Memorable Day at Tannery Pond

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This review is the first in a series of dispatches from an estimable sibling e-journal, The Berkshire Review. From time to time this summer their writers will be covering events in the western parts of Massachusetts and nearby New York for BMInt. In the regular concert season Berkshire Review will selectively re-print some of the articles from this journal. We salute Berkshire Review editor, Michael Miller and anticipate a fruitful collaboration.
Lee Eiseman, publisher

Shaker Village at New Lebanon, New York, seemed an unlikely setting for the serious and sometimes stark musical fare offered on Saturday evening, May 29, by the Brentano String Quartet in the Tannery Pond Concerts. The Beethoven String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Opus 131 alone can exhaust both listeners and performers in its emotional extremes. The deeply tragic and valedictory Britten String Quartet III, Opus 94, was infused with poignancy and despair. The rarely heard Schumann String Quartet in F-Major, Opus 41, No. 2, while having its share of Biedermeir charm, also shared some spectral affinities with the Britten, and evoked, at times, the melancholy of Caspar David Friedrich’s dark and mysterious landscapes. However, one could not have been more satisfied and impressed with a performance that transformed the darkness into light with the sheer force of musical intelligence and immaculate technique.                   [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

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OLO Ends for 2016

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College of Wooster OH (August 5th)— Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun and Jerome Kern’s Have a Heart along with the symposium “Taking Light Opera Seriously” concluded the annual festivities for Ohio Light Opera.     [continued]

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a test

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Two more different musical shows can hardly be imagined than Offenbach’s frothy “theater of the absurd” La Vie Parisienne, which was Thursday’s matinee at the Ohio Light Opera, before the evening disclosed a very rare production of Ivor Novello’s The Dancing Years, a grand old-fashioned show of the kind you hardly see now, with a    [continued]

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Epochal Evening at Symphony

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A distinct buzz was emanating from Symphony Hall Thursday when this writer joined counterparts from two other electronic journals in a one-hour interview with new Music Director Andris Nelsons and Managing Director Mark Volpe. PBS was there doing special lighting and setting up camera positions for what isn’t even going to be opening night, although    [continued]

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Pamela Frank’s Mysterious and Historic Return

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Violinist Pamela Frank made her return to the concert stage after an absence of over a decade at Tannery Pond on Sunday.  It was exciting to hear her with pianist Emmanuel Ax in the intimate, acoustically warm and immediate Tannery. The performance was pure joy throughout. We can only be grateful that Pamela Frank is playing again.    [continued]

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Full Gamut of Tonality from Tokyo String Quartet

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For Tannery Pond, Tokyo String Quartet offered a program of works entirely in minor keys: Haydn’s op. 74, no. 3 in G minor, Mendelssohn’s op. 44, no. 2 in E minor, and Debussy’s, back in G minor. These works, by a classical composer, a classically-minded Romantic, and a modernist show the full gamut of tonality within the conventions they represent.     [continued]

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Anticipation Rewarded – Primakov at Tannery

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Vassily Primakov’s piano recital on July 24, the most anticipated event of the Tannery Pond season, included Schumann’s first version of the knotty, difficult Third Sonata, with its extra movement — a rarity, and definitely among the treasures of the evening. Preparation is central to Primakov’s programming. He arranged a coherent sequence of fourteen Schubert waltzes, played with little of the relaxed intimacies of Viennese party music and all of the weight and discipline of a public piano recital. In Schumann’s Third Sonata, the incisiveness of Primakov’s chords and the clarity of his playing let us hear the music without sacrificing any of its mad energy. Rachmaninoff gave him the scope to muster a vast range of color and dynamics in these fully realized performances.      [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

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Storgårds Worth Considering for BSO Music Director

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John Storgårds, who conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood on July 16, is a newcomer. His predilection is for mixing basic repertory with little-known symphonic works as well as contemporary compositions. He dispensed with his baton for Finlandia and Valse Triste and conducted with a more or less true agogic technique, leading the audience into Sibelius’ progression of mental states. Nikolaj Znaider tempered his consummate virtuosity with an aristocratic poise and restraint in Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. Storgård then brought an immense range of expression to his interpretation of the Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony, presenting it, like the other works, as a highly original, modern work with more original insights than James Levine might have had. I hope the committee will give him very serious consideration.            [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

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Tanglewood’s Third Try: Levine Replacements Announced

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This article begins the second series of dispatches from an estimable sibling e-journal, The Berkshire Review. From time to time this summer, their writers will be covering events in the western parts of Massachusetts and nearby New York for BMInt. In the regular concert season, Berkshire Review will selectively reprint some posts from our journal. This    [continued]

