March 30, 2017

in: Reviews

BSO Sonorous Under Altinoglu

by

A fine French program at the Boston Symphony on Wednesday night, paid homage to the Second Empire, the belle époque, and the antidodecaphonic heritage, from start to finish.     [continued]

March 28, 2017

in: Reviews

Juventas Takes Flight

by

Juventas’s Project Fusion series infused Harvard Square’s night club-inspired Oberon Theater with the spark of new music and innovation last Wednesday in “Music In Flight,” an unusual audio-visual collaboration among contemporary classical composers and aerialists, acrobats, and jugglers.     [continued]

March 27, 2017

in: Reviews

Diving Into Dangerous Liaisons

by

In Boston Opera Collaborative take on Conrad Susa’s 1994 The Dangerous Liaisons, a piano has replaced the orchestra. The performance on Saturday at the BCA’s Plaza Theater proved flawed but worthwhile.     [continued]

March 26, 2017

in: Reviews

Compelling Pianism Convinced

by

Pianist Paul Lewis brought a radiant tone and fresh interpretations to some magnificent Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Weber at Sunday’s Celebrity Series concert at Jordan Hall.     [continued]

March 26, 2017

in: Reviews

Akademie Not the Least Academic

by

Berlin’s dynamic Akademie für Alte Musik (also known as Akamus) treated a Boston Early Music Festival Jordan Hall full house Friday to “Of Frogs and Men,” an instrumental selection of German and Italian Baroque.     [continued]

March 26, 2017

in: Reviews

Chinese Foundation’s Music Dialogue and Cooperation

by

With  the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra, the Borromeo String Quartet and pianist Meng-Chieh Liu, the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts’ “Four Winds, Music Dialogue and Cooperation (Series 5)” half-packed an ecstatic Jordan Hall yesterday.    [continued]

March 25, 2017

in: Reviews

Parker and Winds Play Paine

by

A 90%-full Paine Hall last night witnessed the Parker Quartet’s takes on an ultra-contemporary landmark, and with winds, Schubert’s heavenly-length Octet.     [continued]

March 25, 2017

in: Reviews

Dreamy New Concerto From BSO

by

After a swashbuckling Le corsair of Berlioz, François-Xavier Roth led Alisa Weilerstein and the BSO in the world premiere of Matthias Pintscher’s hypnotic cello concerto un despertar before the Friday afternoon concluded with a sometime-too-careful Pastoral Symphony.  Repeats tonight.   [continued]

March 21, 2017

in: Reviews

Imagining a Modern Rake

by

The Boston Lyric Opera’s production of the dark Stravinsky opera last Sunday showed high invention and high finesse.     [continued]

March 21, 2017

in: Reviews

Long Day’s Journey Into Bach

by

All day Saturday at First Lutheran, God was in His organ loft and much was right with the musical world.     [continued]

March 21, 2017

in: Reviews

Excelling Conventionally

by

Brookline Symphony Orchestra music director auditions continued Saturday as the band expertly served up three hits from the 1840s.     [continued]

March 21, 2017

in: Reviews

The Importance of Odyssey Opera

by

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s  The Importance of Being Earnest ran for two nights only at The Wimberly Theater on St. Patrick’s day in Odyssey Opera’s sparkling production.     [continued]

March 20, 2017

in: Reviews

Caravansary from Cappella

by

Amelia LeClair led Cappella Clausura in “A Caravan of Songs” at Emmanuel Church on Saturday. The feast and the music concluded with Abbie Betinis’s setting of poems by the Sufi mystic Hafez, From Behind the Caravan.     [continued]

March 19, 2017

in: Reviews

Not Yet Harnessing the Higher End

by

Sunday’s Musicians of Marlboro concert of Haydn, Webern, and Brahms at the Gardner was not quite ready for prime time.     [continued]

March 19, 2017

in: Reviews

Britannia Rules!

by

Spectrum Singers paid homage yesterday at the First Congregational Church in Cambridge to a tradition of outstanding church music in England.      [continued]

