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Pianist Yefim Bronfman comes to Tanglewood on Friday, Aug. 17.

Enjoy Great Music at Tanglewood, Sevenars, Tannery Pond

By Stephen DanknerGuest Column
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Cellist Yo-To Ma returns to Tanglewood on Sunday, Aug. 19.

Come late August, classical aficionados are grateful for the cornucopia of musical riches the Boston Symphony Orchestra bestows to rapt audiences within the incomparably bucolic setting that is Tanglewood. Many of those superlative concerts will reside in our collective memory for a long time.

During this penultimate week of the Tanglewood Music Festival, the spotlight will focus on a range of classical fare in varied genres: from chamber and solo piano music by Beethoven, Brahms, Britten and Mahler to symphonic works by Beethoven, Copland, Bartók and Shostakovich. A special treat – part of Tanglewood's "Bernstein Centennial Summer" - will be the Boston Ballet performing Jerome Robbins' "Fancy Free."

Looking ahead, these last two months of magnificent music making are but a prelude to the fall array of area classical offerings on the horizon – mostly chamber music - at Tannery Pond in New Lebanon, N.Y., into September, and at South Mountain Concerts in Pittsfield, also in September and continuing into October. Look for a preview of the upcoming five South Mountain Concerts in next week's "Classical Beat."



• Wednesday, Aug. 15, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: Pianist Igor Levit joins the JACK Quartet - an innovative string quartet dedicated to championing contemporary music - for a thematic program of music with political overtones - oppression, revolution and renewal. The concert begins with Mr. Levit performing Beethoven's "Variations and Fugue in E-flat," Op. 35, ("Eroica") with the musical theme taken from the finale of the composer"s Symphony No. 3, with its programmatic ties to Napoleon. Mr. Levit will be joined by the JACK Quartet and baritone Douglas Williams, reciter, for Schoenberg's "Ode to Napoleon," Op. 41, a setting of Lord Byron's powerful statement against Napoleon's tyrannical ambition. Concluding the concert will be contemporary American composer Frederic Rzewski's epic solo piano work "The People United Will Never Be Defeated!" - 36 variations on a Chilean worker’s protest song.

• Thursday, Aug. 16, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: The phenomenal Skride String Quartet presents a program that opens with Gustav Mahler's rarely heard Piano Quartet in A minor, in one movement - the only piece, though uncompleted, of surviving chamber music by the composer. The two remaining works on the program, by contrast, are cornerstones of the piano quartet repertoire: Mozart's Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, K.478 and Brahms’s Piano Quartet No. 1 (also) in G minor, Op. 25.

• Friday, Aug. 17, 8 p.m. in the Shed: Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director/Conductor Andris Nelsons leads the BSO in Dmitry Shostakovich's massive Symphony No. 4 - a constituent part of maestro Nelsons' and the Orchestra's multi-year project of performing and recording all of the composer's 15 symphonies. In the first half of the program, the magnificent pianist Yefim Bronfman – a frequent BSO guest artist - joins Mr. Nelsons and the Orchestra for Beethoven's expansive and sublimely lyrical Piano Concerto No. 4. This concert, part of the "Underscore" series of Friday informal pre-concert commentary/talks by BSO musicians, will feature percussionist J. William Hudgins.

• Saturday, Aug. 18, 8 p.m. in the Shed: Maestro Nelsons and the BSO return to the Shed to present an all-Leonard Bernstein program, which begins with a fully staged performance of the composer's ballet "Fancy Free" in collaboration with Boston Ballet, utilizing Jerome Robbins' original choreography. The program continues with the "Divertimento for Orchestra," which was composed for the BSO's centenary celebration in 1980, and concludes with the "Serenade" (after Plato's "Symposium") for violin and orchestra, featuring the superb violinist Baiba Skride. When Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins created the hit ballet Fancy Free in 1944, each was just 25 years old. As Bernstein's first ballet score and Robbins' first full-scale choreographic effort, it catapulted both men to stardom. In what would become his signature style, Robbins combined classical choreography with jazz and popular dance moves. Just months after "Fancy Free" was premiered at Manhattan’s old Metropolitan Opera House, its scenario had become the basis for Bernstein and Robbins' hit Broadway musical “On the Town” (performed at Tanglewood on July 7).

