Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, dance, film, and theater coming up this week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Winter Meditations: Then it seemed beautiful
Trident Gallery, Gloucester, MA
Poet Frank O’Hara’ wrote “Who’d have thought / that snow falls” and composer Morton Feldman put the line to music. His Three Voices inspired a new quartet danced by Sarah Slifer Swift in conjunction with the Gloucester gallery’s focus of the stillness of the season.
Move for the Movement
The Collins Center for the Performing Arts, Andover, MA
Twelve dance ensembles made up of both students and professionals from the Boston area and North Shore contribute their energies to a benefit for the American Cancer Society. The multi-genre program includes Bosoma Dance Company, Mass Motion Dance North, and Urbanity Dance.
– Debra Cash
Presented by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project
January 17, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
Gil Rose and BMOP return in force with three world premieres by composers with strong local connections to begin 2014: Elena Ruehr, Ken Ueno, and David Rakowski. Frances-Marie Uitti is the soloist in Ueno’s Concerto for two-bow cello, while Rakowski’s frequent muse, Amy Briggs, introduces his Piano Concerto no. 2; the program’s only non-concerto, Ruehr’s Summer Days, rounds things out.
Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music”
Presented by Emmanuel Music
January 18 at 8 p.m. and January 19 at 3 p.m.
Boston Conservatory Theater, Boston, MA
After last year’s triumphant performances of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, Emmanuel Music this year turns to Sondheim’s classic comedy and homage to the waltz. Ryan Turner directs a strong cast that includes Krista River, Kristen Watson, David Kravitz, and Dana Whiteside.
Garrick Ohlsson plays Lutoslawski
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
January 23-25, 8 p.m. (Friday’s concert is at 1:30 p.m.)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Pianist Ohlsson was originally slated to premiere Justin Dello Joio’s new concerto on these programs but the new commission wasn’t finished in time. In its place comes Witold Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto – just in time to celebrate what would have been the Polish composer’s 101st birthday (the actual date of that anniversary is January 25th). The program also includes Shostakovich’s eerie, valedictory Symphony no. 15 and Wagner’s Overture to Rienzi.
– Jonathan Blumhofer
London Haydn Quartet
January 18 at 8 p.m.
First Church Congregational, 11 Garden St., Cambridge
The Boston Early Music Festival presents the London Haydn Quartet, with Erich Hoeprich, basset clarinet. On the program: music of Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart.
Guitarist Nick Cutroneo
January 19 at 3 p.m.
The Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain (617-524-3158)
Cutroneo performs works by J.S. Bach, Benjamin Britten, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Andrew York, and Isaac Albeniz. Donation at the door: $15 ($10 seniors and students). A lovely venue!
Pianist Alexander Melnikov
January 19 at 1:30 p.m.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Fenway (617-278-5156)
Melnikov plays the compete Shoshtakovich Preludes and Fugues, Part I: Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87, nos. 1-12.
– Susan Miron
Neutral Milk Hotel
January 16 and 17
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
The much-loved and recently reunited indie band Neutral Milk Hotel will be playing two nights in Boston. Led by Jeff Mangum, the group originally disbanded just months after the release of their seminal second album, 1998’s In An Aeroplane Over the Sea, but have been on the road since the fall. Whether this leads to new music remains to be seen, but at the very least, it’s good to have them back on the stage.
Terry Kitchen (with special guest Rick Berlin)
Somerville Armory Café, Somerville, MA
Local acoustic singer/songwriter Terry Kitchen’s debut novel Next Big Thing, about the ‘80s Boston rock scene, is an absolute joy Of course, his music isn’t so bad either. Friday night at the Somerville Armory Café offers the best of both worlds, as Kitchen will be reading from his book and playing some tunes. As if that alone wasn’t enough, he’ll be joined by members of his former band Loose Ties, as well as Boston-music mainstay Rick Berlin.
TD Garden, Boston, MA
I know I’m not the first person to point this out, but it’s so true that it needs to be said again: Jay Z is the Rolling Stones of hip hop. He doesn’t have the longevity of the Stones of course, and even if he did, this isn’t meant to imply that Hova is as “good” as the Stones. It’s simply meant to point out that he’s reached that rare level of success where even when no-one cares about his new music, they still care about him. That his 2013 album Magna Carta Holy Grail was universally criticized doesn’t matter – he’s still Jay Z. There are worse situations to be in.
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
Most of the press on the Pixies these days centers around the band’s inability to hold onto a bass player, but that aside, they’re still arguably the greatest and most influential band to ever come out of Boston. If it weren’t for the Pixies, “alternative” music would sound very different. Any time you hear a band start a song quiet, then get loud, then go back to quiet (*cough* Nirvana *cough*) you’re hearing a band that owes a great deal to Black Francis and company.