March 17, 2017

in: Reviews

Comically Distraught Haydn to Dancing Beethoven

by

Under the masterful and restrained leadership Bernard Haitink on Thurday, the Boston Symphony Orchestra delivered Haydn, Debussy, and Beethoven in a programmatically somewhat unusual cross-section at the highest orchestral expertise.      [continued]

March 17, 2017

in: Reviews

“To Sing Again”

by

The Brandeis Women’s show featured music by Amy Beach, Rebecca Clarke, Ruth Lomon, and Marianna von Martines, whose gorgeous, masterful works remain woefully underperformed.    [continued]

March 16, 2017

in: Reviews

Musica Sacra Crosses the Red Sea

by

Israel in Egypt displayed the brilliance and variety of Handel’s choral writing (almost to the exclusion of solo voices), but also felt very timely in Música Sacra’s performance last Saturday at First Church Cambridge.     [continued]

March 14, 2017

in: Reviews

Music and Fraternité

by

An “Unstuffy, Unpredictable” Mistral duo made its way into WGBH’s elegant Frazer Studio Friday for a Massivemuse, which seeks to bring younger audiences to live classical music. Harpist Ina Zdorovetchi and flutist Julie Scolnik expanded on the Groupmuse BYOB house-concert format to give us a relaxed, informative, sometimes exhilarating salon-styled extravaganza.     [continued]

March 13, 2017

in: Reviews

BLO Does Stravinsky Proud

by

The Boston Lyric Opera opened a weeklong run of The Rake’s Progress on Sunday in an outstanding production at the Cutler Majestic Theater.     [continued]

March 12, 2017

in: Reviews

Virtuosities of Scordatura

by

Violinist extraordaire Christina Day Martinson carried off all 16 of Heinrich Biber’s Mystery or Rosary Sonatas at Jordan Hall on Friday for Boston Baroque.     [continued]

more reviews →

March 28, 2017

in: Reviews

Beethoven’s Ninth: Tempi Tempests

by

Benjamin Zander has been exploring the Beethoven Ninth for 40 years; no other piece of music has occupied his imagination over so long a period. What must be regarded as the culmination of his absorption took place 10 days ago in London: a performance in the Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Philharmonia Chorus and quartet of soloists, and a studio recording with the engineers and producers responsible for Zander’s Mahler and Bruckner issues.

The performance incorporated the results of Zander’s investigation of all of the text sources and consideration of every dynamic mark, expressive sign, and tempo indication that Beethoven wrote in the score, the parts, and the many other documents relating to the symphony. Most revealing were the metronome indications, several of which are frequently disregarded. These are of great importance in determining the character of movements as a whole and of various sections. Some have consistently been decried as unplayably fast, although Beethoven characterized correct realization of his tempi as “extremely necessary”. In performance and recording Zander showed that these tempi are in fact playable, although in some instances far from easy, and that they are the keys to an extraordinary and rarely tapped vein of eloquence in the symphony.

The first rehearsals were with the 130 members of the Philharmonia Chorus. Chorus master Stefan Bevier is a man whose perfectionist demands are almost impossible to meet and whose methods almost make Toscanini seem benign, and he has honed the chorus into a musical body of precision, eloquence, range, and power. Zander’s interpretation drew them in: several members confessed after rehearsal that they had been dreading yet another Beethoven Ninth, but found themselves embarked on an enthralling adventure. [continued…]

March 23, 2017

in: Reviews

Liverpudlian To Wow Jordan Hall

by

Paul Lewis is a pianist who appeals to cognoscenti. After a three-year traversal of the 32 Beethoven Sonatas at major venues, he moved on to a two-year consideration of the mature Schubert’s piano oeuvre; reviewers were ecstatic. Now, BMInt is very pleased to recommend his latest interesting mixed recital for the Celebrity Series at Jordan Hall on March 26th at 3:00: Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV825; Beethoven’s Sonata in E-flat Major, Opus 7; Chopin’s Selected Waltzes; Weber’s Sonata No. 2 in A-flat Major.

Three years ago the notable Liverpudlian concluded for Bostonians, the complete cycle of Schubert’s works he began in 2011. BMInt is very pleased to recycle the publisher’s memorable conversation with the artist about Schubert’s last three sonatas, death, and pianos.

