Orfeo ed Euridice
May 4 & 5, Jordan Hall
Owen Willetts, Orfeo
Mary Wilson, Euridice
Courtney Huffman, Amor
Henoch Spinola, Orfeo (dancer)
Ruth Bronwyn Whitney, Euridice (dancer)
Stage Direction by David Gately
Choreography, Gianni DiMarco
Berkshire fine arts --“David Gately’s semi-staging was as dramatically powerful as many fully staged productions.”
“British countertenor Owen Willetts … knocked you out from his first entrance. With the high, piercing lament of “Euridice!” when he first comes upon his dead wife, he caused shivers to run up my spine. His is a distinctive countertenor voice with the rich bottom tones of a contralto, ..., and a countertenor’s pure, high, almost unearthly sounds. He moved effortlessly from register to register and used his voice with great expressivity. From the single word, “riponde” (respond), after Euridice is returned to Hades, he was able to produce a range of sounds that painted all the colors of his grief… It was passionately articulate singing, and he appears to be at the start of a brilliant career. His [performance] of “Che faro senza Euridice,” (“What will I do without Euridice? Where will I go without my love?”), the opera’s most famous aria, was one for the record books, the best singing I heard in Boston all year."
Boston Globe “And the singing was excellent. British countertenor Owen Willetts, as Orfeo…was superb.”
Hub Review “This production had a… secret weapon - the Boston (and, I think, American) debut of British countertenor Owen Willetts, who has been a big noise in Europe for some time, and practically shook the rafters at Jordan Hall with what amounted to a mezzo of stunning, indeed almost clarion, power … Willett's voice doesn't boast just size, but also a rich, deep color that's rare in countertenors, and which as the grieving Orfeo he tinged with a melting poignancy. Willetts is truly something to hear, and let's hope we hear him again soon.”
“This production included some of the best singing and definitely the best dancing and staging we've yet seen at Boston Baroque; but how was the orchestra? Pretty damn fine too…the orchestra was transporting... Altogether, this was quite the night to remember at Boston Baroque. I'm not sure how they'll top it, but here's hoping they do.”
Mozart and the Levins
March 2 & 3, Jordan Hall
Ya-Fei Chuang and Robert Levin, forte-pianos
The Boston Musical Intelligencer … Once in a while one is reminded of how wonderful it can be for a music lover in the greater Boston area. An example of this was offered in Jordan Hall Friday evening, March 2nd. Here assembled was Boston’s fine resident Baroque orchestra under the reliable leadership of Martin Pearlman, Boston Baroque’s Music Director since its first concert in 1973. This time the focus was not on the Baroque, but on Mozart, and quite the evening it was. All of BB’s accustomed felicities were in evidence —brisk tempi, fabulous string articulations, mellow (bassoons) and plangent oboes, piquant tympani, telling timbres across the stage —all a joy to hear.
The K. 365 Concerto in E-flat Major for Two Pianos and Orchestra isn’t heard very often. More’s the pity, for it is surely one of Mozart’s most delectable keyboard concertos, with a gentle and haunting second movement that rivals this composer’s finest lyric creations. On hand to illuminate this remarkable music were four treasures—two fabulous fortepianos and two redoubtable Mozarteans. To hear not one but two fortepianos simultaneously in concert is a rare treat indeed, made even rarer by those who were playing them with such artistic finesse: Robert Levin and his wife Ya-Fei Chuang. Simply put, one would be hard-pressed to imagine a more thoughtful, precise, elegant and collaborative exposition of this nonpareil concerto.
Hub Review …I was lucky enough to witness a truly wonderful performance by Boston Baroque on Saturday night…
…it featured one of the most astounding keyboard performances I've ever had the pleasure to hear in my life (and I've heard just about everybody, going all the way back to Rubinstein).
Actually, to be specific - it featured the most transporting double performance on fortepiano I've ever heard in my life. The players were Robert Levin and his wife, Ya-Fei Chuang; Chuang took the lead - and to my mind she got the better fortepiano, too (plus the better gown - a sparkling number in pale periwinkle that looked absolutely stunning).
… the whole thing was a ravishment - it's one long swoon of rippling, silvery delight, boasting a haunting andante at its core (in which joy and melancholy seem to keep each other at bay in an almost heart-breaking way) that is simply to die for. And Levin and Chuang weren't just virtuosic individually - as the piece progressed they seemed to be merging into a single musical mind; again, I've never experienced a sense of musical ensemble as pure as this one (and I may never again). People actually began giggling in happiness at certain phrases, they were so elegant they almost tickled you; this was like listening to Ariel's music on Prospero's island; the performance was absolutely perfect.
… the strings and the woodwinds were in particularly fine form, and Pearlman shaped the playing so that it always operated as an exquisite response to the fortepiano line(s). The conductor likewise made a subtle statement out of the opening Symphony No. 29 (K. 201)…
Biber's Mystery Sonatas, part I
February 12, First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden Street
Christina Day Martinson, baroque violins
Sarah Freiberg Ellison, baroque cello
Victor Coelho, theorbo
Martin Pearlman, keyboards
Boston Globe … It’s not often you see a classical-music performer go through four instruments in a single concert. Which is not to say that, Sunday afternoon at Cambridge’s First Church, Congregational, Christina Day Martinson took to smashing her violin à la Pete Townshend. She was simply dealing with the unusual tuning demands of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber’s “Mystery Sonatas,’’ in a Boston Baroque concert that packed the hall.
