May 25, 2016

in: Reviews

CLT’s Boris Bears Contemporary Resonance

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Commonwealth Lyric Theater’s inventive and intrepid artists transformed Newton City Hall’s War Memorial Auditorium yesterday into an arena for Boris Godunov’s political machinations and drama of old world Russia. Tomorrow’s final performance recommended.   [continued]

May 25, 2016

in: Reviews

The Morning Ride of Partial Revere

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Newton Community Education Lifetime Learning presented three-quarters of the Revere Piano Quartet Sunday, but music prevailed at full strength with the help of words.     [continued]

May 24, 2016

in: Reviews

Another Fine Cantata Singers Outing

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With Bach and Pärt at First Church, Cambridge on Friday, Cantata Singers brought a splendid end to a splendid season.    [continued]

May 23, 2016

in: Reviews

Desenclos’s Considerable Conservative Beauties

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The Spectrum Singers offered the 1963 Requiem of Alfred Desenclos along with putative influences on Saturday at First Church Cambridge.     [continued]

May 22, 2016

in: Reviews

Chameleons Rescue and Lift Off

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Chameleon Arts Ensemble’s curious and remarkable program at First Church in Boston on Saturday lifted off well beyond the usual fare.      [continued]

May 21, 2016

in: Reviews

Not Medieval, Not Medical, But Heroic

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Intensity in the round: Hannah Lash and Guerilla Opera reconceive Beowulf at BoCo this weekend and next.     [continued]

May 21, 2016

in: Reviews

Pops Toasts Gershwin

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An intriguing all-Gershwin program introduced conductor David Charles to the Boston Pops on Wednesday in the only Pops concert devoted to a single composer that I can remember. If “America’s orchestra” is going focus thus, it would be hard to beat Gershwin as the composer in the spotlight.     [continued]

May 21, 2016

in: Reviews

Ethel Smyth’s Powerful Prison Rediscovered

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Cantori New York (Artistic Director Mark Shapiro) gave Dame Ethel Smyth The Prison (1930) for baritone, soprano, chorus, and orchestra on May 14th and 15th, at St. Luke in the Fields (in Greenwich Village) in the composer’s own reduction for piano, with bugle.     [continued]

May 20, 2016

in: Reviews

Musica Sacra Eschews the Sacred

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Musica Sacra made most uncharacteristically secular and joyful noises on Saturday at First Church Cambridge.     [continued]

May 18, 2016

in: Reviews

Seasonal Death and Love

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Newton Community Education’s Lifetime Learning series continued with songs of morning and mourning at Wilson Chapel on Monday.     [continued]

May 16, 2016

in: Reviews

The Rapt Textures of Haochen Zhang

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Saturday night at Jordan Hall the young Van Cliburn prizewinner recitaled with interiority.     [continued]

May 16, 2016

in: Reviews

Experiencing Legends, Visions, and Fantasies

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Lorelei and Boston Percussion contrasted Reiko Yamada with Bon Iver at BoCo’s Ipswich Hall on Friday Night.   [continued]

May 16, 2016

in: Reviews

BCMS Effuses: Lyrical, Noir, and Rhapsodic

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In a sweeping and satisfying Sunday evening at Sanders Theater, the Boston Chamber Music Society concluded its season with works of Mozart, Harbison and Schumann. Guest violinist Jesse Mills joined artist-members Marcus Thompson, viola; Raman Ramakrishnan, cello; and Reiko Aizawa, piano.     [continued]

May 10, 2016

in: Reviews

Bach Power to the Pub People

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The curious, the faithful, and the hopheads gathered Sunday at Aeronaut in Somerville for a “Music in Familiar Spaces”as Steuart Pincombe played Bach’s first three Suites for Cello Solo and suds.     [continued]

May 10, 2016

in: Reviews

Hub New: Coloring Within Lines

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JP’s St. John’s Episcopal heard an hour-plus of moving contemporary works from Hub New Music Saturday evening.     [continued]

May 9, 2016

in: Reviews

Three More Homers From Zander and His Kids

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The Zanderkinder hit Brahms, Debussy and Mahler out of Sanders on Sunday.     [continued]

May 9, 2016

in: Reviews

Pro Arte Program’s Lively Mix

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In an event-packed evening at Sanders Theater on Saturday, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston hosted the Dudamel Orchestra of the Conservatory Lab Charter School, former Music Director Gisèle Ben-Dor, and harmonica virtuoso Robert Bonfiglio.    [continued]

May 8, 2016

in: Reviews

Boston’s Baroque Band Pleases Believers

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Les Bostonades celebrated its tenth anniversary in exuberant and gladsome style Friday at a packed Gordon Chapel, a perfect setting for this baroque band of ten with two guest soloists.     [continued]

