Highlights of the month include performances from the admired vocal groups A Far Cry and the Lorelei Ensemble as well as early music programs from the Green Mountain Project and Dünya.
By Jonathan Blumhofer and Susan Miron.
New Year’s Day Concert. Performed by Boston Baroque. January 1.
It might not be the Vienna Philharmonic playing Strauss, but there are plenty of worthy, musical ways to ring in 2013. And hand it to Boston Baroque for coming up with entertaining, enjoyable celebratory programs that are substantial (no period arrangements of Broadway tunes here!): this year it’s Pergolesi’s 1733 opera La serva padrona alongside instrumental works by Corelli, Marcello, and Telemann.
Lisa Batiashvili and the Boston Symphony/Alan Gilbert. At Symphony Hall, Boston, MA, January 10–12 and 15.
After a month-long hiatus, the BSO returns to Symphony Hall with a vengeance: three varied programs in January, all of which are appealing for different reasons. On the first, New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert guest conducts major twentieth-century scores by Henri Dutilleux, Stravinsky, and Ravel, and violinist Lisa Batiashvili plays Tchaikovsky’s shamelessly showy (but not unappealing) Violin Concerto.
A Far Cry concert. January 11.
Vocal works by Benjamin Britten (Les Illuminations) and Kurt Weill are paired with instrumental pieces by John MacDonald and Anton Webern. Kristen Watson and Zachary Wilder are the featured soloists in the Crier’s first program of the new year.
Verdi’s Requiem. Performed by Boston Symphony Orchestra, featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and soloists. January 17–19.
The BSO’s second January program is the first of three subscription series to be directed this winter by Daniele Gatti. This first program is devoted to a sole work: Verdi’s heaven-storming Requiem, featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and soloists.
Lorelei Ensemble concert. January 18 and 19.
The Lorelei Ensemble, a vocal group dedicated “to the performance of new and early music for women’s voices” presents a program featuring music from Elizabethan England and early America alongside four world premieres by, respectively, Joshua Bornfield, Karin Höghielm, Mary Montgomery Koppel, and Joshua Shank.
Boston Percussion Group concert. Presented by BPeG. January 22.
For a program perhaps slightly off the beaten path (pun not entirely unintended), BPeG offers an evening of chamber music for percussion ensemble, showcasing new and recent pieces by Nico Muhly, Paul Lansky, and Jeremy Barnett.
Stephen Hough and the Boston Symphony/Charles Dutoit. At Symphony Hall, Boston, MA, January 24–26.
The other conductor to direct three BSO programs this season is Charles Dutoit. After the unmitigated triumph of his last appearance in October (a double-bill featuring Stravinsky’s Nightingale and Ravel’s L’Enfant et le sortilèges) he returns with the brilliant pianist Stephen Hough for a program that brackets Liszt’s Piano Concerto no. 1 with music by Hindemith and Prokofiev.
Purcell’s Indian Queen. Performed by the Handel and Haydn Society. January 25 and 27.
Music director Harry Christophers returns to the H&H podium to lead a rare performance of Henry Purcell’s last major work, including music added to the score after Henry’s death by his brother, Daniel. Also on the program are excerpts from Henry’s The Fairy Queen and King Arthur.
East-West Divan Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim. January 27.
Few classical musicians have been as politically outspoken and active as Daniel Barenboim. In 1999, he and Edward Said founded the East-West Divan Orchestra with the purpose of bringing together young Israeli and Palestinian musicians. Fourteen years later, the orchestra’s 2013 U.S. tour comes to Boston for one afternoon only, bringing with it two Beethoven symphonies (nos. 2 and 3) and lots of goodwill.
Chamber Music/ Early Music
Wednesday Concert Series. At the Church of St. John Evangelist, 35 Bowdoin Street, Boston, MA, every Wednesday, 5:30 p.m, free.
January 2: Voci Angelica Trio celebrates Tres Reyes (Three Kings Day, the Epiphany) interweaving world folk music with the Italian legend of “La Befana,” the old woman who delivers gifts to children on Epiphany Eve.
January 9: Triple Strung, featuring Yu-Wen Chen (violin), Chris McClain (viola) and Nick Dinnerstein (cello), will perform the Dohnanyi Serenade and selections from Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
January 16: “Let Me Take You Higher!”features duets and arias by Bellini, Delibes, Handel, Mozart, and Rossini, performed by Von M. Bringhurst (soprano), Yakov Zamir (contralto), Takao Shinzawa (flute), and Christoher Orzech (piano).
