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Tanglewood and Sevenars: Classical Music Heaven
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires
01:35PM / Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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Sevenars in South Worthington, Mass., welcomes Alexis Kende Walls, violinist, and Lynelle James, pianist, in a program of violin/piano masterpieces.

Tanglewood enters its third week, and the highlights are many; indeed, every concert will be memorable. The legendary Emerson String Quartet present a musico-theatric "Russian Fantasy," followed by an all-Schubert evening. Deeply moving symphonies by Bernstein and Tchaikovsky ensue, with heroic piano concertos by Beethoven and Prokofiev to follow. Orchestral masterworks by Kernis, Britten and Sibelius, and a celebration of early-20th century French vocal music conclude this week's listing of stellar performances of great and amazingly diverse musical offerings.

If, for whatever inexplicable reason the bounteous musical fare at Tanglewood isn't enough to pique your interest, there’s also the captivating Sevenars Chamber Music Festival, in South Worthington, Mass. This week, expect a rich musical palette showcasing stylistic diversity, with a program of classics by Brahms, Fauré, Kreisler and Bartók.

Both venues present wonderful music performed at magnificent venues in pristine, bucolic settings by marvelous performers. Read below for the details.


The Emerson String Quartet is coming to Tanglewood.

• Wednesday, July 19, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: The astounding Emerson String Quartet visits Ozawa Hall for the first of two consecutive programs. Accompanied by an ensemble of seven actors, including David Strathairn and Jay O. Sanders, the Quartet presents "Shostakovich, Stalin, and the Dream of a Second Chance—A Russian Fantasy." The program, written and directed by James Glossman, weaves the tale of Dmitry Shostakovich's obsessive 50-year quest to create an opera from "The Black Monk" - Anton Chekhov's theatrical chamber masterpiece about love, art, madness and freedom. Through music — including a complete performance of Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 14 — supported by the actors and multimedia projections, we view Shostakovich himself attempting, over decades, to retell Chekhov's haunting and heroic story of a writer struggling for his sanity, only to be sidetracked again and again by the composer's own struggle to survive as an artist amid the ever-changing difficulties and anxieties of Stalin's Soviet regime. Don't miss this performance; it's certain to be a Tanglewood highpoint.

• Thursday, July 20, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: For the second program in Tanglewood's six-part "Schubert's Summer Journey" concert series, BSO Artistic Partner Thomas Adès and Italian baritone Andrè Schuen, in his U.S. debut, open the program with five night-inspired songs by Schubert — "Auf der Bruck," D. 853 ("At the Brook"); "Der Wanderer an den Mond," D.870 ("The Wanderer Speaks to the Moon"); "Nachtstück," D.672 ("Nocturne"); "Wanderers Nachtlied II," D.768 ("Wanderer's Nightsong"); and "Willkommen und Abschied," D.767 ("Welcome and Farewell"). As the centerpiece of the program, the Emerson Quartet performs Mark-Anthony Turnage's "Shroud" for string quartet, which memorializes two of the composer's close friends. Closing the program, Mr. Adès and BSO principal bassist Edwin Barker join the Emerson Quartet for Schubert's "Trout" Quintet for piano and strings, D. 667, which the composer completed when he was just 22 years old, and which is one of the most beloved works in the chamber music repertoire.

• Friday, July 21, 8 p.m. in the Shed: The charismatic French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins the BSO and conductor Gustavo Gimeno — who returns to the Tanglewood podium after making his debut with the orchestra last summer — for Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 (with Mr. Thibaudet as soloist,) subtitled "The Age of Anxiety," after W.H. Auden’s poetic masterpiece - a work dedicated to Serge Koussevitzky and premiered by the Boston Symphony in 1949. Maestro Gimeno concludes the program with Tchaikovsky's bravura Symphony No. 4.

• Saturday, July 22, 8 p.m. in the Shed: BSO Artistic Partner composer/conductor/pianist Thomas Adès opens this Boston Symphony program leading his own "…but all shall be well," a composition inspired by poetry of T.S. Eliot. The program also features pianist Emanuel Ax as the soloist in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor"), the last and most prodigious of Beethoven's five piano concertos, and also the dramatically expressive "Sinfonia da Requiem" of Benjamin Britten (1913-1976).

Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky

• Sunday, July 23, 2:30 p.m. in the Shed: BSO Assistant Conductor Ken-David Masur is joined by Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky for Prokofiev's iridescent Piano Concerto No. 3. Maestro Masur opens the afternoon program with Aaron Jay Kernis' (b. 1960) moving "Musica Celestis" ("Heavenly Music"), completed by the Grawemeyer Award-winning composer in 2000. Concluding the concert is Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 2, ("Little Russian").

• Monday, July 24, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: Composer, pianist, conductor and mentor Thomas Adès joins forces with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and TMC conducting Fellows in a program that includes Benjamin Britten's thrilling "Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia," excerpted by the composer from his great opera "Peter Grimes." Mr. Adès's conducts his own composition, "Polaris." Two works by Jean Sibelius follow: the enigmatic tone poem "The Bard" and his great Symphony No. 7, the composer's last-completed symphony.

• Tuesday, July 25, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: Tanglewood Music Center vocal Fellows present a program of rarely heard songs by French composers – all members of Les Six: Milhaud, Tailleferre, Durey, Auric and Poulenc.

For tickets, call 888 266-1200, or go to the website. Music lovers can follow Tanglewood via its new social media accounts on Facebook, on Twitter @TanglewoodMA, and on Instagram @TanglewoodMusicFestival. The Boston Symphony is on Facebook, on Twitter @bostonsymphony, and on Instagram @bostonsymphony. The Boston Pops is on Facebook, on Twitter@thebostonpops, and on Instagram @thebostonpops.

Sevenars Music Festival

Sevenars Concerts, established in 1968, was selected one of the six best small music festivals in the USA by Time Magazine. Founded by internationally known pianist Robert Schrade and his composer/songwriter/pianist wife Rolande Young Schrade, it was founded in 1968 with performances in the Methodist Church in the idyllic village of South Worthington, Mass. - now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, concerts are held at the Academy, located at the junction of South Ireland Street and Route 112, in South Worthington.

• Sunday, July 23, 4 p.m.: Sevenars welcomes Alexis Kende Walls, violinist, and Lynelle James, pianist, in a program of violin/piano masterpieces: Brahms' Sonata in A Major; Fauré's Sonata in A Major; Bartók's "Roumanian Dances" and Kreisler's "Praeludium and Allegro."

You can order Sevenars tickets and get general information by phone at 413-238-5854 (please leave a message for return call), on the website or by email. Admission is by donation at the door (suggested $20). Refreshments are included.


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