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Tanglewood, Sevenars Showcase Great Music
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires
12:41PM / Wednesday, August 09, 2017
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Boston's Handel and Haydn Society will perform Purcell's 'The Fairy Queen' at Tanglewood on Aug. 9.

Tanglewood this week will be very rewarding and diverse, with spectacular musical riches across the centuries, representing the progressive continuum of styles: music that's both ancient and new, and everything in-between.

Tanglewood continues its classical programming into mid-August, featuring powerful symphonic works – all audience favorites - performed by the Boston Symphony. The "heavy hitters" are: Stravinsky (the primordial "Rite of Spring"), Beethoven's exultant/tragic Seventh Symphony, Brahms (the magisterial Double Concerto for violin and cello and the Violin Concerto, and Schubert's C Major Symphony No. 9 ("Great"), among others.

For lovers of Baroque music, the Handel and Haydn Society perform Henry Purcell's 1692 masque/semi-opera, "The Fairy Queen," adapted from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Ozawa Hall on Aug. 9.

A festival within a festival, contemporary music aficionados will have five days (Aug. 10-14) to delight within alternative musical worlds, and experience the varied sounds of newly-composed works emanating from Ozawa Hall, as the annual Festival of Contemporary Music showcases a representative sampling of recent music composed by modern masters Gubaidulina, Ligeti and Dutilleux, as well as many new works (including several premieres) by young and mid-career composers.



Cellist Alisa Weilerstein and violinist Gil Shaham will perform Aug. 11.

• Wednesday, Aug. 9, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: Boston's Handel and Haydn Society will perform Purcell's "The Fairy Queen." Often referred to as a semi-opera, "The Fairy Queen" is based on Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Divided into masques - a form of amateur dramatic entertainment, popular among the nobility in 16th and 17th century England, which consisted of dancing and acting performed by masked players that take place in the midst of performances of the play - the work functions like incidental music. Led by conductor Harry Christophers and narrated by Antonia Christophers, the performance also features countertenor Robin Blaze as Mopsa and bass-baritone Matthew Brook as the Drunken Poet, Corydon, and Hymen; along with a cast of vocal soloists, including sopranos Sarah Brailey, Margot Rood, and Sonja DuToit Tengblad, tenors Jonas Budris and Stefan Reed, and baritone Woodrow Bynum.

• Friday, Aug. 11, 8 p.m. in the Shed: The lyrically resplendent violinist Gil Shaham and cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who possesses an ethereally lovely tone, join the BSO and Costa Rican conductor Giancarlo Guerrero for a performance of Brahms's Double Concerto, for violin, cello and orchestra. Also on the program are Dvořák's exuberant "Carnival" Overture and Igor Stravinsky's 1913 atavistic masterpiece, "The Rite of Spring."

• Saturday, Aug. 12, 8 p.m. in the Shed: Maestro Juanjo Mena leads the BSO in Julian Anderson's "Incantesimi," a Boston Symphony Orchestra-commissioned work that received its American premiere with the BSO in January 2017. Violinist Nikolaj Znaider, the soloist in the Brahms' Violin Concerto also joins Mr. Mena and the orchestra; the concert concludes with Beethoven's electrifying Symphony No. 7.

• Sunday, Aug. 13, 2:30 p.m. in the Shed: The brilliant young Israeli conductor Lahav Shani makes his BSO debut on a program featuring the sumptuous violinist Joshua Bell in Mozart's energetic and playful Violin Concerto No. 1, composed in 1773 when the composer was just 17. Mr. Shani also leads the BSO in the Overture to Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" and Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C Major ("Great"). This is Schubert's ultimate symphony (in both senses of the word: it is his biggest and last work in the genre), and was famously praised for its "heavenly length" by Robert Schumann, who observed also that it "transports us into a world we cannot recall ever having been before."

• Monday, Aug. 14, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: The Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, as a highlight of the Contemporary Music Festival, performs a concert of recent dazzling and memorable symphonic works by Ligeti, Fujikura, Thorvaldsdottir, Ruo and Dutilleux.

Festival of Contemporary Music Concerts

Contemporary music has a long and distinguished history at the Tanglewood Music Center through its entire 76 years, beginning with the appointment of Aaron Copland and Paul Hindemith to the original Berkshire Music Festival faculty in 1940. Over the decades, hundreds of significant contemporary composers have taught, studied, or had works premiered at the TMC.

Pianist Jacob Greenberg, cellist Kathryn Bates and violist Nadia Sirota are curating the Festival of Contemporary Music from Aug. 10-14.

