Monday, October 31, 2005

Ives Songs

"He [Ives] put Milton to music, and Kipling. It was often in the past. Or he could take a scrap, a headline from a newspaper and somehow dignify it with music that surged over it. It could be a triviality, but somehow or other it fired his imagination and the music came spontaneously....He did it again and again. He took only part of a Kipling poem, part of Milton, too. Just a phrase would fire his imagination. It was extraordinary what he accomplished."
Poet-anthologist Louis Untermeyer

" 1934, I published an article in the magazine Modern Music on the music of Charles Ives, based on a first acquaintance with the remarkable collection of his 114 Songs that he himself had published and had sent to me. The essay began: 'It will be a long time before we take the full measure of Charles Ives.'"
Composer Aaron Copland

Both of the above quotes regarding the songs of Charles Ives are taken from Charles Ives Remembered, An Oral History, by Vivian Perlis.

Soprano Deborah Voigt will sing five Ives songs on her November 13 Celebrity Series recital at Symphony Hall.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Live at the House of Sanders

Inconsequential details abound from tonight's engagement at Sanders Theatre by Wynton Marsalis and his, variously, quintet/sextet/quintet and vocalist:

1. That Wynton and band had brunch at Henrietta's Table in The Charles Hotel before the show (of delicious consequence to them, no doubt);

2. Wynton let his audience know he had never played Sanders Theatre before and that he admired the woodwork;

3. Harvard's eminent Henry Louis Gates attended the performance (of consequence to him and his tapping foot, surely).

Aside from all that fluff, and aside from the very consequential fact of Wynton's small band(s) living fully, swingingly up to expectations, the audible sighs (gasps?) from the audience when singer Jennifer Sannon launched into "I'm Just a Lucky So-and-So" and the wild applause that greeted pianist Dan Nimmer after nearly every solo, revealed that the young singer and young pianist were the surprises of the evening that would have everyone buzzing. And she's only 20 years old!
Jennifer Sannon and Dan Nimmer - remember those names.

Further inconsequence overheard on the way through Harvard Yard tonight:
"The rhino is really a very horrible creature, you know."
"Of course."

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Limón Dance Company returns to Boston and the Celebrity Series this weekend for the first time since February of 1965, when they performed at Jordan Hall that’s not a typo. The Celebrity Series presented the then José Limón Dance Company five times between 1952 and 1965 and all engagements took place at Jordan Hall, that gem of a recital hall at New England Conservatory. It’s true.

Former Celebrity Series Executive Director, Walter Pierce, newly returned from a
Repf03_1 Sicilian vacation, remembers that Mr. Limón himself danced in The Moor’s Pavane at the ’65 engagement.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

"Celebrity Series Soprano Sings Rice" follow up

Alex Ross (The Rest is Noise) had this to say about the Two Sides Sounding (featuring former Celebrity Series employee, Eleanor Taylor, you'll remember) recital at Manhattan's St. Peter's Church on Tuesday:

"Corey Dargel's Condoleezza Rice song cycle — setting three passages from the Secretary of State's speeches — sounded prankish in concept, but was surprisingly moving in execution; the prosody was immaculate, the accompaniment achieved a certain Handelian grandeur. I recommend these songs to sopranos of daring." Alex's post.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Higher Ground concert recording to be released by Blue Note

You may recall that trumpet titan Wynton Marsalis organized a remarkable benefit concert called Higher Ground back on September 17 for hurricane relief efforts in New Orleans. The concert aired on multiple television stations and satellite radio and will soon be released by Blue Note records as a CD and in a "digital version," presumably available as a download from online music stores (CDs are digital, too, aren't they?).  Proceeds from the recording will also go to hurricane relief. You can order the CD here (among other places, I'm sure).

Not to make this a self-referential exercise, but I was struck while reading about the concert and CD how many of the "cast of thousands" performing - musicians generally regarded as jazz and popular music performers - have graced Celebrity Series stages. Considering jazz and popular music performances are not our major area of emphasis, it's an interesting and perhaps odd coincidence that Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Roberts, Wynton Marsalis, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Joe Lovano, Cassandra Wilson, and Peter Cincotti all have the Higher Ground CD and the Celebrity Series in common.

I don't know, maybe it isn't all that odd...