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Gerstein Returns to Tannery — Where It All Began

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Kirill Gerstein, who appeared at Tannery Pond on July 31, produces a big sound when he plays, often a bit much for Tannery and its fine Yamaha. Gerstein took a grand, almost epic approach to Chopin’s Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49. In J. S. Bach’s English Suite No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 807, he dutifully avoided touching the pedals even once with his feet. His balance of tone and voices, and his use of color to differentiate them, were especially compelling. Gerstein played the Knussen, Ophelia’s Last Dance, Op. 32 impeccably, avoiding the hints of sentimentality. I found the Schumann Humoreske to be the most satisfying work on the program, although I did enjoy the Bach.             [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

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Beowulf, sung and recited by Benjamin Bagby

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Benjamin Bagby, who has been performing Beowulf for 20 years, gave a performance in Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood on July 22. Bagby’s unlocking of its expressive power of is a wonder. The enormity of sound produced in the famous opening word of the poem, Hwaet! (Listen!) showed this was to be a performance on a very large scale, true to the concept of epic. Bagby’s attention to detail makes the verse — and the story — intensely vivid. He combines this with a fine sense of timing and narrative shape, so that it succeeds in musical and dramatic terms as well. And then there is his robust and infectious sense of humor!     [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

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Jeremy Denk’s Superb Programming A Metaphysical Exploration

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While the Liszt “Fantasia quasi Sonata” Après une Lecture de Dante stood at the center of the program at Tannery Pond on July 3, the germ of the program was set in motion by two toccatas of J. S. Bach, Toccata in D major, BWV 912 and Toccata in F-sharp minor, BWV 910. Whatever Denk puts in a program has not just the thoughtful concatenation we associate with “curated” programming, but a metaphysical exploration of music through affinities that are basically true on a musical level. The brief and dense Ligeti Études are surprisingly accessible, as Denk plays them.        [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

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Three More Summer Festivals

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Tanglewood and the Newport Music Festival are well known; Mohawk Trails Concerts is new to us. Tanglewood, founded in 1940, and Newport, founded in 1968, offer many concerts, not only in the evenings, but throughout the day, with a variety of times, programs, and venues.  Mohawk Trails Concerts, located in Charlemont, MA, offers a far    [continued]

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Robison with Lubambo, Baptista Go Brazilian at Tannery Pond

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Music that is somehow outside the accepted parameters of classical music appears at the Tannery Pond Concerts once or twice every season. Now, for Tannery’s 20th anniversary, Artistic Director Christian Steiner asked flutist Paula Robison and her colleagues, Romero Lubambo and Cyro Baptista, to return after a 10-year absence to play the Brazilian music which has attracted a warmly enthusiastic following. The concert was Saturday, June 19. The music itself is irresistible, but what made it unique was the combination of these three highly virtuosic players and the particular mutual understanding and interplay they’ve developed over years of happy musicmaking.             [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

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About the Intelligencer

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Many of us today rue the general decline in musical culture and literacy. In a small way we believe we are reversing that trend with this online virtual journal and blog. If you have looked in the Boston Globe or the late Boston Phoenix calendars for guidance on what concert to attend, or looked in    [continued]

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Two Parts to One Whole

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Boston Opera Collective continues its run of Laura Kaminsky’s As One tonight, January 27th, and tomorrow afternoon at Longy. This intimate and modern two-person show tells a story by librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed of a male-to-female transgendered character.    [continued]

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Events of 1905 Resound Theatrically

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Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 epic photoplay The Battleship Potemkin not only advanced the nascent silent cinema art, but also served as a successful agitprop vehicle for the Bolsheviks. The opportunity to see its world shattering depiction of maggots, mutiny, and the infamous baby carriage ride down the Odessa Steps on a big screen with a live    [continued]

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Captivating Elixir from OperaHub

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OperaHub delivered Mexican composer Daniel Catàn’s 1991 mad-scientist opera La Hija de Rappaccini in compelling style at the Plaza Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts last night, updating the setting to two modern scientific laboratories. Continues tonight and Saturday. Free, but reservations recommended.   [continued]

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Why Was BPYO Tour So Special?

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The three-year-old Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra returned a few weeks ago with 120 players and 15 adults from a 17-day tuitionless tour to some of the cultural centers of Europe. Their critically acclaimed performances of demanding programs in Prague, Berlin, Berne, Basel, and Lucerne deserve our notice, and incidentally our next chance to notice them    [continued]

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