Pianist Marc Ponthus celebrated Russell Sherman’s 91st birthday with a confounding Hammerklavier alongside a profoud take on Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Klavierstück X at the Gardner last night. [continued]
Claudio Monteverdi numbers among those rare composers who can be called “complete” because of an ability to create successfully in every style and genre of their times. On Friday night, BEMF streamed works largely from his books 7 and 8 sometimes called madrigals. [continued]
Amanda Forsythe sang gloriously and ravishingly and the BEMF Chamber Ensemble played with expressive and technical brilliance. [continued]
There is no surprise that a major program of the 2021 Boston Early Music Festival should be devoted to the commemoration of the 500th year of Josquin’s passing. [continued]
For BEMF, video director Jean-Baptiste Béïs and Prismédia brought to filmic reality Doulce Mémoire’s reflection on the life and the musical passions of Leonardo da Vinci. The range of moods and colors drew us back, both visually and aurall, into the world of that most renowned “Renaissance man.” [continued]
The Boston Early Music Festival’s tripartite keyboard mini-festival streamed powerful and perceptive performances on the clavichord, harpsichord, and fortepiano, respectively from Benjamin Alard, Francesco Corti, and Carmen Leoni. [continued]
Boston Early Music Festival streamed its Organ Mini-Festival: Leo van Doeselaar on the Arp Schnitger organ from Martinikerk, Groningen, the Netherlands; Catalina Vincens on organetto from Basil; and Benjamin Alard on the Castle Grant Chamber organ from Musée de Provins, France. [continued]
Boston Lyric and Long Beach Operas check into a surreal motel together… intimate scenes transpire…and that’s only the start of their serialized demi-pop opera desert in. [continued]
Violinist Angelo Xiang Yu joined pianist Feng Niu for delightful accounts of Beethoven and Mozart duos Saturday at the Gardner. The sonata partners also radiated the glow of the recently affianced. [continued]
To recognize the opening (reprising) video of the 2021 Boston Early Music (online) Festival we echo the late Virginia Newes’s account from 2017: “The Boston Early Music Festival got off to a glorious start on Sunday afternoon with an imaginative performance of André Campra’s opera-ballet Le Carnaval de Venise at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theater.” Click HERE to purchase virtual admission to BEMF’s 16 concerts running through June 13th. [continued]
The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, led by music director Cynthia Woods, joined forces with the City Ballet of Boston and the Youth Ballet of Boston for a lavish streamed production of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. [continued]
White Snake’s Death by Life streaming “opera” shares personal stories and original artwork of real inmates who find themselves desperately stuck in a wicked system. I appreciated the gesture, but after the brief and impressive overture, much of the show felt oppressively redundant. [continued]
“From the Cosmos to the Soul: A Celebration of Women's Music” at Illuminate Women's Music Digital Live-Stream sampled multifarious electronics and styles from ten women composers over an hour. [continued]
The Boston University doctoral pianist offered strong and etched renditions of transcriptions and more last Friday evening in Calderwood Hall on the world’s shiniest-sounding piano. BYO carpeting. [continued]
The Bacchus Consort is streaming “Musica Hungarica: Baroque Treasures of the Carpathian Basin,” from the De La Motte-Beer Palace, a sumptuous baroque edifice in Budapest. The consort’s members distinguish themselves without exception in this well-made video offering, and the 25-year-old artistic director Schallinger-Foidl Artúr shows imagination well beyond his years. [continued]
The pianist’s concert for the Chinese Foundation for Performing Arts at the Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall was seriously serious, solemn even, and super sensitive, with power, richness, and a deliberateness that brought Emil Gilels to mind. [continued]
Live streaming French Baroque gems from Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester yesterday, the Musicians of the Old Post Road ensemble continued its impassioned advocacy of works often overlooked by other ensembles. [continued]
In Jamaica Plain Saxophone Quartet’s virtually tendered “Digital Environments,” oil spills, sun flares, geometric configurations, data, and climate models admixed with real-time graphical programming. [continued]
Performances by the 26-year-old American pianist, composer, and improviser feature unusually thoughtful range, and in this Celebrity Series event an astounding, must-see 25-year-old modernist throwback. [continued]
Sixty socially distanced people witnessed cellist Brannon Cho and pianist Eric Lu duo debut on Saturday night at the Gardner Museum for the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts. A concert stream will follow in a week or two. [continued]
Andris Nelsons and our favorite orchestra wrapped up its exploration of music of the period between the two World Wars. Running through April, this stream features Russian or Russian-born composers Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and Eda Rapoport [continued]
The Pulitzer Prizes were announced last Friday, with many honors for Boston-based journalists and Tania León (b. in Cuba, 1943) winning the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her New York Philharmonic commission Stride.
The 15-minute orchestral showpiece premiered at David Geffen Hall on February 13, 2020; it is the second piece to be premiered from the New York Philharmonic’s Project 19, which commissions 19 women to compose works marking the centenary of the 19th Amendment (which gave American women the right to vote). HERE. For short interviews with the composer, to see the prize-winning work in rehearsal, click HERE.
Pianist Jihye Chang, a passionate champion of new music, played Léon’s Tumbao (2005) at BoCo’s Seully Hall last year. [BMInt review HERE]
The Boston Art Song Society presented her five Atwood Songs this March, HERE, and the socially distanced NEC Philharmonia, directed by Tristan Rais-Sherman just played her Indígena (1991) in Jordan Hall last month HERE.
