Cantata Singers & Emmanuel Music: Choral Catchup

by

Bach Now with Emmanuel Music: This Sunday, during the regular 10am service, Emmanuel Music kicks off its 50th-annual Bach Cantata Series at Boston’s Emmanuel Church (HERE ) with Bach’s Cantata No. 72, “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen” and Henry Purcell’s heart-wrenching Hear My Prayer. The complete schedule for all 36 performances, with program notes and Pamela Dellal’s precise, thoughtful cantata translations has just been posted HERE. Three season highlights draw from outside of Bach’s sacred music: Elena Ruehr’s new Requiem on November 7th , Principal Guest Conductor John Harbison’s 1994 Chorale Cantata on March 6th, and James Primosch’s 2014 commission for Philadelphia’s excellent professional choir The Crossing (directed by Donald Nally). Primosch follows a tradition made popular by Britten is this new Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus, weaving together Latin mass texts and contemporary poems by Denise Levertov (see notes HERE and complete texts HERE). 

Ryan Turner, who sang under Emmanuel’s founding director Craig Smith from 1997-2007, continues his successful tenure as the organization’s second Music Director (history HERE). The Sunday services will continue to be live-streamed under the guidance of Emmanuel Music’s brand new executive director Jaclyn Dentino (bio HERE). [continued…]

No Comments »

No Bohemians at this Mansion-Based Traviata

by

MassOpera presents Verdi’s La Traviata to intimate effect at the Eustis Estate Museum, Milton in collaboration with Historic New England on October 17th through 24th. Tickets $75 to $35 HERE.

Katy Early, director and MassOpera’s Dan Ryan, conductor have reimagined La Traviata in a site-specific, immersive form in which audience members follow cast and players to four locations throughout the Eustis Estate as if they are inside the opera itself. It is Director Katy Early’s goal to have the audience “feel like guests at the party scenes and ‘flies on the walls’ of the moments between Violetta and Alfredo, as they grapple with how to be together through gorgeous singing.” In addition to the cast and patrons, the instrumentalists[i] will also be part of the action of the show, creating a true immersion.

The 90-minute condensed version runs for 18 performances before 25 audience members.“There are limits to how immersive a show can be given the constraints of COVID protocols and the very real concerns about consent that are being raised through the work of intimacy direction these days. Unlike some immersive plays that I’ve attended in the past, no audience members and performers will ever be touching one another, but there will be some really great eye contact à la the performance practice of Shakespeare in which the proverbial fourth wall will evaporate and everyone in the room will have to confront that they are real, live human beings sharing a space together. And that posture of really looking at one another and being witnessed is a brave thing to do! Violetta and Alfredo do it, the audience members will be invited to do so, and I think that’s what we’re all learning how to do again post lockdowns and Zoom screens,” according to Early. [continued…]

No Comments »

Pianists Jonathan Biss and Marc-André Hamelin To Join NEC

by

New England Conservatory announced today that pianists Jonathan Biss and Marc-André Hamelin are joining the piano faculty for one-year appointments at the start of the 2021 academic year. Both are renowned for their world-class musicianship, and bring a deep knowledge of piano technique and repertoire to the students at NEC through masterclasses, lessons, and workshops. BMInt is very pleased to share the story about these significant hires. The NEC piano department and students will benefit greatly.

“Jonathan and Marc-André are two of the towering pianists of our time, each of whom exemplifies the cross-section of extraordinary technical skill and probing, insightful artistry,” says Benjamin Sosland, Provost and Dean of Faculty, New England Conservatory of Music. “It is an exceptional honor to welcome them to our community, where they will inspire our students and build on NEC’s legacy of pianistic excellence.” [continued…]

2 Comments »

Music Society Returns to Namesake Town

by

Marcus Thompson (file photo)

After artfully telling its subscribers to hold certain dates, and that locations would be revealed later, Boston Chamber Music Society finally identified Jordan Hall as the location for the first three shows of its new season, in which they will be offering favorite works by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Mozart, as well as world premieres of BCMS commissions: Lowell Liebermann’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Michi Wiancko’s Piano Quintet, and Joan Tower’s Viola Quintet “Purple Rain.” BCMS will also celebrate British composers and observe the anniversaries of Schubert (225th birthday) and Saint-Saëns (100th year of his death). Learn more HERE.

FLE: While concertgoing seems to be reaching tentatively for normalcy, BCMS will still not be making music as usual.

