Category Archives: previews

Tati films at the Brattle

Just a quick post. I’m planning on catching some of the Tati films the Brattle is showing next week. For Tati fans the occasion is notable for several reasons. For one, they’ll be showing Parade, a film that has never been released in the U.S. Also, they’re showing many of the films in various new versions, and some of his films have so much activity crammed into every part of the screen that they really require a theater-sized screen to get the full effect. For those who don’t know, Tati is a fantastic French director whose antics are often compared to Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, although his works are much more gentle than manic. His films often have minimal amounts of dialog and feature a combination of sight gags, physical comedy, quirky character idiosyncracies, and mild commentary, with a pervasive affectionate feeling of general amusement at humans and all of their many foibles. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia article. Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953), a.k.a. M. Hulot’s Holiday is a great place to start, although I like its follow-up Mon Oncle (1958) (My Uncle) even better.

Minmalism and Post-minimalism at Boston Conservatory’s New Music Festival

Whoops. I meant to post about Boston Conservatory’s New Music Festival in advance, but the first concert was tonight. You can find details here about the rest of the concerts, and I’ve included a copy of the schedule below. A range of selections including some classic stuff, so should be fun for newbies and long-time fans of the genre alike.

new music festival 2009
minimalism / post-minimalism

concert 1
thursday, november 12 seully hall 8:00pm
michael nyman string quartet no.2
michael torke chalk
nico muhly stride
ingram marshall entrada

concert 2
friday, november 13 seully hall 8:00pm
terry riley in c
steve reich new york counterpoint
evan ziporyn hive
steve reich eight lines

concert 3
saturday, november 14 seully hall 8:00pm
marcus balter torus
john adams gnarly buttons
steve reich tehillim

concert 4
sunday, november 15 seully hall 6:00pm
john adams hallelujah junction

concert 5
sunday, november 15 seully hall 8:00pm
john luther adams qilyuan
ramon humet mantra II
joseph celli snare drum for camus
steve reich music for mallet instruments, voices, and organ
louis andriessen workers’ union

Another season, and more conflicting concert dates!: BMOP and BMV’s season openers

The new season has crept up on me. I just realized that BMOP’s “Voices of America” festival, which includes Florestan’s BarberFest, is next weekend, at Tufts’ Distler Performance Hall (just a short walk from Davis Square ). For more info on the festival check out this preview at and for a complete schedule see BMOP’s website.

I’m a big fan of Barber’s songs, and Florestan has tracked down “more than a dozen” of his unpublished songs, including what appear to be nursery song settings from when the composer was 10-13 years old. Many of the unpublished works seems to be scheduled for the second of their three concerts. Lest anyone fear this is purely an academic exercise, no, they are not performing Barber’s songs in chronological order. And also, although the majority of the unpublished songs are juvenilia, one just has to listen to his other early works that have been recorded, such as “With rue my heart is laden” (opus 2, from 1927 when the composer was only 17), to immediately realize that Barber was an assured composer at an extremely early age.

One of the connective threads between the two groups’ concert series (aside from the obvious fact that each BMOP concert is preceded by a Florestan recital) is that two of Barber’s greatest vocal works, Dover Beach and the much-beloved Knoxville, Summer of 1915 will be performed at BMOP’s third concert. Now the only problem is deciding which of the three pairs of concerts to attend. Too bad they didn’t offer weekend passes!

In reference to the title of this post, the first conflict of the season is unfortunately BMV’s first concert of the season, also this Friday. Alas, such is life.The concert includes the Boston premiere of John Harbison’s song cycle The Seven Ages.

Upcoming for May

I’ve been trying to manage my outings a bit better. Not sure if I’m succeeding or not, but here’s what I’ve got on my calendar for May:

  • Friday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Jordan Hall: Cantata Singers’ final concert concluding their Benjamin Britten season. Featuring songs written by 4th grade classes at a local elementary school and the same songs worked into Andy Vores’ “Natural Selection”. The full program is as follows:

      Britten: The Company of Heaven
      4th Grade Classes, Neighborhood House Charter School: 2 songs
      Andy Vores: Natural Selection (premiere)
      Benjamin Britten: Psalm 150
      J.S. Bach: Cantata BWV 50, “Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft”
  • Was going to catch Junior Boys and Max Tundra at The Middle East Downstairs, but it’s this Friday and so it conflicts with the Cantata Singers concert. Drat. And now it looks like Certainly, Sir is opening for them. Ah well.
  • May 11-17: Boston Ballet’s Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Their description says: “This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Ballets Russes, established in 1909 by the Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev. Boston Ballet celebrates with classic works by Balanchine, Nijinsky and Fokine. Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo will premiere a new work, his sixth for Boston Ballet, to Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Le Sacre du Printemps'”. I’ll probably try to get 1/2-off tix through Goldstar.
  • May 27-June 1: Guerilla Opera premieres Boston composer Marti Epstein’s Rumpelstiltskin.
  • Free admission at MIT Museum tomorrow (Saturday)

    Quick post that The MIT Museum is going to be free tomorrow 10 a.m.-6 p.m. as part of The Cambridge Science Festival, now in its 3rd year. I posted some comments on the permanent exhibits a while back, which includes a collection of Arthur Ganson’s totally rad kinetic sculptures. The bf hasn’t seen them yet, though, so I’m going to make an effort to squeeze in a quick visit amidst enjoying all the sunshine over the weekend.