Tanglewood's 2017 Festival of Contemporary Music, Aug. 10-14, features programs curated by three Tanglewood Music Center alumni — pianist Jacob Greenberg, cellist Kathryn Bates and violist Nadia Sirota — distinguished musicians and active proponents of contemporary music — who have helped commission new works for the Festival and will also perform with the Fellows. In addition to world premieres of four works by Nico Muhly, Anthony Cheung, Nathan Davis, and Kui Dong (with Muhly, Davis, and Dong receiving first Tanglewood performances of any of their music), the festival includes works by such giants of the contemporary music world as Sofia Gubaidulina ("Meditations"), György Ligeti ("Clocks and Clouds") and Henri Dutilleux ("The Shadows of Time").

The 2017 Festival of Contemporary Music also introduces to Tanglewood many composers whose work will be performed for the first time here, including the late New Zealand composer Jack Body ("Flurry"), the young Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir ("Hrim"), Japanese composer Dai Fujikura ("Tocar y Luchar," Chinese-born American composers Huang Ruo ("Confluence," Concerto No. 4) and Lei Liang ("Gobi Canticle"), and Americans Phyllis Chen ("Chimers"), Ben Johnston (String Quartet No. 4, "Amazing Grace"), George Lewis ("Anthem"), Rene Orth ("Quartet"), Terry Riley ("G Song") and Caroline Shaw ("Blueprint").

The Festival of Contemporary Music Pass allows general admission to five Festival performances, August 10-14, and includes one lawn ticket to the Aug. 14 concert at 8 p.m. The Festival of Contemporary Music Pass is available for $40. Tickets for the Festival of Contemporary Music concerts on Aug. 10-14 are individually priced at $12, as are lawn tickets.

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

Internationally known pianist Robert Schrade and his composer/songwriter/pianist wife Rolande Young Schrade founded Sevenars Concerts in 1968. Concerts are held at the Academy, located at the junction of South Ireland Street and Route 112, in South Worthington, Mass.

Pianist Rorianne Schrade will
perform on Sunday, Aug. 13.


Sevenars Music Festival will present the final concert of its 49th anniversary season at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 13. Pianist Rorianne Schrade will preview her upcoming Sept. 19 New York recital in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. The program will include works by Mozart, Beethoven, Liadov, Scriabin, Glazunov, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, as well as two works written by living composers: Arvo Pärt and the jazz-influenced Nikolai Kapustin, who celebrates his 80th birthday this year.

Sevenars tickets, and general contact information: Phone: (413) 238-5854 (please leave a message for return call). Web: Email: Admission is by donation at the door (suggested $20). Refreshments are included. Come early to stroll by the scenic brook or to select a favorite seat in the air-conditioned auditorium.

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


Upcoming: South Mountain Concerts

South Mountain Concerts begin in September in Pittsfield.

South Mountain Concerts, this year celebrating its 99th anniversary (!), is a leading institution/presenter of chamber music in our region. Over several decades, it has amended its original mission from presenting many of the classics of early-to-mid-20th century contemporary music, to primarily showcasing the purist art of canonical chamber music composed for string quartet and strings with piano, presenting acknowledged masterpieces by the major European composers of the 18th and 19th centuries, performed by a select mix of both established and up-and-coming ensembles.

Founded in 1918 by the chamber music patron and new music enthusiast Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, concerts are performed in its historic purpose-built hall. South Mountain has, over the years, presented many of the world’s leading chamber music ensembles and soloists, and continues in this tradition, with performances this fall by long-time favorite ensembles the Kalichstein, Laredo, Robinson Trio (Sept. 3); the Orion String Quartet with flutist Tara Helen O'Conner (Sept. 10); the Calidore String Quartet (Sept. 17); the Dover String Quartet with pianist Peter Serkin (Sept. 24) and the Emerson String Quartet (Oct. 1). All five concerts are Sundays at 3 p.m.

Why go? The hall, dating from the series' inception, accommodates 440 and possesses outstanding acoustics. Equal in performance artistry to Marlboro Music and chamber music heard in Tanglewood's Ozawa Hall, South Mountain presents the finest ensembles performing signature works of the classical canon.

South Mountain's concert hall is located on Routes 7 and 20 (South Street) in Pittsfield, approximately two miles south of Park Square at the center of the downtown area. Tickets are $40, except for Sept. 17 ($35). Students with IDs are $15 at the door. Call 413-442-2106 or go online for tickets and info.

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