A Profusion of Music at Tanglewood, Sevenars
Come mid-August, classical aficionados are grateful for the cornucopia of extraordinary musical riches the Boston Symphony bestows to rapt audiences within the incomparably bucolic setting that is Tanglewood.
During this penultimate week of the Tanglewood Festival's classical programming, the spotlight will focus on a range of music in varied genres: from orchestral music by Brahms, Zoltan Kodály, György Ligeti and György Kurtág performed by The Knights chamber orchestra and featuring the superb violinist Gil Shaham, to more Brahms and some rare Schumann performed by the Boston Symphony, to favorite symphonic masterworks by Sibelius, Hindemith and Mahler performed by the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the musical putti will be hovering over Tanglewood's arcadian fields.
For extra, out-of-this-world thrills, reserve your seats now in the Shed on Friday, Aug. 16, at 8 p.m. for the cinema spectacular, "Star Wars: A New Hope" – the classic film with live orchestral accompaniment performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Keith Lockhart. Composer/conductor John Williams' exhilarating score will provide an unforgettable sonic experience – one of the highlights of this magical musical summer at Tanglewood.
For a cool, refreshing stylistic change of pace, with a tincture of jazz to buoy the spirits, be sure to check out the final season's program at the storied Sevenars Festival, in South Worthington, Mass.
• Thursday, Aug. 15, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: The innovative New York-based chamber orchestra The Knights performs in Ozawa Hall with a program of music by Hungarian composers, and also two works of Brahms with distinctive Hungarian influences. Violinist Gil Shaham joins the orchestra as soloist in Brahms' Violin Concerto, which was dedicated to his close friend and colleague, the prominent Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim, and which includes a rondo-finale inspired by Hungarian gypsy music. The concert begins with the fourth movement of György Ligeti's "Concert Românesc," and the second half of the program interweaves selections from Brahms' immensely popular "Hungarian Dances," György Kurtág's "Signs, Games, and Messages," and Zoltan Kodály's folkloristic "Dances of Galánta."
• Friday, Aug. 16, 8 p.m. in the Shed: Pops conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops present the classic film "Star Wars: A New Hope," with live orchestral accompaniment. Set 30 years after "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace," "Star Wars: A New Hope,” the fourth episode of the saga, returns to the desert planet of Tatooine. A young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) begins to discover his destiny when, searching for a lost droid, he is saved by reclusive Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness). A civil war rages in the galaxy, and Rebel forces struggle against the evil Galactic Empire, Luke and Obi- Wan enlist the aid of daredevil pilot, Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Joined by the quirky droid duo R2-D2 and C-3PO, the unlikely team sets out to rescue Rebel leader Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and make use of the stolen plans to destroy the Empire's ultimate weapon. In a legendary confrontation, the rogue group mounts an attack against the Death Star for a climactic battle with the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader. This live orchestral accompaniment, composed by Tanglewood's own John Williams, will take your experience of this action-packed film to a new, thrilling level. Don't miss it!
• Saturday, Aug. 17, 8 p.m. in the Shed: French conductor François-Xavier Roth, general music director of the city of Cologne, leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a program of music by Brahms and Schumann. To open the concert, soloist Kirill Gerstein joins the orchestra for Johannes Brahms' magisterial Piano Concerto No. 2 – in effect, a symphony with piano solo that epitomizes the composer’s ability to imbue Romantic ardor within traditional, classical structures to create a work of transcendent beauty and power. Maestro Roth then leads the BSO in a performance of Robert Schumann’s inspired Symphony No. 2, with its supremely beautiful and passionate slow movement.
• Sunday, Aug. 18, 2:30 p.m. in the Shed: Maestro François-Xavier Roth returns to conduct the BSO in a program once again of music by Brahms and Schumann. The centerpiece of the performance is Schumann's late-period Cello Concerto, for which the luminary cellist Yo-Yo Ma joins Mr. Roth and the orchestra. The concert also features members of the BSO horn section in the opening work, Schumann's "Concert Piece for Four Horns and Orchestra," a fascinating and spirited work that provides ample opportunity for the hornists to display their instrumental virtuosity. The program concludes with another lesser-known masterpiece, Brahms' Serenade No. 1, an early orchestral work written at the same time as the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15, in D Minor.
• Sunday, Aug. 18, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero, Music Director of the Nashville Symphony, leads the brilliant young Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, and will be sharing the podium with two TMC Conducting Fellows. The program will include Mahler's mellifluous Symphony No. 4. Composed in 1899 and 1900, it is the last of Mahler's works in the genre to incorporate sung text from the folk poetry collection "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" (The Youth's Magic Horn). The "Wunderhorn" poem used in the Fourth is "Das Himmlische Leben," (The Heavenly Life,) which describes a child's vision of heaven.
Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI)
• Monday, Aug. 19, 8 p.m. at The Linde Center, Studio E, "The Black Mozart," concert theater works: Director, composer and writer Bill Barclay returns to Tanglewood for a Concert Theatre Works development project in partnership with TLI. The object of his creative attention for the Full Tilt series of presentations is Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Bologne was a decorated military officer, champion swordsman, acclaimed violinist, composer, and conductor - a true Renaissance man of the classical era and an artist of color in 18th-century France.
Regular-season ticket prices for the 2019 Tanglewood season range from $12-$130, and are available online, through Symphony Charge at 888-266-1200, and at the Symphony Hall Box Office at 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Tickets will also be available for purchase in person at the Tanglewood box office, located at Tanglewood's Main Gate on West Street in Lenox, Mass.
Sevenars Music Festival
Sevenars will present as its season finale one of its traditional favorites, the Bob Sparkman Trio, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18. The duo of clarinetist Bob Sparkman and pianist Jerry Noble is already approaching two decades of magical Sevenars performances; with with the addition of bass guitarist Kara Noble (also Jerry's wife), it has increased its range as a magical trio.
Jerry Noble describes the program as "our little trip through music - a world tour without leaving your seat. We'll travel from Worthington to Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, London, the land of the Arabian nights, and who knows where else ...?"
For Sevenars tickets, and general contact information, call 413-238-5854 (please leave a message for return call), or visit the website. Admission is by donation at the door; suggested donation is $20. Refreshments are included. Sevenars Concerts is located at the Academy in South Worthington, Mass., located at 15 Ireland St., just off Route 112.