November 12, 2018

in: Reviews

Joy Alloyed With Sadness

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In Back Bay Chorale’s season opener, “Caroline Shaw: Seven Joys,” at Emmanuel Church Saturday night, the namesake composition along with six other works inspired mostly quiet contemplation on the meanings of joy.    [continued]

November 12, 2018

in: Reviews

Reveling With Astonishing Clarity

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Heroic Beethoven and sublime Schubert thrilled at the Handel and Haydn Society’s season-opening weekend at Symphony Hall, where British conductor Richard Egarr led the period instrument orchestra and fortepianist Robert Levin.    [continued]

November 11, 2018

in: Reviews

Russian Themes Course Through Fenway

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The Lydian Quartet treated last night’s delighted Seully Hall audience to two important 20th Century Russian works along with Beethoven’s first Razumovsky.    [continued]

November 11, 2018

in: Reviews

BCC Sings in Nine Languages

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Alternating Native North American and Bantu languages with Slovenian and even English, the Boston Children’s Chorus returned to the Gardner Museum Saturday with “CHOREGIE, theater of voices or vocal theater in multi-disciplinary art form.”    [continued]

November 10, 2018

in: Reviews

Gounod/Molière Comedy Delights

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Le Médecin malgré lui (The Doctor in Spite of Himself) appeared on the BU Theater stage last night to rapturous response. Odyssey Opera’s final performance runs on Sunday at 2 pm.    [continued]

November 10, 2018

in: Reviews

Audubon Choral Premiere Soars

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Jamie Kirsch led CpM, the masterful baritone Sumner Thompson, and a reliable orchestra yesterday evening at Jordan Hall in an emotive debut of James Kallembach’s fresh oratorio.    [continued]

November 9, 2018

in: Reviews

Nelsons Again Shows Shostakovich Mastery

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The BSO continued its focus on the music of northern Europe, this weekend playing the Latvian Andris Dzenītis’s Māra, Shostakovich’s First Symphony, and a BSO rarity, the second act of Nutcracker.    [continued]

November 8, 2018

in: Reviews

Britten Mini-Festival Concludes

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Tenor William Hite and the Lydian Quartet highlighted the third installment in Emmanuel Music’s three-part Britten invention.    [continued]

November 8, 2018

in: Reviews

Berlin’s Soldier Show Rolled Along

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Last weekend American Masters offered Sgt. Irving Berlin’s soldier 1918 show Yip Yip Yaphank in Bedford and Cambridge as part of a season exploring the period of World War I and just after.    [continued]

November 5, 2018

in: Reviews

Armory Hosts New Music

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Peridot Duo and Box Not Found provided a great variety of new works at the Somerville Armory yesterday.    [continued]

November 5, 2018

in: Reviews

Boston Civic Symphony Invigorates

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Francisco Noya led Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral, Hungarian violist Máté Szűcs in Walton’s concerto and a bravura La mer yesterday at Jordan Hall.    [continued]

November 4, 2018

in: Reviews

Betrothal of Bach and Harbison

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The establishment institutions of Bach, the nearly 80-year-old John Harbison, and the 55-year-old Cantatas Singers shared the Jordan Hall stage for a memorable Saturday evening which placed the Boston composer’s Sacred Trilogy (together for the first time) in company with one of the Leipzig master’s Lutheran cantatas.    [continued]

November 4, 2018

in: Reviews

Divine Seraphim

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Beginning with God Speaks to Each of Us, Gwyneth Walker’s 1999 setting of a poem by Rilke, “Divine Encounters” brought to First Church Cambridge Saturday an atmosphere of excellence, discovery, and beauty that is the hallmark of Seraphim Singers’ concerts.    [continued]

November 4, 2018

in: Reviews

At Play in the Fields of Time

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A few hours ago, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum presented cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras in recital with the odd-numbered solo Cello Suites by J. S. Bach.    [continued]

November 4, 2018

in: Reviews

Folksy Goings-Around Via Radius

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Radius Ensemble imbibed folkish ways and hues for Dohnányi, Janáček, and Mazzoli while its Crumb choice focused on the decaying ambit of autumn on Saturday night at Pickman Hall.    [continued]

November 4, 2018

in: Reviews

Britten’s Pure Admiration for Purcell

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Yesterday’s second concert in the Emmanuel Music’s Britten festival rewarded with the Arneis Quartet’s fine performance of Britt 3 and a dramatic traversal of the Holy Sonnets of John Donne by tenor Charles Blandy and pianist Linda Osborn.    [continued]