Day Martinson, in Sonatas I-VIII plus X, didn’t just survive, she triumphed. … Bobbing up and down like a country fiddler, Day Martinson herself was sweeter and less high-strung (both in tone and in approach) than many in these sonatas, and she gave life to Biber’s ideas.
The date for Part 2 of the cycle has yet to be announced. Biber aficionados will be waiting with bated breath
Boston Musical Intelligencer … Bowing, swaying, almost dancing to her own — well, Biber’s — tunes, Martinson showed, indeed let be played through her, the swooping arpeggios and intense scalar passages that make of Bach, Vivaldi, and here, Biber, a musical feast — a banchetto musicale, in fact—of sound... After the opening sonata, all the following violin solos, until the last, were played on instruments that had been altered in rather specific ways. As Martinson explained in the opening to the program’s second half, the alterations affect not only the instrument but the player’s perception of what they hear as they play. The instrument has been retuned — sometimes radically, sometimes less so — but the entabulated notation is played as if nothing had changed at all. Welcome to the world of Biber.
Boston Classical Review … If Paganini kept the devil on his shoulder, Biber kept his Lord close by. Both inspirations worked. Proving it, in a flourish of technical complexity and musical wizardry, violinist Christina Day Martinson and her Boston Baroque counterparts presented a first installment of Biber’s Mystery sonatas Sunday afternoon at First Church in Cambridge.
She played Baroque instruments, with appropriate techniques …. The execution was breathtaking, and only a hint of what followed. …She was ably supported by continuo players Martin Pearlman (Boston Baroque’s music director) on organ or harpsichord), Sarah Freiberg (cello) and Victor Coelho (theorbo).
Gala New Year's Eve and First Day Concerts
December 31 & January 1, Sanders Theatre
Mary Wilson, soprano
Barbara Poeschl-Edrich, harp
Christina Day Martinson and Julie Leven, violin soloists
Aldo Abreu, recorder
Boston Globe … Aldo Abreu was the soloist in Vivaldi’s Concerto for Sopranino Recorder in A minor. … he has fabulously fleet fingers, and in the Larghetto he chirped fluidly over the “walking bass’’ of the violins and the violas.
As for the “surprise finale,’’ Pearlman explained that sometimes Boston Baroque likes to go “a little off the rails’’ and then suggested that this might be the first time a period orchestra had ever done Glitter and Be Gay, from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. …Pearlman and the orchestra gave the accompaniment a sly, almost Kurt Weill-like wit. Boston Baroque should go off the rails more often.
The Arts Fuse … Boston Baroque's Martin Pearlman conducted a thoroughly enjoyable concert….
The Concerto in A minor for sopranino recorder (RV 445), featured Aldo Abreu as soloist. … Mr. Abreu’s performance of the virtuosic solo part … was nothing short of spectacular. In the first movement, the most involved of the three, he dispatched rapidly tongued arpeggiated figures with breathtaking agility and energy. The succinct, second movement allowed for a beautifully shaped, lyrical, sopranino recorder melody. The brisk finale brought back the character of the opening movement minus some of its acrobatics.
The final piece on the printed program was Vivaldi’s non-liturgical motet “Nulla in mundo pax sincera” (which translates as “In this world there is no genuine peace”). Soprano Mary Wilson, who has appeared regularly with Boston Baroque over the last couple of years, was soloist. Ms. Wilson is a marvelous singer who possesses a voice with a clear, bell-like tone and superb diction.
And what of this “unexpected” encore? Well, after the vocal pyrotechnics at the end of the Vivaldi, there were only a few places we might have gone, and the one we went to was very close to home, indeed: the aria Glitter and be Gay from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. Ms. Wilson was totally in her element, and the crowd ate up her performance. One got the sense that Lenny, too, wherever he might be, was smiling with us as we all filed out into the mild, January air.
Boston Musical Intelligencer (Geoffrey Wieting) The Harp Concerto in B Flat Major of George Frideric Handel may be very much in the standard repertoire, but here Barbara Poeschl-Edrich played it on a (nowadays) quite unfamiliar instrument: the triple harp …Poeschl-Edrich managed to produce a range of nuance even with its limited dynamic range. Pearlman and the orchestra were ever sensitive to this and created an intimacy more akin to chamber music than to a stereotypical concerto. The lamenting slow movement was especially moving, with extended, expressive harp solos.
In Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, the soloists were …Christina Day Martinson and Julie Leven.... The sense of a pair who can “finish each other’s sentences” was ever present in the animated first movement. The cozy warmth of the slow movement had the same exchange, … Nonetheless, the beautiful playing evoked a fine vocal duet with sensitive accompaniment. The agitated final movement gave the soloists somewhat more opportunity for technical display as well as a delightful passage in which the soloists actually accompany the orchestra. As a demonstration of collegial music-making, this performance would be hard to top.
An encore was a foregone conclusion, but the choice was wonderfully bizarre: the — no doubt — premier performance on period instruments of Glitter and Be Gay from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. The song, of course, is the ultimate diva piece, with its manic-depressive mood swings and still more coloratura fireworks. Wilson had a ball with it, getting a big laugh by changing “Here I am in Paris, France” to “… Cambridge, Mass,” and again sailing through the spectacular vocal part without a hint of effort.
Boston Musical Intelligencer (Virginia Newes) … Aldo Abreu was the soloist in the Concerto in A Minor for sopranino recorder and orchestra, …Abreu showed himself to be a master of this tiny instrument… His adroit phrasing and skillful ornamentation were nothing short of amazing in fast passage work, while superb breath control allowed him to sustain extended melodic arabesques in the aria-like Larghetto. The Finale, working up to a climactic crescendo at breathtaking speed, brought down the house.
