Andris Nelsons’s BSO concerts this week pair Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor (1868), Leif Ove Andsnes, soloist, with Mahler’s Fourth Symphony featuring the radiant soprano Genia Kühmeier. “No music on earth can compare with ours.” [continued]
President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Executive Order 10450, condemning “sexual perversion,” which purged an estimated 1,200 federal employees accused of homosexual activity from the government in what is now known as the “lavender scare,” formed the backdrop of Gregory Spears’s Fellow Travelers. I attended the Boston debut yesterday. BLO’s run continues through Sunday and the Paramount Center. [continued]
The Terezin Music Foundation’s annual gala concert at Symphony Hall helped keep alive the memory and music of artists interned at the “model concentration camp.” [continued]
Anne Azéma led the musicians of the Boston Camerata in the lively and moving “Free America! Early Songs of Resistance and Rebellion” at Faneuil Hall Friday. [continued]
Sounding great in its 80th season, Masterworks Chorale gloried in Vivaldi at Sanders on Saturday under Kevin Leong, [continued]
Violinist Randall Goosby and pianist Zhu Wang took a turn at Ashmont Hill Chamber Music on Sunday with “pieces I love.” [continued]
Thalea String Quartet’s “trans-Atlantic encounters, ” with composers blending European modes of expression with American modes, appealed to first-time listeners as well as seasoned aficionados at the Gardner Sunday. [continued]
Jamie Kirsch and Lisa Graham led 241 singers and players of Chorus pro Musica and Metropolitan Chorale in little-known Kodály, Janáček, and Mendelssohn at Jordan Hall last night for quite the choral feast. [continued]
With Bernard Labadie at the helm, Guy Fishman as soloist, and a compositional array spanning 1750 to 1807, the Handel and Haydn Society presented its 2,478th concert last night at Symphony Hall. Repeated Sunday at 3:00 [continued]
With a French first half and a Russian second, Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Thursday concert under Andris Nelsons,wowed with Mitsuko Uchida in the Ravel Concerto, a Betsy Jolas premiere, and a Shostakovich symphony. [continued]
Alchemist Laurence Lesser got great reactions in the mixture of Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn on Monday at Jordan Hall. [continued]
The Boston Early Music Festival’s welcome re-engagement of Vox Luminis in a program of German motets, representing most of the Bach family tree, brought great pleasure to the First Church, Cambridge crowd Saturday. [continued]
The Belgian period vocal ensemble Vox Luminis brought its North American tour to a close on Saturday with “The Bach Dynasty,” a set of less-familiar music by members of J.S. Bach’s family, plus a concluding cantata by Johann Sebastian himself, for the Boston Early Music Festival at First Church, Congregational on Saturday. [continued]
With contralto Emily Marvosh in the title role, the Cantata Singers Chorus and Orchestra gave us a Solomon for the ages Saturday night at Jordan Hall. [continued]
Victor Rosenbaum selected Mozart works for his Sunday evening at Jordan Hall with violist Kim Kashkashian, Laurence Lesser on cello and Kristopher Tong on violin. [continued]
After hearing the ensemble twice this weekend in the seaport district of Boston, I am delighted to report that, like a well-seasoned string quartet, Blue Heron simply gets better and better. [continued]
Yclept “American Noir,” the Criers’ Jordan Hall outing on Friday contained music written by American and American-resident composers in the tight span from 1936-1960. [continued]
Leipzig Week at Symphony Hall concluded with saturated, gratified takes on instrumental virtuosity, virtue-bending eroticism, and a whiff of the divine. [continued]
An excited audience became increasingly euphoric over the fervent takes on Rachmaninofff, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich at Seully Hall on Friday. [continued]
My musical odyssey to the Huntington Avenue Theater last night led me to the apparent North American premiere of Maria, Regina d’Inghilterra (Mary, Queen of England) by Giovanni Pacini (1796-1867), a prolific and once-famous composer not one of whose notes I had heard before in any genre. Repeats Sunday at 2:00. [continued]
Back in February 2018, we got a “Leipzig Week in Boston” at Symphony Hall in recognition of the fact that the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra now share the same music director, Andris Nelsons. This past Tuesday, to a packed house, Nelsons led the GHO in the Leipzig-relatated Mahler’s Blumine, the Schumann Cello Concerto, with Gautier Capuçon, the Overture to Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 (Scottish). [continued]
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
The dynamic performer, insightful voice teacher, and brilliant operatic interpreter ranged from Monteverdi to Brel, touching countless lives with his singing gifts and distinctive ability to teach his craft to others. His friends and colleagues will commemorate Richard Conrad in words and song at the Eliot Church of Newton, 474 Centre Street in Newton Corner, on Saturday, November 16th at 7:00.
Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music, his paean to 16 of his favorite singers, will highlight musical selections from Schumann, Rossini, Sullivan, Bellini, Mozart, Giuseppe Verdi, Weill, Gershwin, and Henry Bishop from a great number of musicians from his circle.
Pulitzer Prize winning composer, eminent Bostonian elder statesman, and celebrated pianist Yehudi Wyner will be playing his Concert Duo for Violin and Piano with violinist Daniel Stepner at the 14th-Annual Scholarship Benefit Concert for the Aston Magna/Brandeis Unaccompaied Bach Workshop at the Brandeis University Slosberg Music Center, Sunday, November 10 at 3pm. Founded in 1972 by Lee Elman and Albert Fuller, the Aston Magna Festival (Daniel Stepner, Artistic Director) is the oldest annual summer festival in America devoted to music performed on period instruments.
Wyner received us in his studio, through a garden of asters, among musical scores, books, photographs and memories.
Anne Davenport and Leon Golub: The relationship of a composer to his own work is a bit mysterious. A couple of weeks ago, you felt prompted to re-commune personally with your 14-minute piano solo Refrain of 2011. Did you uncover intentions, nuances or details that had remained latent to you when composing it? How transparent is a work to the composer from the start?
YW: That’s a profound question. The process of going back and really learning how to play it as I think it should be played was an arduous one. I had to work really hard to master a lot of the accuracy and technical detail, especially in the fast parts. In doing that, I really, I must say, I found myself feeling more and more convinced of its legitimacy and rightness. The other thing I discovered is that there were all kinds of small emendations, edits, revisions, details, notes here and there, a phrase here and there — but not much.
OK, Anne, you need to come clean. Boston Camerata’s November 8th Americana concert and CD celebration at Faneuil Hall seems to have a strange French accent on its Harmonia Mundi label. Do I detect foreign collusion?
Anne Azéma: (laughs) It’s certainly significant that there is so much interest abroad in a collection of very old American broadside ballads, fife and drum tunes, and patriotic calls to resistance of autocratic rulers. When we performed “Free America” at the invitation of Strasbourg, Boston’s sister city, three weeks ago, there wasn’t an empty seat to be seen in the Palais de la Musique et des Congrès. And the audience, including plenty of younger people, joined in loudly on the saucy refrain to “Yankee Doodle.”
I think that here at home we underestimate to what extent people in other countries celebrate and cherish that lofty “American Dream.” Right now people want to know if it still exists. Are we still n exceptional a role model for other lands? When we sing American songs of resistance and rebellion to a foreign audience, we are sending a message of reassurance about our beliefs in our homeland. Strasbourg is Boston’s sister city, thanks in large part to Charles Munch, and we continue to share something mutually important with its citizens.
Will you be singing and protesting about current events the way patriots have for two centuries at Faneuil Hall?
Well, yes and no. These beautiful, historical musical works make direct references to events that took place centuries ago, in Boston, New England, and elsewhere, roughly from the battle of Bunker Hill to the Abolitionist movement. What is amazing, however, is the constancy of certain themes or leitmotifs throughout our American history. Our forebears resisted, with all their being, tyranny and arbitrary abuse of power. So many of them struggled for inclusion and for racial justice – “All kindred, all colors…no nation or sect are rejected at all,” as the Shakers were singing, circa 1840. Americans were deeply allergic to the interference of foreign powers into our affairs, as Thomas Paine’s brilliant song text, “Liberty Tree,” underscores. And they constantly reaffirmed their birthright to freedom: “So guard your rights, Americans,” as the title song to the program exhorts us.
MassOpera’s concert performance of Dan Shore’s opera Freedom Ride, presented in collaboration with the Chicago Opera Theater (COT) this Sunday at 3:00 at the Strand Theater in Dorchester, sets the show in motion for its staged premiere production in February. Freedom Ride tells the story of one young black woman’s decision to join the civil rights movement as a freedom rider. COT Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya will conduct an orchestra of 26, and NAACP Award-winner Tazewell Thompson will direct.