November 3, 2018

in: Reviews

Chamber Brittenica

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Emmanuel Music kicked off its Benjamin Britten tribute series in reliable style Friday evening. Continuing Saturday and Sunday at 3:00.    [continued]

November 3, 2018

in: Reviews

Pianist Shares Schubert’s Hidden Meanings

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Charles Fisk’s all-Schubert piano recital last night in Houghton Memorial Chapel revealed a deep and sympathetic grasp of the emotional structure beyond the works’ simple outlines.    [continued]

November 3, 2018

in: Reviews

A Hallows’ Eve in Jordan Hall

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A capacity crowd at Jordan Hall on All Hallows’ Eve witnessed NEC Philharmonia, under Hugh Wolff  finding connections to Bernstein and transcendental, spiritual subtexts in Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Helix (2005) and Mahler’s epic Fifth Symphony.    [continued]

November 2, 2018

in: Reviews

Nelsons Shows English Affinities

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The BSO’s London-themed and soloist-free subscription concert also found celebratory connections in works of Haydn, Turnage, and Elgar.    [continued]

November 1, 2018

in: Reviews

Neverendingly Currying Fauvel

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Boston Camerata’s outing of Fauvel’s tale on Sunday afternoon at the First Church in Boston reminded us that avarice is everywhere; four other musical numbers described bad kings and bishops.    [continued]

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November 10, 2018

in: News & Features

BoC-Berk Band Hits Silkroad for Werden Brüder

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Sandeep Das to play tabla

For almost two decades, Boston’s Silkroad initiative has attempted to enact, in music and other art forms, its firm belief that engaging and embracing difference builds a more hopeful world. They have shown that music specifically can spark radical cultural collaboration and passion-driven learning.

Friday November 16th at 8pm, Grammy Award-winning Silkroad soloists join the Boston Conservatory at Berklee student orchestra in dynamic performance at Symphony Hall. Conducted by Bruce Hangen, the program will feature poetry-inspired contemporary classical works by Tan Dun, Dinuk Wijeratne, and Gabriela Lena Frank among others. The Silkroad soloists include Sandeep Das, tabla; Maeve Gilchrist, Celtic harp; and Kaoru Watanabe, Japanese shinobue flutes / taiko drums.

“It is an honor to bring Silkroad artists Sandeep Das, Maeve Gilchrist, and Kaoru Watanabe to Boston Conservatory at Berklee for this exciting concert,” said Michael Shinn, dean of music for Boston Conservatory – Berklee. “This marks the start of a longer-term collaboration between the Conservatory and Silkroad that will reimagine conservatory music training, both in concert and in the classroom. With this special collaboration, Conservatory students will now have the chance to perform a radically innovative program alongside these cutting-edge performers in one of Boston’s iconic locations for music, Symphony Hall.” [continued…]

November 3, 2018

in: News & Features

Yes, Yes, Nonet

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Louise Farrenc by Luigi Rubio (1835)

The now elusive Louise Dumont Farrenc (1804-1875) was once a prominent French composer, virtuoso pianist, and teacher, who had received favorable notice from Hector Berlioz, Robert Schumann, and others. The Weston Wind Quintet & Friends will be giving a rare performance of her Nonet in E-flat Major op. 38, for string quartet and wind quintet [listen HERE] in a free one-hour concert in the Plymouth Public Library (132 South Street) Wednesday November 7th at 7pm.

The concert will include a performance by the ensemble and pianist Heeyeon Chi of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in an arrangement by French oboist and conductor David Walter.

Louise Farrenc displayed great talent as a child and was accepted at 15 by the Paris Conservatoire. She wanted to study composition as well as piano, but it was another half-century before women could even enroll in composition classes. Anton Reicha, the Conservatoire’s professor of composition, agreed to teach her privately. (His Conservatoire students included Liszt, Berlioz, Gounod, and Franck.) Reicha was not only a lifelong friend of Beethoven but also one of the early popularizers of the wind quintet, composing more than 20 full-length pieces for the combination.

In 1842, as Farrenc’s musical career blossomed, she became the Conservatoire’s only female professor, although during her 30-year tenure she was allowed to teach piano only (and by the end had become known as a celebrity pianist herself). Regardless, she was paid much less her counterparts.

