May 22, 2018

in: Reviews

Striking Gold in the Choral Periphery

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John Ehrlich’s Spectrum Singers introduced Sunday’s First Church Congregational, Cambridge audience, to largely unfamiliar choral works: the original version of Dvořák’s Mass in D Major, Op. 86, and the a cappella Mass for Double Choir by Martin.    [continued]

May 21, 2018

in: Reviews

Sarasa—Reflecting Well

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Seven excellent instrumentalists lustrously collaborated at the Cambridge Friends Meeting House in “Mirrors,” which began with an unofficial celebration of the 350th anniversary of the birth of the prolific keyboardist and composer François Couperin.    [continued]

May 15, 2018

in: Reviews

BLO Adds Trouble to Barcarolles

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Boston Lyric Opera’s Trouble in Tahiti at a drained ice rink is far and away the most effective version I’ve experienced—theatrically alive from beginning to end, and warmly human.    [continued]

May 15, 2018

in: Reviews

Pianist Shines Polychrome Penumbra

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The publisher salutes the multihued throwback artistry of Vietnamese-Canadian pianist Dang Thai Son.    [continued]

May 15, 2018

in: Reviews

Faire Be the Cantata Singers

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Extraordinarily beautiful music we rarely hear, Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Officium Defunctorum, Arvo Pärt’s Berliner Messe, and William H. Harris’s Faire is the Heaven, closed Cantata Singers’ 54th season.    [continued]

May 14, 2018

in: Reviews

Big Back Bay Fuels Vaughan Williams

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With large chorus and orchestra came a rare American excursion into the realm of Ralph Vaughn Williams. “Essential Voices” unfolded at Sanders Theater before a strong and clearly enthusiastic Mothers’ Day crowd.    [continued]

May 14, 2018

in: Reviews

The RenMen Visit Opera

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The excited energy and eager advocacy for hidden gems and chestnuts alike in “A Night at the Opera” delighted the small audience gathered in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Newton Lower Falls on Saturday night.    [continued]

May 14, 2018

in: Reviews

Unitas Almost Didn’t Have a Concert

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When the authorities suddenly closed Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, conductor Lina Gonzalez-Granados had just a few hours to find a new venue for her Latina composer’s concert on Friday.    [continued]

May 14, 2018

in: Reviews

Unfulfilled Promise: The Prison Co-Premieres

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The Cecilia Chorus of New York combined forces with a freelancer’s orchestra in an artistically uneven mounting of Ethel Smyth’s The Prison (1930) and  Mozart Requiem at Carnegie Hall on last Friday.

   [continued]

May 13, 2018

in: Reviews

For BSCP, Equality in Composers

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Boston Symphony Chamber Players closed its Jordan Hall season on April 22nd with four attractive works: Viennese classical, German Romanticism, French Romanticism, and contemporary American.    [continued]

May 12, 2018

in: Reviews

There’ll Always Be a Parry

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Conductor Edward Elwyn Jones’s “A Parry Premiere: Invocation to Music, and a Variety of Tidbits” with the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus, orchestra and soloists made a case for reclaiming the music of Hubert Parry in a enthusiastic outing at Sanders last night.    [continued]

May 12, 2018

in: Reviews

A Vision in Luxe Technique With Emerging Repose

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Yuja Wang brought Russian Romantics in the main to Jordan Hall for the Celebrity Series last night with a musicianship that was volcanic, caressing and fearless.    [continued]

May 10, 2018

in: Reviews

Tactfully Sacred and Profane from Tactus

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The ensemble’s “Drinking Songs & Lamentations” took neither noun literally at Harvard University’s Memorial Church Tuesday.      [continued]

May 9, 2018

in: Reviews

Fandango Fiesta Is Memorable

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Laury Gutièrrez led Rumbarroco’s fusion of Mexican, Guatemalan, Venezuelan and Dominican rhythms mixed with 16-17th century compositions by Diego Ortiz, Santiago de Murcia, Rafael Antonio Castellanos and Antonio Soler at the intimate Gordon Chapel of Old South Church on Sunday.    [continued]

May 8, 2018

in: Reviews

Holy #$%@ Those BPYO Kids Are Good!

