Chopin Symposium Features Historic Re-enactment, Newly-Recovered Piece


For years, pianist and pedagogue Roberto Poli has found himself intrigued by — if not obsessed with — the music of Frederic Chopin and is now five CDs into his recording project of all of this composer’s music for piano. Poli’s fascination with Chopin, many pianists’ favorite composer for their instrument, has recently resulted in two symposia, a two-day event last June and a much more involved Chopin Symposium this June 18-20 at the Rivers School Conservatory in Weston, Massachusetts where he teaches and co-chairs the piano department (with Angel Ramon Rivera).

This weekend-long event, like its predecessor which drew about 300 people, was to be scheduled every other year, but because 2010 was the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth, he forged ahead and asked a stellar cast — music historians and scholars, pianists and highly regarded local piano pedagogues and performers, to help celebrate the composer again this June. [continued…]

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Moving About in their Respective Areas: Aston Magna and Music at Eden’s Edge


BMInt is offering a series of notices on the summer concert series and festivals in attractive sites that we believe will be of interest to our readers. The concert schedules are listed in our Upcoming Events. In the interview below we present Music at Eden’s Edge, which starts its season on June 13 in various locations in the North Shore of Massachusetts, and Aston Magna, which starts on July 18 at two locations, the Berkshires and the Hudson River Valley.

Aston Magna presents each of its four concerts at Bard College in Annandale-on-the-Hudson, NY, and then at Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, MA. (However, the first two also can be heard a day earlier (June 17, June 24) at Brandeis University in Waltham.)

Music at Eden’s Edge, under Artistic Director Maria Benotti, plays three performances of each of its four concerts at various historic buildings on the North Shore: Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church in Danvers, Community House of Hamilton and Wenham in Hamilton, North Shore Arts Association in Gloucester, Peabody Institute Library, Willowdale Estate in Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield, and one at the private home of John Archer, in Danvers. The performances on Tuesday afternoons at the Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church in Danvers, the Senior/Family Series, are free. [continued…]

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Newport Music Festival Loses Charismatic Artistic Director in Automobile Accident


BMInt is saddened to report the death of Mark P. Malkovich III, founder and long-time artistic director of the Newport Music Festival in an automobile accident last Saturday in Minnesota. Dr. Malkovich’s son, Mark Malkovich IV, assures the festival’s fans that the 42nd season will go on as scheduled from July 9 through July 25, including the special concert and Champagne reception on July 10 for what would have been Dr. Malkovich’s 80th birthday.    [continued]

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Rockport Music Starts Season in New Hall on June 10th


BMInt is offering a series of notices on the summer concert series and festivals in attractive sites that we believe will be of interest to our readers. The concert schedules are listed in our Calendar of Events. In the interview below Rockport Music Artistic Director David Deveau responds to some questions from BMInt staff.

Michael Lutch photo
Michael Lutch photo

We’re all very excited about the opening of the Shalin Liu Performance Center. This must have been a stretch financially for a entity like RCMF. Tell us how you did it.
Of course, this enormous project presented a major challenge to Rockport Music. We changed the organization’s name from Rockport Chamber Music Festival to Rockport Music in 2009 to encompass our status as a year-round presenting organization, whose signature offering remains the Rockport Chamber Music Festival. It is now spread over six weeks in June and July, with 20 programs.

The original budget for the center was considerably less, but after some fairly predictable litigation resulted in very high legal expenses, our overall costs rose to $20 million. To date we have raised over $16.4 million and have secured interim financing to complete the construction without delay. Much of the money has been raised from individual and family foundations, with some support from corporate and business sources. Needless to say, when we began the campaign, the economy was in a far different state than it is now. But we have great confidence that, as people experience the sound and beauty of the space, the campaign will be completed in due course.

The exterior architecture seems extremely sensitive to its 19th– century context. Did you have a lot of meetings with historical associations and commissions? [continued…]

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Tannery Pond Concerts Commence on May 29


<p>The Tannery (Leslie Techoltz photo)</p>
The Tannery (Leslie Teicholtz photo)

BMInt is offering a series of notices on the summer concert series and festivals in attractive sites that we believe will be of interest to our readers. The concert schedules are listed in our Calendar of Events.

Twenty years ago, Tannery Pond Concerts in New Lebanon, New York, had its inaugural season in the beautiful wooden post-and-beam 19th-century Shaker building that once was a tannery. The concert series has been there ever since.