Lee Eiseman: You’re depicting the end of Schubert’s life in music with the three last sonatas, his final statements for the piano. This is appropriately the end of your Schubert cycle and is likely to be something really special. Hearings of D. 958, 959 and 960 together ought to be among the most memorable musical experiences one can have. Will you talk to BMInt readers about Schubert, the end of his life, and the end of your Schubert cycle? [continued…]

March 18, 2017

in: News & Features

For This Crowd, Crossing Over Not Forbidding

by

Who or what brings the colorful players of the Forbidden City Chamber orchestra to Jordan Hall in company with the Borromeo String Quartet and one of our favorite pianists for crossover program inspired by mostly Eastern European composers? Cathy Chan, the quietly essential director of the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts comes to mind first as the titular presenter, but further investigation finds Chinese-American pianist Meng-Chieh Liu at the center of the March 25th event. The full program is HERE.

One of the deepest artists we have come to know, Meng, having just come off a two-year survey of the complete Brahms keyboard works (all from memory, incidentally), is set to tour in China in May and June, performing Rachmaninov Concertos 2 and 3 with China Philharmonic, Kunming Sym, Shenzhen Sym, and Qingdao Sym.

Meng took some time off from a mostly nonstop day of teaching at NEC to fill us in about the festivities

Did you have to work as hard as Busoni did when he was here? He saw five students an hour for $5, and he complained, “I’m the greatest pianist in the world, and they make me teach five people per hour.” So how hard do you work at NEC? [continued…]

March 14, 2017

in: News & Features

Another All-Day Bach Bash

by

Richards, Fowkes organ (BMInt staff photo)

In celebration of another birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, the First Lutheran Church of Boston hosts the ninth annual Boston Bach Birthday on Saturday, March 18, 2017. Presented jointly by First Lutheran and the Boston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Boston Bach Birthday 332 will feature organists, instrumentalists, vocalists, and one renowned researcher to celebrate the music of the greatest Lutheran composer. As always, all musical events are free and open to the public, and concertgoers may come and go as they please. A compendium with minute-by-minute listings is HERE.

Each year the Boston Bach Birthday prominently features First Lutheran Church’s brilliant Richards, Fowkes & Co. opus 10 pipe organ. Known as “Boston’s Bach organ,” it replicates more precisely than any other organ in the city the sounds with which Bach would have been familiar. Five of the day’s events feature this instrument, including for children, a dramatic reading of Casey at the Bat with the organ pitching. This year’s organists, John Robinson, Brink Bush, and Jonathan Wessler, as well as Jennifer Hsaio, Laura Gullett, and Khristian Erich Bauer-Rowe of Christian Lane’s Boston Organ Studio, and Christopher Holman, will interpret eight large-scale preludes, toccatas, fantasias, and fugues, as well as smaller-scale chorale preludes and free pieces. [continued…]

March 11, 2017

in: News & Features

Some Things Wilde

by

Odyssey Opera’s “Wilde Opera Nights 2017” opens with the comedic masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest, set by one of the 20th-century’s master film composers, Mario Castelnuevo-Tedesco.

The famous romp comes to life in full staging with music that pokes as much fun at the opera world as Oscar Wilde does at Victorian society.

The three-act chamber opera for eight singers, two pianos and percussion, based on the play of the same name by Wilde, plays for two nights only, March 17th and 18th, at Boston Center for the Arts’ Calderwood Pavilion.

Shall we think of the director Gil Rose as a modern-day Odysseus? His journeys through realms of discovery are characterized by sirenic pulls in enough directions to keep the namesake company well-centered within its straits. In short, Odyssey Opera, operating outside the mandates of conventional box-office wisdom, can take us beyond the predictable in opera productions which always give pride of place to the composers and librettists. Whatever Rose has rescued from obscurity has provided plenteous rewards. We expect this season’s Oscar Wilde ménage à trois to charm and amuse. Don’t look for any bloody handkerchiefs, though.

BMInt spoke with Rose about it all.

