Sound Icon excellently celebrated Wolfgang Rihm with chamber works at the Goethe-Institut Boston Wednesday. Friday’s larger scale second installment takes place at the Fenway Center. Highly recommended to fans of the modern with tolerance for the digressive and open-ended. [continued]
Enoch zu Guteberg and his Bavarians carried Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s Magnificat to Symphony Hall for their final outing of a six-city tour Wednesday. [continued]
The Brookline Symphony impressed a packed youngish crowd at All Saints, Brookline on October 22nd. Conductor Patrick Valentino and solo flutist Weronika Balewski made company debuts. [continued]
The basic nuclei of old expert Collage hands were all present for the ensemble’s “Bracing Voices” at Longy last night. [continued]
Boston Camerata’s Longy concert on Saturday served up Medieval songs having to do with politics or politicians. [continued]
Jóhann Jóhannsson and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) achieved a densely emotive experience through a live take on Jóhannsson’s new album Orphée at Berklee on Friday. [continued]
Works by David Patterson centering on # FERGUSON served to dedicate the new recital hall at UMass Boston for an enthusiastic capacity crowd Friday. [continued]
Boston Philharmonic concert in Jordan Hall contrasted two audience favorites with the Boston premiere of Lera Auerbach’s ten-minute tone poem Icarus. Repeats at Sanders Theater Sunday afternoon. [continued]
Boston Baroque delivered J. S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor with verve and energy at Jordan Hall on Friday (repeating on Sunday afternoon). [continued]
British composers William Walton, Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst provided powerful lessons in the heroic and honed at Symphony Hall last night. [continued]
At Gabriela Montero’s Monday afternoon recital in Sanders Theater, the piano pleaded, waltzed and orchestrated with fine wit and wackiness. [continued]
Berklee School of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee teamed up last week for “Schuller: A Musical Celebration,” a celebration of Gunther Schuller’s jazz arrangements, classical chamber compositions, and a third-stream work. [continued]
Saturday’s thoughtful Jordan Hall program focused on 1722-1723, when Bach first arrived at the Thomaskirche. [continued]
The beauty and wonder of late medieval and Renaissance polyphony came plenteously from Blue Heron on Saturday night in Cambridge at the First Church, Congregational. [continued]
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center explored broad chamber music repertoire from the lyrical classicism of Haydn’s Piano Trio in F-sharp Minor to the pitch-bending drama of Ernest Bloch’s Piano Quintet No. 1 at the Gardner on Sunday. [continued]
Nicholas White led the chorus and period orchestra of Boston Cecilia in Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Mozart’s Davide Penitente Friday in Jordan Hall. [continued]
Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša brought a fury of blood and thunder in an all-Eastern European program that pictorialized the orchestra’s sonic depth and breadth Thursday. [continued]
Nobody today plays great Romantic classics in quite the spellbindingly smoothed but serious manner of Victor Rosenbaum, who Monday evening at Jordan Hall celebrated his upcoming 50th anniversary at NEC . [continued]
Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han came to Concord Academy on Sunday with a monumental program: Bach, late Beethoven, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff. [continued]
Italian virtuoso Roberto Plano and the Boston Civic Symphony offered a luscious Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and a pair of satisfying bookends at Regis College Sunday. [continued]
The Borromeo Quartet with guest violist Marcus Thompson and cellist Blaise Déjardin brought an exhilarating pairing to the Gardner Sunday with authority and duende. [continued]more reviews →
A woman aspiring to be president is certainly a timely topic for operatic treatment, though Victoria Bond composed Mrs. President in 2000. The title character, Victoria Woodhull, was in 1872, the first woman to launch a bid for the U.S. Presidency. Many parallels exist with the current situation; thus the composer organized a revival in the National Opera Center in New York City tomorrow, from whence it will also be streamed live here.
Bond invited me to preview the show during a rehearsal last night in her elegant Greenwich Village apartment. The performance will be with piano (the brilliant Daniela Candillari), but there will be some staging. Fortunately, four of the five singers were in a 2012 performance (with orchestra and partial staging) which took place at Anchorage Opera (Alaska).
