Resident Chamber Orchestra A Far Cry looked inward Sunday at the Gardner, as “Intimate Voices” brought us under their spell. [continued]
In “Of Love and Remembrance,” Mistral sent a “valentine” from a vanished world to the auditorium of Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline Saturday. [continued]
NEC Opera gave a colorful reading of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen last night at the Cutler Majestic Theater. Performances follow on Monday and Tuesday. [continued]
Under Scott Metcalfe, Blue Heron served up a motley of complex early-16th-century choral works to moving effect Saturday night at First Church Cambridge. [continued]
The prescient vision of Ashmont Hill Chamber placed the Harlem Quartet before a very diverse audience at the parish of All Saints in Dorchester on Saturday. [continued]
The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra brought two masterworks that changed the course of musical history to Symphony Hall Friday under Benjamin Zander’s driven baton. [continued]
Stir’s “Paola Prestini’s Labryinth: House of Solitude and Room No. 35” was a program of violin and cello solos backgrounded by projections at Calderwood Hall on Thurday. [continued]
BSOs second concert marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death focused this time on Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. [continued]
Harvard College Opera Society coped with the near impossible and largely overcame it, in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Aggasiz Theater. Performed again on Friday and Saturday. [continued]
Aptly titled Devotion, Friday evening’s union of A Far Cry with Blue Heron made of Old South Church a great cathedral. [continued]
H+H dished out voiceless Haydn in Symphony Hall over the weekend with four works of its more neglected namesake. [continued]
Cantata Singers gave a riveting and heartfelt performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt on Sunday in Jordan Hall. [continued]
“Parisian Providence,” BCMS’s latest challenge concert, brought erudite iterations of Maurice Ravel, Enescu, and Franck to Cambridge Rindge and Latin on Sunday. [continued]
As it played out at Jordan Hall on January 22nd, BMOP’s experiment to put six newly reimagined Brandenburg concertos into a single program achieved a decided success. [continued]
The familiar-faced but ad hoc Ambient Orchestra cohesively offered long-delayed Boston premieres of Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 1 “Low” (1992) and Symphony No. 4 “Heroes” (1996) as a tribute to David Bowie last night at Kresge. [continued]
Marking the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death, last night the BSO offered music inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Andris Nelsons presided over the familiar—Weber’s Oberon Overture, and Mendelssohn’s Overture and Incidental Music (thereto), and the newer—Henze’s Symphony No. 8—in a combination concert and performance art event. [continued]
Hub New Music debuted at Jordan Hall Sunday night with stunningly varied works that clearly revealed Kati Agócs. [continued]
Two Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras each performed two acts of Verdi’s Otello under Federico Cortese Sunday at Sanders Theater in company with BYSO Opera Chorus, Convivium Musicum, Voices Boston, and a fine cast of professional singers, including Simon O’Neil in the title role. [continued]
Exactitude, delicacy, shape, oomph, and clarité all prevailed with the French National Orchestra under Daniele Gatti at Symphony Hall on Sunday, riding warhorses with pianist Alexandre Tharaud. [continued]
Seraphim Singers traveled to First Church, Congregational Cambridge Sunday offer 75 unaccompanied minutes in “All Flesh is Grass: Reflections on Death and Eternity.” [continued]
2013 Van Cliburn Competition gold medalist Vadym Kholodenko brought real piano magic to the Shalin Liu Center, safely protected from the crashing surf. [continued]more reviews →
If not entirely quieting the cry for more classical performance spaces of high quality, the announcement that a hip spot in Cambridge is becoming our latest opera house causes salivation—especially when a restaurant of no little pretension is associated. As part of a year-long residency, Le Laboratoire in Cambridge has invited the Ecce Ensemble to stage the world premiere of John Aylward’s opera Switch. The run will extend from February 12th through February 20th.
