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Too much too soon?

Classical goodies for 2008
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 31, 2008

COMING NEXT MONTH: The Celebrity Series of Boston brings countertenor David Daniels to Jordan Hall.

Anyone for cloning? Two of the most exciting concerts announced for this winter are on the same date, February 24. The CELEBRITY SERIES OF BOSTON is presenting the great German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff in Schubert’s greatest song cycle, Winterreise (“Winter Journey”), with no less an accompanist than James Levine (Symphony Hall; 617.482.2595). And BOSTON CECILIA, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Donald Teeters’s directorship, is having a Handel bash, with more than a dozen singers (Jordan Hall; 617.232.4540).

Maestro Levine will also conduct Quasthoff in a BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA program of Schubert (the Tragic Symphony No. 4 and five songs orchestrated by Webern, Reger, and Offenbach!) and William Bolcom (the premiere of his Symphony No. 8, for chorus and orchestra). That’s February 28–March 1 — don’t forget it’s a leap year. The week before, Levine is doing Mozart, Berg, and Brahms, with pianist Peter Serkin and violinist Isabelle Faust (February 21-23, 26).

BSO guest conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos is concentrating on Richard Strauss (Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel, January 3-5, 8; An Alpine Symphony, plus Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with Leif Ove Andsnes, January 10-12). Colin Davis will be here with pianist Mitsuko Uchida (January 17-19, 22) and in one of his specialties, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, with Sarah Connolly, Ben Heppner, and Gerald Finley (January 24-26). Among the BSO’s other visitors: Charles Dutoit (February 7-9, 12); Mark Elder, with violinist Vadim Repin (February 14-16); Julian Kuerti, with pianist Leon Fleisher in Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (March 6-8, 11); and Daniele Gatti, with pianist Garrick Ohlsson (March 13-15). Principal guest conductor Bernard Haitink will return for Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, with celebrated tenor Ian Bostridge as the Evangelist (March 20-22), and a Bartók/Schubert evening, with pianist András Schiff (March 27-29; 617.266.1492).

The Celebrity Series also has a promising line-up. Countertenor David Daniels will do a recital with pianist Martin Katz including Brahms, Handel, songs of the Italian Baroque, and later French and English songs (Jordan Hall, January 19). Pianist Marc-André Hamelin will play Haydn sonatas and pianist/composer Alexis Weissenberg’s enchanting Sonata in a State of Jazz (Jordan Hall, January 25). Mariss Jansons leads the great Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam in familiar Berlioz and Debussy (Symphony Hall, February 1). The Guarneri and Johannes String Quartets join forces for an evening to include octets by Mendelssohn and William Bolcom (Jordan Hall, February 15). Pianist Alfred Brendel plays classic repertoire (Symphony Hall, February 22), and Imani Winds make their Boston debut with wind quintets from more than the two usual continents (Jordan Hall, March 15). Federico Cortese leads clarinet star Richard Stoltzman and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (GBYSO) in a 50th-anniversary celebration concert (Mahler and Bernstein at Symphony Hall, March 9). And violinist Gil Shaham returns with pianist Akira Eguchi for an unusual program of Bach, Walton, and Spanish composers (Jordan Hall, March 30; 617.482.2595).

The CANTATA SINGERS, under David Hoose, continue their superb re-examination of the music of Kurt Weill with Propheten, from The Eternal Road, and composer Lior Novak adding his installment to Slavery Documents (Jordan Hall, January 18 + 20), an afternoon of Weill, Gershwin, and Schoenberg songs (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, February 17), and his Concerto for Violin and Winds on a bill with Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem (Jordan Hall, March 14 + 16; 617.868.5885).

This year’s extensive Bach offerings by EMMANUEL MUSIC include Michael Beattie conducting the St. John Passion (Emmanuel Church, March 8), Russell Sherman and some of his most gifted friends in three Bach keyboard concerts (January 26; February 2 + 9), and, Thursdays at noon, six stellar violinists taking turns with Bach solo sonatas or partitas (free, February 20–March 13; 617.536.3356).

OPERA BOSTON presents a rare staging of Handel’s gorgeous Semele, with singers Lisa Saffer and Margaret Lattimore, conducted by Boston Baroque’s Martin Pearlman and directed by the talented Sam Helfrich (Cutler Majestic, February 1, 3, 5; 617.451.3388). For BOSTON BAROQUE, Pearlman leads Purcell’s enchanting masques for Dryden’s King Arthur (Jordan Hall, February 29 + March 1; 617.484.9200). BOSTON LYRIC OPERA revives Donizetti’s familiar comedy L’elisir d’amore (with the tenor aria “Una furtiva lagrima”), with Stephen Lord conducting (Shubert Theatre, March 14-25; 617.542.4913). And the touring Teatro Lirico d’Europa breezes through with old-fashioned productions and juicy singing at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Tosca (January 18-20), La traviata (February 29–March 2), and Die lustige Witwe|The Merry Widow (March 1; 617.824.8000).

The HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY offers masterpieces of English Baroque opera by Purcell and Handel led by Philip Pickett and directed by Nicholas Martin (Jordan Hall, January 11 + 13), Sir Roger Norrington conducting Handel, Bach, Purcell, and Rameau (Symphony Hall, January 25 + 27), John Nelson doing the Mozart Requiem (Symphony Hall, February 15-17), Christopher Hogwood with BSO principal horn James Sommerville in Mozart and Haydn (Symphony Hall, March 7 + 9), and violinist Daniel Stepner conducting a Handel cantata with soprano Dominique Labelle and other Italian gems (Jordan Hall, March 21 + 23; 617.262.1815).

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  Topics: Classical , Johannes Brahms , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Boston Symphony Orchestra ,  More more >
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Too much too soon?
There are extraordinary upcoming Celebrity Series concerts. Having heard the wind quintet, Imani Winds, in New York, my opinion is to not overlook their Boston debut in March. They exude high level musicianship and a wonderful stage presence.
By R. Greene on 12/27/2007 at 7:01:39

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