Mary Wilson was the soloist in Vivaldi’s motet Nulla in mundo pax sincera, …Wilson’s light, clear voice and surefire technique were more than a match for the motet, which rivals a violin concerto in its virtuosic demands.
This being New Year’s Eve, Wilson and Pearlman presented us with a surprise encore: the “first and only” performance by a Baroque ensemble of the set piece Glitter and Be Gay
from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.
An experienced opera singer and comedienne, Wilson played this brilliant piece, itself a witty pastiche of operatic cliches, to the hilt in a rousing finale to a wonderful evening.
October 21 & 22, Jordan Hall
Amanda Forsythe, soprano
Keith Jameson, tenor
Kevin Deas, bass-baritone
Boston Globe: "…a performance full of dramatic contrasts, vibrant colors, and poetic feeling. The chorus… had so much energy and point, and its fugal lines were so clear, that the words hardly mattered. The orchestra sang here, danced there, and everywhere reveled in Haydn’s picturesque details. It all augured well for Boston Baroque’s upcoming recording of The Creation."
The Justice: "In some ways, Boston Baroque's performance felt like it could have been the Vienna premiere, and in other ways it felt like a firsthand account from angels…The period instruments and inspired performances transported the audience back in time."
The Phoenix: "The chorus and orchestra (including an eight-foot-high Baroque contrabassoon) sailed through director Martin Pearlman's generally quick tempos. His affection for this piece was always present… This performance is being recorded and will surely make a lovely souvenir for anyone who wants to hear it again and a consolation for anyone who missed it."
Bsoton Musical Intelligencer: "As always, Pearlman’s direction was solid, leading the ensemble through the work’s many challenging sections while creating an overall pacing which matched the dramatic narrative well. The orchestra was responsive to Pearlman’s direction and realized Haydn’s orchestral “sound effects” and tone painting in engaging fashion… The chorus, with its crystal-clear tone, was precise in its articulation of the text as well as musical in its execution of longer textual phrases.
A pre-concert recording session at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall is expected to yield a recording for commercial release in the spring."
Boston Classical review: "…as a group they were tight and synchronized, providing crisp execution under Martin Pearlman’s direction. The players’ musical control as evidenced by its delicate entrances and gentle phrasing was remarkable and chorus and orchestra enriched the other throughout."
Rameau's Les Indes Galantes
May 6 & 7, Jordan Hall
Amanda Forsythe, Hébé, Phani, Fatime
Nathalie Paulin, L’Amour, Emilie, Zaire, Zima
Daniel Auchincloss, Don Carlos, Tacmas
Aaron Sheehan, Valère, Damon
Nathaniel Watson, Osman, Ali, Don Alvar
Sumner Thompson, Bellone, Huascar, Adario
Stage direction by Sam Helfrich
Original choreography by Marjorie Folkman
Dancers: Marjorie Folkman, Marric Buessing, Nicole Kedaroe, Henoch Spinola, Jessie Stinnett
The Boston Globe: "Last night's splendid performance in Jordan Hall made one wonder anew why this work is spotted so rarely. . . It was the refined and stylish singing [of the soloists] that made this night a particular pleasure. . . Boston Baroque's chorus sang with elegance, and the orchestra rendered Rameau's vibrant writing, a kind of 18th-century technicolor, with precision and finesse."
Boston Musical Intelligencer: “Martin Pearlman and Boston Baroque rose magnificently to the challenges, offering a superb performance...The musical pleasures were enhanced by five dancers... providing the 'narrative dance' envisioned by Rameau.”
Berkshire Fine Arts: "How can it be that a semi-staged production on a shallow space at the lip of a stage also occupied by a fully visible orchestra trumps musically and theatrically many of the fully staged operas put on in the Boston area this season?"
The Boston Phoenix: "As the season wound down, one of the most applauded concerts was Boston Baroque’s semi-staged version of Rameau’s Les Indes galantes... The greatest music is a sublime quartet in the Persia section, which I know best from the Christie recording, and my highest praise for this performance is that I thought the pacing and shaping of Pearlman’s quartet was even more ravishing."
Jewels & Discoveries
March 4 & 5 in Jordan Hall
"Our local music scene is chock-a-block with worthy programs sporting titles like"Jewels and Discoveries" – and alas, usually a few of the gems in question turn out to be rhinestones.
"So imagine my surprise when Boston Baroque's "Jewels and Discoveries"...turned out to be solid Cartier from start to finish. Conductor Martin Pearlman pulled together a program of brilliant obscurities, and his orchestra, chorus and soloists polished them to a dazzling sheen… This was Boston Baroque at its finest—which is very, very good indeed.