    The Science Festival has never really been on my radar, although it seems it’s not just focused on kids. Some of the activities seem like a bit of a stretch, though, e.g.:

      Carnival! Learn from the Microsoft experts how to keep your kids safe online!!
      Hands-on demonstrations help teach children how to spot dangerous risks online. A bonus for parents – see how to use technology at your fingertips to protect your kids!

    Oh, whoops, it ended today at 4. Looks like I just missed it! Ha ha.

    Upcoming for February

    Because of the Boston Conservatory’s annual New Music Festival, this first week of February has ended up being jam-packed. So much so that due to conflicts there are some things I want to see but won’t be able to. Here’s what I’ve got lined up, and the ones I’m sadly going to have to miss out on:

  • Friday, February 6: Passion Pit, Paper Route, Cale Parks Downstairs at The Middle East (18+, $12). I’d heard Passion Pit’s track “Sleepyhead” and then liked their other tracks on their MySpace page. The way I’ve been describing them is, “Like MGMT, but much less annoying and more interesting.” Won’t be able to make this one, though, due to the conflict below.
  • Friday, February 6: Brave New Works: The Boston Conservatory’s New Music Festival, as usual, has a load of worthwhile concerts. This one features a new work by Andy Vores entitled “Objects and Intervals”. It’s immediately preceded by a “prelude concert” by the Ludovico Ensemble of Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments for violin and soprano. Their soprano, Aliana de la Guardia, has yet to disappoint, and after the publicity of the Sellars/Upshaw performance at Lincoln Center this past fall I’m guessing I won’t be the only one interested in this thorny work.
  • Saturday, February 7 (2 p.m., All Saints Parish, Brookline): Benjamin Britten Noye’s Fludde: David Hoose, Music Director; Lynn Torgove, Stage Director; Members of Cantata Singers and PALS Children’s Chorus; Alysoun Kegel, Artistic Director; Young instrumentalists from Boston area arts organizations. Part of Cantata Singers‘ Britten season. Should be fun.
  • Saturday, February 7 (8 p.m., First Church in Cambridge): Sarasa Ensemble, Music of Handel, Purcell, and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Dominique Labelle, soprano and Michael Chance, countertenor: Part of the Boston Early Music Festival.
  • Sunday, February 8: Momenta Quartet: Also part of the Boston Conservatory’s New Music Festival. Featuring Glass’s Quartet #5 and a premiere by faculty member Dalit Warshaw for theremin and string quartet with the composer playing theremin. This evening also includes a prelude concert by the Ludovico Ensemble, Morton Feldman’s Crippled Symmetry.
  • Sunday, February 15 (3 p.m.): Chameleon Arts Ensemble “a tale that’s told in ancient song”. Especially looking forward to violinist Joanna Kurkowicz‘s performance of Ravel’s fiery crowd-pleaser Tzigane. You can get 1/2-price tickets from and if you register using this link I get a small commission. Whoo!
  • Sunday, February 15: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Pants Yell! and The Depreciation Guild Upstairs at The Middle East (18+, $9). Another show M wanted to go to, but I quickly got into The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s shoegaze-y brand of pop as well as The Depreciation Guild’s dreamy electronics. If you like M83, you’ll probably like The Depreciation Guild, and in fact at the moment I actually prefer the latter.
  • Phew! Looks like it’s going to be a marthon two weeks. Hopefully I’ll have enough stamina to get through it all. Stay tuned …

    Upcoming for January

    A bit worn out from the holidays, so don’t have much set for January. Tonight I’m going to the Cotton Candy concert I mentioned previously, part of their “4th Annual Indie Pop New Year’s Day Night”, upstairs at the Middle East. Here’s the schedule, courtesy of M:

      8:45 Cathy Cathodic
      9:30 Smittens
      10:15 Cotton Candy
      11:30 One Happy Island
      Doors 8:30, $9

    The Cantata Singers is in the midst of a season focusing on Benjamin Britten. Hadn’t managed to catch any of their concerts in the fall, but I’m a pretty big fan of Britten and there are three concerts this spring that I’ll definitely be making an effort to get to. The first concert is being presented as part of The New York Times’ 2009 Arts & Leisure Weekend, and you can use the promotional code “NYT09” to get two tickets for the price of one. (The Times’ site also has other arts-related promotions listed in MA for that weekend as well.)