Tannery Pond Concerts presents a season of six to seven chamber concerts between May and October on the grounds of the former Mount Lebanon Shaker community and Darrow School in New Lebanon, NY, just over the border from Pittsfield, MA. Concert-goers to Tanglewood could easily include a side trip to Tannery Pond. [continued…]

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WGBH Audience Plummets


UPDATE: A knowledgeable source in the broadcast industry recently forwarded detailed rating data which should help BMInt readers understand how classical listeners are reacting to the WGBH changes. The anomalous gain the in the March WGBH’s ratings referred to in the article below was apparently due to listeners’ deserting WBUR during its fund-raising period and    [continued]


Bringing The Kennedy Words to Life in Music: A Profound Occasion for the Boston Pops


When Robert De Niro started to talk on his relationship with the Kennedy family at the press conference this noon for tonight’s  Boston Pops performance, “the Dream Lives on: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers,” he broke down. He had known the Kennedys for years, “John John as a little boy,” he recalled, “then,..” and  was unable to continue

That emotional reaction is symbolic of the seriousness of the performance tonight, albeit coming from the Boston Pops. And it is the reason that Boston Musical Intelligencer decided to cover an event not normally within our scope.

”It is bigger than anything I have ever done,” explained Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart. [continued…]

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The Dream Lives On, Through Words with Music


The Boston Pops division of the Boston Symphony Orchestra has pulled all stops for its presentation of The Dream Lives On, a world premiere performance  tomorrow night at Symphony Hall honoring the legacy of three of Massachusetts’s most famous native sons, the Kennedy brothers.

To bring them to life with their own words, three of America’s most prominent actors are to be on stage: Robert De Niro, who will narrate quotes from speeches of John Kennedy; Ed Harris, those of Robert Kennedy; and Morgan Freeman , those of Edward Kennedy. Cherry Jones is to be narrator, and Keith Lockhart will lead the Boston Pops Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus. The concert is to be repeated on Wednesday evening. [continued…]


Harvard’s Historic, Controversial Fisk Organ: Last Local Utterances


C. B Fisk (company archive)
C. B Fisk (company archive)

When Harvard University Organist, Christian Lane, lifts his hands from the four well used manuals of the 1967 C. B. Fisk opus 46 organ in Appleton Chapel for the final time, at 7:30 P.M., on Monday, May 3, [reviewed here] staff from the firm that built the instrument will be ready with tools, crating, and pipe trays. Dismantling and preparing it for a second stage of life in a reverberant new Presbyterian church in Austin, Texas, will be a brief interim chapter in a remarkable, and at times briskly controversial, experiment begun by the University in the 1960s.

A beautiful D.A. Flentrop organ across the way, in what was then Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum for Germanic art, had been dedicated in 1958 and was immediately propelled into national fame by organist E. Power Biggs and his high-profile series of recitals, Columbia LPs, and radio broadcasts. This Dutch organ benefited from the supportive, clear acoustic of a massive masonry structure with neither carpeting nor permanent furniture. The questing, experiment-ready University, encouraged by the Flentrop’s musical and social success, was next interested in seeking an American solution to its local acoustical challenge. All resoundingly agreed that providing a new organ for Memorial Church would present potent technical and æsthetic hurdles along the way. They entrusted the design, construction, and voicing to one of their own, Charles Brenton Fisk, ‘45. [continued…]


Thoughts on Hearing Maurizio Pollini’s Hamburg Steinway-Fabbrini in Concert


Maurizio Pollini’s touring Hamburg Steinway-Fabbrini concert grand exhibits  exceptionally ravishing tonal and technical characteristics. The fact that this is a piano well outside our modern norm begs a number of questions, among which is, “Why don’t we regularly hear instruments of this subtlety and beauty?”

But first, what goes into the production of a Hamburg Steinway-Fabbrini concert grand? Italian piano technician and entrepreneur Angelo Fabbrini, from Pescara, Abruzzo, purchases new Steinways from that firm’s celebrated Hamburg atelier and subjects them to minute technical fine-tuning, replaces or substantially rebuilds numerous crucial action components, and reworks the interaction between strings, bridges, and soundboard. The sound of the rebuilt instruments reminds one of the finest surviving pre-1912 Blüthner concert grands (from Leipzig) and of 19th-century concert instruments by Mason & Hamlin, the 19th-century Boston firm whose pianos were, by a comfortable margin, the highest-priced in this country.