"The concert opened with Dietrich Buxtehude's Heut’ triumphieret Gottes Sohn, an Easter cantata of surpassing grace and richness…with particularly fine work coming from alto Martin Near and bass-baritone Ulysses Thomas. This was followed by two striking works of Monteverdi, Beatus Vir, a sublime setting of Psalm 112 which Pearlman gave his usual dancing buoyancy, and then what amounted to the centerpiece of the evening, Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, a stunningly dramatic piece based on Tasso’s epic poem of the Crusades… Both Tancredi and Clorinda were ably embodied by bass Bradford Gleim and soprano Mary Wilson, and Aaron Sheehan, though stepping in at the last moment, made quite the dashing narrator…
"[Heinrich Biber's] psalm settings and the Agnus Dei...were lovely and gave soprano Teresa Wakim, alto Thea Lobo, and tenor Murray Kidd a chance to shine… Biber’s two Mystery Sonatas...call for an unusual tuning of the violin [and are] fiendishly difficult…but Concertmaster Christina Day Martinson seemed unfazed by this (she never seems fazed), and, working with two violins, carried off the sonatas with spirited verve…
"The crowning glory of the program was literally a discovery—an early Gloria by Handel... Luckily, Mary Wilson returned to carry it off. Ms. Wilson's voice is just about perfect for Handel—her tone is ripe with sun, and her phrasings so flexible they seem to almost ripple…"
New Year’s Eve and First Day Concerts
December 31 and January 1, Sanders Theater
Boston Musical Intelligencer
Boston Baroque's Felicitous Start to 2011
"Bass-baritone Kevin Deas, whose performance in [Boston Baroque's] Messiah stunned everyone, was invited to sing a few selections and added a new dimension to the regular fare—also giving the Boston Baroque’s fine instrumentalists a chance to show different interpretive styles: vibrato and smooth bowing in works of a later era... The first half of the program ended on a profoundly moving note — Ole Man River. The gratitude of the audience was palpable…
"There’s not a musician in this band that was not outstanding, shown to such good effect when they are highlighted in smaller groupings… One of the most ravishing moments of the evening was a section of the minuet in Handel's Water Music when Pearlman softened the first violins and cellos to focus on the sonority of the violas, second violins, and bassoon in unison. It was ethereal."
A little bit of everything, a lot to applaud
"Arcangelo Corelli’s Christmas Concerto...was headlong cheer, all forward momentum; the delicate fizz of Corelli’s suspended dissonances and the echoing byplay between the first and second violins (led by Christina Day Martinson and Julie Leven) were passing dashes of texture in a peppy, fast-moving landscape...
"[Kevin] Deas sings everything with elegance, the gravity of his tone laced with polished lyricism, his diction marvelous, his passagework flexible, his phrasing unfailingly suave. He was the gallant life of the party...
"In Francesco Geminiani’s Variations on "La follia"…the alternation of soloists and full ensemble proved eminently durable, the wiry verve of Martinson, Leven, and cellist Sarah Freiberg landing again and again on a grand orchestral cushion… Boston Baroque’s marathon of indulgent revelry dissolved into a rich blur...[and] isn’t that how most New Year’s parties end?"
December 10 & 11 in Jordan Hall
Amanda Forsythe, soprano
Matthew White, countertenor
Keith Jameson, tenor
Kevin Deas, bass-baritone
Boston Baroque Exalts 'Messiah'
Pearlman Sparks Inspired Sound
"... [O]n Friday evening at Jordan Hall, Boston Baroque warmed the chilled audience with a dazzling performance of the classic dramatic oratorio that was anything but routine. Headlined by a stellar cast of soloists supported by a veteran orchestra and chorus, this “Messiah’’ sounded fresh, new, and eternal.
"Boston Baroque and its maestro-of-all-trades, Martin Pearlman, are hardly newcomers to the piece. Their recording of “The Messiah’’ received a Grammy nomination in 1992, and is considered the leading interpretation in authentic Baroque style. On Friday, too, the superbly disciplined Boston Baroque ensemble played on “period instruments,’’ which produce a lighter, more agile sound...
"What came across convincingly on Friday under Pearlman, who conducted nimbly from the harpsichord, was the score’s lively rhythmic personality. Many members of the near-capacity audience were tapping feet and nodding heads, powerless to resist the music’s seductive dance-like pulse. This “Messiah’’ was not an inert devotional monument, but rather the living, breathing “fine Entertainment’’ described by Handel’s poetic librettist Charles Jennens...
"To succeed, “Messiah’’ needs a chorus and soloists who can “sell’’ their texts with operatic skill. Boston Baroque boasts a small but responsive chorus (21 singers) that dramatically projected the people’s voice, responding to the soloists’ brief biblical narratives and bringing each of the three sections to a rousing climax...."
Boston Musical Intelligencer
"Boston Baroque’s annual Messiah...was indeed “a fine entertainment,” as intended by Handel’s librettist, Charles Jennens. Music Director Martin Pearlman, who led the orchestra of period instruments and a top-notch chorus of twenty-one voices from the harpsichord, infused this much-revered work with fire and pathos, hope and joy.
"Excellent diction and clear articulation by both choral and solo singers, reinforced by rhythmically sensitive playing from the orchestra, compelled us to renewed appreciation of the familiar texts...
"Spontaneous applause broke out after the superbly executed chorus “For unto us a child is born” that concluded the first scene. Here Baroque violins, doubled by two Baroque oboes in exuberant roulades, sounded almost like clarino trumpets. In the “pifa” music that opened the second scene, strings and oboes and a hushed drone of organ and bass produced exquisite tone color in imitation of the shepherds’ pipes, while offstage trumpets accompanied the angels’ choir."
"There was one moment in this year's BB Messiah that I will never forget
the duet for bass and natural trumpet in the third part. The piece begins, 'The trumpet shall sound,' but in the hands of trumpeter Robinson Pyle, the instrument actually sang, in tandem with Kevin Deas, the wonderfully rich bass who was essaying a famous passage from Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians... It was probably the best playing on natural trumpet I've ever heard in my life, as well as one of the most moving duets between a singer and an instrumentalist I've been lucky enough to witness. When Deas recognized Pyle at the close of the aria, it all but brought down the house."