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Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s Sunday outing at Sanders impressed us mightily.    [continued]

May 8, 2018

in: Reviews

Encircling New Musics

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Compositions new and newer formed a universe of sound at Longy May 5th, with Radius and tango dancers swirling in space and time and score.    [continued]

May 7, 2018

in: Reviews

Twelve Men Sing of War and Peace

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In Chanticleer’s Boston performance at Trinity Church on Friday, the glorious ensemble sang with fine-tuned precision and unanimous expression— sans conductor.    [continued]

May 7, 2018

in: Reviews

Christophers’s Handel Survey Continues

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Handel and Haydn Society’s first complete Hercules ran this past weekend at Symphony Hall to considerable acclaim. H + H’s gem of a chorus gave notice of their chops whenever they stood, the soloists advocated well for their roles, and the orchestra played with energy and refinement.    [continued]

May 5, 2018

in: Reviews

Haitink’s Rest Yields Surprising Rewards

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Into the breach stepped artistic administrator Anthony Fogg, conductor Moritz Gnann, principal oboe John Ferrillo, and the orchestra’s winds and brass with a rewarding and unusual one-off first half.    [continued]

May 5, 2018

in: Reviews

Another French Cinderella, in English

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Cambridge Chamber Ensemble’s heartily recommended Cendrillon by Pauline Viardot-Garcia. runs twice more on Sunday at Warehouse XI in Somerville. [tickets HERE].    [continued]

May 5, 2018

in: Reviews

A Straight A for Four Bs and the Bass of Time

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Versatile violinist Robyn Bollinger treated a receptive audience to a multimedia conversation and a solo concert she created through an Annenberg Fellowship. Her “Ciaccona—The Bass of Time” ran Thursday at the Gardner.    [continued]

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May 19, 2018

in: News & Features

NEC Celebrates Itself & Sings Tchaikovsky

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Tatyana Dudochkin, a member of the NEC Preperatory School piano faculty, will present her 28th-annual Jordan Hall concert honoring a composer in an anniversary year. This year, the Conservatory itself will share the spotlight with Tchaikovsky on Thursday at 7:30. Each year, she told BMInt, “I consider several composers until I am burning with enthusiasm, then I have to find performers who are available.

The evening includes a mix of acclaimed performers, NEC faculty, and highlights the New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School students who will open and close the event. Conductors, David Loebel and Jonathan Richter are to lead the NEC Youth Chorale and the NEC Youth Philharmonic Orchestra—showcasing 183 of Boston’s most advanced youth musicians. The NEC Youth Chorale is a highly celebrated mixed chorus for advanced singers in grades 9-12. Founded over 50 years ago, the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (YPO) is the senior-most orchestra at NEC’s Preparatory School and is comprised of gifted young musicians between the ages of 14–18. NEC Prep is one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation. Every week, 1700 students from across New England—absolute beginners to the most advanced young musicians—participate in lessons, classes, and ensembles. 

Additional worthy participants will include WCRB personality Ron Della Chiesa, the Verona Quartet, Temple University Music Preparatory Division Youth Chamber Orchestra,  and soloists Tatyana Dudochkin herself, InMo Yang, Yelena Dudochkin, Adam Klein, Eugene Kaminsky, Mikhail Svetlov, Leo Plashinov, and Brannon Cho. The complete program is detailed at the conclusion of the article. [continued…]

May 17, 2018

in: News & Features

Cambridge Acoustician Recognized

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The Acoustical Society of America presents its prestigious Wallace Clement Sabine Award “to an individual of any nationality who has furthered the knowledge of architectural acoustics, as evidenced by contributions to professional journals and periodicals or by other accomplishments in the field of architectural acoustics.” The most recent winner, named last fall (it is not a yearly award), is Cambridge acoustician and sometime BMInt contributor David Griesinger.

The ASA award is named, of course, for the young Harvard physics instructor who got enlisted in the late 1890s to solve the problems of unintelligible university lecture halls, resulting in pathbreaking research that led to Sabine’s being asked to consult to Symphony Hall Boston—whose famed acoustics remain unsurpassed today.

The ASA citation for Griesinger reads “. . . for contributions to the understanding of electroacoustics and human perception of sound”. Like Sabine, Greisinger was academically trained in physics, not specifically acoustics much less psychoacoustics. His colleague Stephen Barbar’s bio (lightly edited) gives the overview:

David Griesinger was born in Cleveland Ohio. He attended Harvard, earning in physics a BA in 1966, and PhD in 1976. In graduate school, he met his wife, Harriet, who is also a physicist. They have a son, Ben, and one grandchild.

