Reviews

December 21, 2014

“American Christmas” The Beauty of Simplicity

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The Boston Camerata under Artistic Director and soprano Anne Azéma, sang and played pre-20th century American sacred music related to Christmas on Friday in Hancock Church, Lexington.  Camerata’s revelations served to convert even the most jaded modern-day Scrooge.     [continued]

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December 20, 2014

Holidays Among the Valois

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Blue Heron was once again transporting as it brought the season of 15th-century France to us, and vice-versa. If you were to have gone to only one holiday concert this year, you should have stormed the doors of Cambridge’s First Church Congregational to hear this wonderful ensemble.     [continued]

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December 19, 2014

A Bach Christmas? Bah, Humbug!

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In its Thursday outing at Jordan Hall, Handel and Haydn Society’s traditional holiday program of choral selections from the late 16th through the early18th centuries made some concessions to current taste and fashion, including a relatively well-tamed “period” instrumental complement. Repeats Sunday at 3:00     [continued]

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December 18, 2014

BCO Steps Up in the 18th Century

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In its 35th Anniversary Season, the Boston Classical Orchestra gave a high-caliber concert of music written during Faneuil Hall’s first years, featuring an exceptional new violinist Mo Yang, and cellist  Mee-Hae Ryo on Sunday.    [continued]

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December 15, 2014

Concerns, Hoorays for Atrium Winds & Strings

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Many at Sunday’s Atrium Winds and Strings performance for J.P Concerts must have been wondering what was going on, as things seemed not quite right with the sound. In addition, Atrium’s 70-minutes of an oboe quartet of Mozart and nonets by Martinu and Stanford might have left many asking, nonets by whom?     [continued]

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December 14, 2014

Another BSO Worth Hearing

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The Brookline Symphony Orchestra demonstrated its energy, sureness of tone, style, dedication, and inspired seriousness of purpose at All Saints Episcopal Church in Brookline on Saturday night in one work, the Symphony No. 6 of Mieczysław Weinberg.     [continued]

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Scholars Draw Hordes

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The Tallis Scholars’ annual visit sponsored by the Boston Early Music Festival filled St. Paul’s Parish Cambridge. This British ensemble has done a great deal to put sacred vocal music of the Renaissance on the early music map.    [continued]

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December 12, 2014

Electroacoustic Music about Caring and Spirituality

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For Hydra Loudspeaker Orchestra’s third and final presentation of audio-visual compositions and installations at Paine Hall Thursday, a small but robust turnout clustered around the “sweet spot.”     [continued]

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December 11, 2014

A Wagnerian Battle of the Wrong Sort

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“Ho Yo To Hos!” from eight potent Valkyries awakened Jordan Hall to Act III of Die Walküre as Jane Eaglen and Greeer Grimsely headed a powerful cast last night with overenthusiastic support from NEC Philharmonia under Robert Spano.    [continued]

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Barnatan Wows Longy Crowd

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Inon Barnatan, a 35-year-old pianist and a native of Israel, played a big, exciting program of Bach, Barber, and Schubert for the Celebrity Series last night at Edward Pickman Hall at the Longy School.     [continued]

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From Bach to Barber with Barnatan

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In his Boston debut for the Celebrity Series at Longy, pianist Inon Barnatan gave us a thoughtful and personal program backed by formidable technique. On Wednesday he also proved that he cares about sharing his depth of understanding.     [continued]

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Animals Cavort for Odyssey Opera

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Youngsters arrived in droves for the Boston premiere of Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox in Sunday afternoon’s  Jordan Hal. The collaboration among the Boston Modern Opera Project, Odyssey Opera, and the Boston Children’s Chorus produced an altogether an exciting read for young an old alike.     [continued]

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December 9, 2014

Inner Voices: Resounding, Revealed

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Violist Gillian Rogell, mezzo-soprano Colleen Palmer, and pianist Roberto Poli gave a warm and well-received recital on at the Rivers School Conservatory Sunday entitled “Inneren Stimmen: A journey into the inner voices of Romanticism, Robert Schumann and his circle.”     [continued]