Founded in Paris in 2007 by inventor, writer, and Harvard biomedical engineering professor David Edwards, Le Laboratoire is an art and design culture center “aspiring to the frontiers of science and innovation now open in the Kendall Square area. From plastician Fabrice Hybert to chef Thierry Marx and designer Philippe Stark, Le Lab Paris has showcased world-renowned artists, designers, scientists, and engineers. In keeping with this cross-disciplinary approach, Le Lab Cambridge will highlight original work by leading international artists and designers in collaboration with scientists from the Boston and Cambridge areas and around the world.” [continued…]
A Far Cry will be teaming up with Blue Heron for a performance of Faure’s Requiem this Friday. The first half of the program centers on the “Song of Songs,” and features a “conversation” between the two groups as they perform, separately but interspersed, a combination of Nicolas Gombert’s motets on the “Song of Songs,” Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur’s Le Cantique des Cantiques and Jean Francaix’s Symphonie d’Archets. Jason Fisher, the Crier program curator, and Scott Metcalfe, Blue Heron’s director share their discussion to BMInt readers.
BMInt: How did this collaboration initially come about?
Jason: Well, the program and collaboration are really two different tracks that came together early on. The program began in the way that many A Far Cry programs do, with one person coming up with the initial conception. I came to the group wanting to do a Faure Requiem program, using the original 1893 version, and once that hit the ground with the group, it turned into an all-French program idea. Very early on, before the program was even approved, we brought up the question of who we wanted to do it with. Of course we would do it with Blue Heron if they said yes. But would they say yes? After all, they’re an early music group! [continued…]
Floyds Row is a dead-end street beside Oxford’s music faculty that also lends its name to a four-year-old British-American fusion/crossover ensemble which most recently has been synthesizing early, folk, contemporary classical and Northumbrian traditional musics. The ensemble explores early, folk, and classical idioms, often pulling from the early British repertoire: works by Tobias Hume (c.1579-1645), Henry Purcell (1659-1695), Solomon Eckles (1618-1683), Thomas Campion (1567-1620), John Cooper/Coprario (c.1570-1626), Francesco Barsanti (1690-1775), and others, and additionally new folk/classical works.
The chamber collective comprises Asako Takeuchi, fiddle; Andrew Arceci, viola da gamba, double bass, and cittern; Chris Ferebee, mandolin, guitar, and cittern; and George Lykogiannis, accordion; and such colleagues as Alistair Anderson, concertina and pipes, and Hannah James, soprano and accordion. Floyds Row perform in the Boston environs the week starting February 7th (see schedule at end). Some of what they were up to as of a year or so ago may be heard here . BMInt was keen to speak with them. [continued…]
At its debut concert at Jordan Hall on Sunday (Jan. 24), Hub New Music, an organization founded by NEC graduate Michael Avitabile, will play music of Kati Agócs, member of the NEC composition faculty. Hub is also in residence at Northeastern in February. Despite these local connections I was unfamiliar with the group and the composer, so I asked Avitabile to fill me in.
“Five years ago, if you had told me I would be running a contemporary music organization, I would have told you that you were insane.” Avitabile completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, where he had started his a career with the goal of playing in an orchestra. However, a creeping sense of disillusionment with the orchestral track made him especially susceptible to the message delivered by flutist Claire Chase at Northwestern University’s 2013 commencement. Chase’s speech [here] opened by noting the gloom surrounding the traditional prospects for classical employment, but was ultimately a call to arms to see this change as an opportunity for a new kind of music making and for creative ways of engaging a new audience; the speech was enough of an internet sensation for Anthony Tommasini to write about it in the December of that year in the New York Times. Chase’s words changed Avitabile’s idea of what was possible and worthwhile for a classical musician, furthered by his study at NEC with Paula Robison. [continued…]
Whether he plans for an orchestra of 100 for Korngold or 20 for Bach, Gil Rose can be counted upon to lead Boston’s best players in fresh directions. His Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) continues its 20th-anniversary season with six modern takes on the latter: the “New Brandenburgs,” six works commissioned as responses to Bach’s six namesake concertos, resulted from a four-year project by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. On Friday January 22nd at 8pm (preconcert talk at 7pm) BMOP will give the Boston premieres of Brandenburg Gate (inspired by Bach’s No. 2) by Paul Moravec, Muse (inspired by No. 3) by Christopher Theofanidis, Little Moonhead (inspired by No. 4) by Melinda Wagner, Sea Orpheus (inspired by No. 5) by Peter Maxwell Davies, and Concerto with Echoes (inspired by No. 6) by Aaron Jay Kernis, and (a repeat performance of ) A Brandenburg Autumn (inspired by No. 1) by Stephen Hartke.
