Fall Classical Preview: The power of music

 And, we hope, the good health of James Levine
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  September 14, 2010

I’LL TAKE PARIS! Benjamin Zander leads the Boston Philharmonic in a program that crosses Tin Pan Alley and the Rue de la Paix.

Here’s my Top 10 list, in chronological order, of some of the season’s most appealing and important classical music events: symphonies, chamber music, operas. It’s by no means exhaustive, and I encourage you to peruse the Phoenix’s weekly listings for the full array of what Boston’s stupendous musicians have to offer the classical-music lover — from novice to pro; from pricy (series subscriptions are often bigger bargains than individual tickets) to free.

EMMANUEL MUSIC | September 24 | Now in its 40th season, Emmanuel has acquired (after a two-year search) a new artistic director: Ryan Turner, who calls his debut season “Where Tradition Meets Innovation.” (Few groups have better earned this title.) Turner opens with a great and symbolic piece we don’t hear often enough: Alexander’s Feast, or The Power of Music, Handel’s oratorio in tribute to music itself, a magnificent setting of John Dryden’s poem celebrating St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. | Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St, Boston | $10-$150 | 617.356.3356 or emmanuelmusic.org

BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA  | October 2 | The question that’s uppermost in classical-music lovers’ minds is: will James Levine really be back to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra? Out for much of last season and all summer with back problems, for which he’s undergone surgery, he’s scheduled to open the BSO season in a Wagner program with celebrated Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel (October 2 at 6 pm, $75-$2500). The following Saturday, he’s listed as conductor for the Metropolitan Opera’s live HD telecast of the new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold at 1 pm and then Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the BSO at Symphony Hall at 8 pm. Marathon man? If his plane is late, he’d have to be Superman. I’m also especially eager to hear his series of John Harbison symphonies, which begins the following week (October 14). | Symphony Hall, 301 Mass Ave, Boston | $29-$108 | 617.266.1200 or bso.org

HARVARD MUSIC DEPARTMENT’S POTPOURRI WITH VIOLIN  | October 3 | Daniel Stepner, one of Boston’s most versatile violinists, kicks off a series of free concerts at Harvard with a compelling program that ranges from great Bach (the Chromatic Fantasy transcribed for violin) to great Ives (Sonata No. 2). He’ll be partnered by pianist Donald Berman, who’s no Ives slouch himself. | Paine Hall, Harvard University North Yard, Cambridge | free | 617.495.2791 or music.fas.harvard.edu/calendar

RUSSELL SHERMAN | October 5 | The New England Conservatory’s Distinguished Artist-in-Residence is a profound and profoundly original pianist, and he’s celebrating the 200th birthday of a profoundly original composer, Robert Schumann, by playing three of his major and most personal keyboard works: Arabesque, Kreisleriana, and the big C-major Fantasia. Even more “fantastic,” the concert is free. Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St, Boston | Free | 617.585.1122 or necmusic.edu

1  |  2  |  3  |   next >
Related: Wanting more, Beyond Dilla and Dipset, John Harbison plus 10, More more >
  Topics: Classical , Music, Fidelio, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
    Vladimir Jurowski has bigger and better credentials than most of the contenders for the next BSO directorship. Did he strike sparks?
  •   BELL AND LEHNINGER AT THE BSO  |  October 12, 2012
    The young Brazilian conductor Marcelo Lehninger has been one of the brighter lights among recent Boston Symphony Orchestra assistant conductors, and it's good to report that his appointment has been renewed for a (rare) third year.
  •   BOSTON MUSICA VIVA'S ''BREAKTHROUGHS''  |  October 09, 2012
    Richard Pittman's Boston Musica Viva's delightful season-opening program at the Tsai Center on September 28 included world premieres by three composers who weren't born yet when BMV began 44 years ago.
    At Symphony Hall, with its legendary warm and natural acoustics, the amplification created a distorted, directionless sound for the singers of Porgy and Bess .
  •   INTERMEZZO'S 'DIVA MONOLOGUES'  |  September 25, 2012
    John Whittlesey's feisty little Intermezzo chamber opera series has just entered its 10th season.

 See all articles by: LLOYD SCHWARTZ