Thrilling Music at Tanglewood, Sevenars
With the arrival of August, we are at the mid-point – the height of the classical music festival season. Programs at Tanglewood offer an enthralling mix of large-scale, powerful and melodic symphonies by Sibelius and Prokofiev, as well as beloved piano with orchestra works by Gershwin and Rachmaninoff. The week's highlight, on Aug. 7, will be the all-day "Tanglewood on Parade" events. Read below for the details.
Devotées of solo piano music should consider attending the brilliant pianist Lynelle James' solo recital, featuring works of Mozart, Liszt, Chopin and Nicolai Roslavets (1881-1944) on Sunday, Aug. 5, at the Sevenars Academy in South Worthington, Mass.
• Wednesday, Aug. 1, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: BSO Artistic Partner Thomas Adès and 2018 Koussevitsky Artist Kirill Gerstein join forces for a recital of music for two pianos. Featured are three French masterpieces by Debussy and Ravel: the former's "Et blanc et noir" and "Lindaraja," and the latter's "Rapsodie espagnole," which concludes the concert. A special treat will be Stravinsky's "Symphony of Psalms," arranged for two pianos by Shostakovich(!), Witold Lutoslawski's "Variations on a Theme of Paganini" and Adès' own "Concert Paraphrase on 'Powder Her Face.'
• Thursday, Aug. 2, 8 p.m. in the Shed: The awe-inspiring pianist Paul Lewis launches a multi-year survey of the piano works of Haydn, Beethoven and Brahms. This program includes three Sonatas of Haydn: No. 49 in E flat Major, No. 32 in B Minor and No. 40 in G Major. Beethoven is represented by his "Eleven Bagatelles," op. 119 and the "Six Bagatelles," Op. 126. At the core of the program is Brahms' final composition for solo piano, from 1893, "Vier Klavierstücke," Op.119.
• Friday, Aug. 3, 8 p.m. in the Shed: Koussevitzky Artist Kirill Gerstein joins BSO Associate Conductor Ken-David Masur and the Orchestra for Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, a prime example of the composer's exquisite, Russian-tinged Romanticism. The program begins with Mikhail Glinka's breathless, infectiously energetic Overture to "Ruslan and Ludmila," the second of his two operas. After intermission, Maestro Masur leads the orchestra in a performance of Stravinsky's scintillating, landmark ballet score "The Firebird," the composer's breakout success at the ballet's 1910 Paris premiere by the legendary impresario Sergei Diaghilev's "Ballets Russes."
• Saturday, Aug. 4, 8 p.m. in the Shed: British maestro Bramwell Tovey leads the Boston Symphony in a program that pays tribute to Leonard Bernstein as both conductor and composer. A roster of outstanding singers: soprano Nadine Sierra, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, tenor Nicholas Phan, baritone Elliot Madore and bass Eric Owens join the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the BSO for a performance of Bernstein’s celebratory orchestral song cycle "Songfest." Originally intended as a celebration of the American Bicentennial in 1976, “Songfest” pays tribute to 300 years of the nation’s artistic history, setting poems by 13 important American writers. To complete the program, Mr. Tovey leads Sibelius' magnificent Symphony No. 2, a staple of Bernstein's conducting repertory.
• Sunday, Aug. 5, 2:30 p.m. in the Shed: Russian maestro Dima Slobodeniouk, principal conductor of Finland's Lahti Symphony Orchestra, makes his BSO and Tanglewood debuts with the 19th-century Polish Romantic composer Henryk Wieniawski’s virtuosic Violin Concerto No. 2, featuring the brilliant and poetic superstar American violinist Joshua Bell. The program opens with 19th century Russian nationalist composer Alexander Borodin’s high-spirited "Polovtsian Dances," extracted from his opera "Prince Igor," and concludes with the exhilarating Symphony No. 5 by Sergei Prokofiev.
• Tuesday, Aug. 7, "Tanglewood on Parade": One of the Tanglewood's most beloved traditions, the ever-popular "Tanglewood on Parade" offers audiences a full day of musical activities for the entire family, culminating in an 8 p.m. concert in the Shed featuring all three of the Festival's orchestras. Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart and Pops Conductor Laureate John Williams, along with Stefan Asbury, Director of the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) conducting program, and guest conductor Bramwell Tovey lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, and TMC Orchestra in a program that includes Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," featuring 2018 Koussevitzky Artist Kirill Gerstein; Ravel's "Daphnis et Chloé" "Suite No. 2," and excerpts from John Williams' music for "Star Wars." The program also includes the overture to Gershwin's composite Broadway show "Nice Work if You Can Get it." The traditional "Tanglewood on Parade" finale, Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," concludes the concert, followed by fireworks over the Stockbridge Bowl.
"Tanglewood on Parade" festivities begin at 2 p.m., with performances throughout the day by the young musicians of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI), the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) Fellows, and members of the BSO. These performances include a percussion ensemble performance by TMC Fellows and chamber music by BUTI students at 2:30 p.m., a 3:30 p.m. Wind Ensemble program by TMC Fellows and a performance by the BUTI Young Artist Program at 4:00 p.m. Other activities include an Instrument Playground and free Tanglewood tours. TMC Brass Fanfares in the Shed will herald the 8 p.m. concert in at 7:30 p.m.
For tickets for all Tanglewood/BSO concerts (lawn and Shed seating) and special events, call 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200 (TDD/TTY at 617-638-9289). For local information, call 413-637-1600. You can also order tickets and get information online.
$20 tickets for attendees under 40, one of the BSO’s most popular discount ticket offers, will be available for select BSO and Boston Pops performances in the Shed. In addition, Tanglewood continues to offer free lawn tickets to young people age 17 and under, as well as a variety of special programs for children, including Kids’ Corner, Watch and Play, and the Young People’s Concert on Friday, Aug. 10.
On Sunday, Aug. 5, at 4 p.m., pianist Lynelle James returns to Sevenars with a solo program of Mozart, Liszt, Chopin, and the early 20th century Russian futurist composer Nicolai Roslavets.
A student of her grandparents, Rolande and Robert Schrade, and daughter of pianists Robelyn Schrade-James and David James, she earned her doctorate in piano performance at the University of Michigan, where she studied under the eminent pianist Arthur Greene. Ms. James has performed in major New York venues and festivals in American colleges and universities and internationally.
The Sevenars Academy is located at 15 Ireland St., just off Route 112 in South Worthington, Mass. Admission is by donation (suggested $20) and refreshments are included. Call 413-238-5854 or visit the website.
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