Beethoven, Symphony No. 7
Cherubini, Arias from Médée
Beethoven, Ah! Perfido
Mozart, Symphony No. 33, K. 319
Soprano Soloist, Barbara Quintiliani
October 15 & 16 in Jordan Hall
"In Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 … the sound was marvelous — bracing and bristling with rich texture — as was the realization of Beethoven’s capriciousness, the music’s constant suddenness. Abrupt contrasts, whipped offbeat accents: The group turned on a dime again and again. Beethoven would have loved to take the wheel of such a high-performance machine."
"[Soprano] Barbara Quintiliani … was in excellent form. Quintiliani’s voice gleams, all brushed steel from top to bottom, with a finely-honed edge … the shimmer and spin never wavered. Two arias from Cherubini’s “Medée,’’ in its original French version, were superbly sung... “Vous voyez de vos fils’’ was a particular knockout, a silky plea laced with danger, the effortless legato, without warning, detonating with ringing incriminations."
"Mozart’s Symphony No. 33, K. 319 had a kind of mischievous lilt, dainty phrases landing on deep, well-placed sonic cushions. The performance also made fine, understated use of Mozart’s throwaway decorations, the chromatic asides tucked into the edges of his sturdy tonal paragraphs."
"Beethoven Symphony No. 7 … was exhilarating, beautifully played, grippingly paced, and rhythmically incisive — maybe the freshest, most convincing period-instrument Beethoven, I've heard. Heroic-voiced soprano Barbara Quintiliani … was stunning in Beethoven's challenging dramatic concert scene "Ah! Perfido."
"Pearlman pulled off the … trick of showing us how Beethoven … assembles his trademark sound. [T]he natural horns sounded absolutely wonderful - indeed the lusty, raucous volleys from the brass resounded in Jordan Hall like the calls of post horns across the 19th-century countryside."
"Ms. Quintiliani is blessed with a big, gorgeous voice that can be lusciously ripe one moment then thrillingly stern the next - which is perfect for "Ah! Perfido. Quintiliani made a powerful impression."
"[T]he orchestra played [Mozart's Symphony No. 33] with clean, elegant brio. The symphony all but brims with melodic ideas, and is lit by Mozart's youthful confidence."
Monteverdi, Vespers of 1610
March 6 Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York
New York Times
"... Boston Baroque’s music director, Martin Pearlman, says he considers the Vespers one of the ensemble’s signature works, with good reason: its 1997 recording (on Telarc) remains a standout in a crowded field….[T]his was a vital, often ebullient performance that reveled in the degree to which Monteverdi wove the drama of his operas and madrigals into his sacred works."
" Boston Baroque's thoroughly laudable performance of Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine…was an experience not to be forgotten. Why doesn't New York City have any early-music orchestral/choral ensemble at all, let alone one as accomplished and enjoyable as Martin Pearlman's group? [And] why has it been twenty-five long years since the globe-trotting Boston Baroque has visited this city? [That question] should be answered above all with the resolve that the group should come back soon and often."
"Boston Baroque, under Martin Pearlman, in the vast spaces of St. John the Divine Cathedral, transformed those singular notes from Monteverdi into passion, miracle and auditory radiance….Mr. Pearlman’s chorus...sang lustily and clearly. The 25-person Boston Baroque Orchestra was even more grand. The violins, violas, cellos and violone [were] vivacious…led by Christina Day Martinson, whose frequent solos were aggressive and colorful...Mr. Pearlman has a peerless orchestra, his singers were lusty and as brilliant as the cornetti, and the chorus in a multiplicity of guises, sang not as one voice but different voices."
Monteverdi, Vespers of 1610
February 19 & 20 in Jordan Hall, Boston
“Pearlman’s mastery of the total arc of the Vespers was always and everywhere evident…It’s no secret that many consider Pearlman’s version “the” Vespers of our time. Certainly the “Pearlman version” limns every—sometimes contradictory—facet of the piece: its intimacy and its grandeur, its period “feel” and yet its strange sense of timelessness. His exploitation of every nook and cranny of Jordan Hall was also brilliant, and only makes me long to hear this version in New York on march 6, when Boston Baroque will bring the Vespers to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, surely a close-to-ideal venue for hearing Monteverdi’s music of the spheres.”
“Intimacy and Grandeur”
Judging from Friday’s concert, [the “Vespers”] …has lost none of its power or originality. This was due not only to Monteverdi’s genius, but to the splendid performance conducted by Boston Baroque’s music director, Martin Pearlman …[who] led with a sense of drive and purpose, even in its most intimate moments. ...Pearlman achieved a remarkable sonic transparency…One of the evening’s high points was the motet “Duo Seraphim,’’ a sort of dialogue between angels… The result was a masterpiece of both art and spatial coordination…There were excellent solos from violinists Christina Day Martinson and Sarah Darling…The chorus sang with a union of focus, warmth, and agility one is tempted to call ideal.”
New Year’s Eve & First Day Concerts
December 31 & January 1 in Sanders Theatre
“Boston Baroque has in recent years created its own New Year's tradition of light, often comic, concerts … David Kravitz [in Cimarosa’s Il maestro di Cappela]…was truly peerless…not only was his sound gorgeous, but his characterization was superb… [T]he orchestra approached [Mozart’s 40th Symphony] with precision and spirit, while Pearlman offered his usual graceful insights…The only question in any one's mind at the final standing ovation was - how will they ever top this next year?”
December 11 & 12 in Jordan Hall
Boston Musical Intelligencer
“Messiah is above all a work for chorus, and Boston Baroque’s choir of twenty-one voices was nothing short of spectacular.”
