Halcyon Music Festival’s “The Colors of Spain” allowed Friday’s listeners in St. John’s Episcopal Church, Portsmouth to hear chamber music of some Spanish composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who are better known for their solo piano pieces and, especially, their vocal works.    [continued]

The North End Music & Performing Arts Center with VOICES Boston gave wing to Rachel Portman’s Little Prince Thursday at Faneuil Hall, an 11-year-old leading the way. Repeats Saturday night.    [continued]

For those hankering after a relaxing nightcap and a time capsule experience, RCMF offered a second Saturday evening concert, “Weimar Cabaret,” which offered exuberant performances from Blake Pouliot, Cristina Zavalloni, and Stephen Prutsman.    [continued]

Friday evening’s appearance in Emmanuel Church marked the 10th anniversary of the British vocal ensemble Stile Antico’s first appearance in Boston. During these years, Boston Early Music Festival, has booked the ensemble almost annually.    [continued]

The Rockport Chamber Music Festival opened its 48th season, dubbed “Source and Inspiration,” joining American Jazz standards with European reactions to the quintessentially American idiom. On Friday night at the Shalin Lu Center, some things worked phenomenally, some missed the mark.    [continued]

The 12-piece string ensemble made its Boston Early Music Festival début Wednesday in Emmanuel Church, spanning works by Antonio Bertali, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, Samuel Capricornus, Giovanni Valentini, and other eccentric gems from the mid-late 17th century.    [continued]

Boston Early Music Festival’s magical production of Agostino Steffani’s Orlando generoso continues on June 12th and 14th at 7 pm and June 16th at 3:30 pm at the Cutler Emerson Majestic Theater. Absolutely not to be missed!    [continued]

Seven Berklee College composers each scored a “reel” of the 90-year old silent masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc, and then conducted their sections with the Berklee orchestra, passing the baton relay-style while the film screened uninterrupted at the Cabot Cinema in Beverly last night.    [continued]

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Dan Stepner (file photo)

This summer’s Aston Magna Festival begins with “The Birth of the String Quartet,” an exploration of the roots of that iconic ensemble, so central to Western music of the last three and a half centuries. Born of ensemble music for winds and gambas that flourished in the early 17th century, the string quartet as we know it had a long gestation period. Multi-movement string quartets like those of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven are a mid-18th-century phenomenon, but they were preceded by a rich literature of single-movement works going back more than a century.  We feature two of those on our program, one each by Dario Castello and Henry Purcell.  Two other works by early 18th-century composers — Caldara and Telemann — are two- and three-movement works respectively. (Telemann’s sole essay for string quartet is a fiddler’s joy!). Next on the program is a three-movement quartet by Franz Xavier Richter, a Czech who composed one of the first sets of six quartets (a standard practice, it seems, that Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven all later indulged in). Richter’s quartets are fresh, vivacious and egalitarian: all four players have regular solo turns.

The second half of our program features early quartets of Haydn and Mozart as well as a late, mature work of Haydn (“The Rider”). Mozart’s K. 156 (he was 16) is alternately elegant and profound. The two quartets by Haydn (Op. 0 [!] and Op. 74) dramatize his remarkable growth over a long, fruitful career. Haydn is often credited with having “invented” the string quartet, and these two works certainly demonstrate how Haydn developed the form so audaciously that it is no wonder that Mozart and Beethoven emulated him and built on his models. But a rich and varied store of pre-Haydn quartets deserve hearing, many republished only recently. [continued…]

Not Peter Krasinski

Organist Peter Krasinki, having been deeply moved by the destruction at the Paris landmark, will be providing a musical underlining for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” one of the most iconic films of the silent era, to encourage offerings for the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral.  The 1923 movie depicts the tortured hunchback Quasimodo in the person of the man of 1,000 faces, Lon Chaney. Misunderstood by nearly everyone but Esmeralda, he saved the holy edifice, crying “Sanctuary.” Directed by Wallace Worsley, and produced by Carl Laemmle, Universal’s “Super Jewel” of 1923, the company’s most successful silent film, grossed $3.5 million.

Peter Krasinski, a leading improvisational accompanist of silent film, will provide a “composition in real time” utilizing the spectacular 1921 Skinner pipe organ (opus 308) at Old South Church in Boston on Wednesday, July 3, 7:30 PM. [continued…]

Pianist Stephen Prutsman
to open Festival

Beginning with a festive June 14th opener celebrating the Roaring ’20s in jazz, chamber music, and even an accompanied photoplay, the 38th-Rockport Chamber Music Festival, “Source and Inspiration,” will peel back the layers of the creative process, exploring the many sources that inspired composers and performers, it also promises to serve as a deep well of inspiration for all who attend the festival events. The gorgeous seaside venue will once again be the go-to site for top chamber music from veteran and upcoming performers. Artistic Director Barry Shiffman has inked a season with variety, tradition and pizzazz, as he tells us below.

Source and Inspiration: Is this a marketing label, or will the thematic glue be apparent to audiences who attend one or two events, or does it only emerge over several of the 30 events between June 14th and August 31st?

BS: The theme applies throughout the festival, from our opening night connecting jazz influence with the great French composers, to the splendor of mountains inspiring the film Mountain, dance inspiring “Take this Waltz” program, or A Far Cry performing Lembit Beecher. I don’t think that contemplation of the theme is necessary to enjoying a concert or a number of concerts, but is an interesting guiding light for the curation of the festival. I have been fascinated with the many ways a composer finds and reacts to that source of inspiration. I hope the audience enjoys seeing and hearing these links.

