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Classical

American Classical Orchestra and Chorus: Cherubini, Beethoven and Mozart

November 24, 2017

The two soprano soloists were marvelous. Hélène Brunet combines supple lyricism with technical elegance. Clara Rottsolk’s voice is at once silvery and earthy, delicate and powerful. In their individual arias, both women committed to highly ornamented interpretations; both were able to make ornament feel like a spontaneous, unplanned and experimental development of ideas. In his conducting, Crawford gives his best singers – such as Brunet and Rottsolk – considerable room to make the music their own without ever losing coherence or the appropriate tempo. When singing together, as in “Domine Deus, Rex caelestis,” these sopranos’ voices were beautifully matched. [more]

Van Gogh’s Ear

August 21, 2017

Projected titles indicate place and year—beginning with Arles, 1888 and progressing until van Gogh’s suicide—which we hear as an offstage gunshot—in July of 1890. The audience is treated to Vincent’s thoughts on his painting technique, his poverty, his mental health, his fellow artists, stars, sunflowers, all interrupted by chamber music by Debussy, Fauré, Chausson and Franck played—in various combinations—by Henry Wang (violin), Yuval Herz (violin), Chich-Fan Yiu (viola), Timotheos Petrin (cello), Max Barros (piano) and Renana Gutman (piano). [more]

Vespers of 1610 (Handel + Haydn Society Orchestra and Chorus)

April 17, 2017

"Vespers of 1610" is a big and oddly sprawling work. It makes no liturgical sense, and, in terms of texts, has little programmatic unity beyond a consistent Marian devotion. But it is a coherent whole of musical and spiritual experience. It gives the impression of limitlessness, as though there were no end to what Monteverdi could have kept on telling us, precisely because the sacredness and meaning of God’s sacred words are infinite. [more]

The Cecilia Chorus of New York with Orchestra: Ludwig van Beethoven, Missa Solemnis, Op. 123

May 25, 2016

Price, Bottoms, Richardson and Courville are all strong, clear singers; they were well matched in this performance, alert to each other's pacing and responsive to each other's sensibilities. Although any one of the four could have grabbed a center spotlight, they were unified – probably by a combination of their own individual understandings of Beethoven's purposes and by Shapiro's direction – in graceful collaborative cohesion in their singing. [more]

Simon Steen-Anderson and JACK Quartet: “Run Time Error”

September 29, 2015

"Run Time Error," an evening of recent and new works, including both New York and United States premieres composed by Simon Steen-Andersen, who performed with the JACK Quartet, had all the makings of a wonderful evening. Steen-Andersen, Danish born and now Berlin-based composer has received numerous accolades and awards internationally. JACK Quartet – Christopher Otto/violin, Ari Streisfeld/violin, John Pickford Richards/viola and Kevin McFarland/cello – are stunning musicians equally at home in traditional classical and contemporary experimental literature. "Run Time Error" should have been marvelous: there were all sorts of promising elements. It was meant to be a splendid opening to Miller Theatre's 27th Season. There were indeed some fun parts, but it wasn't marvelous. [more]

Ensemble for the Romantic Century: “The Sorrows of Young Werther”

June 15, 2015

Now in its fourteenth year, the remarkable Ensemble for the Romantic Century, founded by Eve Wolf, has been presenting musical programs of intellectual coherence and imagination, examining themes and subjects central to the development and character of the “long” nineteenth century, from the Enlightenment to the end of the Victorian Era. ERC's most recent production, The Sorrows of Young Werther, represents the best of this kind of production. Rich and subtle interdisciplinary critical and creative thinking informed the careful merging of a dramatic presentation of Goethe's novella, The Sorrows of Young Werther with Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe. The result was an evening of considerable artistic beauty and intellectual rewards. [more]

Nordic Fiddlers Bloc

April 27, 2015

The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc consists of Olav Luksengard Mjelva from Norway (hardanger and octave fiddles), Kevin Henderson from Shetland (fiddle) and Anders Hall from Sweden (fiddle and viola); the three met informally through mutual friends and colleagues and have been playing together seriously for some five years. Each artist has an extensive and stellar career apart from and in addition to Nordic Fiddlers Bloc. They live their professional lives in overlapping spheres of teaching and composing as well as collaborating, recording and performing with other artists and groups. As the competently English speaking Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, they have developed a congenial performance style that alternates humorously self-deprecating but helpfully informative banter with individual “tunes.” The evening had the feel of both formal concert and calmly funky gig. [more]

Parthenia Viol Consort: Harp & Viols – Early Works, Plus a World Premiere by Eleonor Sandresky

March 31, 2015

Eleonor Sandresky is not the first composer to be attracted to Parthenia's affinity for collaboration with contemporary music-writers. Her new piece, “John Donne Songs Without Words,” was written for and with Parthenia and Patton, as Sandresky herself explained in her brief introduction of the piece to the March 22 audience. Sandresky builds on these musicians' ability to make their instruments accomplish everything that Baroque composers expected them to as well as much that their seventeenth century sensibilities would never have imagined. Sandresky assumes, as well, these musicians' wide-ranging intellectual literacy, their willing ability to stretch their performance skills and purposes, and their exceptionally good-willed, down-to-earth lack of pretense. [more]

Parthenia Viol Consort presents “For Ye Violls”

October 17, 2014

English baroque court music is steeped in contradictions. It is both intimate and public; it is conventional and playful; it is topical and occasional on the one hand and non-specifically accessible on the other. Lawes inherited these basic contradictions together with the demanding formal features of traditional musical genres. Within these constraints, he was so daringly inventive that artistic freedom is ultimately more his signature than genre or time period. [more]

Random Access Music presents Parthenia, A Consort of Viols, “Prisms: Ancient Courses in A New Light”

November 15, 2013

On November 8, 2013 in the welcoming Benzaquen Hall performing space of the DeMenna Center in Manhattan, Random Access Music, a New York City based consortium of contemporary composers, presented an evening of new music created specifically for the highly acclaimed viol consort, Parthenia. The program opened with a brief welcome from Allen Schulz, president and founding member of Random Access Music. He noted that plans for collaboration between Parthenia and RAM began almost two years ago; this November 8 concert of RAM's 2013-2014 season was the first of what many hope will be continued future collaborations. [more]