The Fabbrini design does not sustain tone for quite as long as these older pianos and the treble is gleamingly dark rather than the ethereal shimmering silver of the Blüthner Aliquot design. Unlike a standard New York Steinway, in which shadings under mezzo-forte can be difficult to control, sometimes even to produce, the Fabbrini Steinways offer the easy, wide dynamic range typical of pre-1920 pianos by the great German, American, and Austrian builders. The Fabbrini fortissimo is magnificent, but it is not as loud as the brash New York roar. Its top dynamic reaches are capable of considerable variation, and the tone production can be built up to near-orchestral volume without strain. In the course of the Celebrity Series of Boston concert at Symphony Hall on April 25, [reviewed here] Maurizio Pollini time and again called forth ppp and fff trills in the bottom two octaves, as effortlessly and clearly as at middle dynamic levels. Forte in the right hand against piano and mezzo-piano in the left became part of this recital’s wide dynamic vocabulary. [continued…]


A Call for Action: BMInt readers who care about the BPL are asked to stand up for it.


Ed. Note: Footnote updated

On April 14, the Boston City Council begins to take up the budget for FY 2011. Amidst the crisis of pending cuts are those for the Boston Public Library. Given these ominous prospects and leaving the concern over branch closings to others, BMInt has investigated what will happen specifically to the Music Department — whether there are to be cuts in staff and hours, curtailment of use of current collections and future acquisitions, cessation of  digitizing the card catalog, questionable  de-acquisitions, and further ill effects on the morale of department personnel.

Of course the BPL should assume its share of the budgetary crunches on local, state and national levels. But the BPL has taken an inordinate hit over the past seven years and should be somewhat spared at this juncture. The table, given to us through the courtesy of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau and analyzed by our leader, F. Lee Eiseman, shows:

First, the total City of Boston budget has increased 69% from 1995 to 2010, but that of the Boston Public Library has increased only 34% in the same period. That’s half as much.

Second, the percentage of the total City of Boston spending apportioned to the BPL was .8% in 2009 and .9% in 2010. The standard in the 1980s (and before and for some period after) was that the expenditures for the Boston Public Library not fall below 3% of the entire City expenditures. Extenuating facts are that more city departments have been formed in this period, and the funding to the library from one state source since 2001 goes directly to the library and is therefore not shown in the city’s budget figures. Nonetheless, as is evident, the library’s share of City funds is about one-quarter of what it had been.

How has the library been affected so far?* [continued…]


A Force for Music Education Wears His Other Hat: Cortese and New England String Ensemble to Perform Tippett, Vivaldi, Purcell, Benjamin, Britten.


Conductor Federico Cortese is very well known and valued for one niche in classical-music Boston — teaching serious music students; but he is not adequately recognized in another, as Music Director of New England String Ensemble. His upcoming NESE concert on April 17 at Jordan Hall should help rectify that. The program includes Sir Michael Tippett, Concerto for Double String Orchestra; Antonio Vivaldi Stabat Mater; Henry Purcell, “When I am Laid in Earth” from Dido and Aeneas; George Benjamin, Upon Silence; and Benjamin Britten, Simple Symphony. Mezzo-soprano Abigail Nims is soloist in the Vivaldi, Purcell, and Benjamin.

For the program notes Cortese wrote, “Choosing a concert program is a rather enjoyable process that often results in some unforeseen fruits. The connections among the pieces of tonight ended up being, on many levels, even closer than I had imagined.  Like some other programs we performed this season, this program is a little journey around the baroque style. The other clearly noticeable common element in today’s varied repertory is that it is an almost entirely British concert, featuring mostly music written by very young English composers. … To break this British monopoly I inserted one of Vivaldi’s most beautiful sacred pieces. … A certain meditative depth and sadness are common to all the vocal pieces in the program and, I think, create a vibrant contrast with the rhythmic energy and liveliness of both Tippett’s and Britten’s music that frames them. After all, concerts, as all musical compositions, are built on the dialectics between affinity and contrast.”