Upcoming and On Sale…
Arctic Monkeys (2/6/2014, Agganis Arena); Bob Weir & RatDog (2/24/2014, House of Blues); Bob Weir & RatDog (2/25/2014, House of Blues); Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks (2/25/2014, Paradise Rock Club); St. Vincent (2/27/2014, House of Blues); Paul Simon and Sting “On Stage Together” (3/3/2014, TD Garden); Broken Bells (3/5/2014, House of Blues); Lorde (3/14/2014, Orpheum Theatre); London Grammar (4/11/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Haim (5/13/2014, House of Blues); Primal Scream (5/14/2014, Royale); Arcade Fire (8/19/2014, Comcast Center)
– Adam Ellsworth
One of the highlights of 2013 was Gregory Porter’s Blue Note debut, Liquid Spirits, a soul-jazz album that achieved lift-off via Porter’s warm, powerful singing, gospel fervor, and affecting, fanciful lyrics. The emotional nuances of his music leaven his revival house joy with sober wisdom – which makes the clap-along choruses an even greater catharsis. Porter was a smash at the Newport Jazz Festival last year and should easily get Scullers Jazz Club rocking.
Allan Chase’s Baritone Madness
January 22, 8 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA
Last year at around this time, multi-reedman Allan Chase was recruited to join what became a memorable night of baritone-sax mayhem at Scullers (along with fellow bari players Gary Smulyan and Greg Abate). Now Chase is upping the ante with his own four-horn “Baritone Madness” at the Lily Pad. In this case he’s convened saxists Kathy Olson, Ben Whiting, and Mark Zaleski, backed by a rhythm section of pianist Brian Friedland, bassist Bruno Råberg, and drummer Austin McMahon. And if you stick around, you can hear the 9 p.m. show by the Olson-Pingrey Quartet, with Olson again on baritone, plus Randy Pingrey on trombone, Zaleski now on bass, and McMahon on drums.
Steven Feifke Septet
January 23, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge MA
Twenty-two-year old pianist and composer Steven Feifke was a 2011 finalist in the Thelonious Monk Competition. He brings his strong chops and bag of impressive hard-bop tunes to the Regattabar with trumpeter Benny Benack III, alto saxophonist Andrew Gould, tenor saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, guitarist Alex Wintz, bassist Raviv Markowitz, and drummer Jimmy McBride.
– Jon Garelick
On the heels of a successful residency at New England Conservatory in December, the superb Brazilian jazz singer returns for a concert at Sanders Theatre. She’ll be bringing a new project that features Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke and Swiss harmonica wiz Gregoire Maret. It will be well worth hearing what these three master musicians have cooked up for this date.
– Evelyn Rosenthal
The Boston Festival of Films from Iran
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
This year’s festival opens with director Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain. This excellent and provocative filmmaker, who was jailed for “propaganda against the state,” demonstrates the high stakes for film artists in Iran. Nevertheless, the country produces cinema of quality and imagination, well deserving of the attention of American audiences. Screenings include Jamsheed Akrami’s A Cinema of Discontent, which explores Iranian censorship codes by analyzing dozens of scenes from mainstream and independent films.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge
Nominated for an Academy Award in the best foreign film category, this remarkable film goes inside the ongoing Egyptian Revolution from the 2011 overthrow of a dictator of three decades, military rule, and the forced military removal of the Muslim Brotherhood president in the summer of 2013. It follows a group of Egyptian activists as they battle leaders and regimes, risking their lives to build a new and more equitable society. On Monday January 20th The Docyard Series brings young director Jehane Noujaim in for a Q&A after the screening.
The Genius Of Marian
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Genius of Marian follows Pam White in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease as her son, the filmmaker, documents her struggle to hang on to a sense of self. It is “a powerful contemporary portrait of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease, the power of art and the meaning of family.” A discussion with director follows the January 22 screening. Arts Fuse review to come.
The BU Cinematheque, 640 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Room 101
Arts Fuse critic and Professor Gerald Peary’s free series kicks off the semester with this film, co-written by Alex Karpovsky (star of the HBO series Girls) and Boston filmmaker and actor Garth Donovan. Donovan will screen the film and answer questions. The series gives young filmmakers and the cineastes an invaluable opportunity to learn about the world of independent filmmaking.
– Tim Jackson
The Shatterer of Worlds (chapel with naturalization services for
applicants requesting citizenship in the shattered world), staged by The Bread & Puppet Theater
January 23 — February 2
At the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA), 539 Tremont St., South End, Boston
The latest piece from Bread & Puppet is “a walkabout political puppet performance, enveloping audience and performers alike within the Cyclorama.” Here is founder and artistic director Peter Schumann on the inspiration that sparked what promises to be one of the darker productions from the veteran troupe:
“At the moment when the first atomic bomb was dropped, Oppenheimer, the chief architect of that bomb, recalled words from the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu prayer epic: ‘Life, the splendor of 1000 suns blazing all at once, resembling the exulted soul, is become Death, the shatterer of worlds.’ In view of the latest failed earth summit and faced with the likelihood of multiple planetary shatterings, this sentence is reproduced by the Paper Maché Authorities in the Cathedral of Impermanence for your enlightenment and as a reminder of our possible predicament.”
– Bill Marx