Monday, October 24, 2005

"The Benefits of Being a Dead Artist"

The headline sounds a bit harsh, but its point - that "only [her] stunning works prevail," the choreographic cream rises to the top, etc. - is well taken. Read Tarin Chaplin's review of the Martha Graham Dance Company for The Barre Montpelier Times Argus.

Boston gets a chance to see The Martha Graham Dance Company at The Shubert Theatre, December 2-4 for the first time since 1996.

Cecilia at Symphony Hall

She blazed into Symphony Hall again for a concert of Scarlatti, Caldara, Handel and Corelli with the Orchestra La Scintilla of Zürich Opera.

The Boston Globe's Richard Dyer reviewed yesterday's concert by Cecilia Bartoli at Symphony Hall: "Her voice is not large, but the emotional wallop it delivers is." Read the full text of Mr. Dyer's review here.

The four encores, in order, were:
Giovanni Bonocinni
"Oindra mai fu" from Xerse
"Datempesta" from Giulio Cesare
Alessandro Scarlatti
"Che dolce simpatia" from Il Giardino di Rose

The fourth and final encore was a reprise of Handel's “Disserratevi, o porte d’Averno” from Oratorio per la Resurrezione di Nostro Signor Gesù Cristo

A colleague in attendance who is a fan of the music but not one to pull punches said it best, "It was beyond awesome.... she is an international treasure..." To say we are proud to present Ms. Bartoli is an understatement.

As of September 13, Ms. Bartoli's recordings are available for download on iTunes? This should have some impact on the "demise of the classical recording industry" discussion...the details.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Celebrity Series Soprano Sings Rice

Leave it to Alex Ross (The Rest is Noise) to recognize and promote talent. Tucked away at the end of his post on the passion for opera shared by Tom Delay and Robert Bork and the general state of opera in Washington, is a little item that really drew our attention. Soprano Eleanor Taylor (a Celebrity Series employee from 1993-98, thank you very much!) and pianist Jocelyn Dueck (the duo call themselves Two Sides Sounding) will perform the world premiere of a song cycle by Corey Dargel and Sam Piperato set to the speeches of Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice. The performance is at Manhattan's Saint Peters Church on October 25. Break a leg, Eleanor!

Thursday, October 20, 2005


We have discussed the project here before, but people are getting quite excited about Russ Gershon and the Either/Orchestra's ongoing Ethio-jazz activities. The band's new CD, Live in Addis, was recently released on Buda Musique . The band has been making appearances locally with Ethiopian multi-instrumentalist Mulatu Astatke and talking about the new Either/Orchestra recording and Jim Jarmusch's use of Astatke's music in his new film Broken Flowers.

In Thursday's Boston Phoenix, Jon Garelick took a look at the Either/Orchestra's Ethio-jazz project as did Bob Young in Tuesday's Boston Herald.

You can hear the Either/Orchestra play Ethio-jazz with Mulatu Astatke in a November 2004 performance from New Sounds Live at World Financial Center (aired on WNYC January 13, 2005).

Russ and Mulatu Astatke dropped in on Christopher Lydon's Open Source on WGBH-FM on October 12. The full hour is available here.

For our part, the Celebrity Series will present the Either/Orchestra and Ethiopian guest musicians on Saturday, January 28 at the Berklee Performance Center.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"...still tapping on the door of innovation"

The Celebrity Series along with our friends at World Music brought tap dance magician Savion Glover to Symphony Hall last night for Classical Savion, which paired the renowned hoofer with a chamber orchestra and, for the finale, a small jazz unit. Dance critic Theodore Bale reviewed the performance for today's Boston Herald.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

San Francisco Symphony violist joins Takács Quartet

Long time San Francisco Symphony violist Geraldine Walther joined the Takács Quartet at the beginning of the 2005-2006 concert season. The San Francisco Chronicle offers assurances that the addition of Ms. Walther not caused so much as a ripple in the ensemble's combination of "vitality, zest and somewhat dark-hued urgency." Read Joshua Kosman's San Francisco Chronicle review of the Takács Quartet.