Catherine Weiskel, executive director of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, when asked for her opinion of Cortese as music director of that organization, responded immediately, “That’s pretty easy. I have enormous respect and admiration for him. He transformed this institution in the last 10 years. We now have by far the largest budget and one of the most comprehensive programs in the United States. The orchestra now is at a completely different level than when he took it over. The kids adore him. I don’t think they would give him the level of commitment they do if they didn’t admire him. He identifies with the kids because that’s the kind of kid he was.” [continued…]

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The “New” in NEC: The Buzz from New Faculty, New Programs, New Events


On April 7, New England Conservatory Philharmonia Orchestra is putting on a concert for what is believed to be the first time in Symphony Hall. Conducted by Chair of Orchestral Conducting Hugh Wolff, the concert features NEC’s Artist Diploma candidate cellist Narek Hakhnazarian in Schumann’s Cello Concerto, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10. In light of the upcoming historic concert, BMInt conducted interviews with Wolff and then New England Conservatory President Tony Woodcock.

Interview with President Tony Woodcock:

BMInt: We have done two interviews with Gunther Schuller. He had interesting things to say about the institution, 20 to 40 years ago. Link here.

Woodcock: Gunther arrived at a period of existential crisis and left it a much better place.

BMInt: Were there were any surprises when you came?

Woodcock: There are always surprises. I think the greatest surprise was an organization unfettered by any type of creative restrictions, where you could have an idea …

BMInt: A pleasant surprise? [continued…]

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Ghostwriter Honors Intelligencer


worthies-001cTo the esteemed editorial staff of the Boston Musical Intelligencer,

In the more than a century since my passing, not in my wildest dreams would I have contemplated a musical world that you now have in Boston. Some issues I do not comprehend, some fill me with great pride, some I note with concern. But overall, I must convey my deepest and heartfelt congratulations on Boston truly becoming what I sincerely hoped it would be, one of the most musical cities in the world.

From my distant place, far removed in space and time, I’m duly impressed by the passion and spirit of the auditors, the audiences of Boston. They are not enriched by the spectacle, by the cheap display, by the event that is poisoned by the desire of great remuneration. That this is so, even in your day where you have such access to music by so many means other than going to concert performances, speaks so well of how you have benefited from the many efforts of my and later generations.

Perhaps it is good that all of you don’t realize what it meant for even a good performance during my days on earth. We had orchestra concerts at the Boston Music Hall when there was only a single violoncello. Oh, how I wondered if we would ever see the day when a concert presented not just one, but two bassoons. By the same token, I continue to wonder about your historic ensembles of today; we wouldn’t think of presenting the great oratorios of Handel, Mendelssohn and Haydn with anything less than 200 voices, and didn’t do so after 1840. That, we saw as progress.

But I digress. What you routinely expect from your so-called Youth Orchestras would have driven my pen to declare a concert not unlike what I had heard in my lifetime. Add to this the wonderful renditions put forth by the many choruses, chamber ensembles and the like is something my colleagues during my day would have regarded as heaven.


WGBH to BMInt, “We decline to respond.”


Just released monthly (February) Arbitron ratings, respected indicators that track radio listenership, show that since the November changes, audience at the new all-talk WGBH has remained flat and at the new all-classical WCRB has declined. It seems timely therefore to revisit the issue of what is going on at these stations. BMInt recognizes WGBH management’s commitment to providing classical music broadcasting in Greater Lowell, Nantucket and Southern New Hampshire. BMInt also concurs with WGBH management that the programming on Lowell’s WCRB has continued to improve since the purchase by the WGBH Educational Foundation. There are some in the geographically diminished classical audience who agree, especially those who contributed the recent WCRB all-day-fundraiser which, according to our sources, set records for such an event.

But BMInt continues to have major misgivings about current operations at WCRB:

  • Large parts of Boston and South cannot receive the signal.
  • There’s too much airtime devoted to banal and relentless promercials
  • The music selection is still rather limited except during Cathy Fuller’s approximately 20 hours per week (12% of airtime)
  • But our major bugbear remains the cancellation of the 18 Friday afternoon BSO concerts.

Assuming the figures supplied by WGBH Radio General Manager John Voci at the BMInt sponsored panel discussion on January 5th are correct, the cost of producing the live Friday afternoon Boston Symphony broadcasts — which were suddenly discontinued after some 58 years — amounted to a minuscule fraction of the station’s budget. To be exact, $25,000 against some $13,000,000 or 0.2%.

Therefore Mr. Voci’s rationalization based on budgetary constraints begs the question: What is WGBH Radio doing with that $13,000,000? BMInt has been trying to find out what is the fiscal situation at WGBH/WCRB. It is, after all, a publicly-supported entity. And supporters should know how their contributions are used. [continued…]


B S O Music Director James Levine withdraws from rest of season.