Are there individuals making festival debuts that you would like to highlight? [continued…]

Renée Falconetti

Ninety years after Carl Theodor Dreyer’s transcendent tale of power, belief, and martyrdom first came to the screen, it remains remarkably relevant and surprisingly current.

The Berklee Silent Film Orchestra (BSFO) will debut its new score for the definitive version of The Passion of Joan of Arc to accompany the newly available, revelatory 20 frames-per-second version on Thursday, June 6th at the Coolidge Corner Theater. Subsequent performances are inked for Sunday, June 9, 7:00 pm, at The Cabot, Beverly, MA; and on Thursday, June 20, 7:30 pm, at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, as part of the MVFC’s annual FILMUSIC Festival.  .

Berklee’s Scoring Silent Films director Prof. Sheldon Mirowitz tells us more.

The Passion of Joan of Arc is simply a remarkable and astonishingly powerful film, particularly groundbreaking for its extended use of close-up and for the stunning, incredibly intimate performance by Marie Falconetti as Joan. This makes it essential viewing for film aficionados. However, the film that they are familiar with is almost never seen as intended. [continued…]

David Elliott, the voice of Harvard’s radio station WHRB (95.3 FM) for 58 years, is going to be featured in the station’s Spring Orgy Saturday from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. Precisely during the first four or five hours of this period, David used to oversee the broadcast of live programs from the Metropolitan Opera. After each opera, David treated the listening audience to historic recordings of opera highlights, along with insights on performance. For a while, he ran a contest in which the winner would be the fourth, or sixth, caller—a number he chose at random each week. We also heard his mellifluous, cultured voice on many advertisement and public service announcements.

Besides his many hours as DJ every week, Elliott served as president of the WHRB board of trustees. Aaron Fogelson, a senior at Harvard, is putting on the orgy to honor David, who stepped back from his many roles at WHRB) due to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, familiarly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in October 2018, noted in tributes by both Harvard Magazine  and The Harvard Gazette.

“There is much to be said about David’s 58-year career as an announcer, a mentor for students, and a pillar of Boston’s classical music community,” said Fogelson. “As one listener said, ‘David Elliott was the most important thing to happen to radio since its advent.’ While this may be a bit of hyperbole, it is easy to say he has been the most important thing to happen to Harvard Radio and possibly even, Boston radio generally. David is a great man with an enormous and loyal following that believes he deserves a bevy of public sentiments detailing his legacy.” [continued…]

Commonwealth Lyric Theater’s artistic and stage director Alexander Prokhorov has taken inspiration from Peter Brook’s La Tragédie de Carmen, which in 1983, condensed the opera to its most dramatic, action-filled moments. Prokhorov’s version, while preserving all great hits, like the lively and quintessentially Bizet quintet and the fun-filled children’s chorus (performed by the Lucky Ten Young Talent Studio), comes in at about two hours. [continued…]

Two groups that do things just a little differently team up for a collaboration that’s going to be, well, just a little bit different. Lorelei Ensemble’s artistic director Beth Willer, and Sarah Darling, A Far Cry’s program curator for Friday’s Jordan Hall show, get to relate the scoop.

What drew your two groups to collaborate with each other, and what do you hope comes out of this musical meeting? 

Beth: I have long admired the work of A Far Cry, its collaborative energy, and ability to bring both standard and forward-thinking repertoire to life. Lorelei and A Far Cry seem like a natural pairing. We are both committed to co-creative work, and contemporary programming which can shed new light on existing repertoire, and both groups love to incorporate new works that push the boundaries of classical music. Of course, we look forward to learning from each other in the rehearsal process and premiering an entire program of repertoire that exceeds either group’s independent possibilities.

Sarah: I’ve been obsessed with Lorelei’s sound and energy for years. I remember everything about my first experiences hearing the group — which, incidentally, I can also say about A Far Cry! My ears perk up whenever I hear a group listening deeply and interacting with the degree of passion that classical music needs and frankly, deserves. Individuals didn’t vanish in Lorelei’s group sound; instead, you heard the full expression of what they could do when they were at their best. So I’ve been dreaming about putting these two groups on a single stage to see what happens for a long time.

What was the process of putting this program together? [continued…]

Josh Jacobson, conductor

How do we celebrate such a milestone? According to a recent article in Chorus America’s journal, The Voice, “anniversary observances become most meaningful when they reinforce a chorus’s reason for being, when they inspire self-examination, and when they help to lay a foundation for the future.” For Zamir Chorale of Boston’s 50th Anniversary Concert, we will offer choral music from Jewish traditions, not just by Jewish choirs, but by all choirs across America—high school, college, conservatory, community, professional choruses, even church choirs. Most conductors know very little about our repertoire beyond a dreidel song or two. They are unaware of the significant repertoire that Zamir promotes: secular and sacred; Baroque, classical, romantic, modern, contemporary; classic compositions as well as arrangements of folksongs, popular songs, theater songs; music in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, German, English; a cappella and accompanied.

On Tuesday, June 4, at 7:30 pm, at Sanders, the ensemble will showcase some of its best repertoire and premiere commissioned works from Jeremiah Klarman, Ken Lampl, Jonathan Leshnoff, Charles Osborne, Nick Page, and Benjie Ellen Schiller. [continued…]

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