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Music

Composer Profile: Spotlight on Gustav Mahler

Performed at Tanglewood on July 26

By: Stephen Dankner - 07/19/2014
Performed at Tanglewood on July 26This is not a program note, but my “take” on Mahler’s music in toto and what I feel it represents extramusically – the backstory behind the composer’s aesthetic, if you will. The Symphony No. 2 is, to my way of thinking, the most iconic of all Mahler’s works, since everything he subsequently composed stems from this landmark hybrid of symphony, solo song and choral work.

Jason Alexander at Tanglewood Yada Yada Yada

No more George Costanza

By: Philip Kampe - 07/18/2014
No more George CostanzaJason Alexander mesmerized the packed house at Tanglewood. His performance consisted of humor, dance and song. He had the crowd on their feet, watching his every move.

Johnny Winter at 70

White Hot Blues

By: Charles Giuliano - 07/17/2014
White Hot BluesSigned to a record breaking advance of $600,000 Columbia released the debut album" Johnny Winter" in 1969. Born an albino he was hyped as the whitest blues player. He produced several Grammy winners for Muddy Waters and a few for his own blues albums but his career faltered when he refused to record guitar rock albums. He ended out of the running 63rd on Rolling Stone's list of 100 greatest guitarists.

Conductors; The Pharoahs of Music

Changing of the Guard for Orchestras

By: Stephen Dankner - 07/14/2014
Changing of the Guard for OrchestrasJames Levine’s travails because of persistent illnesses several years ago, became a liability for the Metropolitan Opera and Boston Symphony, despite his great musical gifts. By contrast, the Los Angeles Philharmonic had good fortune in nabbing the talented young superstar Gustavo Dudamel in 2008. Levine, now confined to a wheelchair, has begun the long road back to conducting at the Met, but it’s unlikely, at 72, that he’ll regain his former energy and commanding presence in opera and symphony concerts.

Fireworks with Andris Nelsons at Tanglewood

Present and Future Orchestras Shine on Stage

By: Susan Hall - 07/13/2014
Present and Future Orchestras Shine on StageFireworks started at Tanglewood immediately after the intermission of the gala performance welcoming music director designate Andris Nelsons. In the second half of the program, the Boston Symphony performed with the conductor and the match seemed perfect, in part because the Rachmaninoff and Ravel suited the Maestro and his instrumentalists. On stage fireworks exploded. The Maestro left nothing on the podium as he exited to fireworks falling out of the night Berkshire sky.

Youthful Andris Nelsons Debuts at Tanglewood

A Varied Antonín Dvořák Program Entranced on a Summer Night

By: Susan Hall - 07/12/2014
A Varied Antonín Dvořák Program Entranced on a Summer Night Speaking with Nelsons after the Saturday morning rehearsal, he seemed eager to dig in to making music live in Lenox and Boston as he takes on the task of making classic symphonic music relevant to today’s audience. This is particularly difficult in the US where children are not as exposed to the classical form as they are in Europe.

Sondheim's A Little Night Music at Colonial

Enchanting Production from Berkshire Theatre Group

By: Charles Giuliano - 07/09/2014
Enchanting Production from Berkshire Theatre GroupNot surprisingly the richly dark and complez A Little Night Music by the always challenging and insightful Stephen Sondheim is performed by opera companies. Berkshire Theatre Group is commended for having mounted a production with an amazing cast and superb orchestra. This otherwise fabulous musical, however, has been undermined by cutting corners on a second rate set. That hardly matters, however, with chills up the spine when Maureen O'Flynn sings the riveting and iconic "Send in the Clowns."

The Cosmology of Classical Concerts

Music Light Years Beyond the Comfort Zone

By: Stephen Dankner - 07/07/2014
Music Light Years Beyond the Comfort ZoneYou can be an avid concertgoer and never once hear a string quartet or a symphony by such as Arnold Bax, Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, Vincent Persichetti, Vittorio Rieti, Peter Mennin or Ernst Toch; the piano sonatas of Dussek, Clementi or Griffes; the piano concertos of Hummel, Field, Tippett, Malipiero, Palmgren, Busoni or Lutoslawski.

Renée Fleming Launches BSO’s Tanglewood Season

Stars in Williamstown Play Opening July 16

By: Charles Giuliano - 07/06/2014
Stars in Williamstown Play Opening July 16It’s been an inclement week in the Berkshires but last night was just glorious for the launch of the BSO’s Tanglewood season featuring the ever magnificent soprano “The People’s Diva” Renée Fleming. From July 16 through 26 she will make her dramatic debut at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Living On Love. As she told us last night she is enjoying her extended time in the Berkshires. But it's a working holiday.

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