Her expertise in wind writing is displayed in her Sextet for piano and wind quintet, an immediate success which apparently was the first piece ever written for that combination. A concert recording by the Weston Wind Quintet and pianist Heeyeon Chi may be heard HERE (tracks 8-10). [continued…]

October 31, 2018

in: News & Features

Ardent for Du Bois

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W E B Du Bois

W.E.B. Du Bois’s 150th anniversary has inspired the Du Bois Orchestra to feature Schubert, Wagner, and Coleridge-Taylor at University Lutheran Church on November 3rd, in the third concert of a series celebrating the life and legacy of the visionary Harvard sociologist, who combined music, sociology, and philosophy to fight for social equity. Since the orchestra’s founding in the autumn of 2015, the ensemble has maintained that classical music can be key to authentic dialogue.

The orchestra, made up of college and conservatory musicians from around the Boston area, provides an engaging community for advanced orchestral playing while also seeking to employ music to overcome social exclusion, performing marginalized and underrepresented works along with standard repertoire. In addition, outreach to youth and the underprivileged are integral to the orchestra’s belief that music can unite and transform society.

Du Bois’s documented interest in music began at Fisk University, where as a student, he called on African Americans to “build up an American school of music which shall rival the grandest schools of the past,” and commenting on a student performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah by the Fisk Mozart Society, of which Du Bois was an ardent supporter, he wrote: “Our race, just a quarter-century removed from slavery, can master the greatest musical compositions.”

When he arrived in Cambridge in 1888, calling 20 Flagg Street home, just seven blocks from the venue of Saturday’s concert, Du Bois was eager to share his good singing voice with the Harvard community. He auditioned for the Harvard Glee Club, but was rejected because he was black. Undaunted, he pursued his own musical education, actively seeking out performances of opera and orchestral music during his studies in Europe and throughout his life. [continued…]

October 26, 2018

in: News & Features

A Gounod Journey Through Sensual Melody

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Charles Gounod

Odyssey Opera extends its salute to the French composer Charles Gounod, as Boston’s most innovative opera company claims the local premiere of the 1858 Le médecin malgré lui  (The Doctor in Spite of Himself).

In its sixth season, Odyssey, one of the nation’s most adventurous companies, continues its Gounod voyage on Friday November 9th at 7:30pm and Sunday November 11th at 2pm, in the Huntington Avenue Theater. “Gounod is rightly viewed as the creator of the genre of lyric opera,” explains Gil Rose, Odyssey artistic and general director. “Not only was he the creator of Faust and Romeo et Juliette, he substantially influenced the course of French music and helped restore a higher sense of artistic purpose to the French stage.” Often regarded as the apostle of a lyrical, sensual, seductive Romanticism, “Gounod knows how to grasp and transcribe the human heart. He had a magical gift for melody.”

This year is the bicentennial of Gounod’s birth, and Odyssey Opera offers a chance to become better-acquainted with one of the major French composers of the second half of the 19th century. Based on a play by the great satirist Moliére, Le médecin malgré lui is a three-act comic opera set to a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. This Odyssey production features baritone Stephen Salters (Sganarelle), mezzo-soprano Tascha Anderson (Jacqueline), tenor Piotr Buszewski (Leandre) in his Boston debut, and full orchestra and chorus conducted by Rose, with stage direction by Daniel Pelzig (Santa Fe Opera, Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago). The fully staged production will be sung in French with English subtitles, recitatives added by Erik Satie, “never heard before.” [continued…]

October 23, 2018

in: News & Features

Great and Imperial Classicists Cleaned

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Robert Levin

If plopped in Symphony Hall in a couple of weeks, would Schubert and Beethoven relish the Staubsaugering of two centuries of dust the from their Great Symphony and Emperor Concerto? BMInt’s own brilliant advisor the virtuoso pianist Robert Levin, with dynamic conductor Richard Egarr and the H+H Orchestra, will be cleaning up these masterpieces for rendition on instruments similar to those the composers knew, with the result that, in publicist-speak, these works will sound utterly fresh while maintaining their treasured grandeur and poetry.

Coming to Symphony Hall on Friday Nov. 9 at 7:30pm and Sunday Nov. 11 at 3pm; tickets HERE.

BMInt asked Egarr to give some thoughts on the Schubert and Levin to answer questions about the Beethoven.

