February 24, 2018

in: Reviews

Plano Pluperfect

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Boston University pianist Robert Plano stormed the spiritual in a rare complete take on Liszt Franz Liszt’s Harmonies poétiques et religieuses on Thursday evening at Tsai.    [continued]

February 24, 2018

in: Reviews

“Metamorphoses: Orpheus in Oedipus”

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The Orchestra and Chorus of Emmanuel Music, Harvard Glee Club, along with an array of outstanding soloists under Ryan Turner fired up a thriller of incest and patricide in three takes on Orpheus and Oedipus at Sanders Theater Friday.    [continued]

February 24, 2018

in: Reviews

Ax, Kavakos, Ma: The Team of Dreams

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Superstar chemistry and inevitable chamber music from Brahms filled the air at Symphony Hall Thursday night under the auspices of Boston Celebrity Series.    [continued]

February 23, 2018

in: Reviews

Glad She’s Doing It Here

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“What am I doing Here?” Sigourney Cook was giving Tuesday’s Longy crowd a compelling history lesson and a great variety of gratefully received songs.    [continued]

February 23, 2018

in: Reviews

Mozart Masterworks with Cordial Grace

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The writer had trouble controlling his superlatives for last evening’s BSO offering of three Mozart masterworks under Herbert Blomstedt.    [continued]

February 19, 2018

in: Reviews

Sensation-Endowed Debussy, Heart-Pumping Walton

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Boston Chamber Music Society brought fully committed and generous live music-making to its Beethoven/Debussy/Walton outing at Sanders on Sunday.    [continued]

February 18, 2018

in: Reviews

Odyssey Opera Delivers Joan

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Odyssey Opera delivered a visually beautiful and acoustically radiant performance of Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake on Saturday night at Sander’s Theater as part of its season inspired by the visionary saint.    [continued]

February 18, 2018

in: Reviews

Doric’s Accomplished Aesthetic

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The Doric Quartet intrigued with Op. 64, No. 6 (Hob. III:64) by Haydn, and the final quartets of both Benjamin Britten and Felix Mendelssohn at Longy Thursday night.    [continued]

February 16, 2018

in: Reviews

BSO’s French Roots Show

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Highlighting a musical belle époque, the BSO’s plenteousness of Debussy and Ravel featured pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and conductor Jacques Lacombe on Thursday.    [continued]

February 14, 2018

in: Reviews

Birthday Tribute to Legendary Composer

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An 80th birthday tribute to Joan Tower at New England Conservatory’s Brown Hall involved the NEC Trombone Quartet, the NEC Percussion Ensemble, and  Borromeo String Quartet; all helped celebrate Tower’s chamber music, with the added dollop of a premiere of a new percussion solo.    [continued]

February 14, 2018

in: Reviews

Hong Xu Shines

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With little ceremony, and a noticeable lack of attitude, the Chinese pianist Hong Xu delivered Mozart’s and Liszt’s goods to most satisfying effect in the BU School of Music Concert Hall Monday.    [continued]

February 14, 2018

in: Reviews

H + H + Brahms??

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The Gardner featured eight members of Handel and Haydn Society Sunday in two major works one doesn’t associate with this group: Brahms’s Horn Trio and his Sextet in G Major.    [continued]

February 13, 2018

in: Reviews

Assads And Avital Astonish

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Sparks flew Saturday night as brilliant Brazilian brother guitarists Sérgio and Odair Assad partnered with Israeli mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital in a spectacular concert sponsored by Boston Celebrity Series at Jordan Hall.    [continued]

February 12, 2018

in: Reviews

GWO and BSO Musicians Tangle

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“Leipzig Week in Boston” wrapped Sunday with the Gewandhaus Quartett and the Boston Orchestra Chamber Players (and guests) in a joint performance. Sonic sensations abounded.    [continued]

February 12, 2018

in: Reviews

NEC’s Magical Flute

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Deftly endowed with details of singing, playing and design, the Conservatory’s production of the Mozart masterwork showed a freshness within convention that other companies should note. Continues Monday and Tuesday at the Cutler Majestic.    [continued]

February 10, 2018

in: Reviews

Chadwick’s Tabasco Shakes Up New Orleans

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On the last weekend of January, at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, the New Orleans Opera mounted George W. Chadwick’s “burlesque opera” Tabasco for the first time since its original productions in 1894. Our far-flung author, an expert on the composer, tells a large story about the opera’s history and reviews the current revival.    [continued]

February 10, 2018

in: Reviews

BMOP Honors Joan Tower

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Offering five titles by one of the few women composers an orchestral concertgoer might recognize, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project did its part to banish compositional gender inequality.    [continued]

February 9, 2018

in: Reviews

BSO Salutes Leipzig

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Last night the BSO featured three composers associated with Leipzig, Schumann Mendelssohn and Bach, as well as a commission, also chosen to mark the new collaborative spirit between the BSO and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.    [continued]

