Tanglewood on Parade had no cannons, yet by the time the Wednesday, August 2nd parade had gone by, we had seen and heard Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with fireworks. [continued]
The Horszowski Trio did not disappoint at the Maverick on Sunday. The threesome erected two tent poles of the Romantic chamber music repertoire, Schumann’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 63, and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49, with positively orchestral tones. [continued]
JoAnn Falletta led the BSO through very well thought-through selections at the Shed on Saturday night: Fandangos by Roberto Sierra, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with a shining Joshua Bell, and two thirds of Respighi’s fascist-friendly “Roman Trilogy. [continued]
Tanglewood Music Center fellows and faculty brought Saturday evening’s evening’s contemporary music to life in an engaging and accessible fashion, drawing audience members inside Ozawa Hall from the beautiful lawn. [continued]
Sunday afternoon’s BSO concert at Tanglewood revealed two fine unfamiliar pieces by women—from the 19th and 21sst centuries—and rewarded with the Emperor Concerto. [continued]
Silk Road’s “Phoenix Rising” celebrated the extended history of the organization and the new beginning after near disaster at Ozawa Hall on Thursday. Yo-Yo Ma made a surprise appearance. [continued]
Bandoneon and melodica specialist Julien Labro joined the highly regarded Takács Quartet in Ozawa Hall Wednesday. In addition to works for the full quintet, Labro dispatched three solos and the Takács offered the Ravel String Quartet. [continued]
Black composers William Grant Still and George Walker, whom the orchestra had performed decades ago, returned to a BSO audience Sunday before Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho made a wonderful effect in Brahms’s massive but lyrical Second Piano Concerto. [continued]
Leon Botstein and Bard Summerscape made a case for the Strauss-Zweig Die schweigsame Frau in the Fischer Center on Saturday. The run continues until the end of the month. [continued]
In addition to the expected composer, “Tchaikovsky and Friends” from the Danel Quartet of France brought Beethoven and Shostakovich to the barn-like Maverick on a beastly but bearably hot Sunday afternoon. [continued]
College Light Opera Company mounted an antic Fledermaus in the utilitarian Highfield Theater in Falmouth as part of an ambitious eight-show season. [continued]
Great Brook Farm State Park Pavilion in Carlisle provided an unlikely venue for satisfying Brahms and Tchaikovsky from the Apollo Ensemble on a stifling Saturday afternoon. [continued]
The chamber opera opened in a Berkshire Opera Festival production at the Pavilion Theater, PS21/Performance Spaces for the 21st Century, in Chatham, New York, on Thursday evening; it repeats Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm. [continued]
The Boston Symphony obliged the Tanglewood crowds with a lively new concerto for piano four-hands and the Brahms Requiem. [continued]
“Telling Tales,” Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s season opener, comprised works that have memorable stories. At the Hatch Shell last night, the 21-year-old ensemble told fantastical stories without words, continuing Charles Ansbacher’s founding mission to bring free summer classical music to multitudes. [continued]
Israeli pianist Daniel Gortler seemed, throughout his performance on Sunday at the Maverick, to be reaching beyond his grasp. [continued]
Newport Classical’s Cocktails and Concert gala in the Redwood Library & Athenaeum was to have featured pianist Marc-André Hamelin with cellist Johannes Moser and some fascinating repertoire, but on very short notice, Hamelin canceled due to illness. Pianist Drew Petersen stepped in and the duo impressed with three revered warhorses for cello and piano. [continued]
Boston Festival Orchestra brought exuberant Debussy, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky to Jordan Hall yesterday. [continued]
The Tanglewood Festival Chorus appearing in Tanglewood for the first time since the start of the pandemic, celebrated the 150th birthday of Ralph Vaughan Williams at Ozawa Hall last Friday. [continued]
Constantine Finehouse’s recital of music from Brahms’s late-in life renaissance in writing for piano made his intimate relationship with the music of Brahms instantly palpable. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Newburyport on Sunday, for the Ballets Russes Arts Initiative, Finehouse explored pieces created after the composer’s 15-year hiatus from writing for piano. [continued]
In a pair of little-known Vaughan Williams Symphonies, the Mercury Orchestra, played beyond its community-ensemble weight at Sanders Theater on Saturday night. [continued]