In the rehearsal, the singers were fully inhabiting their roles with great dramatic energy. [continued…]
The English musician Thomas Adès, esteemed composer, pianist, and conductor who this season becomes the BSO’s first Artistic Partner, looks to be settling into a large role as contributor to the local classical scene. On October 28th he performs Schubert’s Winterreise at Jordan Hall with the acclaimed tenor Ian Bostridge, in a joint presentation of the BSO and the Celebrity Series. Two days later, October 30th, Adès joins the BSO Chamber Players and mezzo Kelley O’Connor as pianist and conductor to open the ensemble’s with his own own Court Studies from the Tempest, the Trout Quintet, Britten’s Sinfonietta for Winds and Strings, plus chamber arrangements of Shakespeare-oriented songs by Brahms, Stravinsky, and Purcell. Wednesday November 2 at the Goethe-Institut, he will participate in a free “conversations with creators”; student composers from Boston-area music schools will also attend Adès’s BSO rehearsal the next day and participate in a conductor / composer Q&A afterward. That day and the next two, the new Artistic Partner leads the orchestra and soloists Christianne Stotijn and Mark Stone in his own acclaimed Totentanz for mezzo, baritone, and orchestra, Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, and Sibelius’s Tapiola.
Premiered in 2013 at the BBC Proms, Totentanz sets a 15th-century text telling of a charismatic and gleefully macabre Grim Reaper and the procession of his many victims, whom the audience meets in descending order of social standing. Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem is dramatically expressive, while Sibelius’s atmospheric final orchestral poem, Tapiola, is one of the composer’s many works based on Finnish legend; the BSO hasn’t performed it for 40 years. [continued…]
On Sunday at 4pm in First Church, Cambridge, the Harvard University Choir, under the direction of Edward Elwyn Jones, will present Stephen Paulus’s church opera The Three Hermits. Based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy, the opera features a colorful cast of characters richly portrayed through Paulus’s striking music. The opera focuses on the themes of humility, tolerance, and servitude, making it of particular relevance in our current climate. The performance features soloists from the Harvard University Choir, alongside local favorites David McFerrin and Clare McNamara, and is free and open to the public.
In response to our questions Jones submitted the following:
It’s a wonderful piece and Paulus’s untimely death in 2014 was a great loss to the American musical scene; last time we did the Hermits he came and worked with the choir, which was a real treat. [continued…]
At the end of the current concert season, one of the leading Boston cultural lights will begin to dim a bit. The announcement that 79-year-old musician, mentor and bon vivant Scott Nickrenz will retire from his position as Abrams Curator of Music at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum prompted us to talk with him about his gifts to our musical life.
As soon as her museum opened, in 1903, Mrs. Gardner began inviting friends to concerts featuring some of the world’s major players. Music has been central to the Palaces’ mission ever since. When Nickrenz arrived there in 1990, after a distinguished career as a violist—one reviewer noted in the 1970s that when performing he stood like a rock star—he could hold court over what was by some measures the oldest chamber music series in the country.
FLE: Even though the world is much more attuned to the new Calderwood Hall at the ISGM, many of us retain intense but mixed emotions about concerts we heard in the Tapestry Room for so many years. At one point there was a plan to continue them there as an adjunct to the Calderwood Hall series.
SN: A couple of times a year we invite patrons to concerts in the Tapestry Room. It’s a token of respect for love for the past, and to remind people that it was a major hall for so many years. There are stories that don’t go away, like when Glenn Gould lost his cufflinks at the piano. [continued…]
World-renowned conductor Charles Édouard Dutoit, OC GOQ will be returning to conduct the Boston Symphony in two concerts this month in celebration of his 80th birthday (October 7). Last August at Tanglewood, the very frequent BSO guest led an unusual production of Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale at Ozawa Hall [here], and worked with TMC Fellows, and conducted the BSO and Tanglewood Festival Chorus in a Shed concert of Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 with Menahem Pressler [here].