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Oriana Consort’s Midwinter Muse

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Oriana Consort’s “Muse of Midwinter” arrived in First Lutheran Church Friday. Centered on Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and GF Handel’s Let God Arise, the familiar program will repeat on December 15th at the First Lutheran Church of Boston.     [continued]

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December 8, 2014

Longwood SO Revives Hanson

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To the impressive initials after the LSO players’ names, OCD ought to be appended, since an insane level of musical activity is what keeps them sane. Their Saturday night performance at Jordan Hall was at a consistently professional quality.     [continued]

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December 5, 2014

Three Paroxystic Trios from Ellipsis

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Ellipsis Trio offered us three cathartic Russian trios Thursday night in Cambridge. In a thrilling concert from start to finish, Amanda Wang, violin, Patrick Owen, cello, and Konstantinos Papadakis, piano, delivered wonderful, insightful playing of challenging works by Arensky, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich.     [continued]

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December 2, 2014

NEC’s Out-of-the-Box Largesse

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NEC’s First Monday at Jordan Hall featured an out-of-the-box program with music by Josquin Des Prez, Debussy, and Shostakovich and performers the likes of Laura Lee, Paula Robison, Dimitri Murrath, Jessica Zhou, Ian Howell, Laurence Lesser, and Russell Sherman.     [continued]

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Non-Thematic Program Comes on First Monday

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In three succinct but masterfully crafted works, the virtuosi of First Monday brought the audience less on a directed musical journey, than offering it sequential homages to utterly unrelated composers, musical periods, and artistic inspirations.     [continued]

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December 1, 2014

Unusual Musical Ruminations in Concord

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The watchwords for the Concord Chamber Music Society’s Sunday concert at Concord Academy might well have been “keep calm and carry on,” since all the works presented were essentially laid-back and ruminative. Sometimes one wished they had been a bit less so in performance.     [continued]

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Two 18th-Century Comedies From BEMF

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“A Weekend of Chamber Opera” from the Boston Early Music Festival opened Friday night with a performance of two comic intermezzos by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi at Jordan Hall. Following what has become an annual post-Thanksgiving tradition, the semi-staged production repeated Sunday.     [continued]

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November 30, 2014

Blasted at the Gardner

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When Paavali Jumppanen’s forearm drove into the Steinway moments into Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Klavierstück X, Calderwood Hall reeled from the blast. Robert Schumann’s Sonata in F-sharp Minor, Op. 11 followed on the relentless program Sunday.     [continued]

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November 27, 2014

A Fiddler/Conductor Heralds Thanksgiving

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With broken love, bears, and drumsticks, Leonidas Kavakos, the violinist, and now increasingly the conductor, heralded the holiday season for the BSO this Tuesday by exposing the lovelorn soul of the young Bartok, asking Papa Haydn to bring on the bears, and then calling on Mussorgsky for tone painting.     [continued]

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Soloists, Choruses and Orchestra Compelling in Britten

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Monday evening’s performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem by the Boston University Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Symphony Hall follows on the centennial of the composer’s birth last year and centennial of the outbreak of World War I this past summer.     [continued]

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November 26, 2014

Expansive Purcell at All Saints’ Parish

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Under Suzanne McAllister and Emily Howe in All Saints’ Parish in Brookline on Sunday, the Henry Purcell Society offered thoughtful and amazing performances of Purcell’s larger works for choir.     [continued]

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November 25, 2014

Bloodless Baroque Musical Duels

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At First Church, Cambridge, four slender but decorative harpsichords lined the curved apse for Cambridge Concentus’s  Sunday afternoon traversal of Bach’s six concerti for two, three and four harpsichords; four local luminaries were soloists and the strings were one-to-a part.     [continued]

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