May 8, 2016

in: Reviews

Radial States and Fishy Fingers

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At Longy Saturday night, Radius Ensemble’s season 17, titled Fresh Paint, concluded with a Harbison premiere, a Mahleresque shorty, and a Schubert chestnut.     [continued]

May 6, 2016

in: Reviews

Transcending Boundaries: COB’s 15 Years

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Celebrating the ensemble’s 15th birthday at First Church Boston on Saturday April 30th, Chamber Orchestra Boston offered premieres of two adventurous commissions framed by sparkling Mozart concertos performed on a period fortepiano.     [continued]

May 4, 2016

in: Reviews

H+H Delivers a Brilliant Saul

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The Handel and Haydn Society completed its Bicentennial Season with a splendid performance of Handel’s oratorio Saul at Symphony Hall on Sunday afternoon.     [continued]

more reviews →

May 23, 2016

in: News & Features

To Dispossessed Freelancers BMInt Offers a Megaphone

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muted-trumpets

Unmute These Trumpets

Coming in the context of declining page counts from Morrissey Blvd., depressing news has reached us that Boston’s newspaper of record may be dispensing with or severely curtailing the services of its freelance reviewers of the classical music and gallery scenes. And with chief classical critic Jeremy Eichler going on sabbatical next season, that will, according to one source, leave music editor Steven Smith as the last standing arts staffer (in Eichler’s absence) to write whatever reviews can make it into print

Lloyd Schwartz, Boston’s classical critic of longest standing, told the Intelligencer this afternoon, “If this is true, it would be a catastrophe for Boston’s smaller classical music groups as well as for Boston’s galleries.”

We are hearing that the Globe is looking to do more estimable in-depth features and previews and fewer reviews as part of a reinvention proposed in a staff memo by Globe Editor Brian McGrory [here]. He reportedly views his mission to stanch the flow of red ink and transform the thinning journal through “a major reassessment of its strategy and coverage priorities to keep pace with the ongoing tumult of the digital age.” [continued…]

May 19, 2016

in: News & Features

Another Nelsons Victory Announced

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Andris Nelsons accepts Leipzig position.

Andris Nelsons accepts Leipzig position.

Andris Nelsons has just inked an exclusive three-orchestra contract with Deutsche Grammophon. The announcement this morning of a major milestone in conductor’s recording career prepares the way for: more Shostakovich with the BSO, Bruckner with the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and Beethoven with the Vienna Philharmonic.

For record labels to enter into exclusive relationships with a conductor, much less an orchestra, is fairly unusual today. This explains orchestras’ having their own recording outfits, such as BSO Classics, LSO Live and CSO Resound. When RCA allowed its contract with the BSO to lapse in 1969, it could be viewed as a response to the Music Director the BSO had selected. The late Michael Steinberg maintained RCA had a large influence on Erich Leinsdorf’s hiring as the BSO Music Director in 1962. But William Steinberg, the conductor selected in 1969, though a wonderful conductor, did not have the backing of a major record label. [continued…]

May 18, 2016

in: News & Features

CLT Aims for Full-Bore Boris

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Moussorgsky by Ilya Repin

Mussorgsky by Ilya Repin

Commonwealth Lyric Theater’s audacity in producing Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky is anything but Modest. Even in a staging that strives for no major opera house standards, the attempt of the large fearless group of dramatic and outgoing Russians and Ukrainians stands somehow akin to casting the Tsar Bell. The vocal caliber and commitment of this group invariably opens to full-bore.

The first two performances will inaugurate Opera Garden, the artistic director’s backyard at 381 Dudley Road in Newton. Even with piano accompaniment (Alexander Pokidchenko on Friday and Alexander Poliykov on Saturday) and some nontraditional elements, the Friday and Saturday shows will constitute fully staged/costumed realizations for the 200 in attendance. On May 24th and May 26th, the action moves indoors to the Newton City Hall Auditorium, as an orchestra of 29 under Adrian Bryttan joins the large cast.

The Met on Tour brought Boris to the late, lamented Opera House on Huntington Ave. in 1940 (and as I recall, to the Wang Center in the 70s), Sarah Caldwell mounted it in 1965, and Teatro Lirico d’Europa offered a concert version in 2003.

CLT’s other many well-received productions augur well for the sonic pleasures this Boris may afford.

[continued…]

May 17, 2016

in: News & Features

Sometime Local Pianist Makes Pops His Thing

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albright-003Harvard, NEC, and Gardner Museum concertgoers may be used to thinking of pianist Charlie Albright as one of our own, and at that, a mostly serious sort of young musician. It turns out he is out in the world now, currently touring with pops orchestras. BMInt spoke with him recently on the road in the Deep South, prior to his homecoming Boston Pops Gershwin appearance Wednesday and Thursday nights in Rhapsody in Blue. The concerts will also feature more Gershwin with noted singers Nicole Cabell and Nmon Ford. More details here.