Marcus Thompson: Well, first of all, it’s really good to see you across the table, especially after more than a year in lock down. You will recall that, like so many others, we invented an online format for engaging our patrons and artists even when some who had planned to be in Boston were prevented from traveling. We started last fall with videos recorded in Fraser Studios and elsewhere, supplemented with archival live recordings to fill the time of a normal, 1.5 hour+ span. That made for a lot of content and proved tricky to navigate for everyone, so earlier this year we went for the one hour, video-only format with performances and short introductions recorded in advance. [continued…]

1 Comment »

“Snake” Released on CD

by

Perhaps because I moved away from the Boston area some 50 years ago, I had never heard of Scott Wheeler, the much-performed composer of operas and instrumental works who has long taught music theater and song composition at Emerson College. I looked around, though, and found much praise for—among other recordings—a dramatic cantata The Construction of Boston, a collection of orchestral works (Heavy Weather), and William Sharp singing some of his songs.

The present release offers the first of three mythology-drenched operas from three different composers collectively known as The Ouroboros Trilogy. The ouroboros is a mythological symbol in many cultures: a snake biting its own tail, thus representing such things as the circularity of life and history. Singapore-born Cerise Lim Jacobs wrote all three librettos. The second and third operas in the trilogy are Gilgamesh, with music by Paula Prestini, and Madame White Snake, whose composer Zhou Long won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Music for it. [continued…]

No Comments »

To Joy: New Tones Friday on the Esplanade

by

Friedrich Schiller

Would we still read Schiller’s “An die Freude” if Beethoven had not set it in the finale of his ninth symphony?

Friedrich von Schiller (1759 – 1805) was a German intellectual, remembered as a playwright, a philosopher, and a poet. Interested in theology, he was ordered to study at a military academy; he studied law, then medicine; later he professed history. Throughout it all, he wrote. His writings were not without controversy; he crossed his pen against a duke’s sword and incurred his own father’s wrath. He wrote seemingly to exorcise personal demons. Linked to the German literary movement Sturm und Drang (literally, “storm and desire” although often rendered “storm and stress”), he valued nature, the individual, and strong emotion. This early Romantic trend in literature and thought stood in opposition to classicism and the Enlightenment. The movement is exemplified in Goethe’s epistolary novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther (Die Leiden des jungen Werthers), first published in 1774. That novel is said to have sparked a rash of young men committing suicide across the European continent. Literature asked that you feel; society preferred one not feel quite so much. [continued…]

Comments Off on To Joy: New Tones Friday on the Esplanade

Announcing a 207th Season and Beethoven’s Ninth

by

Marin Alsop to lead Beethoven’s Ninth

The Handel and Haydn Society will bring live performances back in its new season, which in part recognizes the conclusion of Artistic Director Harry Christophers’s 13-year run. The 207th season will feature eight signature programs at Symphony Hall and H+H’s first ever performance at Carnegie Hall.

But before all that begins, and in order to do something right away to meet the pent-up demand of people bound and determined to get out and experience live concerts while they can, the H + H will be offering a free Esplanade performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on August 27th under Marin Alsop. Interestingly, Schiller’s ode “To Joy” will get a break. “Oh friends, not these tones” will take on an added meaning in new texts from the past US Poet Laureate.

BMInt invited  H+H President and CEO David Snead to engage in a discussion.

FLE: Tell us about the “joy” that the concert as a whole, and the last movement in particular, celebrate.

DS: Absolutely. We’re celebrating the joy of getting back to live performance in Boston.

Tracy K. Smith’s new poetry for the last movement, which receives its U.S. premiere, will be replacing Schiller’s celebration of joy and brotherhood in his ode “An die Freude.” Smith interestingly gives sisters equal time; “Joy, bright God-spark born of Ever Daughter of fresh paradise.” Read the complete text HERE

Her poem meditates on the meaning of joy at this at this moment. She wrote it pre-pandemic, I believe, thus it was not specifically about that, but it’s about joy of life from many different dimensions. [continued…]

Comments Off on Announcing a 207th Season and Beethoven’s Ninth

Signing Music

by

After watching Christopher Robinson signing during last Thursday’s Boston Landmarks Orchestra concert, we wanted to know more about his work. He was very nice about explaining to this no-nothing a little something about the importance of his role.

I saw you form a triangle with your hands. Are you narrating what instrument is getting the solo?