“[A] reading of expert clarity and refinement, the chorus rolling through Handel’s scurrying riffs with turbocharged, accurate aplomb and exact diction, the entire group effortlessly incorporating adept inflections into each phrase…Soprano Amanda Forsythe’s…fluid vocal shimmer was in evidence…and her “Rejoice greatly’’ was a coyly voluble exclamation. Mezzo-soprano Ann McMahon Quintero…produced dark, velvety tones and some beautiful, musically sensitive singing, transforming “He was despised’’ into intimate, restrained grieving. Timothy Jones’s bass-baritone was both stentorian and honeyed…Lawrence Wiliford opened the services with a clear and elegant tenor, then, in the second part’s more passionate narrative, went the furthest in risking vocal quality for dramatic intent.”
Handel, Amadigi di Gaula
October 16 & 17 in Jordan Hall
“Conductor Martin Pearlman and his ensemble did fine work, and Boston Baroque fielded a good ensemble cast for this production…Leah Wool was fluid and sensitive in the title role, Mary Wilson was a strong Oriana, countertenor Matthew White a solid Dardano, and Ava Pine was splendid as Melissa, singing with tonal richness and dramatic intensity in equal measure.”
“Amadigi represented the year's best in local opera performance. …Amadigi is studded with wonderful arias, and adventurous orchestration…it's rare that any opera…is as dramatically striking as it is musically satisfying, but this was definitely the case here. ...“[Ava] Pine all but lit up the stage. …[she] pulled off one acting coup after another while unleashing a soprano of admirable force and intense color; this was easily one of the strongest operatic performances of the Boston year…Praise must also go to director Paul Peers…and of course conductor Martin Pearlman, who kept up the pace while drawing sensitive playing from his ensemble. All in all, this was a night both to savor and remember.
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons; Geminiani, two concerti grossi
Violin Soloist, Christina Day Martinson
“Under Pearlman, Boston Baroque’s playing combines supreme technical precision with unexpected psychological depth…This is story-telling par excellence. Christina Day Martinson’s polished technique and elegant musicianship [are] fired in the kiln of imagination…Eschewing the excesses of many previous interpretations while preserving their vitality, this new version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons may well represent the best of al possible worlds.”
Early Music America
“Releasing a disc of the Four Seasons is a special challenge … A new issue must say something new about pieces already heard dozens, if not hundreds, of times … The new disc by Boston Baroque passes these tests with flying colors. The soloist is the young Christina Day Martinson … her tone is lean but beautifully produced and controlled, with just the right touch of vibrato, and in the slow movements she ornaments the line, something rarely heard but unquestionably appropriate and effective. Under Pearlman’s veteran direction the tempos are well-chosen, the articulations and inflections of the band incisive and expressive, and the sound of the strings … close to ideal. An added bonus is the two works filling out the program … Geminiani concerti based on Corelli’s Op. 5 sonatas … Don’t hesitate to add this one to your collection and to give it to your near and dear.”
San Francisco Sentinel
“A superb recording in every respect, [capturing] the glowing vibrancy and warmth of the ensemble's instruments ... Violinist Christina Day Martinson is an inspiring performer and will spark a new generation of instrumentalists with her debut recording.”
October 24 & 25 in Jordan Hall
Opera Today (UK)
“IS BOSTON BAROQUE PERIOD PERFORMANCE'S BEST KEPT SECRET?"
"Boston Baroque have a fine record of producing Handelian opera—and with their most recent Xerxes … in the fine acoustic of Jordan Hall, they have succeeded again…The key to this Xerxes was the integration of a fine cast of mainly young singers with a band that has this musical idiom in their very fibre … Martin Pearlman, [conducted] his 25-strong band with verve, precision and great rhythm … This was high-class Handel, and if only Boston got to hear it for two nights, then that was Boston’s good fortune.”
“Martin Pearlman led the remarkable Boston Baroque orchestra and chorus in a performance filled with energy and sparkling wit, perfectly tuned in to Handel’s shifting moods and capturing both the freewheeling charm and the pathos of the score. One could hardly ask for a better cast. They were young, fresh-voiced, and appealing and had vocal technique to burn.”
“Martin Pearlman and his ensemble delivered a strong, richly detailed performance of ‘Xerxes,’ Handel's tale of lovelorn royals complexly entangled in romantic yearnings beyond their control. The impressive male soprano Michael Maniaci sang Xerxes with a confident presence and a strong, clear, and well-controlled voice … Ava Pine was particularly compelling as Romilda, singing with rich expressivity and tonal warmth … Leah Wool made an ardent Amastre, and the ever-nimble Amanda Forsythe was a very saucy Atalanta … The orchestra under Pearlman's direction was never less than crystal clear, rhythmically steady, and precisely balanced. And with the singers keeping such close company, the conductor was on occasion dragged into the romantic crossfire - often to the audience's delight.” –JEREMY EICHLER
French Baroque: Lully, Charpentier & Rameau's Pygmalion
March 6 & 7 in Jordan Hall
“Martin Pearlman's Boston Baroque [presented] a diverting program of 17th- and 18-century French vocal music. … Both orchestra and chorus were superb…Lawrence Wiliford was expressive and articulate as the sculptor who falls in love with his own statue … Canadian soprano Meredith Hall was the creamy-voiced statue, and Boston soprano Kristen Watson was enchanting as both Céphise, Pigmalion's rejected lover, and L'Amour herself.. French operas overflow with dance, and it was a pleasure to see Marjorie Folkman back on stage, her dancing lighter than air and her choreography witty and characterful…Kudos to Boston Baroque for commissioning fresh new choreography instead of using the often precious "re-creations" of traditional Baroque dances.” –LLOYD SCHWARTZ
“Boston Baroque’s performances were polished and full of vitality. The chorus … sounded especially fine. Pearlman showed yet again his deep understanding of this multifaceted musical era.”