Griesinger is as well the recipient of the Gold Medal of the Verband Deutscher Tonmeister, Silver Medal of the Audio Engineering Society, and the Peter Barnett Award from the Institute of Acoustics. [continued…]

May 11, 2018

in: News & Features

Chamber Fest Rocks On Anew

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Minsoo Sohn to play at Rockport

The first Rockport Chamber Music Festival under the artistic direction of Barry Shiffman opens Friday June 15th and continues through Sunday July 15th. The dramatic theme for 2018 is r:EVOLUTION. Building on the its history of presenting high-caliber classical musicians, Festival artistic director Shiffman is making several enhancements: composer-in-residence (Osvaldo Golijov this season) , Rockport Fellows program, Pop-Up performances, plus a new late-night series called Classical Cabaret. The festival will bring such world-class artists as the Brentano Quartet, pianist Stephen Prutsman, A Far Cry, violinist James Ehnes, the comedic duo Igudesman and Joo, and will close with the great Emerson Quartet with cellist Colin Carr. A special “annex” performance in August will bring the Pinchas Zukerman Trio.

With emphasis this year on presenting the next generation of stars, the Festival will additionally introduce exciting artists on the rise, including Cliburn winner Yekwon Sunwoo, breakout vocal sensation Davóne Tines (with the Rolston Quartet) presenting a special program “Were You There?,” the Dover and Attacca Quartets, and mezzo Samantha Hankey. Shiffman also expands the festival with three primary initiatives: community engagement, investment and innovation, and performance excellence. Composer-in-residence Golijov will have works featured throughout, including his spectacular song cycle Ayre, which will be presented in a beautifully staged theatrical presentation revealing the musical intermingling of Christian, Arab, and Sephardic Jewish cultures. As part of its theme, the Festival will bring films and a one-act theatrical presentation of Kafka and Son (set to the music of Golijov).

Click HERE for the full schedule.

Barry Shiffman recently answered some BMInt questions. [continued…]

May 7, 2018

in: News & Features

Invoking the Purcellian Parry

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Hubert Parry smiling upon the empire

The Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus’s veddy British “A Parry Premiere: Invocation to Music, and a Variety of Tidbits,” on Friday at 8:00 at Sanders Theater, will include the U.S. premiere of C. Hubert H. Parry’s Invocation to Music: In Honour of Henry Purcell, a cantata of melodic grandeur. Blest Pair of Sirens, a favorite of the British Royal Family and also on the agenda, is sure to be played at the upcoming wedding, along with the Parry/Blake “Jerusalem,” Britain’s unofficial national anthem. The greatest English choral composer of his day, he influenced Elgar and Vaughan Williams, among others.

Edward Elwyn Jones, who will conduct chorus, orchestra, soprano Deborah Selig, tenor Gregory Zavracky,  and baritone Sumner Thompson, tells us more his essay.

Purcell possessed an instinct for the true relation between the accents of musical melody and declamatory recitative, which has never been surpassed by any composer of the same nationality.

Thus wrote Sir Hubert Parry in his 1893 text The Art of Music. Purcell’s reputation had been undergoing a renaissance since the mid-19th century, and Parry (along with Stanford) was instrumental in this re-evaluation. Parry’s major contribution to Purcell’s bicentennial celebrations was an ode based on the earlier composer’s Cecilian models which was premiered at the Leeds Triennial Festival in 1895. Written in “Honour of Henry Purcell,” the text was provided by Parry’s friend from Eton and Oxford, Robert Bridges (later to be Britain’s Poet Laureate), and the work forms the centerpiece of the concert coming this Friday. [continued…]

May 5, 2018

in: News & Features

“Essential Voices”

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Ralph Vaughan Williams ca 1900

The Boston-based Back Bay Chorale, an auditioned chorus of approximately 120 voices led by Music Director Scott Allen Jarrett, draws experienced singers from the metropolitan area. Founded in 1973 by Larry Hill, a famously charismatic figure even 29 years after his death, the Chorale created a musical ministry to bring artistic enrichment and education to both choral singers and their audiences. Since 1989, the group has maintained its niche while exploring additional ventures under Hill’s successors, music directors Beverly Taylor, Julian Wachner, James Olesen, and Scott Jarrett. It’s season finale, comprising favorite works of Vaughan Williams, takes place at Sanders on Mothers’ Day.