Whenever possible I physically make a reference to instruments or visual attempts of note equivalence with some other tangible instrument that I convey with my hands.  What I am able to do in American Sign Language that a spoken language does differently is conveying tonal inflection, perhaps vibrato and a sense of tactile texture and temperature of the composition of the piece that is being performed — it is subjective, yet heavily informed by dramaturgical materials provided to me by Landmarks staff, and of course essential conversations with Christopher Wilkins at rehearsals. Every Interpreter is well rehearsed, given all scores, and we are given access to all orchestral rehearsals whether in-person and through remote means. In this show I especially relied on Christopher’s expansion on how and why the evening’s selections were curated inform how and when I ‘amplify’ certain pieces. I asked Christopher Wilkins on the evening of the rehearsal, ‘how aware were the [Gershwin and James P Johnson] pieces of one another?’ The conversation that came from that question became a visual template for me to express in ASL the context and musical conversation that is happening within the music, and interaction that the pieces suggest as they have been curated together in the evening — as a full course meal as it were. [continued…]

4 Comments »

More on Chausson

by

Leon Botstein’s recording of Ernest Chausson’s only opera, Le Roi Arthus, (Telarc CD-80645), my first exposure to the work, introduced me to heavy echoes of Lohengrin and Tristan, but through a Gallic glass darkly, and with a prominent leitmotiv seemingly borrowed from Liszt’s Les préludes. It’s difficult to study this piece without seeing a score, or seeing it staged for that matter, but some characteristics of Chausson’s style become immediately apparent; an obvious Liszt-Wagner influence on the chromatic harmony; diatonic melody shaped by folksong and chant; sensitive orchestration often with organlike wind sonority. In all these Chausson appears as a true follower of César Franck, no mere epigone, but a genuine original, and one of the founders of the modern symphonic school in French music. (Vincent d’Indy, another passionate and prolific disciple of Franck, was another of the founders, but Chausson’s was the greater talent.) It was a substantial school whose offerings seldom made the grade in America, where Sibelius and Mahler eclipsed them. But the French symphonists were one of the springboards for the Impressionists that followed them; and Chausson was one of those who launched Debussy, the greatest non-symphonist of all. If you listen to the end of Act III of Debussy’s unfinished Rodrigue et Chimène (it’s recorded), you might think that Chausson could have composed it as an afterthought to Le Roi Arthus. [continued…]

Comments Off on More on Chausson

It Wouldn’t Be Summer Without Boston Landmarks Orchestra

by

Under Music Director Christopher Wilkins, BLmO celebrates its 20th-anniversary season with live orchestral music on the Esplanade beginning Wednesday at 7:00. The six-week concert series showcases a diversity of music and cultures while delivering authentic musical and community partnerships. Rooting for uniquely American music, Wilkins will feature composers such as Jessie Montgomery, John Philip Sousa, Nkeiru Okoye, Aaron Copland, William Grant Still, Florence Price, Omar Thomas, J. Rosamond Johnson, Duke Ellington, and more. Music from Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela light up the summer nights, alongside masterworks such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Our frank and in-depth discussion with Wilkins begins with his hopes and dreams rather than concert previews…the latter, of course follows.

FLE: You work so hard to reach out to the Black community, and you’re very successful in terms of getting performing groups and individuals to participate. So I was astonished to see so few Black audience members at the Bethel AME Church in Roxbury last week. What’s the problem? Are you overestimating the extent to which Black people want to hear their own music in the form in which you play it?

CW: A couple of years ago, I might have said that’s a fair assessment. But now I’m recognizing more the systemic nature of the problem. That’s true in so many fields, but my god with orchestras, it’s just a series of overlapping, self-reinforcing loops that go on and on. We have self-reinforcing loops occurring with orchestra personnel, repertoire, marketing, audience expectations, who gets invited, who feels welcome… [continued…]

1 Comment »

Organ Recitals Enliven Reopened Halls

by

In the slow and careful return to live music, some of the Boston area’s long-standing summer organ recital series are leading the way.

The Methuen Memorial Music Hall (www.mmmh.org) did an admirable job of pivoting last spring to live-streaming, as the trustees of the hall were able to install suitable equipment; they racked up thousands of views on their YouTube channel. You can still watch all of last season, as well as the current one HERE.