February 9, 2018

in: Reviews

NEC Quartet Struts

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The quartet in residence in New England Conservatory’s Professional String Quartet Training Program gave indications of emotional and musical nous at various highpoints in its official annual Jordan Hall recital Thursday night.    [continued]

February 8, 2018

in: Reviews

Darkness Has Its Uses

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BU Opera Institute’s effective Albert Herring depicts with quite some serious comic flair how late-Victorian life can life mirror our own. The production continues its run Friday and Saturday at the Paramount.    [continued]

February 7, 2018

in: Reviews

Archaic Deities at the Gardner

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The Curtis-based Zorá String Quartet brought related Mendelssohn and Beethoven standards to new life during its Boston debut in Calderwood Hall  on Sunday afternoon.    [continued]

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February 21, 2018

in: News & Features

Revolutionary Music: Commemorating Du Bois

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W E B Du Bois

Three years after the Civil War, the African-American polymath William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, traveled widely for his education, earned Harvard’s first doctorate awarded to a black person, and went on to become a great and important (and tireless) educator, writer, sociologist, activist and advocate for human rights, notably black civil rights but also women’s rights. This Friday, February 23rd, the Du Bois Orchestra at Harvard celebrates the 150th anniversary of his birth in a free concert at 8pm at University Lutheran Church in Cambridge (66 Winthrop Street). It will feature the Ballade for Orchestra by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Wagner’s Act I Prelude to Lohengrin, and Dvořák’s New World Symphony. Tickets are HERE.

Founded in 2015, the Du Bois Orchestra offers Boston-area college and conservatory musicians the opportunity to perform both standard and historically neglected repertoire. Last November, the orchestra performed the Lyric for Strings by George Walker, one of the important African-American composers of our time, alongside two works by Beethoven, the Egmont Overture and the Eroica Symphony. Last season, the orchestra featured works by composers Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint-Georges), a prolific Afro-French composer who premiered Haydn’s Paris symphonies, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Silvestre Revueltas. These are works by distinguished musicians rarely heard in American concert halls. [continued…]

February 19, 2018

in: News & Features

Zander Takes a Measure of Tchaikovsky 4

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Brady to reveal Tchaikovsky’s intentions

Something fresh and intriguing this way comes with Boston Philharmonic’s subscription concerts Thursday through Sunday. In anticipation the concert of Mussorgsky’s ‘Khovanshchina’ Prelude, Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Alexander Korsantia, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Music Director Benjamin Zander opines on his recent discoveries:

In every recording of the Tchaikovsky 4th Symphony, come to the Trio section of the Third movement, and you will hear a piccolo player playing a very fast passage which is not what the composer intended.

The reason for this universal musical mistake is very simple. Tchaikovsky was wandering anxiously from one Italian town to another, trying to banish the demons of his unconsummated 6-week marriage and an apparent suicide attempt, while working at completing his symphony. He reported in a letter from San Remo to his benefactress Mme von Meck his search for a metronome during his travels*; this evidently failed, and he was forced to send the completed score to the publisher without accurate tempi indications, though he liberally peppered his Fifth and Sixth symphonies with metronome marks—no fewer than 18 in the slow movement of the Fifth alone! [continued…]

February 18, 2018

in: News & Features

Three Takes on Orpheus and Oedipus Complexes

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Jean Marais as Narcissus and Orpheus

The Orchestra and Chorus of Emmanuel Music under the direction of Ryan Turner will present “Metamorphoses: Orpheus in Oedipus” featuring Matthew Aucoin’s The Orphic Moment, John Harbison’s Symphony No. 5 and Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with the Harvard Glee Club at Sanders Theater on Friday February 23rd.

On the 1ooth anniversary of the American premiere of Stravinsky’s Rex, the Harvard Glee Club will reprise its role along with 12 male members of Emmanuel Music’s chorus. WBUR’s Christopher Lydon will narrate.

Aucoin’s The Orphic Moment takes a freeze-frame look at the moment before Orpheus turns to look at Eurydice. In Harbison’s Symphony No. 5, the Orpheus myth is reflected in vivid poetry of Milosz, Glück and Rilke, the eponymous hero’s lute represented by an electric guitar. With a libretto by Cocteau based on Sophocles, Stravinsky’s monumental and chilling opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex is a throbbing musical engine of fate.

According to Turner: [continued…]

February 16, 2018

in: News & Features

Rzewski Makes the Political Personal

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Benjamin Beilman (Giorgia-Bertazzi)

Dog bites man is famously not news, and violinist and pianist playing Beethoven and Bartok sonatas isn’t either, but a brand-new work from Frederic Rzewski, not only co-commissioned by the Celebrity Series of Boston but tuned politically to the present—that’s news.

For the Celebrity Debut Series at Longy’s Pickman Hall at 8pm on Wednesday March 7, violinist Benjamin Beilman will play, with pianist Orion Weiss, Beethoven’s first and last Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Nos. 1 and 10, Bartók’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2, and Frederic Rzewski’s Demons, a sonata commissioned by Music Accord, of which the Celebrity Series is a member. Beilman has been characterized in the Washington Post as “mightily impressive,” and the New York Times described his playing as “muscular with a glint of violence.”

