Classical Music Sampler: February 2011

Accomplished performers coming to New England this month include baritone Sanford Sylvan in Paul Hindemith’s rarely staged opera Cardillac, the highly praised young violinist Noé Inui, and the ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, which will present an evening of music by Venetian Baroque masters.

Violinist Noé Inui

By Susan Miron.

February 4 and 11: Celebration of the bicentennial of the composer and piano virtuoso Franz Liszt by New England Conservatory (NEC) piano majors playing the composer’s amazing piano music. It’s worth a listen; and it’s free. At New England Ceonservatory’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA. at 8 p.m. on both Fridays.

February 4: NEC Philharmonic’s Hugh Wolff conducts a terrific program: Shostakovich Symphony #9, Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, and Ravel’s ravishing Daphnis et Chloé at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, Cambridge MA at 8 p.m. on Friday. (February 9: Wolff conducts the same Shostakovich and Ravel compositions, replacing the Stravinsky with the Gershwin Concerto in F performed by the great pianist Russell Sherman, at NEC’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA. at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.)

February 6: A chance to hear A Far Cry, the wonderful young, conductorless chamber ensemble, in residence at the Gardner Museum. Frank’s “Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout,” Tchaikovsky’s beautiful Serenade for Strings, and Mozart Piano Concerto #11 in F, K. 413 with pianist Joel Fan. At the Pozen Center, MassArt, 621 Mass. Ave, Boston , MA, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. (February 5: You can also catch this group performing the same program a day earlier at St. Johns Episcopal Church, Jamaica Plain, MA, at 4 p.m. on Saturday)

February 11: A Benefit Concert for The Greater Boston Food Bank, featuring such renowned musicians violinists as Miriam Fried and Lucy Chapman, violist Kim Kashkashian, and others performing the music of Bach and Mozart. Great musicians, great music (Mozart’s String Quintet, a Bach suite), and a really great cause. Please bring (non-perishable) food, checks or cash. Get there early; this is their fourth concert, and there is usually standing room only. At Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., Boston, MA, at 6 p.m. on Friday.

February 12 and 13: Chameleon Arts Ensemble is a group that always does interesting programs. This time around they have put together a program entitled “with a brilliant hue” featuring two chamber music gems—music by Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” Trio for Viola, Clarinet and Piano and Ravel’s great Piano Trio. Also the popular Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s “New Gates” for Flute, Viola, and Harp, and works by Steven Stuckey and Darius Milhaud. At the Goethe Institute, 170 Beacon St., Boston, MA, at 8 p.m. on Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

February 18: The Celebrity Series presents the excellent Takács Quartet in a solid program of Haydn, Bartók, and Schubert at NEC’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA, at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Il Giardino Armonico is celebrating its 25th anniversary season.

February 19: Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) hosts the legendary ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, which is celebrating its 25th-anniversary season, performing A Venetia!. Eight musicians play sonatas and concerti by Venetian Baroque masters. BEMF events are always worth attending. At Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA, at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Pre-concert talk at 7 p.m.

February 20: The Gardner Museum brings to Boston the prize-winning young violinist Noé Inui in a program that includes works by Beethoven, Bartók, Saint-Saëns/Ysaÿe, and Corelli/Kreisler. Noreen Polera is at the piano. At the Pozen Center, MassArt, 621 Mass Ave, Boston, MA, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

February 24–26: Conductor James Levine, Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra—a must-hear. Levine is a superb and impassioned Mahler conductor. At Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, and at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Sanford Sylvan: Visits Boston in what promises to be a solid gold CARDILLAC.

February 25: Superb harpist Ina Zdorovetchi will give a solo faculty recital, including Including music of Tournier, Bach, Liszt, Yitzhak Yedid, Paul Hindemith, and Parish Alvars. At the Boston Conservatory, Hemenway Building, 4th Floor. Free admission on Friday at 8 p.m.

February 25 and 27: Opera Boston stages Paul Hindemith’s rarely staged opera Cardillac. Sanford Sylvan stars in the title role; the singer, a longtime Boston favorite, moved to Montreal to teach at McGill University. This is a rare chance to hear this fabulous baritone, who makes any repertoire sound great. Also featuring another superb, local baritone, David Kravitz. At the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA, at 8 p.m. on Friday and at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

February 28: The Walden Chamber Players, including cellist Ashima Scripp, violinist Gabriel Lefkowitz, BSO bassoonist Richard Ranti, and violist Christof Huebner, take on a program of music by Kodaly (the terrific duo for violin and cello), the Beethoven Serenade in D Major for String Trio, and a quartet for Bassoon and String Trio by Coker. These are all really good players, worth a trip to Concord. At the Concord Academy Chapel, 166 Main St., Concord, MA, at 6:15 on Monday.

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