Even in a city with a large number and variety of singing ensembles, BBC has an enviable reputation among nonprofessional choruses for its high-quality performances, imaginative programming, regular commissioning of new works, and vision for the future. Its Artist in Residence program has helped a number of young solo singers launch their careers, and it currently employs its second Conducting Fellow, Jonathan Mott. For four years, the chorus has maintained an outreach program known as BRIDGES, dedicated to bringing its singing to those who are unable to attend live musical performances because of disability, income, institutional isolation, etc. This project has focused on two specific groups of people: those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and veterans—particularly those recovering from injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Smaller ensembles from the main chorus travel to long-term care facilities, such as Standish Village in Dorchester and the Chelsea Soldiers Home, with musical programs that prompt memory and participation for residents. Additionally, BRIDGES regularly sings patriotic pieces for naturalization ceremonies at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Faneuil Hall. BRIDGES has partnered as well with the Tremble Clefs, a chorus of the Jewish Family and Children’s Service for those suffering the effects of Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. [continued…]

April 30, 2018

in: News & Features

Roosters To Crow at Trinity

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The world-renowned a cappella male vocal ensemble Chanticleer is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018 with a tour that includes Boston’s Trinity Church, Copley Square on Friday, May 4th at 7:30pm. Founded in San Francisco by Louis Botto in 1978, the group is celebrated as much for its astoundingly wide range of repertoire as for its superb musical skills and gift of communication. Over these four decades it has amassed over 40 recordings and received three Grammy awards. Chanticleer has performed with Frederica von Stade, Al Jarreau, Garrison Keillor, the Shanghai Quartet, as well as orchestras in New York, San Francisco, and St. Paul.

Chanticleer’s music director William Fred Scott’s “The Heart of a Soldier” speaks to “the art of soldiering, the pageant of war, the absurdity of battle, the loves left behind and the hope of peace.” And it reminds us that since 1978, we have continued to inhabit a world with multiple conflicts, large and small, potential and actual. Scott’s selections reflect an unexpected variety of moods, encompassing the grim realities of war, musical evocation of the sounds of warfare, the consolation of nature’s beauty, heartfelt tributes to the fallen, and even some morale-boosting lighter fare. [continued…]

April 27, 2018

in: News & Features

Boston Troubadour Remembers Essential Frenchman

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The main thing to know about Jean-Claude Malgoire was that he was a vivacious, imaginative, and intensely musical human being. All the rest, as the saying goes, is commentary.

I remember Jean-Claude, short, bearded, and stocky, a demonstrative Mediterranean born and bred, serving his own, homemade, bean-and-basil soupe au pistou to a small gathering of guests he had invited to his table in the little village house he had purchased a few kilometers north of Aix-en-Provence. “What’s the matter with all of you?” he chided us in his Provençal brogue, as he piled on second and third helpings of his thick, delicious concoction. “Vous n’êtes pas de vrais mangeurs!” Jean-Claude invariably approached any of his activities — eating, directing an ensemble, riding his motorcycle, charming the ladies (he was good at this, despite his less-than-Grecian physique) with inimitable verve and imagination. He was not cautious and reserved; he was not buttoned-down. The energy and zest poured out of him.

There was nothing methodical or plodding about his approach to music. His manner was spontaneous, quasi-improvisational, and that in-the-moment approach, one of his most appealing traits, also got him into trouble at times. “I hate to rehearse,” he confided in me once. “What I enjoy is performing.” [continued…]

April 23, 2018

in: News & Features

Cook Licks Own Fingers

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Shakespeare Concerts will give the world premiere of The lady doth protest too much, by the composer Joseph Summer, as well as works by Serge Prokofiev, Howard Frazin, Binna Kim, Benjamin Pesetsky (also a BMInt contributor), and Thomas Schnauber on Friday April 27th at 8pm at Jordan Hall. A similar program repeats the next evening at Wellesley College’s Jewett Hall, Saturday April 28th also at 8pm. Mezzo Ryu-Kyung Kim, cellist Hyun-ji Kwon, and pianist SangYoung Kim collaborate.

BMInt spoke with Shakespeare Concerts’ founder Summer, familiar for his recent opera The Tempest and for numerous other Shakespeare Concerts projects. He studied with Czech composer Karel Husa, attended Oberlin Conservatory, and taught theory at Carnegie Mellon before “coming to [his] senses” and leaving academe to pursue composition fulltime.

 JS: Our programs are about the combinations and permutations of a solo voice (in this case a mezzo), a violoncello, and a piano. The texts are primarily Shakespeare [who Summer believes was actually Edward de Vere], but not only. Besides Prokofiev, the composers are alive and well and in fact will be at the concerts, hearing their own works for the first time. Binna Kim’s Give Me Your Hand, an evocation of Lady Macbeth, is our featured world premiere. Howard Frazin’s A Wren and Benjamin Pesetsky’s in Just– will be performed for the first time in this instrumental setting; their works don’t use Shakespeare texts. Thomas Schnauber premieres two works, one about sonnets, and the other about drinking (a song from Othello.) My own pieces include several Shakespeare settings, including the world premiere of my Sonnet LI, as well as my sonata for violoncello and piano. [continued…]

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