But our hook is Rzewski’s Demons, written for Beilman and Weiss spring-summer of 2017 and dedicated to Angela Davis. The composer, probably known best for his famous mid-1970s variation set The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, explains: [continued…]

February 5, 2018

in: News & Features

Two Orchestras and One World

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It all started with Bach

At a gala at the Boston Public Library Monday night, leadership of the Boston Symphony Orchestra declared “Leipzig Week” underway. Lectures and performances throughout the week mark a new partnership between the BSO and the Gewandhausochester Leipzig (GHO), a major German orchestra hailing from the city once home to J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, and others. The partnership came about as the result of a job offer. BSO music director Andris Nelsons was extended GHO’s Gewandhauskapellmeister role, and while multiple positions (sometimes on multiple continents) are realities for many of today’s first-class conductors, the two storied orchestras decided to make a virtue of sharing him.

Professor Christoph Wolff (whose remarks begin below) spoke of the many similarities between the history of the GHO and BSO, as did directors of both organizations, Leipzig’s cultural mayor, and Nelsons himself. A performance of two movements of Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44 by the Gewandhaus-Quartett and sometime-Boston pianist Kirill Gerstein, showed that the GHO is a good match for Boston’s best.  The City of Leipzig seems to be taking the collaboration seriously; its mayor is even making a visit this week. (There was no word on whether Marty Walsh would make a reciprocal visit during an next year’s “Boston Week” in Leipzig.)

The partnership, which also plans joint commissions and exchange opportunities in the future, will continue with lectures on Tuesday and Wednesday at the library, and performances the rest of the week at Symphony Hall and at the Boston Athenæum. (see BMInt’s Upcoming Events and our article HERE for details).      (by Lucas Phillips)

[continued…]

February 2, 2018

in: News & Features

Hearing Leipzig in Symphony Hall

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Our BMInt colleague David Griesinger has agreed to preview a short lecture on the acoustics of Boston Symphony Hall that he will deliver during a free public symposium at the Boston Public Library Tuesday February 7th from 6 to 7 pm, part of a celebration of the collaboration between the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig.

He will illustrate the features in the Boston Symphony Hall that may be responsible for its fine acoustics, and compare it with its famous predecessors in Leipzig, the Altes Gewandhaus, where Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and many others composed or performed, and the Neue Gewandhaus, which in 1885 replaced the earlier hall.

[continued…]

January 29, 2018

in: News & Features

Leipzigers To Partner with BSO Volk

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Andris Nelsons (by MaxPPP)

The announcement in September 2015 that Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Andris Nelsons would also become the 21st Kapellmeister of the 275-year-old Leipzig Gewandhausorchester included the news of a “…strategic alliance [that] will allow Andris to consolidate the core of his European work in a place that shares a musical heritage with the BSO.” The five-year artistic partnership between the two institutions [earlier BMInt article HERE] kicks off its first “Leipzig Week in Boston” with celebrations, lectures, and concerts at the Boston Public Library Monday February 5th – 7th.

Nelsons will then conduct regular BSO subscription concerts on February 8th, 9th, and 10th with Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for three keyboards, with Thomas Adès, Kirill Gerstein, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet; Schumann’s Nachtlied and Neujahrslied (ditto); the world premiere of a work by Sean Shepherd; and Mendelssohn’s Scottish symphony, in honor of the fifth GHO Kappellmeister 1835-1847.

“Leipzig Week” ends on Sunday February 11th at 3pm at Symphony Hall, as Boston Symphony Chamber Players and Gewandhaus Orchestra musicians come together for joint readings of Lukas Foss’s For Aaron and the Mendelssohn Octet, on a program with works by Haydn and Ligeti. [continued…]

January 27, 2018

in: News & Features

E Duo Unum

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Jamie Korkos by Michael Kuhn

Quite au courant, the story depicts an individual navigating a gender transition. Two singers, one male, one female, portray “Hannah Before” and “Hannah After,” both remaining onstage from start to finish. Boston Opera Collaborative’s production (running through Sunday) of Laura Kaminsky’s As One, to a libretto by Kimberly Reed and Mark Campbell opened Thursday night at Longy School of music at Bard College.

Commissioned and developed by American Opera Projects, it premiered four years ago at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and since then has racked up productions by 16 companies, with another six slated for 2018. Tickets for the chamber opera with string quartet are HERE.

The show is double-cast, but when one of the singers had to drop out just a few weeks before opening night, co-directors Greg Smucker and Patricia Weinmann tapped local mezzo Jaime Korkos to fill the vacancy. Intelligencer contributor Basil Considine recently spoke with Korkos ( after cantoring at St. Cecilia Boston) about stepping into this new contemporary-opera role on short notice. [continued…]

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