As of July 14th, the recitals reopened to the public. Every Wednesday at 7:30 pm, an excellent performer will preside. The details can be seen in BMInt’s “Upcoming Events.”
July 28 Stefan Donner, Vienna, Austria; August 4 Nicole Keller, Cleveland, Ohio; August 11 Caroline Robinson, Atlanta, Georgia; August 18 Rosalind Mohnsen, Malden, Massachusetts; August 25 Jennifer McPherson, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Even before you get to hear any music, just seeing the spectacular hall is well worth the journey to the old mill town near the New Hampshire border,. MMMH is celebrating the 75th-anniversary season [read recent BMInt feature HERE] of summer recitals this year, following the 1946 acquisition and incorporation of the organ and building. The Great Organ, originally built by the E.F. Walcker firm of Ludwigsburg, Germany, for the Boston Music Hall and dedicated in 1863, was removed to make room on the stage for the new Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was kept in storage until the Methuen hall was dedicated in 1909, thanks to local philanthropist and organ lover Edward Searles. Read more about the fascinating history of the Great Organ at mmmh.org. [continued…]

Comments Off on Organ Recitals Enliven Reopened Halls

Ives in No Danger From This Writer

by

The main problem for everyone who confronts Charles Ives’s music is balancing the extraordinary quality of his art with how far it falls short of perfection. To the extent that we can appraise this aesthetic gulf, we can assess Ives as a tragic composer. But a great man he certainly was — the greatest American composer, the most essential of musical natives, and the most original in thought and studied imagination; much of his achievement will endure permanently. Arnold Schoenberg, his exact contemporary, left a much-quoted note about Ives in his files, including a pregnant sentence: “He has solved the problem of how to preserve one’s self-esteem and to learn.” Ives never stopped learning, despite his Yale education; whether he solved the problem of how to be himself is what needs to be debated. His training under Horatio Parker — who did stop learning — enabled him to write a radiant, drastic Second Symphony.

I was scolded in these pages for referring to Ives as a “Sunday composer,” but I’ll stick with that irreverent term nevertheless. (So was Mahler, as was correctly pointed out.) The implication is that he was an amateur, but without any recognition of how serious he was about his own music, and it goes without saying that he was a hard worker, even for many days each week. He didn’t regard his own music as beyond criticism, though perhaps beyond self-criticism. Ives constantly criticized his own music by writing parts of it over and over again in different ways and forms — think of the circus-band style that surges and resurges, often literally, in the “Concord” Sonata, in “Putnam’s Camp” in Three Places in New England, in the Fourth Symphony, and in some songs. [continued…]

2 Comments »

BFO In-Person Concerts Start July 17th

by

So as not to bury my lede, let me point you HERE for the announcement of the inaugural concert of a new Boston summer orchestra.

Summer classical music festivals bring heightened expectations for something different. Maybe it’s the pressing heat, or the later-setting sun, or that unrestrained summer feeling that makes you want to jump in the ocean and have a mimosa with your mid-morning omelet. Classical musicians everywhere rejoice at the prospect of kicking back, making music with friends, and bringing a community together through the performing arts.

Though densely populated with classical ensembles from September to May, Boston features surprisingly little summer music. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, for example, migrates to Tanglewood in the Berkshires for a few months, while those of us sticking around Boston proper continue to look for that memorable summer night entertainment. The same goes for Boston’s exceptional classical music professionals, who often find themselves in a summer slump when it comes to steady employment. [continued…]

Comments Off on BFO In-Person Concerts Start July 17th

David Elliott’s America on July 4th

by

Sunday from 12 noon-10 pm, WHRB will pay tribute to David Elliott, who gave 58 years to the station and who started the July 4th Program of American Music in 2000 and curated it for 19 years. Hearing David again, in a 25-minute excerpt from his July 4th, 2004 broadcast, will provide an additional treat.

In building the playlist for his broadcasts, David placed an emphasis on accessible music and introduced many of us to lesser-known but very worthwhile American tonal composers such as Ernst Bacon, Nevett Bartow, Richard Rendleman, Burnet Tuthill, David Baker, Leslie Adams, and Don Gillis. The show will begin with some of David’s favorites by these and others.

David also appreciated  quirky and amusing pieces (such as the Homage aux Frères Marx by Henry Brant), which will be played throughout.

In addition, the broadcast will place David in a pantheon of American broadcasters via interesting American-music related segments from Mike Wallace, Hugh Downs, Charles Osgood, Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Martin Bookspan, all alongside David’s 1977 interview with Aaron Copland. [continued…]

Comments Off on David Elliott’s America on July 4th

Remembering Frederic Rzewski

by

Frederic Rzewski (pronounced Zhefsky), who died on June 26th at age 83, lived a long and active musical life: “politically committed composer and pianist,” read the headline in Monday’s Times. He was born in 1938 in Westfield, Massachusetts. His musical involvement in leftist causes was less well known in America than in Europe, where he made the greater part of his career — in Italy, where he lived, and Belgium, where he was a professor at the Brussels Conservatory. His avant-garde inclinations were evident even in his Harvard undergraduate years; he graduated in 1958, and his chamber music then sounded post-Schoenberg rather than post-Webern as was the fashion. After that he collected an MFA at Princeton and went to study with Dallapiccola in Europe, where he remained, occasionally returning to his native land to teach and perform. [continued…]

5 Comments »

Some Thoughts on BSO Rep

by

Three months later than usual, and after much apparent viral deliberation, the BSO sent out its prospectus for the next subscription season at Symphony Hall. BMInt’s feature [HERE] conveys the story mostly in BSO’s words. The complete calendar is HERE.  