Egarr: Schubert—what an extraordinary composer: Classical yet Romantic, intimate yet infinite. His Great symphony was considered unplayable because of its gigantic scope and difficulty, musical and technical, yet it has intrigued musicians since its creation, 1825-’27. [continued…]

October 18, 2018

in: News & Features

Cantatas of Love and War from the Sun King’s Fadeout

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Zachary Wilder, tenor

As is their wont, Les Bostonades tunes to its French Baroque channel on Friday at Gordon Chapel of Old South Church. Two cantata modern premieres are up: Gervais’s Telemaque and Renier’s L’Indifference Puni (US premiere). Zachary Wilder, onetime Boston-based tenor who has gone on to make a name for himself across Europe and more recently in Japan, returns for this performance. (Audiences will recognize Wilder from numerous Boston Early Music Festival productions.)

BMInt wanted to get the scoop and enlisted Bostonades violinist Sarah Darling to both interview and join in with Wilder.

SD: Les Bostonades has a long tradition of promoting French Baroque music in Boston. What’s the je ne sais quoi about this rep?

ZW: French Baroque music’s appeal really comes from its intense link to language, dance, and harmony, which were highly valued by these composers at the time. Even the instrumental music, with its swung rhythms, takes on the lilt of the French language. The resulting music is full of surprising jazzy harmonies and an irresistible groove. At least that’s why I love it. We spent a lot of time looking through repertoire in the archives at the Bibliothèque National de France. At the end of the day we were really looking for repertoire that is excellent and musically compelling; otherwise it’s uninteresting to bother digging it out just for the sake of a modern premiere. When we came upon the Renier and the Gervais cantatas, we were immediately struck by the skillful and exciting compositional styles. [continued…]

October 15, 2018

in: News & Features

Reviving a Searing Attack on Opera Seria

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Detail from Duplessis portrait of Gluck

Christoph Willibald Gluck’s name appears more frequently in musical textbooks than in concert programs today; though performances of his better-known works (Orfeo, both Iphigénies, and Alceste) do visit contemporary stages periodically, they are by no means standards of the operatic stage. Therefore, his opera Alceste, will be arriving as something of a novelty, when Edward Elwyn Jones leads the Harvard University Choir, Gran Harmonie, and local soloists Hailey Fuqua, Jonas Budris, and Sumner Thompson in a free concert version at Memorial Church on October 20th  at 7:30.  According to Jones:

Throughout his oeuvre, Gluck aimed for melody that is “noble, expressive, and natural, and declaimed exactly according to the prosody of the language.” The composer’s direct, immediate vocal style propels his dramas vividly, bringing tireless human emotions to life on the stage.

 Alceste’s notable arias are simple and direct: the regal “O Dieux! Du destin;” the authoritative “Divinités du Styx;” the exquisite “Ah, divinités implacables;” and the heartbreakingly poignant “Vis pour garder le souvenir.” But it is surely in the accompanied recits that we see Gluck’s true genius in portraying emotion: Alceste’s torn personality is progressing rapidly towards Gluck’s ultimate study of human psychology, Iphigenie en Tauride. [continued…]

October 8, 2018

in: News & Features

BLO Rosina Confides and Opines

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Boston Lyric Opera’s five-performance run of Rossini’s ever-popular Barber of Seville begins Friday at the Majestic Theater. David Angus will conduct stage director Rosetta Cucchi’s production designed by Julia Noulin-Mérat, costumed by Gianluca Falaschi, and lighted by DM Wood. The cast comprises Matthew Worth as Figaro, Daniela Mack as Rosina, Jesus Garcia as Almaviva, David Crawford as Basilio with Michelle Trainor, Steven Condy, Jesse Darden, Vincent Turregano in smaller roles.

BMInt writer and BLO annotator Laura Prichard tells us, “It is a veritable tour de force of vocal acrobatics, musical wit, and comedy. Beginning with a spirited overture, Rossini’s approach contrasts upbeat humor with poignant musical touches. Rossini mastered the opera buffa by peppering each act with duets and trios and capping each act’s finale with a sophisticated ensemble (à la Mozart). By utilizing the satirical opera buffa genre, Rossini could transform characters from the still-popular commedia dell’arte into scheming servants and deceptive suitors, laying bare the social injustices of their time.”

The BLO’s Rosina, mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack, acclaimed for her “caramel timbre, flickering vibrato, and crisp articulation” (Opernwelt) as she “hurls fast notes like a Teresa Berganza or a Frederica von Stade” (San Francisco Chronicle), had some interesting words for BMInt.

FLE: After nearly three weeks of rehearsing, can you relate anything surprising in the BLO staging? [continued…]

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