A companion interview with conductor Daniel Charles Abell is here.

FLE: Your bio has you studying and playing the piano since you were three. Do you have any recollections of not playing?

CA: Not really. When you have a distant memory, sometimes you’re unsure if it’s a real memory or something that your mind fabricated to go along with the story. I don’t remember not playing the piano is the best way to put it, but I remember when I was three we had a little broken upright, really, really dinky and rundown. [continued…]

May 16, 2016

in: News & Features

Pops Time and the Listening Is Easy

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Conductor Daniel Charles Abell

Conductor Daniel Charles Abell

Conductor David Charles Abell makes his Boston Pops debut in Wednesday’s and Thursday’s Gershwin Celebration, where he will be joined by singers Nicole Cabell and Nmon Ford in the songs “Summertime,” “ It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “ Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” and “Embraceable You.” Pianist Charlie Albright will bring his improvisatory style to Rhapsody in Blue.

The American-born, British resident Abell is active in symphonic music, opera and musical theater. Known for his television appearances worldwide as conductor of the Les Misérables Anniversary concerts, he is recognized as an authoritative interpreter of the musicals of Stephen Sondheim. He talked recently with BMInt.

FLE: As a music theater person, how sensitive are you to the style of the original composers, the style of the period? So many presenters just work in the current style of the day. Do you have strong feelings about period style and what do you about it?

A: Well as it happens I do and I could go into huge detail on this if you wanted.

[continued…]

May 12, 2016

in: News & Features

Boston Loses Early-Instrument Maker

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with contribution from the late Cecil Adkins

von-hueneRenowned Renaissance and Baroque instrument maker Friedrich von Huene died peacefully last Sunday, near his wife, Ingeborg, their children and grandchild.

Huene was born in 1928 to a German family that had fled the Baltic area in 1919, during the Russian revolution (his proper name is Friedrich Freiherr von Hoyningen). He spent his childhood in Mecklenburg, and in 1945 the family fled, once again from the Russians, to West Germany. With his American mother (his father was killed in the war), five siblings, and other relatives, he moved to the United States in 1947.

Huene served during the Korean war as flutist and piccoloist in the Air Force band in Washington DC. Subsequently he graduated from Bowdoin College and apprenticed himself to the firm of Verne Q. Powell, Boston flutemakers. He married; Ingeborg had been a childhood friend with whom he became reacquainted during a European trip. They have five children.

[continued…]

May 9, 2016

in: News & Features

“Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor”

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Lidiya Yankovskaya

Lidiya Yankovskaya

Conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya watched the news and was ready to scream. As the refugee crisis mounts globally, but especially in the Middle East and Europe right now, American politicians and pundits voice xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric with increasing volume. What she heard did not mesh with her own experience as a refugee to this country. As she discussed this with friends and colleagues, she realized many did not know her own history of being born in St. Petersburg and seeking asylum in the United States. She could not find herself in these loudly voiced portraits of refugees. From her frustration grew the Refugee Orchestra Project, which comes to First Church, Cambridge at 8:00 on Tuesday.

“I decided to organize the event as a way to demonstrate, through music, the critical role that these individuals play in our cultural landscape,” says Yankovskaya. “American culture and society have been shaped by those who fled to this country to seek a better life. In light of the negative rhetoric we regularly read and hear in the news today, I felt it was important for all of us to once again be reminded of the essential role that refugees play in making American culture vibrant and strong.” [continued…]

May 4, 2016

in: News & Features

Run Silents, Run Deep

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Emil Jannings smolders

Emil Jannings smolders

The first local theatrical showing of a digital restoration of E. A. Dupont’s silent masterwork Varieté (1926) warrants notice on this page primarily because its remarkably satisfying live accompaniment resulted from the four-month effort of students and their guru at a major Boston conservatory. One of the few examples of great art from the milieu of artistes, Varieté transcended the backstage circus genre through the genius of great actors, director and cinematographer to apotheosize the form.

Leading German actor Emil Jannings could smolder and fume like no other. His total command of face and entire body allowed him to inhabit a tremendous range of roles. As the film begins, prisoner number 28 emerges from his cell in a bent stoop that is so evocative that it nearly tells the entire story. His emotional state can be read on his back.

There is an operatic quality of large gesture to silent film acting that a good score can enhance and an inappropriate score can shatter. The music should read the inner souls of the actors (comic or tragic) and support, foreshadow and respond, but never mimic. With a great marriage of music and film, the visual and sonic rhythms fit inevitably together. [continued…]

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