecstasy.     [continued]

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October 15, 2014

Elusive Electronica Cloud Opens BMOP Season

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Gil Rose led his redoubtable Boston Modern Orchestra Project into its 19th season with an ambitious program of pieces incorporating electronics. Surround Sound’s composers have university connections, Ronald Bruce Smith and Anthony Paul De Ritis at Northeastern University, and David Felder at Buffalo U. and wide experience composing with electronica. Deployed around Jordan Hall were at least 20 speaker arrays, including 12 onstage and 4 placed on 2 tiers in the balcony.     [continued]

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