Monday, March 30, 2009

Steve Greenlee reviews Blind Boys and Pres Hall for Globe


Though he did fail to mention that Friday night's concert by The Blind Boys of Alabama and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Symphony Hall was a co-presentation by Celebrity Series of Boston (ahem) and their friends at World Music (I suppose it could have been an editor's choice to omit us), Steve Greenlee's review of the concert in today's Boston Globe was certainly positive:

"The Deep South came north Friday night. The roof-raising concert - the
party! - put on by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Blind Boys
of Alabama was transporting. We weren't in Boston anymore. We were in
the French Quarter. We were in Talladega."

Read A potent combination.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Eichler reviews London Symphony for Globe


Conductor Valery Gergiev

Boston Globe classical music critic Jeremy Eichler reviewed Wednesday evening's concert by the London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev for Thursday's print edition:

Gergiev, LSO bring wartime Prokofiev to Symphony Hall

Monday, March 23, 2009

A few thoughts on and The Globe review of Mark Morris and MMDG

539wMark Morris Dance Group in "V"

I offer here, gentle reader, a few observations from this weekend's Mark Morris Dance Group engagement at the Cutler (presented by, ahem, Celebrity Series of Boston):

  • Morris always manages to relay the sense that the world he comes from is a fabulous party, bursting with acceptance, humor, and candor.

  • "V" isn't brand new anymore, but it does not get old.

  • If you ever lose your place or find your attention diverted while watching the company (though I'm not sure how that could happen), watch Lauren Grant dance; she'll help you get right. On second thought, watch Lauren even if you are completely in-sync with the performance, it's just a good idea.

  • In much the same way that it's fun to imagine Ted Williams' reaction to the Red Sox winning the Series in '04, I often find myself wondering what, say, Schubert, would think of what Mark Morris has created around his compositions. One can imagine the scene for any of the composers in the MMDG pantheon. It's a pleasant little fantasy.

  • It would break something of a cardinal rule for Morris as it is a recording, but I would love to see him choreograph something to the original recording of Django by the Modern Jazz Quartet. It's a perfect little gem of a piece and would make a good miniature, IMHO.

Thea Singer reviewed for The Boston Globe. I'll post more as the links come my way.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Valery Gergiev cover story in NY Times Magazine


Today's New York Times magazine cover story is on conductor Valery Gergiev, who will visit Boston and the Celebrity Series with the London Symphony on March 25 for a program of Beethoven and Prokofiev. Below is the second paragraph of the very in-depth article:

"The burned-out hulks of bombarded buildings testified to the fury of the fighting that took place when Georgia unsuccessfully tried to seize control of its breakaway region. Russian troops had occupied the town barely a week earlier, in support of the secessionist Ossetians. Speaking in English as well as in Russian on a live television broadcast, Gergiev told the crowd, 'I am Ossetian myself,' and explained that he had come 'to see with my own eyes the horrible destruction of this city' and to perform a concert in honor of the dead. 'If it wasn’t for the help of the Russian Army here, there would be thousands and thousands more victims,' he said. 'I am very grateful as Ossetian to my great country, Russia, for this help.'

Read all of The Loyalist.

Globe review of Silk Road concerts


The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

Check out Matthew Guerierri's review of both concerts by The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma.

I'll just say that the response - from the rapt attention, to the post-performance hush, to the tumultuous applause - made more than a few of us proud of our town. This was great stuff and they completely got it. It wasn't that it was surprising that the audience was so on top of things, it's was just that they were with the musicians every step of the way; it felt quite communal to me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mark Morris Dance Group reviewed in Louisville, Kentucky


Dance critic Andrew Adler reviewed the Mark Morris Dance Group for the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. Here is a bit of Adler's preamble to a program rather similar to the one Boston will see March 19-22:

"A few days ago I asked Bruce Simpson, artistic director of the Louisville Ballet, what he finds particularly distinctive about choreographer Mark Morris. 'Musicality,' Simpson answered without hesitation.

Shouldn’t that be a hallmark of any dance-maker, I said? Yes, Simpson agreed, but emphasized how Morris’ choreography 'makes the music even clearer to the person experiencing it.'

And there was this:

"'All Fours' frequently displayed a ferocious energy that threatened to spill over in every direction."

That sounds about right, but we recommend coming and seeing/hearing for yourself.

Mark Morris Dance Group
March 19-22
Cutler Majestic Theatre

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Silk Road Project: Passion Driven Education" (video)

This wonderful endeavor comes to Symphony Hall this Sunday, March 8 and Monday 9.

Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma student rush ticket tip


The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

Word to the wise:

If you're a student (as in, with an ID) and you want to hear The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma at Symphony Hall at a student rush ticket price ($20), think Monday, March 9. That's when we are offering rush tickets and that's the show that has more than a couple of tickets left (plenty for non-students, too). Plus, Monday's performance has the very cool multi-media chamber arrangement of "Layla and Majnun," the epic Central Asian opera based on the ancient
love story that Ma describes as "the 'Romeo and Juliet' of the
Azeri-Persian-Arabic world."

Bonus links:

Here is today's Boston Globe article on Silk Road and Yo-Yo Ma.

And Keith Powers' piece on The Silk Road Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma from today's Herald.

Lang Lang reviewed in Boston Globe


Lang Lang

Matthew Guerrieri turned in a typically thoughtful Boston Globe review of pianist Lang Lang's recital this past Sunday. Here is a snippet of the review, but don't miss the excellent reader comments submitted by "nimitta," either:

"The Celebrity Series of
Boston lived up to its name in presenting a Symphony Hall recital by
Lang Lang. While the 26-year-old Chinese pianist is well-known for more
than simply, in Daniel Boorstin's famous formulation, his
well-knownness, the cultivation of celebrity is a large and
unapologetic part of Lang's career: His program biography gives his
recordings and his signature Adidas sneakers equal billing. But much of
Sunday's program made celebrity conspicuous by its absence, using the
latitude of virtuoso fame to traverse more cerebral repertoire."

Read all of Lang Lang displays star power and restraint plus comments.

It apperas a consensus is forming that Lang Lang is improving as a musician and that "something extra" (star power?) that he has is undiminished by sneaker contracts.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Alvin Ailey: "The greatest works of art are the most personal"

Alvin Ailey, choreographer and founder of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from a 1986 video on the company.

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the Boston Opera house April 28-May 3.