Born in Lausanne, Switzerland and residing mainly in Montréal, Dutoit has a long history in Boston, having studied at Tanglewood with Charles Munch. A regular member of the conducting faculty at the summer Tanglewood Music Center, he regularly collaborates with the BSO and led their ten-day tour of Asia in 2014 tour after the last-minute cancellation of Lorin Maazel. He has recorded extensively for Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Phillips, CBS, Erato: his more than 170 recordings, half of them with the Montréal Symphony (where he was Artistic Director from 1977-2002), have won more than forty international prizes. This February, Dutoit finally returned to the Montréal Symphony for the first time since his 2002 resignation from the directorship in 2002. He led the orchestra in two standing-room-only concerts, featuring pianist Martha Argerich, his former wife, in Montréal’s newly constructed hall—the very building for which he had fought so hard during his tenure with the orchestra. [Slipped Disc article here] [continued…]
Last October Laura Stanfield Pritchard represented this journal in Havana for ten days as a guest correspondent at the first “Mozart Havana Festival”. Major concerts were held in the historic Old Town, including the Cuban premiere of Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and over a dozen professional recitals and chamber music concerts in the newly refurbished concert hall at the converted San Felipe Neri church. [review here]. Through the financial support of the EU’s Cultural Affairs Office and the aggressive, long-term organizational improvements and new education programs established by Austria’s Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation, the festival presented almost two weeks of internationally-acclaimed artists and brought Steinway pianos to many major venues for the first time.
Salzburg’s Mozarteum also hosts “Mozart Weeks” in late January each year, and has been active in bringing graduate students from Cuba to Salzburg on scholarship. For the last two years, they helped to mark the 225th anniversary of Mozart’s death with a 200-CD Complete Edition of Mozart’s works. This authoritative box set will contain scholarly notes by Cliff Eisen of King’s College, London, and will be released worldwide on October 28 by Decca and Deutsche Grammophon. Entitled “Mozart 225: The New Complete Edition,” the set contains five art prints, two lavishly illustrated books (a new biography by Eisen and commentary on every individual work), a new song discovered only last year, and musical contributions from 600 internationally-recognized soloists and 60 orchestras. Local musicians include the Boston Chamber Players, the Handel & Haydn Society, and pianist Robert D. Levin (recently retired from teaching in 2014 but still performing actively). For lovers of early music, 30 CDs featuring alternative interpretations contrasting contemporary and period instruments. Complete track lists are available here: [continued…]
’The Boston Camerata’s “City of Fools: Medieval Songs of Rule and Misrule” brings an ironic early music twist of recherché political theater to First Church in Boston on October 22nd. Besides directing, Anne Azéma will sing about Dame Fortune, cheating prelates, and repentant kings. Director Emeritus Joel Cohen, who helped shape this Boston/election year version of the program, will return as narrator, lutenist, and resident curmudgeon. Instrumentalists Shira Kammen and Christa Patton have devised incredible, intricate accompaniments and solos for vielle, harp, bagpipe, and other winds. Jordan Weatherston Pitts, the young tenor who made such a big impression on audiences two seasons ago as the prophet “The Play of Daniel” (to be reprised this coming January) will decisively speak truth to power. And a consort of young professionals from the Longy School, will, for the third time now, infuse a Camerata production with their “irresistible, no-stopping-us energy.”
BMInt had a brief conversation with Anne Azéma about how the times they aren’t a changing.
BMInt: How are you, a European-born artist, holding up during this American election season?
AA: About as well, or as badly, as most of us, I imagine. But remember, I do vote here. I’m a stakeholder in the outcome. [continued…]
With opera returning last week to the Boston Opera House thanks to Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Carmen, an older opera buff’s fancy turns to thoughts of the Caldwell era in that house, and perhaps as well to rumination over the state of grandly staged opera—or the lack thereof—in our fair city.
Most will agree, I suspect, that the tenure of Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston (OCB) on Washington Street (and earlier at the Orpheum and elsewhere) constituted the golden age of opera in Boston during the last half century. The Opera House (originally the B. F. Keith Memorial Theater, which opened in 1928 and was the scene of movies and vaudeville until acquired by the OCB in 1979) never proved a perfect opera venue: the orchestra pit too small for most Wagner or Strauss, uneven acoustics, and inadequate space backstage and in the wings, to name just a few limitations [some mitigated by recent renovations]. But despite those obstacles, or perhaps because she felt challenged by them, Caldwell often created magic on that very stage. [continued…]more news & features →