Haydn, The Creation
May 2 and 3 in Jordan Hall
“Boston Baroque’s performance [displayed] vibrant color and a fleet momentum that brought out Haydn’s architecture…. The color came courtesy of the 18th-century period orchestra…hollow, dulcet wooden flutes; the mellow, knuckleball unpredictability of natural horns; the sonorous raspberry of a 9-foot contrabassoon — the new world of Genesis bursting forth like a Technicolor Oz…. Martin Pearlman led a brisk, incisive reading…Haydn’s assembly of individual movements into formally balanced sections was unusually clear. The always excellent Boston Baroque chorus sang with beaming vowels and a buoyant rhythmic precision…. Pearlman and company made it a vivid, effervescent occasion.”
Purcell, King Arthur
February 29 and March 1 in Jordan Hall
“Martin Pearlman led a lucid and animated performance. Both chorus and orchestra were in exceptional form; trumpeters Jesse Levine and Robinson Pyle made heroic contributions…. It was a shrewd move to use the Senelick-Pinsky narration…the sly, witty text brought Dryden’s antediluvian drama into the present. It was a fine entertainment, in the best Baroque sense.”
“Pearlman assembled a splendid performing edition from 60 scattered sources and, refined Purcell conductor that he is, led with charm, delicacy, outbursts of vigor, and an uninterrupted connection with Purcell’s irresistible melodies.”
Handel, Semele (collaboration with Opera Boston)
February 1, 3, and 5 in Cutler Majestic Theatre
Financial Times (London)
“Martin Pearlman’s vital reading made one grateful for this rare opportunity to experience an American opera production with period instrument support.”
“Pearlman led an incisive performance, transparent and sharply accented. The chorus was marvelous: tight, ringing, and theatrically enjoyable.”
"An intimate, graceful Messiah."
"A large crowd turned out for the second of two
annual performances by Boston Baroque.... The
orchestral playing had an intimate quality, graceful on its feet, transparent in its textures, and
trim in its proportions.... Pearlman [foregrounded]
the superbly blended sound of his chorus and
[support of] his four vocal soloists. He did
both to fine effect."
Mozart’s Così fan tutte
"This production...was executed with perfection...a
delight from start to finish, and a success by any
standard...That's what you get when you cast
enormously talented and young performers, with strong,
evocative voices, and the physical presence to draw
out a little lust and larceny from the most
dignified...I went to this production a skeptic. I've
seen this opera before and have never been terribly
impressed...Friday evening, however, I was not only
impressed, but drawn into the fun...As usual the
orchestra, under the music direction of Martin
Pearlman, rendered an even and deftly suportive
orchestral acocmpaniment...the chorus was as
captivating and talented as the cast...Once again,
Boston Baroque has taken something that in the wrong
hands could be stale and worn and delivered a very
lively newborn, in the form of a "Cosi fan Tutte" that
was very much a raucous delight, a little naughty and
an entirely enjoyable experience for its captivated
audience. Well done!"
Handel, Concerti Grossi, Op. 6, Part Two (Nos. 7–12)
“Boston Baroque [is] one of the world’s premier period-instruments bands…. The ensemble has always played with great assurance and panache, but with this new release there comes an added fullness and weight to the corporate sound and a newfound richness to the string tone…. Bottom line, these are wonderful performances that I would put up against any comers, either on period instruments or modern.”
The Stranger (Seattle, WA)
“Martin Pearlman and Boston Baroque make Handel bounce, caper, glide, and sing.”
“The playing is quite suave. The ensemble meets Handel’s greatest challenge: conveying stateliness without stiffening up. Beyond that, the musicians can also sound light, playful, even Italianate…. Throughout, there’s a suppleness that stops well short of affectation…. The only complaint: Telarc shouldn’t have taken a decade and a half to complete this fine cycle.”
American Record Guide
“Resourceful, imaginatively shaped, and refreshing intepretations, lucidly recorded — altogether reliable but perceptive, and certainly now a leading recommendation.”
“This completion of Boston Baroque's recording of Handel's 12 Concerti Grossi, Op 6, is a recording with an extraordinarily high feel-good factor…. Martin Pearlman and his period-instrument Boston players bring a highly attractive spring and swing to the gait of the quicker movements, and an unforced grace to slower ones in a way that's likely to leave you with a smile of satisfaction on your face. And the Telarc recording captures the grainy tone of the period strings with appealing softness.”
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Cherubini, Requiem in C minor
“This long-neglected masterpiece is a broad and noble work that was written more than two decades after Mozart’s Requiem but stands proudly in its company…Pearlman believes strongly in this work, and his interpretation does not skimp on expression but…stays true to the music’s sense of balanced, classical proportions. The chorus sounds marvelous, singing with a dark mahogany tone, and the period instrument orchestra plays with vibrancy and precision.”
“A performance of great delicacy and textual immediacy…Boston Baroque’s twenty-three-voice-chorus is finely showcased, and conductor Martin Pearlman brings refinement and a careful sense of balance to the performance…Berlioz and others have commented on the extraordinarily powerful Agnus Dei, and Pearlman’s attention to dynamics reveals the movement’s stunning architecture…”
Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)
“Martin Pearlman and his Boston Baroque have released some wonderful CDs over the years. As the foremost period-instruments ensemble in the United States and one of the premier groups in the world, Boston Baroque is in the forefront when it comes to performing 18th and 19th century music. Free from academic intellectualism and pedantic musings, Pearlman brings a refreshing vitality to his readings. The music is vibrant and alive and just plain fun to listen to.
