Saturday, August 27, 2016
It’s not one of the world’s opera destinations, but Boston Lyric are turning a 40th anniversary to good use. Looks like they have defined a market hunk. Press release: Boston, MA — August 22, 2016 – Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) Stanford Calderwood General and Artistic Director Esther Nelson announced today a multi-platform, regional recognition of the robust opera and vocal music offerings in Greater Boston over the next six weeks, and debuted an online calendar that combines them all as part of the company’s “40 Days of Opera” celebration. Inspired by BLO’s 40th season and its status as the most-enduring opera company in the city’s history, “40 Days of Opera” includes free and low-cost live events designed for audiences of all ages and all levels of familiarity, including those experiencing opera for the first time. BLO, its artistic partners, and producers and music artists across the city will be part of the celebration. In addition to live events, fresh opera-related content on partner sites and social media platforms (#40DaysOfOpera on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) will spread opera history and information to a variety of audiences. The initiative begins this week with three opera-related events at the Boston Public Library and ends with the final performance of BLO’s Carmen on October 2. “At the heart of our mission is the belief that opera is for everyone,” Nelson said, “As the largest, oldest opera company in the region, we take seriously our position to develop future audiences for the art form and support the local organizations who produce, present and support it. It is heartening to see how many Boston-area groups are dedicated to making opera a vibrant force here.” Among the activities during the “40 Days” event: an Opera Walking Tour of Boston from Boston by Foot; concerts and educational events at the Boston Public Library and the Boston Center for Adult Education; a weekend of film screenings of acclaimed opera productions at ArtsEmerson; a special film screening and event at the Somerville Theater; live performance events from Boston Lyric Opera, the Handel and Haydn Society,Odyssey Opera, Guerilla Opera, Opera on Tap, Cerise Jacobs’ Ouroboros Trilogy (presented by ArtsEmerson and Beth Morrison Projects), and local conservatories. An in-school performance will be coordinated with theBoston Public Schools’ Arts division. Other participating groups will share Boston-centric opera highlights and create digital events across social media platforms throughout the 40 days. Additional activities are expected to be added to the calendar.
Royal Albert Hall, London Narek Hakhnazaryan displayed his outstanding musicianship with a technically impeccable and distinctive account of Haydn’s First Cello Concerto For its visit to this year’s Proms, the Ulster Orchestra and its chief conductor, Rafael Payare, brought a new work by the English-born, Belfast-based Piers Hellawell, who turns 60 this year. At 20 minutes long, Wild Flow consists of five pieces with faster outer sections framing a central slow movement.Hellawell suggests that rather than developing organically, the result “offers a zigzag progression of mood and event”; he’s also distrustful of the notion of music being “about” something beyond its musical meaning. So if the piece itself registered as bitty – a sequence of diverse individual episodes without much sense of a larger picture – that was presumably deliberate, though there were certainly moments of striking character, colour and texture along the way, with sudden bursts of manic activity offset by moments of uneasy stasis – though rarely of calm. This premiere performance felt entirely assured. Continue reading...
The weekly diary of Anthea Kreston, violinist of the Berlin-based Artemis Quartet: This week we are back to quartet. Several concerts of old repertoire allow us the rehearsal time to build new repertoire – this week we begin Haydn Op. 76 #1, Schumann 3 and Rihm 3. This next week we gather for a festival at a lake – Bebersee – where we play quartet concerts. Jason and I stay for another week of mixed chamber music – from Beethoven to Schnittke. I returned this week to lend a hand at the Mit Macht Musik program for refugees. This time I was able to see a bit more of the facility – a community garden and a large courtyard with bicycles and children playing is nestled in between the horse-shoe shaped government building. As I walked up to the entrance I took a deep breath in – the smells of cooking hit me with a pungent wall of yum. I wanted to continue up another flight of stairs just to take a look at what was on the stove. I was greeted with hugs from a couple of the students, all of whom respond enthusiastically to the music – the pieces being taught are familiar songs from the home countries – Afghanistan, Syria, Chechnya. I was happy to see more parents this time – coming to pick up kids and ask questions. I learned that there is a hierarchy of cultures even in this small refugee village – prejudices and long-standing clashes of cultures. Some countries have a history of an established educational system, and some not. Many of the women from particular countries have never attended a school themselves – do not know how to read or write, or the importance of regular attendance. The teachers try to impart this need to them – consistent attendance is a must – a difficult concept for a parent who has never been in a formal learning environment. Some of the things I observed gave me heavy pause – and made me think that music is indeed a tool which can help bridge cultures, all of which have different priorities. To give a child a voice – a child who may have never had the opportunity to speak her (his) mind before, is a gift which can be given through music in a somewhat gentle way. Each person who had made it all the way from their homes to that village in Potsdam has courage the likes of which we will never be able to understand. And yet, the courage to find your own voice, the pride of discovery and creativity – of collaboration between people of different genders, ages, languages – with no hierarchy – these are things that happen in music – things that you do not realize you are teaching, or doing. Some families allow their children this freedom, and some are still struggling with this new-found freedom of choice. With love and support of the teachers, I believe they will come to that music room and allow their children the choice to discover their own voices.
Royal Albert Hall, London Charlotte Bray’s cello concerto asked rather than answered questions and was played with absolute engagement by Guy JohnstonEven with Mahler’s fifth symphony and a Haydn rarity in the programme, Charlotte Bray’s new cello concerto, Falling in the Fire, was the centrepiece of this unfailingly interesting and varied Prom.The concerto confronts two important, linked questions with which many creative artists have wrestled: how can a composer respond to the great public issues of the day – in this case the war in Syria – and how can any such response avoid being judged on moral as much as on musical grounds? Bray’s concerto sensibly embodies these questions rather than answering them. Continue reading...
The pianist and composer John Field certainly didn’t let the grass grow under his feet. He was born in Dublin, spent time in Bath and London, performed before Haydn, sustained a long European association with Clementi, then took Russian residency for a quarter of a century before spending his final years battling the illness that Read More ...
While this post is about a string quartet, it is nothing like what you might expect. The Quatuor Ébène is proving that there is far more to the string quartet repertoire than we are used to hearing. ‘Avant-garde’ barely describes the chances these four young men take in embracing the entire field of music, from their award winning CD of the quartets of Debussy, Ravel and Fauré and another all Haydn CD to this collection of creative works that is titled “Fiction” These four musicians have studied extensively with the Ysaye Quartet in Paris as well as with the eminent Gábor Takács, Eberhard Feltz and György Kurtág. Their performing standards are high and they are highly regarded for their subtle phrasing and sweeping passion. But they don’t stop there. This recording, titled FICTION, has the quartet entering the repertoire of pop and jazz: they can be seen performing on YouTube where it is obvious that using contemporary sound techniques such as attaching mini-microphones to their instruments to give that ‘electric sound’. Here is a sample of the amazing music by the Ebene Quatuor:
Joseph Haydn (31 March 1732 - 31 May 1809) was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms. He was also instrumental in the development of the piano trio and in the evolution of sonata form. A life-long resident of Austria, Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Hungarian aristocratic Esterházy family on their remote estate. Isolated from other composers and trends in music until the later part of his long life, he was, as he put it, "forced to become original". At the time of his death, he was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe. Joseph Haydn was the brother of Michael Haydn, himself a highly regarded composer, and Johann Evangelist Haydn, a tenor. He was also a close friend of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a teacher of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Great composers of classical music