Since 1989 the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts has been promoting Asian musicians and the Eastern musical heritage through performing arts and has presented over 147 concerts in Boston’s Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, Harvard’s Sanders Theater, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Calderwood Hall, and New York’s Carnegie Hall featuring renowned Asian musicians like Yo-Yo Ma, Fou Ts’ong, Tan Dun, Hung-Kuan Chen, Bion Tsang, Nai-Yuan Hu, Dang Thai-Son, The Shanghai Quartet, Ning An, and Haochen Zhang… to critical acclaim. For 30 years, the FCPA had also hosted its Annual Music Festival at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, attracting students from all over the world and included students like Lang Lang, George Li, Yeol Eun Son, Eric Lu and Kate Liu
Its Summer Free Concert Series at the New England Conservatory, resuming after a two-year hiatus, kicks off in a week and will feature 15 concerts between August 11th and August 27th including violinists, violists, cellists, pianists, and vocalists. The calendar can be found HERE. Founder Catherine Chan is “…very proud to present such magnificent artists. They should be heard more on the world stage.”
In her BSO debut on August 6th, Grammy-winning conductor and Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra JoAnn Falletta will share the stage with violinist Joshua Bell, a Tanglewood mainstay since 1989. Tchaikovsky’s beloved Violin Concerto and the symphonic poems Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome, of Ottorino Respighi will follow Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra’s Fandangos, an engaging, exploratory riff on one of the most characteristic Spanish dance forms. Sierra blends a classical approach with elements of Afro-Caribbean, South American, Central American, and Spanish musical traditions. Brian Bell interviewed on August 1st.
Brian Bell: You are the first person I’ve interviewed since the pandemic began. And I am curious as to how you and the Buffalo Philharmonic and all the other activity that you had, how have you dealt with the pandemic? And what have you learned from this experience?
Joann Falletta: I’m glad you asked me that, because for us it was an eye opening and artistically very valid time. Like everyone else, in March of 2020, we thought we’d be out for a couple of weeks until they straightened this out, and if we had known what was ahead of us. So for the first few months, we didn’t do much. The musicians and I made a lot of solo videos where we talked to the audience, and they played something, that they were thinking about you. But then we realized that it wasn’t going to be, it wasn’t going to go away soon. So we started to play. Now, in New York, we had strict requirements. We could only have 25 people on our stage. They had to be six feet apart. They had to wear masks. We had to have plexiglass for the wind players and the brass players. So it wasn’t easy. But when we started to play, when we started to play that first concert in September of 2020, with a lot of trepidation, it was one of the happiest days of our lives, because we realized we could do this.
Boston Landmarks Orchestra conductor Christopher Wilkins’s 4,240-word Podium Notes can serve to illuminate brave readers about Saturday night’s concert at the Hatch Shell. He will be raising his baton at 7:00 for Rossini’s William Tell Overture’ Strauss’s To America: Fair Columbia Waltzes, Diane White-Clayton’s Many Mansions (world premiere performance), and Beethoven Symphony No. 9; he and the orchestra will be sharing the stage with Sirgourney Cook, soprano; Tichina Vaughn, mezzo-soprano; Ethan Bremner, tenor; Phillip Bullock, baritone; David Hodgkins, chorus master; One City Choir; Coro Allegro. Wilkins begins:
At a certain place in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, one might have the sensation of floating above the earth in a starry dome, with a dream of immortality in the heart; all the stars seem to glimmer around, with the earth sinking ever deeper downwards. (Friedrich Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits, 1878 )
When Beethoven unveiled his ninth and final symphony to an eager Viennese audience in 1824, he had not written a symphony in nearly 12 years. Many of the leading figures of Viennese society attended, even though public taste had long-since turned away from the complexities of Beethoven’s music toward the more easy-to-digest style of Gioachino Rossini, far and away the most popular composer of the day. Beethoven was not on board with the trend: “You do not know how to deal with real drama,” Beethoven reportedly told Rossini to his face when they met in 1822.
Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s Christopher Wilkins will be leading another ambitious concert Wednesday at 7:00 at the Hatch Shell, once again offering dramatic and rewarding music that reaches out and rewards with fully fleshed-out repertoire on a theme of mutual understanding. Five works (or movements thereof) will collectively make the case: Verdi Nabucco Overture, Florence Price Ethiopia’s Shadow in America, Borys Lyatoshynsky Symphony No. 3 in B minor, Peace Shall Defeat War, Sibelius Finlandia, David Amram Symphony: Songs of the Soul, Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy.
Let this be the watchword: Playing in an orchestra intelligently is the best school for democracy, according to Daniel Barenboim. Within his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Young Arab and Israeli musicians work together to promote mutual understanding.
The Boston Landmarks Orchestra season kicks off the summer series this Wednesday with Telling Tales. It’s a big season, with lots of major works: Symphonie Fantastique, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Beethoven’s Ninth, the Mendelssohn “Italian” Symphony, Pines of Rome. Once again we talked with Christopher Wilkins, Landmarks’ esteemed music director.
Is this is a good year to bring out the big guns, and the most recognizable names?
Yes in part. Landmarks programming has always been a mix of the great classics and more adventurous repertoire. This season has plenty of both. One thing you’re probably noticing is that there are simply more Landmarks concerts than we’ve had in the recent past, so five full programs at the Hatch Shell rather than four, which is what it’s been the last few years.
It’s a truism that well-known works bring out the biggest crowds. And that works great for us. We have a top professional orchestra to deliver these cherished works, performing for free right in the heart of the city. It is a tremendously exciting thing that the generosity of people throughout the Boston area is what makes this possible. The entire enterprise is a gift to the city.
The British conductor, who transformed a well-regarded career in front of theater orchestras to symphonic leadership, first in Canada and finally in Rhode Island, died of cancer on July 12th at his home in Barrington. He celebrated his 69th birthday with his family and died the next day.
The Intelligencer took note five years ago of Tovey’s excellent leadership of the Boston University Orchestra including a memorable performance of The Rite of Spring HERE. What a loss to BU that he didn’t stay longer. Tovey talked to us about his appointment HERE in a nearly 6,000 word interview which ended with this thought about his life as a conductor, composer and teacher
I get up very early, try hard not to complain and attempt to keep focused on what it is I’m supposed to be accomplishing. But frankly, being a musician is a marvelous vocation. I always think it’s much better than having a real job…
We remember with great pleasure several of his concerts with the BSO, especially a tremendously moving Brahms Requiem HERE, an irresistible Candide HERE, and an important Porgy and Bess at Tanglewood HERE.
The official obituary from the Rhode Island Philharmonic (RIP indeed) continues:
As the last of the grand impresarios in our midst, Walter Pierce strode Boston stages as a gentle colossus for 30 years until his retirement in 1996. He could always be seen in the lobbies before and after concerts to take the pulse of the crowds. And he presided over the transition from the for-profit Aaron Richmond Celebrity Series to a non-profit mode for 18 years subsidized by the Bank of Boston. Walter’s two successors comment on his role in transforming Boston’s Arts scene. The official obituary follows their essays.
Celebrity Series President and Executive Director Gary Dunning: It’s sad to lose Walter, but clearly he’s given us much to remember and celebrate.
The late 60s and early 70s saw a broad sea-change in how the performing arts functioned in the United States. Up until then, arts patrons could largely carry the burden of keeping arts organizations afloat. When I started in the business (1978), you could still feel the remnants of that old model where lead patrons like Eleanor Belmont at the Metropolitan Opera, Lucia Chase at ABT and Lincoln Kirstein at New York City Ballet could almost single-handedly handle financial challenges.