Thursday, May 27, 2010

Weekend Concert Calendar, 5/27/10

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! As far as concerts go, I have next to nothing. You can check out Renaissance quintet Melisma on Friday at 8 pm at the College Avenue United Methodist Church in Somerville, where they will be singing some Spanish and English Renaissance music. Or you could check out the Boston Opera Collaborative's evening of operatic trivia and performances, hosted by Ron Della Chiesa, at 8 pm on Saturday at the Dante Alighieri Society in Cambridge. But other than that, get outside and enjoy the lovely weather!

Did I miss anything? Leave it in the comments!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Anthology in the Globe!

Anthology made it into Thursday's "g"-section of the Globe! Awesome! Check it out! AND we are one of the editor's picks in the Boston Phoenix!

This is simultaneously awesome and intimidating!

Friday cat post!

I know I forgot to do one of these last week, but this week's makes up for it!

My parents were visiting my brother and sister-in-law last weekend and my dad got this shot of Oomi. I believe it requires no explanation.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weekend Concert Calendar, 5/20/10

First off, self-promotion! I have two big concerts coming up this weekend with my a cappella women's quartet, Anthology! We are doing a program of all new music - everything on the program was written for us by a composer in the Boston area. We have worked really hard on this concert, as you can imagine, and I would love to see as many of you there as possible!

A little more detail: We asked eight composers to write music on the theme of Light and Dark. The resulting works span an incredible diversity of styles and texts. We will be structuring the program so that each piece is performed twice, giving listeners more opportunity to appreciate and absorb the music. This year's composers are Peter Bell, Jonathan Breit, Brian John, Stefanie Lubkowski, Nikan Milani, Steven Serpa, Tony Solitro, and Po-Chun Wang.

Times and places:
Fri May 21 at 8 PM: Saint John's, 35 Bowdoin Street, Boston, MA
Sun May 23 at 2 PM: Christ Church Cambridge, 0 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

Please come! Especially if you are a fan of new choral music!

Also, I guess there is some other stuff going on this weekend too.


8:00 pm: Anthology, of course!; "Light and Dark"; Saint John's, Boston.

8:00 pm: Lexington Pops Chorus; Robert Ray's Gospel Mass and other works; Hancock Church, Lexington.

8:00 pm: Cambridge Community Chorus; "A Spring of Liberation and Freedom"; Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge.


8:00 pm: Musica Sacra; "Mary's Playlist: Choral Favorites from Thirty Years of Programming"; First Church Congregational, Cambridge. (I'm very sorry I'll miss this - I really do think Mary Beekman is easily one of the best concert programmers in the city.)

8:00 pm: Cappella Clausura; "Barbara Strozzi and Isabella Leonarda, Mistresses of the Italian Baroque"; Episcopal Parish of the Messiah, Newton.

8:00 pm: Lexington Pops Chorus; Robert Ray's Gospel Mass and other works; Hancock Church, Lexington.

8:00 pm: The Concord Chorus; Bach's St. John Passion; St. Camillus Parish, Arlington.


2:00 pm: Anthology, bien sur!; "Light and Dark"; Christ Church Cambridge.

2:00 pm: Boston Children's Chorus; "This is the Sound of Movies"; Strand Theater, Dorchester.

4:00 pm: Cappella Clausura; "Barbara Strozzi and Isabella Leonarda, Mistresses of the Italian Baroque"; First Lutheran Church, Boston.

And on Tuesday, you can hear the Greater Boston Intergenerational Chorus give their spring concert at 7 pm at First Parish in Watertown.

Did I miss anything? Leave it in the comments!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back Bay Chorale Bach performance

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Back Bay Chorale's performance of Bach's B Minor Mass. It was quite an enjoyable experience, although it produced quite the internal intellectual quandary in me!

First things first, since I suspect that the vast majority of people to read this will be members of the chorus poking around the internet for reviews. The chorus's tuning was admirable, as was their rhythm; they were crisply in tempo the entire time, no mean feat. And their runs were remarkably clean for a chorus of their size; there was tons of space in the fast passagework, which was absolutely crucial. I really can't say enough good things about that amount of space in the phrasing. The majority of the singers were quite engaged, but there were some members who needed to get out of their books more (ahem, I noticed a few tenors in particular.) The orchestra was also very good; I especially enjoyed the flute solos.

The soloists were all extremely classy. Kendra Colton's instrument is a little too heavy for Bach for my taste, but her execution was flawless, and Krista River, Aaron Sheehan, and Sumner Thompson, all heavy hitters in the Boston area, were superb. I was also delighted to hear Sonja Tengblad given the chance to shine; I heard her at the Boston Singer's Resource auditions last month and her voice is ever so pretty, although I felt she was pushing a little given the size of the forces and the hall.