MassOpera’s cast includes Alicia Russell, Imani Francis, Fred C. VanNess, Ron Williams, Steven D. Myles, and Melynda Davis. General admission tickets of $20, are available through MassOpera.
Lidiya Yankovskaya, conductor for both MassOpera’s New Opera Workshop performance and the premiere of Freedom Ride with Chicago Opera Theater, sat down to interview composer, Dan Shore about the creation of his opera.
LY: Dan—I’ve known about Freedom Ride for about 5 years, but the opera has been in development for a long time. Could you speak about how this project came to be?
“this is our song; we still have to remember her songs and pray for her” From East Asia – Unforgotten Song November 16, 2019 | 8 p.m. Brandeis
Curated by a remarkable and visionary Korean musician named gamin, the upcoming concert will be as much ritual as it is performance. This evening will invite us to remember and honor the comfort women of occupied countries in East Asia who were forced into sexual slavery between 1932 and 1945. The Lydian String Quartet and skakuhachi player Adam Robinson will join gamin, and the video art of New York-based Chang-Jin Lee will add to the soundscape. At its heart, the concert will transform archived songs sung by survivors into tales of resilience, courage and strength in the face of suffering and injustice. In poignant irony, the music-making results in a beautiful yet heart-breaking paean not only for victims in the past, but also for all people who are suffering from injustice in the world.
I am an admirer of Korean gugak, both the elegant court music, and the deeply expressive folk genre. Over the years I have had the honor of listening to, learning from, and collaborating with a number of performers of this tradition. One of the most virtuosic, versatile and visionary is Gamin Kang, whose stage name is simply, gamin. She is a yisuja (master) of South Korea’s Important Intangible Cultural Asset No. 46 (piri and daechita), as well as one of the most celebrated contemporary performers on piri (a tiny, yet enormously powerful bamboo reed instrument), taepyeongso (another reed instrument, with a trumpet-like voice), and saengwhang (reed mouth organ).
Kevin Rhodes, for ten years the principal conductor of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, projects joy and excitement in every sentence he utters. His orchestra’s 42nd season opener, “The Art of Jazz,” jives by at the First Baptist Church in Newton this Saturday in company with a group of important 20th-century jazz-based works. Rhodes has inked himself for the solo spot in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
“I first came to Rhapsody in Blue as a young child. “My parents owned and ran a 24-hour trucker diner in southern Indiana where I grew up, so (what they knew of the) piano came from the man who serviced the pinball machines and the jukebox. For them, my learning Rhapsody in Blue was something to which they could relate and kept saying to my teacher, ‘I want him to learn that piece.’ ”
“When I finally heard a recording of Rhapsody in its symphonic formalwear, so to speak, I was surprised because it didn’t sound as much like Joplin as I had imagined. Many years later I discovered a recording of Gershwin’s piano roll of it in the Paul Whiteman version we’ll be doing with Pro Arte. Now THAT was the ragtime feel I was dreaming of. I don’t base my own performance on the idea of a recreation of Gershwin’s exact performance, but I have always tried to inhabit that somewhat carefree, or devil-may-care attitude of musicians hanging out jamming on a piece together, rather than trying to re-sculpt something we did in rehearsal without coloring outside the lines.
Skylark Vocal Ensemble, founded in 2011 in Atlanta and Boston, and led by Artistic Director Matthew Guard, has produced programs that have been described as “engrossing” by WQXR FM in New York and “original, stimulating, and beautiful” by BBC Radio 3. However, the group’s upcoming 4 concerts portend to create not only “engrossing and stimulating” events but also a rather rare kind of musical experience.
With two Grammy® nominations under its belt, Skylark Vocal Ensemble is bringing performances of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil to the Simon Center for the Arts Thursday in Falmouth on October 24th, in Newburyport at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Friday, October 25th, in Chestnut Hill at Church of the Redeemer on Saturday, October 26th and in Harvard Square at St. Paul Parish on Sunday afternoon, October 27th. Details and tickets HERE. [The BSO will be programming the work in April to mark the 50th anniversary of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and BMInt has accounts of recent previous performances HERE, HERE and HERE]
Composed in 1915, Rachmaninoff’s 15-movement, 60-plus-minute “Vespers” consists numerous ancient Russian religious chants, some of which are over 1000 years old and when the piece was written, it was contingent on having the most powerful bass singers available. Their deep, deep tones alongside Rachmaninoff’s uniquely ethereal harmonies, can create a transcendental listening experience.