Maestro Levine will miss the remainder of the season, citing back problems for the cancellation. “This has been a difficult year for James Levine and we wish him the very best as he works with his doctors towards resolving his ongoing back problems,” said BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe. Jayce Ogren will conduct the world premiere of Peter Lieberson’s Songs of Love and Sorrow on March 25, 26, and 27. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos will conduct Mendelssohn’s Elijah on April 1,2, and 3. The conductor for the program on April 8, 9, and 10, featuring John Harbison’s Double Concerto for Violin and Cello with soloists Mira Wang and Jan Vogler and Mahler’s Symphony No. 7, will be announced later this week.    [continued]




Richard Buell will be contributing a column from time to time on music in Boston. His first for BMInt features excerpts from Francis Poulenc, “‘Echo and Source’: Selected Correspondence 1915-1963,” translated and edited by Sidney Buckland; research consultant: Patrick Saul (London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1991)

“What a dismal town” — Francis Poulenc, the  Gloria, and Boston

201. Francis Poulenc to Brigitte Manceaux
Boston, Tuesday evening, 3 January 1950

Ma bichette,

Well, that’s it … this morning we played through the Concerto [for piano] for the first time. The orchestration is excellent and Charloton [Charles Munch] is  delighted, delighted. So am I. Of course I played like a pig — my attention being mainly on my orchestration — but I will rectify that in the morning. Naturally, the first movement changes the most (and for the better): the second subject is ravishing and the two orchestral tutti, soli – hopeless when played on two pianos — are on the contrary quite perfect. The Andante is as I expected, the Finale very amusing. The whole bang lot is stunning. The orchestra was delighted. Thirty Frenchmen among them. Munch has conducted the Concerto for organ twice this autumn — it has had an incredible success here. It has been recorded and I am going to hear the test copies any day now.

I am leading an austere life in this very puritanical town. Fortunately the museum is fantastic, as much for painting as for Egypt, Asia, Greece, etc.

Charloton is a treasure, and as French as Maurice Chevalier when one sees him in this environment. He lives in a charming country house, half an hour from the town. Naturally Ginette [Neveu’s] death was a most dreadful blow to him.

I rehearse every morning. Light, easy piano, very pleasant hall. By the grace of God. I eagerly await your news. Give mine to everybody around you. Pierre [Bernac] has just phoned from New York, delighted with his trip and entirely rejuvenated by his success.

On that note I leave you to go and rehearse.

A thousand tender kisses.

Fr. [continued…]


BMINT Has Productive Week


The Boston Musical Intelligencer has posted reviews of 17 concerts between March 10th and the 17th- way too many for our virtual front page. So we encourage you to click our “Reviews” and “News and Features” buttons and have a look at the older reviews and articles which have been pushed down below the break. You can also use the search box when looking for a specific keyword. We also wish to share with our readers that the site’s average daily hit rate for March stands at 10,577. Thanks to all our readers and writers. And if you hear something, write something!    [continued]

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Remembering Lukas


To be at Tanglewood for six weeks in 1959 as a student at the Berkshire Music Center was not a bad way to spend a summer between sophomore and junior years of college. The Fromm Foundation had recently instituted its summer program in support of contemporary music; the Lenox Quartet was in residence, along with several other first-rate instrumentalists that included the pianist Paul Jacobs. The composition faculty consisted of Aaron Copland, Leon Kirchner, and Lukas Foss. At age 19 I was the youngest of the seven composers who wound up in Lukas Foss’s class, and certainly the least experienced; the others included recent college graduates (Lita Dubman, Bob Baksa, Alvin Lucier) and two DMAs (Michael Horvit of Boston University, Roger Hannay of Eastman), and Jacques Hétu from Canada. I hadn’t known before that Lukas had been associated with Tanglewood since the 1940s, when he had been Koussevitzky’s assistant and official pianist for the BSO.

Lukas met with us occasionally for individual lessons, but the heart and soul of his teaching was in the class with all of us. [continued…]


Japan to Accept Britten Score, 70 Years after its Commission


The Consul General of Japan in Boston, Masaru Tsuji, will be the NEC Philharmonia concert at Jordan Hall this evening [March 10] to receive a copy of the Benjamin Britten score, Sinfonia da Requiem. Originally commissioned by the Japanese government in 1940 for a celebration of the 2600th anniversary of that country, the composition was, according to Ben Zander, rejected because of its Christian movement titles and was never performed in Japan.