FLE: Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco is from neither the country nor the period of this quintessential Wilde satire. How does he go about evoking those very integral components of the play? [continued…]

March 9, 2017

in: News & Features

Women Composers in Stellar Lineup

by

Mariana von Martines by Anton von Maron

The Second Annual Alfredo and Dimitra Diluzio Concert will be presented by the Women and Music Mix of the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center on Sunday March 12, at 3pm in the Slosberg Music Auditorium

News about International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month seems to be everywhere—except Boston’s classical music scene. If you want to go beyond the Spotify classical playlist of IWD that starts with “Hildegard von Binge” [sic], if you want to attend a concert that showcases rare and remarkable music by four very different female composers, it’s all happening Sunday afternoon at Brandeis University. Organized by the music scholars of the Women’s Studies Research Center, the second half of the program features two psalm settings by Marianna von Martines (1744-1812). That eminent historian Charles Burney would describe Martines as “having the greatest genius in music” and view her as the embodiment of Saint Cecilia should have meant that the modern musical would would take more note of her music. It has not, but to remedy this situation is one of the goals of the concert. [continued…]

March 7, 2017

in: News & Features

Heron Singers Master Machaut

by

Boston’s Blue Heron singers and the Cleveland-based early music instrumental ensemble Les Délices will be reviving Guillaume de Machaut’s Remede de Fortune (A Remedy for Fortune) in a multimedia extravaganza encompassing narration, music, and projected images. A cleric schooled in both Latin and French, poet, musician, and composer Machaut served as secretary and companion to John of Luxembourg, king of Bohemia, travelling all over Europe with him until the blind king’s death in 1346 in the battle of Crécy during the Hundred Years’ War. Machaut also drew support from a number of other royal and aristocratic patrons, including John’s daughter Bonne, who died in 1349, her husband, the duke of Normandy, later John II of France, and their son, Charles V of France. By 1360 or so he seems to have taken up residence as a canon at the cathedral of Reims, where he was buried in 1377.

More than 15 long narrative poems, a collection of lyric poetry known as the Loange des dames (Praise of Ladies) and musical settings including 19 lais, 23 motets, a setting of the Mass, a hocket, 42 ballades, 22 rondeaux, and 33 virelais comprise Machaut’s oeuvre. These works have survived in six manuscript volumes, some of them lavishly illustrated by the best artists of the day; each contains all the poetry and music Machaut had completed by the time that book was copied.

We talked with Blue Heron’s music director, Scott Metcalfe, about the upcoming collaborative presentation of the Remede.

VN: Why did you choose the Remede, and how did your collaboration with Les Dëlices come about? [continued…]

March 5, 2017

in: News & Features

Speak, Memory, or Wassup With Jeremy?

by

While the numbers of all those with vital memories of World War II are waning, music survives the passage of time. Next Tuesday afternoon at Radcliffe’s Knafel Center, Boston Globe chief classical music critic Jeremy Eichler, on leave as a fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, will be speaking on music and the cultural memory of the war and the Holocaust. He will discuss Strauss, Britten, Shostakovich, and Schoenberg, among other composers, making the case for hearing history, for reclaiming the power of sound as a unique carrier of meaning, in order to explore how the wartime past is inscribed in music. At the Radcliffe Institute Eichler is writing a book examining the relationship of cultural memory and music composed in the wake of the war, focusing on key commemorative works.

The free public event, the Julia S. Phelps Annual Lecture in the Arts and Humanities, takes place at 4:15pm March 7 at the Knafel Center, 10 Garden St. in Cambridge.

Cultural historian Jeremy Eichler is the latest in a long line of distinguished classical critics at the Globe, including Michael Steinberg and Richard Dyer and many notable stringers. Eichler has also taught at Brandeis. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and the New Republic, and he has been recognized with an ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor Award. He was also featured in the Proust Project, a collection of contemporary writers responding to the French author. Eichler earned his bachelor’s degree at Brown and his doctorate at Columbia, where his 2015 dissertation centered on Arnold Schoenberg and the creation of the first major musical memorial to the Holocaust, and was awarded the Salo and Jeanette Baron Dissertation Prize. Eichler’s work has been supported by grants from the Center for Jewish History and the German Academic Exchange Service. [continued…]

more news & features →