I had only one true complaint the entire night, and that for the maestro. Dr. Jarrett, come over here where no one can hear us. Now, I know you are more experienced than I. And I thought your gesture was both precise and expressive, something I envied greatly. You led the entire evening with intense focus and great aplomb. I know a number of your choristers, and they all not only love you, but think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. And your excellent leadership clearly extends beyond the podium, because on a night with approximately a billion choral concerts the best seat I could get was in the back row of the balcony. But please, please, PLEASE do not mouth the words, especially to your soloists! You have done this before, and it drives me nuts! I admit this is one of my particular pet peeves, and I heartily disapprove of it when done to choruses, but doing it to soloists looks even worse. It gives the appearance you don't trust them and need to micromanage them. You know Krista River will make the magic happen, so please don't mouth at her. However, aside from that, I was amazed that you were able to lead such a large ensemble to such a tight performance of some very dense music.

And the subject of the size of the forces brings me to the main issue that pretty much dominated my experience last night. I'm not an early music expert, but I do love it, and I have always preferred a light, clean, crystalline sound for Baroque music, especially for Bach. I want everything to be as transparent as possible. So looking down at the giant stage with the sizeable orchestra and the massive chorus, I was pretty skeptical, and the Kyrie didn't really shake me out of my skepticism; it sounded like everyone was working very hard to stay clean, and didn't pack a clear emotional punch. But then the Gratias Agimus movement came, and it was really profoundly moving, as was the next chorus movement, the Qui Tollis. And I spent the rest of the concert waffling about questions of size. On the one hand, despite the chorus's rhythmic precision, and the amount of space they left between their runs, the size of the forces really precluded the highest level of lightness and transparency. On the other hand, the slightly slower movements sounded wonderfully rich in a way that a smaller force couldn't have managed. The Sanctus section really exemplified this dichotomy for me; the Sanctus, with its fabulous swingy sound, practically demanded an enormous choir, but then the Pleni sunt coeli, with its nimble runs, begged for a lighter sound. Big choir, little choir? This was the major question of the evening for me. I walked into the concert thinking I knew the answer; I walked out in a state of fluctuating doubt. The concert didn't answer the question; by posing a strong defense of the advantages of a large ensemble (with the Dona Nobis Pacem providing the perfect closing argument) it opened my mind up to the debate in the first place, a debate I hadn't really been open to before. So, well played, Back Bay Chorale.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Weekend Concert Calendar, 5/13/10

Wow, there is a lot going on this weekend. Good luck deciding what to do Saturday, especially. (Provided you're not actually performing, in which case the decision is pretty easy!) I think this is the peak weekend of the spring season!


8:00 pm: Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus; "Music for a Spring Evening"; First Parish Arlington. Features an encore performance of "Three Poems of L.M.Montgomery" by Kenneth Seitz.

8:00 pm: Cantata Singers; All Schütz program; Jordan Hall, NEC, Boston.

8:00 pm: Exsultemus; "Las Ensaladas of Mateo Flecha"; Union Church, Waban.


7:00 pm: Somerville Community Chorus; 25th Anniversary Concert: "In Praise of Music"; First Church Somerville.

7:30 pm: Braintree Choral Society; Mozart's Missa Brevis and works by Beethoven, Morley, and Vaughan Williams; Thayer Academy Center for the Performing Arts, Braintree.

7:30 pm: Broadband; At the Beacon Coffeehouse; First Baptist Church, Newton.

8:00 pm: Back Bay Chorale; Mass in B Minor by J. S. Bach; Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge.

8:00 pm: Cambridge Chamber Singers; "Monteverdi Madrigals (Mostly)"; Lindsey Chapel, Emmanuel Church, Boston.

8:00 pm: Brookline Chorus; "The Heart of New England" - works by Argento, Pinkham, Thompson, and Mechem; All Saints Parish, Brookline.

8:00 pm: Convivium Musicum; "Beyond the Gamut: Chromaticism in the Renaissance"; Church of St. John the Evangelist, Boston.

8:00 pm: Spectrum Singers; "Fugure: Rising Stars!"; First Church Congregational, Cambridge.

8:00 pm: Exsultemus; "Las Ensaladas of Mateo Flecha"; University Lutheran Church, Cambridge.

8:00 pm: Newburyport Choral Society; "Music from the Romantic Age"; Belleville Congregational Church, Newburyport.


2:30 pm: Newburyport Choral Society; "Music from the Romantic Age"; Belleville Congregational Church, Newburyport.

3:00 pm: Masterworks Chorale; "The American Five: Barber, Bernstein, Copland, Gershwin, Ives"; Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge.

3:00 pm: Coro Allegro; Davies' Prayers from the Ark along with music of Britten, Barber, Dinerstein, Hindemith, and The Manhattan Transfer; Church of the Covenant, Boston.

3:00 pm: Dedham Choral Society; Brahms' Requiem and Vaughan Williams' Toward the Unknown Region; Jordan Hall, NEC, Boston.

3:00 pm: Exsultemus; "Las Ensaladas of Mateo Flecha"; First Lutheran Church, Boston.