The Takács Quartet makes a Celebrity Series appearance December 11 at Jordan Hall. The program includes Haydn and Borodin, and violist James Dunham joins the Takács for Mozart's String Quintet in G minor, K. 516.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dyer thinks Schiff sharp

Richard Dyer of The Boston Globe was impressed with pianist Andras Schiff's Friday evening recital, calling his Beethoven sonata renderings "nimble fingered" and "delightful." Read the complete review.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

And Schubert for the finish...

Pianist András Schiff played two encore selections to close his Boston recital last night:

Schubert, Hungarian Melody in B minor, D.817
Schubert, Impromptu No. 4 in F minor D. 935 op. 142

The rest of the recital program can be found here.

Friday, October 7, 2005

András Schiff thrills Ann Arbor with Haydn And Beethoven

Andras_schiff_am_klavier1Pianist András Schiff opened the University Musical Society chamber music series in Ann Arbor this past Wednesday with the program of Haydn and Beethoven that Boston will hear tonight at Jordan Hall. The Ann Arbor News was ecstatic, pronouncing the recital "among the best in years." Read the complete review.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

It's better than 'It Tastes Like Chicken'

Baltimore is currently enjoying the delights of the unusually named ensemble "eighth blackbird." Boston, well, technically Cambridge, will have a chance to hear this remarkable group in a Celebrity Series program called "lucid, inescapable rhythms" on March 26 at Sanders Theatre.

Critic Tim Smith spoke with eighth blackbird for an article in today's Baltimore Sun (requires login).

Want to hear the group? Here are some audio samples from Saint Paul Sunday of eighth blackbird performing Thirteen Ways (composed by eighth blackbird's Thomas Albert to text by Wallace Stevens).

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Deborah Voigt, friend of the art song

Soprano Deborah Voigt's newest recording, All My Heart - Deborah Voigt Sings American Songs, with pianist Brian Zeger gets a review from Elaine Guregian of the Akron-Beacon Journal. Guregian writes, "Art song is lucky to have such a friend."

Many tracks and composers on All My Heart are on the program for Ms. Voigt's Celebrity Series recital on November 13 at Symphony Hall.

As long as we're linking to the redoubtable Andante, why not throw in Ms. Voigt's interview with Jochen Breiholz from 2003.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

WGBH to air Royal Ballet's Nutcracker

WGBH television will air Peter Wright's production of The Nutcracker by The Royal Ballet four times during October. Former Royal Ballet Artistic Director Anthony Dowell dances the role of the toy and the clockmaker Herr Drosselmeyer.
Julie Andrews hosts.

The Royal Ballet visits Boston for four performances of Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, June 15-17 at The Wang Theatre .

Guthrie to Ride "City of New Orleans" for Hurricane Relief

This December, folk legend Arlo Guthrie will live out his 1972 hit City of New Orleans (written by Steve Goodman) when Christmas Train to New Orleans - Arlo & Friends on The City Of New Orleans hits the rails. Starting in Chicago on December 5 and making eight stops along the famous route to collect music and sound equipment for the many nightclubs and other venues damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

612arloguthrie1_2"When I wonder what they might need in New Orleans to get back on their feet, the stuff that gets ruined under water, I think of all the sound boards, the cables, the lighting, the microphones, the instruments. I think of the stuff you need in the hundreds of little clubs and bars that bring the music to the street -- the street that brings the people to the city. And I think of the many thousands of people who depend on those people for their livelihoods."

Guthrie will gather equipment during the ride as donations or purchased at cost from money raised by the trip. Christmas Train to New Orleans finishes in hurricane ravaged New Orleans on December 17. The names of the artists joining Guthrie on the tour have not yet been announced.

Arlo Guthrie plays Boston's Symphony Hall for the Celebrity Series on November 16.

Monday, October 3, 2005

"Water is like art: It can't be stopped"

Cecilia Bartoli talks with Newsday's Marion Lignana Rosenberg about 18th-century restrictions on female singers, Anita Ekberg in the Trevi Fountain, and her new release, Opera Proibita.

"I needed to present this project in a modern way while maintaining a baroqueEkberg_g_2 sensibility. In La Dolce Vita, Anita Ekberg is in the Fountain of Trevi, a baroque fountain. Her body is sinuous, sensual: She could have been a model for Bernini."

Cecilia Bartoli comes to Symphony Hall with Orchestra La Scintilla of Zürich Opera on Sunday, October 23 .