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From Stravinsky to Mozart, two spirited showings

LENOX -- Sunday morning's program by the vocal fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center was the kind of special event that only a major music school could present: a three-hour survey of the songs and vocal chamber music of Igor Stravinsky. The program spanned most of Stravinsky's life, from 1902 to 1968. Some of it called for a small chorus, a capella; some of it was piano-accompanied; some of it was composed for singers with chamber ensemble.

The pieces embraced many of the influences Stravinsky absorbed and the styles and techniques he explored over his long life -- Russian folk song at the root; European early music; music of the classical, romantic, and impressionistic periods; neo-classical music; serial music. Only a few of these pieces are well known, but collectively they add up to a compelling pointillistic portrait of the artist.

More than 20 singers participated; each seemed to have spent the summer developing individuality while honing skills of technique, musicianship, and projection. The combination of vocal and interpretive skills in the work of several was outstanding. Among the five strong pianists, Yauheniya Yesmanovich was remarkable for quality and color of tone.

Baritone Christopher Herbert proved versatile, moving from gusto in a comic dialogue to the restrained dignity of ''Elegy for JFK." Baritone John David Boehr was slyly amusing in a surefooted but off-kilter setting of ''The Owl and the Pussycat," and mezzo Abigail Fischer's sound was sumptuous in ''Cat's Cradle Songs." Charles Temkey's vigorous bass made the most of an antiwar fable. Beauty of sound characterized tenor Stefan Reed's singing of the ''Pastorale" and Michelle Johnson's lustrous voicing of one of Stravinsky's vocal masterpieces, ''Two Poems of Konstantin Bal'mont." Tenor Michael Kelly was affecting in the poignant allegory of Christ's life from the Cantata. To bright-voiced soprano JoEllen Miller fell a preview -- she sang, very elegantly, the ''Russian Maiden's Song" from the opera ''Mavra," which is on the docket for next summer. The one instrumental piece on the program, the ''Divertimento" for piano and violin, was delivered with grace and fire by Katherine Bormann and David Kaplan.

Sunday afternoon's all-Mozart program by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis included the ''Prague" Symphony, delivered with style and spirit to the accompaniment of ominous thunder (although the drenching storm held off until the public was heading for the parking lots), and the Concerto for Flute and Harp.

The ''Flarp," as it is known in the business, is a diverting piece but rarely performed because the harp part is so difficult. Mozart composed an idiomatic keyboard part that is virtually impossible to manage on the strings of a harp. Golden-toned, courtly flutist James Galway, the deft handiwork of the BSO's matchless principal harp, Ann Hobson Pilot, and the ample Mozartean skills of Sir Andrew and the orchestra made it delightful.

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