LE: The conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra commissioned the six “New Brandenburg” over several years. Do these homages to J. S. Bach evoke specifics from the master? And is there any sense that the new composers have been listening to one another?
GR: The most specific thing is the instrumentation, how each composer features the instruments that Bach did in each of the concertos. Some are closer to Baroque style than others, but each is unique, and I don’t imagine that the composers listened to anybody but their own muses and the Cantor of St. Thomas. [continued…]
The Orchestre National de France’s performance with music director Daniele Gatti and piano soloist Alexandre Tharaud on Sunday January 24th at 3pm at Symphony Hall marks its seventh appearance with the Celebrity Series and Gatti’s debut with the ensemble. This event constitutes Alexandre Tharaud’s Celebrity Series debut as well, although he appeared in a private recital at the Harvard Musical Association last year.
Comprising Debussy’s Prélude à l’après midi d’un faune, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, K.488, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, the program carries extra-musical meaning. Several of the ONF strings played in a UNESCO concert as part of the World Orchestra for Peace three days after the Paris attacks, and the 25-year old son of concertmaster Bertrand Cervera was among those called to the Bataclan concert hall as a firefighter. The Tchaikovsky Fifth, also programmed long ago, has an interesting history of popularity during WWII in order to keep spirits high. Tharaud additionally recently played at the official ceremony honoring the Paris victims. The ONF and its soloists are important in helping their country recover.
Soloist Alexandre Tharaud, who is also famed for his role in the 2012 French film Amour, talked to BMInt about music and about human nature.
LE: Were you in Paris during the Bataclan murders and bombings last November? [continued…]
In the first Boston Massivemuse since concluding its “smashingly successful” Kickstarter, Groupmuse will be presenting blonde bombshell violinist Lara St. John’s CD signing event for her recent album Shiksa at WGBH studios on the evening of January 20th. The event is also something of a celebration of Groupmuse’s success in raising a total of $140,005 from 1478 backers, far and away the biggest classical music Kickstarter of all time and one of the top 25 music ones. According to Groupmuse CEO Sam Bodkin, “After fees and rewards, we’ll bring home about $120k, nearly all of which will go to paying four-and-a-half salaries for the next 12 months, as we bring Groupmuse to sustainability.” The previous BMInt article is here.
Over his 20 years as Rockport Music Artistic Director, David Deveau has raised the chamber music festival from a beloved but provincial 4-week summer tenant to one of the best known festivals anywhere, operating 12 months in a new temple of culture, the Shalin Liu Performance Center. He has brought artists of international stature to Rockport, and presided with a vision that has inspired audiences, volunteers and generous trustees.
He plans to step down from his role following the summer festival of 2017. With his recent, highly acclaimed CD release of Siegfried Idyll on the Steinway label and his recording with longtime collaborator violinist Andrés Cárdenes (scheduled for release Spring 2016), he has decided to focus more on recordings and performances in the coming years.
FLE: When you announced in 2013 that you would be giving up management of the winter classical activities at Rockport, did you already know that you would be transitioning out of the summer festival two years later?
DD: No, I didn’t. But I’ve always tried to be very honest with myself—and others—about my career choices. I continue to love every minute of my work for Rockport Music, and the honeymoon I’ve enjoyed with our superb board of trustees is now in its 21st year. But my intuition tells me it will be time for Rockport Music to identify a successor and have that individual in place by the end of the 2017 Rockport Chamber Music Festival. I never overstay my welcome if I can help it. I’ve had a nagging sense of needing to spend more time at the piano, and this change of focus will allow that.
Did the Board resist your departure with sufficient force? [continued…]more news & features →