3:00 pm: Trinity Church Choir; "A Festival of Anthems: 20th-Century English Choral Masterpieces"; Trinity Church, Boston.

4:00 pm: The Williams Chorale; Music of Mozart, Pitoni, Haydn and more; Immanuel Lutheran Church, Attleboro.

4:00 pm: Sounds of Stow Festival Chorus; "Springfest: The Works of Eric Whitacre and John Corigliano"; First Parish Church, Stow.

4:00 pm: Choral Art Society; "Earthly Delights: Songs of Land and Sea"; St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Scituate.

7:00 pm: Cambridge Chamber Singers; "Monteverdi Madrigals (Mostly)"; St. John's Episcopal Church, Arlington.

7:00 pm: Convivium Musicum; "Beyond the Gamut: Chromaticism in the Renaissance"; St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Brookline.

Did I miss anything? Leave it in the comments!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cantilena review!

I'm delighted to say that Cantilena got quite a positive review in the Musical Intelligencer. An example of a particularly delightful quote would be: "This is Allegra Martin’s first season as director, and programming is her strong suit." W00t!

I do wish, however, that the reviewer had opinionated more! I would have liked to know her opinions of particular pieces, especially the commissioned pieces. I think perhaps reviewers are not always aware of how avidly the chorus and performers will pounce on reviews as a source of feedback; as someone whose strong suite is programming (ahem, in case anyone forgot that in the last 1.6 seconds) I find it very valuable to know which pieces people enjoyed hearing when thinking ahead to the next season.

I was very happy with the concert; everyone sang beautifully and with great energy. The one disappointment was that the recording engineer totally failed to show up, or respond to any phone calls, so we were left high and dry and did not get to record the concert. The name of that recording engineer would be Michael Breault of Dracut, by the way. JUST in case anyone wants to know!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Cantilena in the Globe!

Cantilena made the g-section of the Boston Globe today! Hurrah for getting into print media! You can see the online version of our blurb here. Don't forget to come to the concert tomorrow!

The Boston Globe also has a delightful article about the Concord Women's Chorus concert, which is happening tonight...but further down in the Classical Notes is the heart-breaking news that the Boston Secession is no more. So sad - this is an enormous loss for Boston.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Friday cat post!

Last week we had Oomi in a bag; today we have Oomi in a cupboard!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Weekend Concert Calendar, 5/6/10

First of all, this is a very exciting weekend for me personally. On Sunday, the chorus I direct, Cantilena, will be performing a program called "Music About Mothers: From the Divine to the Deranged." It is going to be SUPER exciting, and you should all come! I feel very invested in this concert! And we are going to be premiering a piece we commissioned by Michael Veloso, setting poetry of Rachel Barenblat! Basically, you should come, because we will have something for everybody to relate to. 7 pm, First Parish Arlington; be there or miss out!


7:30 pm: Treble Chorus of New England; Annual Spring Concert with special guest Dance Prism; Rogers Center, Merrimack College, North Andover.

8:00 pm: The Boston Camerata; "Alexander the Great: Hero, Warrior, and Lover"; First Lutheran Church, Boston.

8:00 pm: MIT Concert Choir; Bernstein's Chichester Psalms; Kresge Auditorium, MIT, Cambridge.

8:00 pm: Boston Boy Choir; Duruflé's Requiem; St. Paul's Church, Cambridge.


7:00 pm: Paul Madore Chorale; Bizet's Carmen in concert; Wiggin Auditorium, Peabody City Hall.

7:00 pm: The deVaronistas; Spring Concert; Pleasant Street Congregational Church, Arlington.

7:30 pm: Heritage Chorale; Works by Mozart, Dvorak, and Morten Lauridsen; Wellesley Congregational Village Church.

8:00 pm: Concord Women's Chorus; 50th Anniversary Gala Concert - "American Women of Note"; First Parish Concord.

8:00 pm: Convivium; "Beyond the Gamut: Chromaticism in the Renaissance"; First Church Congregational, Cambridge.

8:00 pm: The Mastersingers of Lexington; Fauré's Requiem and Corigliano's Fern Hill; First Parish Lexington.

8:00 pm: In Choro Novo; "Soar into Spring"; Marsh Chapel, Boston University.


3:00 pm: Highland Glee Club; Spring Concert; War Memorial Auditorium, Newton.

3:00 pm: ENC Choral Union; Haydn's Creation; Wollaston Church of the Nazarene, Quincy.

7:00 pm: Cantilena; "Music About Mothers: From the Divine to the Deranged"; First Parish Arlington. (Conducted by ME!)

7:30 pm: Quincy Choral Society; Brahms' Requiem; Sacred Heart Parish, N. Quincy.

And for G&S buffs, this is the second (and last) weekend of the MIT G&S Players' production of The Gondoliers!

Did I miss anything? Leave it in the comments!