Benjamin Zander, guest conductor of the NEC Philharmonia, notes, “We are deeply moved by Britten’s composition and by the grace of Japan’s esteemed diplomatic representative in receiving the score 70 years after the event.”

Dear Mr Tsuji,

I received your message through your assistant, Ms Hansen and I wish to reply with great respect and affection for a new friend.

I think I have managed to unravel the story of the Britten work. [continued…]


Explanation of Clarity versus Reverberation in Concert Acoustics


In his review here in the Intelligencer of the recent recital by violinist Thomas Zehetmair at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Christoph Wolff mentioned that the acoustics in the Stephen D. Bechtel Auditorium, designed primarily for symposia and lectures, “…was remarkably good in every respect. ” Wolff’s comment deserves some expansion on the whole question of acoustics.

The Bechtel auditorium is very well designed for its purpose. The audience sits in semicircles around the podium, forming a wide fan. There is ample space behind the performer, and the back of the stage is filled by a moderately sound-absorbing projection screen. The seats are upholstered with sound-absorbing fabric, and there are carpets in the aisles. The high ceiling gives an unusually large internal volume for a speech auditorium, and the extra volume increases the reverberation time sufficiently that there is a noticeable, although quiet, reverberation — under one second. Reverberation is audible, but at a low enough sound pressure that it does not obscure the music in any way. The music, even eight rows back, is as clear as if one were standing next to the performer. The net result is an exciting, highly engaging, concert experience, increasingly unusual in concert venues. [continued…]


Emmanuel Church Celebrates Institution of New Rector with Special Offering from Emmanuel Music


BMInt  interviewed composer and Emmanuel Music director, John Harbison, and the Rev. Pamela L. Werntz, who is to be instituted as rector this Sunday. The 10:00 AM regular service will include Bach’s Cantata No. 163 in English, and a motet by James Primosch.  The 3:00 PM special service of institution will feature a repeat of the Primosch. Your correspondents also recalled the Rev. Al Kershaw, Emmanuel Church’s rector enthusiastically encouraging the  founding of Emmanuel Music. The incoming rector is also deeply committed to music, especially the music of Bach.

The interview with John Harbison:

BMInt: We recall that a former rector, the Rev. Al Kershaw, presided over Emmanuel when Craig Smith conceived the idea of the special music program.

Craig was a tenor in the choir at the time. The music director faltered, radically, and Craig took over the choir. And within a few weeks, he went to Al with the idea of doing a Bach Cantata series.

He had been coming to Cantata Singers concerts — back when I was conducting, and I had just gotten to know him because he lived across the street from me. …

He got the series going in ’70 or ’71. At the first performance, Rosie [Harbison’s wife] and I both played. Jane Bryden sang… It was in a period when much of the time, the congregation was meeting at Lindsey [Chapel], very small-scale. Quite soon, I think the second year, Craig decided to do it every week. Al was fine with it.  Then Craig augmented the chorus quickly with some other singers.

BMInt: Do you think the Bach Cantatas have helped increase the congregation?

I think they did, I think Al thought they did, very much so.  Bach cantatas, and the Jazz ministry, were very beneficial.

BMInt: Al was a jazz musician, right? [continued…]


The Monteverdi Orfeo Film: Spectacular, Surreal, Stylish


A film presentation of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, directed by René Jacobs and staged by the Trisha Brown Company at the Auditorium of the Louvre au Dimanche 21 février was sold out, my husband and I were told, but a quickly presented card from Boston Musical Intelligencer worked magic. The staff was delighted at the offer to write up something for Boston classical-music lovers.

So I was nonplussed to discover that this presentation was hardly au courant; it originally was seen at Théatre Royale de la Monnaie in Brussels under artistic director Bernard Foccroule in 1998, followed with a performance at the festival in Aix-en-Provence. Nonetheless, as it turns out when we returned to Boston and asked more than a dozen local music lovers (so far), almost no one even knew of it. Quele dommâge. [continued…]


A Birthday Note


On February 22 I celebrate Chopin’s birthday, not George Washington’s.  Two hundred years ago today, one of the greatest Romantic geniuses was born near Warsaw, of French and Polish parentage.  His amazing talents were already apparent when he was eight years old.  By the time he was 16 he was writing music of permanent value,    [continued]

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