January 23: Adam Eccleston III (flute) and Zaira Meneses (guitar) will present “Music From Around the World.”
January 30: Kay Patterson-Shaw (soprano) and Matthew Wright (lute) will perform works by John Dowland and Henry Purcell.
The 1610 Vespers of Monteverdi. Presented by Green Mountain Project. At St. Paul’s Church, 29 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA, January 5, 7:30 p.m.
Green Mountain Project presents The 1610 Vespers of Monteverdi in a highly recommended concert featuring a cast of 28 stellar, early music singers and instrumentalists. Directed by Blue Heron’s Scott Metcalfe; Joelle Greenleaf is the artistic director.
Paul Lewis. Presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston. At Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA, January 12, 8 p.m.
Paul Lewis, a thoughtful, British pianist acclaimed for his performances of Beethoven and Schubert, plays Schubert’s sublime last three piano sonatas.
Wendy Chen. At the Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA, January 13, 3 p.m.
Boston Symphony Chamber Players. At Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA. January 13, 3 p.m.
The Boston Symphony Chamber Players perform Lutoslawski, Frank, and Copland at Jordan Hall.
Randall Hodgkinson. At Jordan Hall, NEC, Boston, MA, January 14, 8 p.m., free.
Pianist Randall Hodgkinson of the NEC faculty plays piano pieces of Fauré, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and will perform Gunther Schuller’s new piano trio with members of the Gramercy Trio, violinist Sharan Levanthal, and cellist Jonathan Miller.
“Divining the Incandescent.” Performed by the Cantata Singers. At the First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA, January 18, 8 p.m.
The always excellent Cantata Singers, under the baton of music director David Hoose, perform a program entitled “Divining the Incandescent,” which features works by Anton Bruckner, Herbert Howells, and Frank Martin.
“Musical Helios: Music of the Sun.” Presented by the Boston Chamber Music Society. At the Kresge Auditorium, MIT, Cambridge, MA, January 19, 4 p.m.
The Boston Chamber Music Society presents an intriguing program entitled “Musical Helios: Music of the Sun.” The line-up includes the Haydn String Quartet in B-flat (“Sunrise”), Debussy’s “La Mer” in an arrangement for piano, 4 hands, Hartke’s “King of the Sun” Tableau for Piano Quartet (1988), and Respighi’s “Il Tromonto: The Sunset for Voice and String Quartet” (1988).
“Fantasticus: The Extravagant and Virtuosic Chamber Music of 17th-Century Germany.” Sponsored by the Boston Early Music Festival. Presented by Quicksilver. At the First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, January 26, 8 p.m.
The group Quicksilver will present “Fantasticus: The Extravagant and Virtuosic Chamber Music of 17th-Century Germany.” “This exceptional ensemble of six musicians, including violins, viola da gamba, dulcian, theorbo, and organ/harpsichord, will be exploring the stylus fantasticus, the dazzling genre of the 17th-century German avant-garde that places the genius of the composer and virtuosity of the musician above all else.” There will be a pre-concert talk at 7 pm.
Concord Chamber Music Society concert. At the Concord Academy Performing Arts Center, 166 Main St. Concord, MA, January 27, 3 p.m.
The Concord Chamber Music Society presents a new work for Piano Quartet by Yehudi Wyner, Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello, and Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E Flat major. Steven Ledbetter will present a pre-concert talk at 2 p.m.
George Li. At the Center for the Arts in Natick (TCAN), Natick, MA, January 27, 3 p.m.
The brilliant young pianist George Li performs a solo recital at the Center for the Arts in Natick.
Bach recital by Nicholas Kitchen. At the New England Conservatory, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, January 27, 7:30 p.m.
Violinist Nicholas Kitchen, founding first violinist of the Borromeo String Quartet, plays a solo Bach recital.
“East Meets West in Istanbul, c. 1500-1800.” Presented by Dünya. Sponsored by The Cambridge Society for Early Music. At the Christ Church, Cambridge, MA, January 28, 7:30 p.m.
The program will be presented in four other venues, January 24 through 27 (Carlisle, Weston, Salem, and Ipswich). For locations and times call 617-489-2062.