Classical Feed

Brooklyn Chamber Music Society Presents Mozart, Beethoven, and Fauré

by Nick Stubblefield

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On cold, windy Brooklyn nights in January, warming up can be daunting. New Yorkers, like moths to a light, find comfort in small spaces — closer quarters means more body heat. Take the cozy McKinney Chapel of the First Unitarian Church, a warm, welcoming, and acoustically lively urban nook with stained glass panels overhead and hardwood floors underfoot.  This past weekend, an enthusiastic, intimate community of music lovers (young and old) stepped inside, ready to shake off the chill, relax and savor masterworks from three beloved composers, Mozart, Beethoven, and Fauré. 

The Brooklyn Chamber Music Society, a non-profit organization headquartered in Brooklyn Heights, presented a string quartet, consisting of Scott St. John on violin and viola, Carmit Zori on Violin, Daniel Phillips, viola, and Julia Lichten, cello. Shai Wosner provided accompaniment at the piano. The program opened with Mozart’s own quintet arrangement of his Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major. The strings played with precision, enthusiasm, and Mozart-appropriate frolic. While piano concertos are a cornerstone of the major orchestras, hearing one in this up-close chamber setting was a different, equally rewarding experience.  The ensemble’s expressive, dynamic playing was perfectly suited to the room and audience; tender moments were soft, and loud moments had more impact. Meanwhile the resonance of the strings, especially from the larger-framed cello, was a sonic feast for the ears. Seeing the intense focus reflected in the musicians’ facial expressions, watching the intricate fingering and bowing, one could appreciate the artistry in what is perceived as the simple joy of making music.

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Preview: Staatskapelle Berlin's Bruckner Cycle at Carnegie Hall

Tonight, the Berlin Staatskapelle kicks off an unprecedented nine concert survey of Anton Bruckner's complete symphonies at Carnegie Hall. Led by music director Daniel Barenboim - who incredibly made his Carnegie debut 60 years ago tomorrow - the concerts will also feature six of Mozart's late piano concertos, which Barenboim will lead from the piano. We won't be at all nine concerts - that's a bit much even for a Bruckner fanatic like me - but I'll be there tonight for the rarely heard Symphony No. 1, along with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27. Tickets and additional info available on Carnegie's website.


The New York Choral Society Rings in the Holidays at Alice Tully Hall

by Nick Stubblefield

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With all the mayhem of travel, madness of scheduling, and the commercialism that has come to define modern-day Christmas-time, feeling "in the spirit" can seem like an insurmountable task for a busy New Yorker. Fortunately, if you let it, the concert hall can serve as a more-than-welcome respite from it all, a sanctuary safe from all the noise, and a place to feed the soul. When you get right down to it, the holidays are a time for unity, and that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from the shared experiences with family and friends. For many, there's also the spiritual and religious element to the holidays. The New York Choral Society set out this past holiday season to embrace that familial quality in a religious context using the most universal and inclusive instrument of any -- the human voice. 

The New York Choral Society, often abbreviated NYChoral, is a New York mainstay. Founded in 1959, they've graced stages at almost every major venue in Manhattan, and performed a diverse set of repertoire from Mendelssohn to Arvo Pärt. The holiday show packed the modern, warm, and cavernous Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, a venue well-suited in size for NYChoral. Choir members, just like the audience, came from various backgrounds and ages. They conveyed a sense of welcome and community -- something akin to what you might see in a mid-sized church.

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Today: Make Music Winter 2016

Mmw2015_logoAs New Yorkers finish up their shopping and start thinking about heading home for the holidays, they'll be surrounded by music all day today as part of the 6th annual Make Music Winter, marking the shortest day of the year. Featured artists performing throughout the five boroughs include members of Antibalas, singers Onome and Jascha Hoffman, all-women Brazilian drumline Fogo Azul, keyboardist Karl Larson, conductors Thomas McCargar and Malcolm Merriweather, composers Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson, Cameron Britt, Ravi Kittappa and P. Spadine, and others. 

The full schedule is available on the Make Music Winter website. Our recommended itinerary for the day is below.

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