• Sunday, Aug. 19, 2:30 p.m. in the Shed: The world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform two works accompanied by Maestro Nelsons and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. The cellist will perform Bernstein's "Three Meditations from 'Mass,' " for cello and orchestra, and the world premiere of John Williams’ "Highwood's Ghost, an Encounter," for cello, harp and orchestra. The program also includes Aaron Copland's "An Outdoor Overture" and Béla Bartók’s incandescent "Concerto for Orchestra," which the BSO commissioned and premiered in 1944. This program celebrates the completion of iconic sculptures that composer John Williams commissioned for the Tanglewood grounds of three of the Festival's seminal figures, who were, and remain, his personal heroes: Aaron Copland, Serge Koussevitzky and Leonard Bernstein.

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.


Pianist Rorianne Shrade performs Aug. 19.

Sevenars Concerts

Sevenars Concerts' final 2018 season recital, "Seven Rs at Sevenars," will be held Sunday, Aug. 19, at 4 p.m. The program is in honor of the 50th anniversary of Sevenars (named after the seven "R"-named Schrade family members), and in tribute to a similar program concept of her father Robert Schrade, late co-founder of Sevenars with his wife, the late Rolande Schrade, pianist Rorianne has selected a program of famous and lesser-known composers with "R" names – Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Rameau, Respighi, Ries, Rodrigo and Roussel. 

Major works will include Ravel’s luscious "Valses nobles et sentimentales" and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s exuberant Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor.  

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. Get ticket information by phone at 413-238-5854 or online.


Tannery Pond

Classical accordionist Hanzhi Wang will perform at Tannery Pond on Aug. 18.

Tannery Pond – that pristine chamber music series in stunningly beautiful New Lebanon, N.Y., bordering Pittsfield on Route 20, will be presenting their fourth chamber music concert. As always, this exemplary venue showcases amazing talent performing both classic and modern/popular 20th century music in a gorgeous and historic setting.

• Saturday, Aug. 18, 8 p.m.: Tannery Pond will be hosting an extraordinary concert with Hanzhi Wang, classical accordionist (!), and the Omer String Quartet in a program of music by Joaquin Turina (1882-1949), Hugo Wolf (1860-1903), Argentine tango maestro Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), J.S. Bach, Edvard Greig, Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925) and Martin Lohse (1971- ). The Omer String Quartet will also perform Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 50, No. 5 and Béla Bartók’s First String Quartet, Op. 7.

Tickets are $30 and $39. For credit card purchase by phone, call 888-820-1696. Visit the website for more information and upcoming concerts listings. Tannery Pond is located on the grounds of Mount Lebanon Shaker Village and Darrow School, New Lebanon, N.Y., one and a half miles east of the town center on Route 20.

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Tanglewood's Online Festival Continues

By Stephen DanknerGuest Columist

The Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival will enter its seventh week with a capacious selection of state-of-the-art digital audio and video streams. These performances were recorded at Tanglewood’s breathtaking spaces at the superbly designed Linde Center – a constituent part of the BSO's/Tanglewood’s new entity, the Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI). Other concerts will include performances previously recorded and archived by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. 

A unique, all-encompassing digital music festival, the diversity of programming replicates a choice selection of the previously announced 2020 live performances Tanglewood had hoped to present this summer, but which had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus. 

Here is this week’s schedule of streamed events, from Wednesday, Aug. 12, through Tuesday, Aug. 16.

New content, recorded especially for the online festival:

• Aug. 12, 8 p.m.: Recitals from the World Stage featuring Boston Symphony Chamber Players, joined by pianist Vivian Choi, in works by Poulenc, Allison Loggins-Hull (played by BSO Principal Flute Elizabeth Rowe), Henze, Stravinsky, and Brahms, hosted by Karen Allen.

• Aug. 14, 8 p.m.: BSO Musicians in Concert with Alexander Velinzon, Danny Kim, Adam Esbensen, Toby Oft, Stephen Lange, James Markey, and Mike Roylance, hosted by Lauren Ambrose, performing music by Beethoven and Baroque and 20th-century works for brass ensemble. 

• Aug. 15, 8 p.m.: Great Performers in Recital featuring pianist Conrad Tao performing pieces by Beethoven, Crawford Seeger, David Lang, Tania León, and Conrad Tao, hosted by Nicole Cabell.

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