    Here’s the info on the Cantata Singers concerts I’ll probably be checking out, taken from their website:

      Friday, January 16, 8:00 pm – Jordan Hall
      Roger Tapping, viola
      Five Flower Songs
      Janna Baty, mezzo-soprano
      Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
      Michael Slattery, tenor
      Michael Thompson, horn
      Rejoice in the Lamb, orch. Imogen Holst
      First Boston performance of chorus-orchestral version

      Saturday, February 7, 2 pm — All Saints Parish, Brookline
      Benjamin Britten Noye’s Fludde
      David Hoose, Music Director
      Lynn Torgove, Stage Director
      Members of Cantata Singers and PALS Children’s Chorus
      Alysoun Kegel, Artistic Director
      Young instrumentalists from Boston area arts organizations

      Friday, May 8, 8:00 pm – Jordan Hall
      Benjamin Britten Psalm 150
      Boston Children’s Chorus
      Anthony Trecek-King, Artistic Director
      J.S. Bach Cantata BWV 149,
      “Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg in den Hütten der Gerechten”
      Classroom Cantatas Cantata
      First performance
      Student composers from Neighborhood House Charter School
      and Boston Children’s Chorus
      Andy Vores Natural Selection
      First performance
      Britten The Company of Heaven
      Karyl Ryczek, soprano
      William Hite, tenor
      James Petosa, speaker

    While I’m at it, here’s The Phoenix’s preview of the spring classical music offerings. Also, the Boston Metro has a pretty concise listing of the theater and special events for January.

    BSO tickets for under 40

    This is a bit late, but still worth mentioning. The BSO has a program providing $20 tickets (actually it’s $25.50 with handling) for people under 40. Here’s the relevant info:

      Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, $20 tickets are available now through the remainder of the BSO season for patrons under 40 years of age. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis on both the orchestra and balcony levels. You may purchase one pair of tickets per performance but choose as many dates as you like! Purchaser proof of age is required and may be faxed prior to your concert to 617-638-9400, or you may show a photo id at the Box Office when you pick up your tickets. Please include your order number on your fax.

    A pretty great deal any way you look at it, although I’m already going to a few concerts through their Flex Pass program. Hopefully will make it over to Symphony Hall sooner than later, although A and I have had to keep putting it off because of his schedule. Stay tuned.

    Upcoming for December

    In general I’m pretty picky about going out to see theater in Boston, but I’m intrigued by the SpeakEasy Stage Company’s The Seafarer at the Boston Center for the Arts. Their description is:

      A 2008 Tony Nominee for Best Play, “The Seafarer” is a funny and
      haunting alternative to traditional holiday fare. On Christmas Eve in
      North Dublin, Sharky Harkin finds himself reluctantly hosting old
      friends at the rundown house he shares with his older brother. A lot of
      booze and card-playing carry the men into Christmas Day when Sharky must face the grim promise he made to one of his guests decades ago.

    Half-price tickets are available at

    Will also be checking out the MIT Museum’s new holography exhibit:

      Throughout the winter beginning at dusk, the MIT Museum presents an exhibition of contemporary, three-dimensional holographic artworks displayed in the windows, viewable only from outside the Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery. Featured will be holograms by six international artists whose varied imagery represents artistic and technical advancements in the field of display holography.

    Will try to make it to the opening this Friday, although my sources tell me it’s probably going to be more kid-friendly than not:

      December 5, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
      Lighting Ceremony and Opening Celebration
      Free admission, refreshments and street festivities

    A few shows coming up I may hit as well. Love is All + Crystal Stilts at Great Scott in Allston next Monday, December 8. The latter is described by one as “the love child of The Jesus and Mary Chain + Joy Division”, haha. Their MySpace page is here.

    +/- is playing The Middle East Upstairs the following night, but I’m probably going to have to pass, being too wussy to go to a show two nights in a row. Yes, I’m getting old. 😛 [Update: It looks like the show has been moved to Saturday, December 13. But I’m going to be out of town! Darn.]

    So looks like that’s the next couple of weeks figured out. Phew! 😉

    Upcoming this weekend

    Will catch up on reviews later, but for this weekend tonight I’m going to be at the Plough and Stars in between Harvard and Central Sq. to see The In Out and Cotton Candy (not to be confused with the SF group of the same name). Had never heard of either, but M was going; I’m guessing it’s because the latter is on TeenBeat Records, home also of Versus and +/-. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard: The In Out seems to be post-punkish, whereas the Cotton Candy track on TeenBeat’s MySpace page is more upbeat indie rock.

    Sunday night it’s the Ludovico Ensemble. Their core is mostly made up mostly of Boston Conservatory grads. Here’s the info for the concert:

      Seully Hall, The Boston Conservatory, 8 The Fenway
      From Great Britain
      Sunday, November 23, 2008, 8:00pm
      Cantata X by Jonathan Harvey
      Nenia: The Death of Orpheus by Harrison Birtwistle
      Dark Mother by Andy Vores
      (Featuring Boston Symphony Orchestra violinist Julianne Lee)