For this writer, the most thrilling BSO 2021-2022 repertoire will be the concert performance of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, the first in Symphony Hall since Seiji Ozawa’s in spring of 1987. “Concert performance” may be only a bashful excuse, because this opera, of an almost unbearable dramatic intensity, can be performed with almost minimal staging — in 1987 they did it with a T-shaped stage erected directly above the orchestra. Berg’s Three Pieces, op. 6, which I have heard twice in Symphony Hall, most recently with an excellent performance directed by Levine (almost as excellent as the one I heard in during the Berg centenary in 1985, in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, directed by Abbado from memory) bring subscribers a second helping of the composer. I wrote the long program notes in the booklets for all of these performances, so I hope somebody reads them, especially the conductors. [continued…]

Comments Off on Some Thoughts on BSO Rep

Juneteenth Music and Events

by

Juneteenth is our newest national holiday, signed into law yesterday by President Biden after passing the Senate. It commemorates a starting point, but nowhere near the finish line, for true equality of all Americans. Juneteenth is the first new U.S. federal holiday since the establishment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III writes, “Juneteenth holds particular significance for our military. It marks the date in 1865 – 2+ years after the Emancipation Proclamation – when Union, led by U.S. Army Major General Granger, issued General Order No. 3, informing the people of Texas that “all slaves are free.” Massachusetts made it a state holiday last July, and the Commonwealth Museum in Dorchester has just opened an exhibit HERE displaying fourteen related documents from 164-1865. Among them are an order from the Massachusetts Adjutant General announcing the emancipation proclamation, the act by the Massachusetts Legislature ratifying the 13th Amendment that ended slavery in America, and a letter from Frederick Douglass.

[continued…]

2 Comments »

Welcome Mat To Reappear at Symphony Hall

by

This morning, Boston Symphony Orchestra announces its coming season, September 30th – April 30th, and the reopening of Symphony Hall to concertgoers, enthusiastically welcoming audiences back for the first time since March 2020. Click HERE for the calendar.

In the opener, Nelsons shares the podium with John Williams, and the spotlight with Anne-Sophie Mutter, the soloist in Williams’s Violin Concerto no. 2, Beethoven’s Consecration of the House overture, and the BSO signature work, Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra will fill out the concert.

Nelsons, the Ray And Maria Stata music director, had this to say: 

“The BSO’s 2021-’22 season at Symphony Hall will be a great celebration, marking the return to concert life and the reunion with our beloved music community. We have all been waiting for this moment for a very long time. [continued…]

Comments Off on Welcome Mat To Reappear at Symphony Hall

Announcing Honors For Black and Women Composers

by

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. [continued…]

Comments Off on Announcing Honors For Black and Women Composers

Live Music Resuming Unevenly

by

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. [continued…]

1 Comment »

BLO Blazes New Media Path

by

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. [continued…]

Comments Off on BLO Blazes New Media Path

WHRB Commemorates Again

by

The David Elliott Memorial Orgy (1942-2020), so greatly acclaimed when first broadcast over WHRB on December 24, 2020, will repeat this Friday from 10 am to 8 pm. The Orgy commemorates the 58 years David served as voice of Harvard Radio, and weaves together iconic and beloved moments at WHRB that tell a story of the station’s longtime mentor, host, and friend. Listeners and WHRB alumni (“ghosts”) also comment throughout. The Orgy is in nine sections: Early Years, Classical Music Relations, WHRB Historian and Community Keeper, Harvard Broadcasts, Special Programs, Love of Opera, and Holiday Broadcasts. Again, the repeat broadcast of this memorial is slated for Friday, May 28 from 10 am to 8 pm on WHRB, 95.3 FM and streaming HERE.

[continued…]

1 Comment »

Harmony and Autonomous Form

by

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. [continued…]

1 Comment »

Organ Edifice Commemorates

by

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. [continued…]

5 Comments »

Resurrecting La Resurrezione

by

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! [continued…]

4 Comments »