Recent prospectuses from Boston Baroque [HERE] and the Celebrity Series [HERE] carry both direct salutary messages and implied depressing news for the resumption of in-person concert life next season. Yes, Anne Sofie von Otter, Brooklyn Rider, Danish String Quartet, Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and like celebrities will be making welcome reappearances. And yes, Boston Baroque will bring back Handel’s Royal Fireworks and Messiah — but, in the latter case, to a recording studio rather than Jordan Hall. Covid protocols and/or covid angst remain potent; the double whammy forces some presenters to engage alternative venues.
How depressing that Jordan Hall, Sanders Theater, and Kresge Auditorium, upon orders from their parent institutions, have absented themselves from outside presenters’ concerts for another season. NEC, Harvard, and MIT apparently have concluded that their students’ health requires this. As of yesterday, MIT, for instance, continues to restrict access to campus buildings to members of their community who are “authorized to access campus using Covid Pass, with regular testing and attestation required.” And even though these restrictions may lift before the fall, booking logistics mean many favorite halls will remain out of reach to presenters.
Beyond the various churches in which concerts sometimes take place, only Symphony Hall, Berklee Performance Center, and Longy’s Pickman Hall have chosen to welcome concerts by outside presenters.
President Karen Zorn told BMInt: “Longy has upheld its agreement for space with the Celebrity Series. They have their usual access to Pickman for the upcoming year. In fact, we even offered them additional space during the pandemic. We think that presenting organizations are an important part of the artistic ecosystem and we have worked hard to be a good partner throughout this whole pandemic ordeal.
Just as the reopening from the pandemic begins, Boston Lyric Opera will debut perhaps the most fully realized covid-coping online production we have yet screened. The company’s eight-part miniseries desert in begins its serialization on June 3rd via BLO’s operabox.tv through branded apps on the Apple, Google, Amazon, and Roku platforms. Seven subsequent episodes will appear throughout the month. By July the entire set can be binged.
No mere shrunken adaptation of some predictable grand opera, desert in places viewers within surrealistically louche and fashionably transgressive stories of the “romances, shamanic rituals, and a roiling spiritual world at a handsomely imagined motel.”
The co-production with Long Beach Opera looks like a clever amalgam of Menotti tv operas, MGM musicals, and Breaking Bad. Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, soprano Talise Trevigne, baritone Davone Tines, and cabaret artist Justin Vivian Bond headline a diverse cast of actors and singers. Led by Pulitzer winner Ellen Reid, eight composers set interlocking stories from rising and veteran screenwriters headed by lauded playwright christopher oscar peña. A team of directors realized the visual world imagined by opera and film director James Darrah. The complete show details are HERE.
BMInt discussed the production with BLO Music Director David Angus.
Colleges and conservatories still may offer courses on Harmony (as distinguished from Counterpoint), or more likely “theory” — but music students anywhere are very lucky if they get more than one full year of written “theory” of any kind, and harmony might be a part of that. I had two full years of Harmony in college and have made a career studying it ever since; yet when, in 1978, I revised Walter Piston’s classic textbook, Harmony, after his death, my friend Arthur Komar, a Schenker theorist (he wrote a short and crystalline book, Theory of Suspensions), asked me, “Why beat a dead horse?” Well, there are a few reasons. What I offer here is that harmony involves specific entities, which actually can exist as musical quantities and not mere abstract concepts.
The Methuen Memorial Music Hall, home of The Great Organ, America’s first concert organ, is celebrating two milestones this month. May marks the 75th anniversary of the 1946 acquisition and incorporation of the hall as a nonprofit educational and cultural center. And on May 19th, Michael Hey, associate Director of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, and a well-known concert organist, will play the first program in the Music Hall’s 75th summer recital series. Recitals will be live streamed on YouTube each Wednesday evening at 7:30 PM EDT through August 25th HERE.
Over the years, the organ and the Hall have had their ups and downs. Commissioned at the behest of members of the Harvard Musical Association for the Boston Music Hall, the organ was built by E. F. Walcker & Cie. of Ludwigsburg, Germany and inaugurated to great acclaim in 1863. Newspapers throughout the country reported its, arrival, installation, and dedication [See Dwight’s “Journal of Music” Account HERE]. But as often happens, today’s musical celebrity becomes tomorrow’s musical has-been.
We identify with readers for whom Handel’s (then Händel’s) La Resurrezione evokes no associations. According to the Emmanuel Music publicist, the brilliant oratorio, or semi-opera, which traces the mystical events that occurred between Good Friday and Easter, premiered during the Easter season of 1708 in Rome in an elaborate staging: “The young Saxon Georg Friederich Händel dazzled with his colorful orchestration and vivid storytelling.”
On May 15th, YouTube will begin transmitting stage director Nathan Troup’s theatrical resurrection from the dark recesses and commanding architecture of Boston’s Emmanuel Church. Read Ellen Harris’s informative essay “An Easter Extravaganza” about the work and the composer in the era before he lost his umlaut. Emmanuel Music’s YouTube link is HERE.
BMInt posed some questions for Emmanuel Music’s artistic director and conductor Ryan Turner and the staging and video director Nathan Troup.
FLE: Why did you choose this particular piece, and how did you work with Nathan Troup in coming up with a dramatic visual concept.
RT: Ten years ago Michael Beattie introduced me to this early Handel oratorio. I’ve always been enamored with Handel’s works from his time in Italy when he was in his 20s — such imagination exploration, testing the limits of his performers and creating orchestral colors unheard of. Oddly enough, with no chorus, it always seemed too modest for our audiences. In the pandemic, it feels extravagant!