Among the classical possibilities this month, the Discovery Ensemble tackles Stravinsky’s perky, neo-classical “Dumbarton Oaks Concerto,” The Spectrum Singers offers a rare chance to hear the Mass, Op. 130 by the Belgian composer Joseph Jongen, and Boston Musica Viva serves up two world premieres: Bernard Hoffer’s Piano Trio (“Cosmic”), and Chris Arrell’s “Convergence.”
By Caldwell Titcomb.
November 3, 10, and 17: The free Wednesday afternoon concerts continue this month as follows. November 3, Soprano Dunja Pechstein and pianist Jennifer Douville will perform “Flower and Hawk” (1972), a monodrama about Eleanor of Aquitaine by Carlisle Floyd (b. 1926), best known for his opera “Susannah” (1955); November 10, Soprano Carolyn Roosevelt and pianist Bonnie Donham offer a program of songs and arias by J. S. Bach, Mozart, Brahms, and Gershwin; November 17, The Weston Wind Quintet will play works by Debussy, Antoine Reicha (1770–1836), and Poldowski (the pen name of Irene Wieniawski, 1879–1932). At Church of St. John Evangelist, 35 Bowdoin Street, Boston MA, 5:30 p.m.
November 5 and 6: The Cantata Singers, featuring this season the great English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958), will present the rarely heard “Flos Campi” (1925) for viola (William Frampton), chorus, and orchestra, along with his Oboe Concerto (1944) with soloist Peggy Pearson. Also on the program are the world premiere of “Give Thanks for All Things” by local composer Yehudi Wyner (b. 1929), “On the Beach at Night” by the late California composer Andrew Imbrie (1921–2007), and the charming four-piece “Choral New Yorker” (1944) by Irving Fine, orchestrated by the organization’s longtime conductor David Hoose. At Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston MA, 8:00 p.m.
November 12: The 26-year-old founding Music Director of the Discovery Ensemble Courtney Lewis will lead Stravinsky’s perky, neo-classical “Dumbarton Oaks Concerto” (1938), “Three Studies After Couperin” by British composer Thomas Adés (b. 1971), and Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony. At Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy Street (near Harvard Square), Cambridge MA, 8 p.m. (The conductor and David St. George will chat about the program at 7 p.m.)
November 12: Now in its 42nd season, Boston Musica Viva offers two world premieres: Bernard Hoffer’s Piano Trio (“Cosmic”) and Chris Arrell’s “Convergence.” Conductor Richard Pittman has also programmed Ellen Taafe Zwilich’s “Passages” ( with mezzo-soprano Krista River as soloist) and Donald Harris’ “Five Tempi.” At Tsai Performance Center, Boston University, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA, 8 p.m.
November 13: Opening its 31st season, The Spectrum Singers, under John W. Ehrlich, will offer a rare chance to hear the Mass, Op. 130 (1946) by the Belgian composer Joseph Jongen (1873–1953); it is scored for chorus, organ, and brass choir. The concert also features the “Poème Héroïque,” Op. 33 (1936) for organ and brass by Marcel Dupré (1886–1971). The organist in both works will be Heinrich Christensen. Rounding out the program will be music by Daniel Pinkham, Lili Boulanger, William Walton, and Virgil Thompson. At First Church Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge MA, 8 p.m. (Musicologist Steven Ledbetter will talk about the music at 7 p.m.)
November 14: Pianist Charles Fisk, a Wellesley faculty member since 1973, joined by colleagues contralto Marion Dry and cellist David Russell, will present a free concert of music by Debussy and Chopin. From the former, they will perform “Fêtes galantes II,” “Trois chansons de Bilitis,” “Pour le piano,” “Images,” and the Cello Sonata. From the latter, they will perform Mazurka, Op. 24/4, Scherzo in C-sharp Minor, Op. 39, Etude in C-sharp Minor, Op. 25/7, and the famous Barcarolle, Op. 60. At Jewett Auditorium, Wellesley College campus, 7 p.m.
November 14: Prize-winning soprano Jeanine de Bique (with pianist Warren Jones) offers a fascinating program: Ravel’s “Five Popular Greek Songs” (1904–06), some songs by Hugo Wolf, Mozart’s “Ah! Non son ’io che parlo,” four songs by Fernando Obradors (1897–1945), “Beyond the Rim of Day” (1950) and “Velvet Shoes” (1974) by the distinguished, black composer Hale Smith (1925–2009), and a group of spirituals. At Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 The Fenway, Boston MA, 1:30 p.m.
November 16: Marking the composer’s bicentennial, organist Heinrich Christensen plays a program of music by Robert Schumann. Sponsored by the Old West Organ Society. At Old West Church, 131 Cambridge Street, Boston MA, 8 p.m.
November 17: The New England Conservatory Symphony, under David Loebel, plays local composer John Harbison’s “Remembering Gatsby: Foxtrot for Orchestra” and Respighi’s “Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite II.” Walter Piston’s tuneful “Incredible Flutist” Suite used to be heard frequently but is rarely played these days. The concert concludes with Mendelssohn’s masterly “Italian Symphony.” At Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston MA, 8 p.m.
November 20: The MIT Concert Choir and a host of other campus vocal groups join, under the direction of William Cutter, for a free concert of music by J. S. Bach, Handel, Randall Thompson, Carol Orff, Copland, and others. At MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, 8 p.m.
November 21: As a tribute to the imminent 100th birthday of violinist Roman Totenberg, the Boston University Orchestra, under David Hoose, will play a concert featuring Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (with Peter Zazofsky as soloist) and Sir Edward Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 in A-flat Major. At Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston MA, 8 p.m.
November 21: The Harvard Music Department sponsors a free concert by Master Bahman Panahi, noted Persian performer on the tar and setar. He will be accompanied by vocalist Shadi Ebrahimi and drummer Pezhham Akhavass. At Paine Hall, Music Building, Harvard campus (near Harvard Square), 8 p.m.
November 22: The young Parker String Quartet offers a program of three superb quartets by Haydn: Op. 20, No 2 in C-major (1771); Op. 74, No. 3 (“The Rider”) in G-minor (1793); and Op. 77, No. 2 in F-major (1799). At Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston MA, 8 p.m.
November 27 and 28: The Boston Early Music Festival presents a semi-staged production of Henry Purcell’s gorgeous chamber opera Dido and Aeneas (1689), written for a girls’ school. Heading a cast of 15 are Laura Pudwell as Dido, Douglass Williams as Aeneas, and Yulia Van Doren as Belinda. The forces also include a troupe of five Baroque dancers (choreography by Melinda Sulliuvan) and lavish costumes are designed by Anna Watkins. At Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston MA, 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. (MIT music professor Ellen Harris will talk with the participants an hour before each performance.)
November 28: Boston Conservatory faculty violinist Sharan Leventhal is joined by pianist Randall Hodgkinson for an all-American program: Copland’s Violin Sonata, Violin Sonata (1984) by Scott Wheeler (b. 1952), “Two Portraits” by Randall Thompson, and “Konzertstück” by former local composer Seymour Shifrin (1926–79). At Seully Hall, 4th Floor, Boston Conservatory, 8 The Fenway, 5 p.m.