Reviews

April 22, 2014

Between Schütz and Bach

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On Good Friday in Jordan Hall, the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber and Vocal Ensembles under Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs presented the little-known Passion According to St. Matthew by Johann Sebastiani in a stellar performance by stylistically expert singers and players.     [continued]

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April 21, 2014

The Don Seduces at BU

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Boston University School of Music Opera Institute and School of Theater offered audiences four performances of an un-cut, fully staged production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In addition to being well-performed and engagingly staged, the performance I heard Friday night at the BU Theater was mostly free of interpretive tics and ideologies, allowing the story to be told on its own, troubling terms.     [continued]

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April 20, 2014

Great Voices, Batty Story at the Majestic

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A well-played and beautifully sung Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II opened Saturday night at the Emerson’s Cutler Majestic Theater  and continues Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.     [continued]

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Purcellian Pleasures and Pitying Angels

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The Henry Purcell Society of Boston made a smashbang debut with the Cyprian Consort, mixing semi-familiar and less-heard songs by the 17th-century English composer at All Saints Parish in Brookline.     [continued]

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April 18, 2014

This Charming Phan

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Celebrity Series of Boston, in its Debut Series at Longy, presented tenor Nicholas Phan and pianist Myra Huang in a recital of Schubert and Britten last night that was an absolute treat.     [continued]

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April 15, 2014

Orphic Shakespeare at Jordan Hall

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Every year the Foundation for Modern Opera presents at Jordan Hall something called The Shakespeare Concerts, appearing to have two goals: the presentation of music based on the works of Shakespeare, and the promotion of music by Joseph Summer.     [continued]

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Lag and Laughter Wrap Up Modernity Series

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The last of the eight seminars on Hearing Modernity on April 14th at Holden Chapel Harvard University, “Reflections of the Voice,” touched upon mental commotion and helpless laughter.      [continued]

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Discoveries with Yu

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Discovery Ensemble filled Jordan Hall for a lengthy concert Sunday featuring violinist Xiang Yu and works that showcased both front and back halves of the chamber orchestra. The varied program was full of gems performed to the high standard we expect from Discovery and Courtney Lewis.     [continued]

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April 14, 2014

New Entity Commissions for BCMS

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The centerpiece of the Boston Chamber Music Society’s grab-bag at Sanders Hall on Sunday night was a premiere Portraits of El Greco (Book I) by George Tsontakis. Surrounding it were a relatively light-hearted Beethoven, and sizable hunk of Glazunov.     [continued]

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Masterful Brahms from Hamelin + Ax

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Early 20th-century critic Philip Hale would surely have been horrified to see a capacity crowd fill Symphony Hall for a glorious all-Brahms program as part of the Celebrity Series of Boston’s 75th anniversary celebration of “The Art of the Piano” with Marc-André Hamelin and Emanuel Ax.   [continued]

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Nuance on Steroids

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Musicians from Marlboro are known for their artistic geniality among much else, and their offerings at the Gardner Museum yesterday seemed both chosen and played for those strengths. Scarcely a dark cloud passed in the course of the afternoon, nor was there any discord in compositions or execution.     [continued]

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April 13, 2014

Six Memorable Years Conclude for Chiara

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The Chiara Quartet concluded both their cycle of the Bartok quartets and their six-year long residency at Harvard as the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence on Friday at Paine Hall with some improvisatory playing—mostly from memory.     [continued]

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April 12, 2014

An Abundance of Quartets and Big Beethoven

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The rising Jupiter Quartet hit the midpoint of its Beethoven cycle a week ago (Friday April 4; Opus 59 No. 1 and Opus 130) in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, followed a few days later by a private concert of the established Leipzig Quartet also featuring Opus 130.     [continued]

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Celebrity and Takács Raise the Bar

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Celebrity Series raised the bar for Bartók by presenting the Takács Quartet in Béla’s even-numbered string quartets last night at Jordan Hall. Describing what these four artists accomplished makes for quite a task.     [continued]

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April 11, 2014

Roth Makes BSO Debut

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Conductor François-Xavier Roth made his BSO and American debut last night a curious program of Bach, Stravinsky and Beethoven that was two-thirds exhilarating and one third frustrating.     [continued]

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April 10, 2014

First Monday Reveals Riches

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April’s First Monday concert at the New England Conservatory offered a rich assortment of players and pieces at Jordan Hall including harpist Jessica Zhou in Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman in the Brahms Clarinet Quintet.     [continued]

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April 8, 2014

Peering into Mendelssohn’s Library

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Along with Mendelssohn’s early Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, violinist/leader Aislinn Nosky peered into Mendelssohn’s extensive personal library, highlighting works by Vivaldi, Handel, J.S. and C.P.E. in H&H performances Friday and Saturday.     [continued]

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Oh Susanna, How Fine a Performance

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Emmanuel Music’s performance of Handel’s oratorio Susanna on Saturday at Emmanuel Church brought the story vividly, emotionally and convincingly to life with a stellar cast of singers and instrumentalists led by music director Ryan Turner.     [continued]

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April 7, 2014

Sonic Characterization of Joan of Arc

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Saturday evening saw the second presentation of Carl Dreyer’s Passion de Jeanne d’Arc by the Seraphim Singers and “sonic artist” Peter Krasinski, this time in Boston College’s Parish of St. Ignatius.  The choir provided memorable performances.  [continued]

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Two by Two to Trinity Church

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It was a treat to experience Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde on Friday evening at Trinity Church, Copley Square. It is not unlike a Christmas pageant, but instead of the nativity story, it deals with the Genesis tale of Noah (Noye), his ark, and the great flood.     [continued]

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April 5, 2014

East Coast Opera Première of Dark River

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Dark River: The Fannie Lou Hamer Story received an excellent local premiere Friday night at Mt. Holyoke College’s Chapin Auditorium. Music and libretto are by Mary Watkins, of Oakland California, and the presenters were Northampton’s WomenArts, and the college’s music department with conductor Ng Tian Hui.     [continued]

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Spano, BSO, Rachmaninoff Thrill

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Spine tingling climaxes, evocative melodies, and displays of orchestral acumen would draw wholehearted response from the concert-goers, many of whom ended standing—and lit up with smiles- at least for the second half at Symphony Hall Thursday.     [continued]

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April 2, 2014

C.P.E.B. is 300

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Harvard’s celebration of Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach’s birthday included  a fine performance of Die Israeliten in der Wüste by the Harvard University Choir under Edward Jones with soloists Amanda Forsythe, Jessica Petrus, Jonas Budris, and David McFerrin, the Harvard Baroque Orchestra and Grand Harmonie.     [continued]

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A Magical Flute for Children

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I shared in the wonder as Boston Symphony Youth Orchestras’ adaptation of Mozart’s Magic Flute (in collaboration with BSO members) was being so professionally brought to life by such a talented and imaginative team.     [continued]

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April 1, 2014

Beethoven Chamber Works Come Full Cycle

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Artistic Director Ryan Turner welcomed the renowned pianist Russell Sherman in collaboration with violinist Gabriela Diaz and cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer as Emmanuel Music finished its multi-year series encompassing the chamber works of Ludwig van Beethoven.     [continued]

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