This is certainly the case with their recording of Cherubini’s seldom heard Requiem…it’s wonderful music…Boston Baroque’s performance is sincere and heartfelt. It brings out the best in the music and captures all the drama in lyrically phrased playing that is both expressive and eloquent.”
Early Music America
“Pearlman carefully guides his musicians and singers through all of the colors and dynamic nuances of the score…Listeners will find no better introduction to…this amazing choral interpretation of the Mass for the Dead…Cherubini’s March funèbre of 1820, with its dramatic use of percussion, rounds out this superb recording.”
“Performed with…delicacy and conviction…Pearlman gets world-class performances from his choristers.”
Boston Baroque's Beethoven
May 4 and 5 in Jordan Hall
"A fiery, exciting performance. [The] period instruments revealed subtle harmonies and echoes that disappear [in] modern orchestras...At times...the Fifth Symphony sounded new again."
Vivaldi, Juditha Triumphans
March 30 and 31 in Jordan Hall
"Martin Pearlman has a nose for sniffing out music that flies a bit below the radar screen...performed rarely enough to perk up the ears. Last year was Cherubini's noble yet neglected C minor Requiem...this season it is Vivaldi's only surviving oratorio, "Juditha Triumphans," which the group performed vibrantly...It is a lovely work. The muisc is consistently imaginative--and occasionally breathtaking--in its use of orchestral color."
Mozart, Don Giovanni
October 13 and 14 in Jordan Hall
"Boston Baroque uncorked its new season last night with a semi-staged production of Mozart's Don Giovanni in Jordan Hall...[T]his Giovanni was an enjoyable, well-sung evening that showed how monumental appetites can be given satisfying expression in a small, chamber-sized space...Boston Baroque [gave] the opera's first American performance on period instruments. That the performance took place as recently as 1986 makes one realize just how quickly and dramatically the early music movement as a whole has flourished over the last two decades. This ensemble's standards last night were certainly high, with the orchestra, under Pearlman's baton, giving Mozart's timeless score a crisp and vigorous reading...Pearlman and the orchestra made the music sound fresh and full of duly Giovannian brio."
"In the hands of Boston Baroque's Martin Pearlman last night at Jordan Hall, performing the original Don with his excellent orchestra and a set of estimable soloists, this opera seemed...if not modern, then most certainly alive.
Stage direction by Sam Helfrich was excellent. Nathan Berg, as Don Giovanni, did the major work with aplomb, as well as his servant Leporello, Mark Schnaible. Its rare to hear both leads in the lower voices, but they served well.
Amy Burton (Donna Elvira) and Heidi Stober (Zerlina) both sang with distinction. Burton especially has a voice that has to be watched out for: forceful, emphatic, and full of life. It was a pleasure to hear her performance.
Pearlman as always makes an orchestra understand the demands of a great opera and he did here. This is no easy score, but Pearlman made it seem easy to understand....And Pearlman was a magician with the baton."
"'Don Giovanni' will be heard many times in many styles during this 250th anniversary year of Mozart's birth but rarely with such insight and finesse as Martin Pearlman and his superb period-instrument orchestra achieved."
"Boston Baroque opened its 2006-07 season Friday evening with a powerful, semi-staged production of Mozart's 1787 "Don Giovanni"... [T]he packed audience at Jordan Hall last night saw as near perfect a show as one is likely to see anywhere...
Boston Baroque...gave a solid rendition that was at times truly moving, as in the canzonetta, and at other times punctuated with dramatic bombast, as in Giovanni's final reckoning in the last scene. Moments such as this are what we go to opera for, and Boston Baroque packed its bag full of such treats for this show.
What made this performance even more enjoyable was that the music, delivered with sensitivity under the guidance of Maestro Pearlman, is truly enjoyable, the libretto by Lorenzo Du Ponte is believable and crisp, the stage direction by Sam Helfrich was economical and real, and performances from an outstanding ensemble cast that were uniformly superb throughout.
As with all good performances of "Don Giovanni", it is almost impossible to separate the Don, sung here by Nathan Berg from his reluctant sidekick, Leporello, sung by Mark Schnaible. Their performances were flawless, their acting and movements on stage precise and realistic, and their voices agile and strong throughout. Coupled with smart stage direction, it was hard not to get drawn into their conniving plots for conquest. Brilliant!
Gustav Andreassen, singing the part of the Commendatore, was hypnotic, especially in the final scenes where he returned from the dead to claim the Don for the devil. He had wonderful stage presence, and when his deep, clear bass voice beckoned the Don to join him for dinner the house fell into a deep hypnotic trance. Mesmerizing!
On the female side, there were uniformly solid performances... each delivered strong, believable performances in their respective roles, and each added just the right mixture beauty and strength to vocal performances that at times soared. Wonderful!
Boston Baroque's "Don Giovanni" was about as close as one can get to operatic perfection, and for the most part it reached that standard with great ease to the delight of an audience that was enthusiastically grateful and pleased with what it saw and heard.
Kudos, Mr. Pearlman."
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Cherubini, Requiem in C minor
Beethoven, Eroica Symphony
May 5 and 6 in Jordan Hall
“BOSTON BAROQUE GIVES A FORGOTTEN ROYAL REQUIEM NEW LIFE...Pearlman has kept Boston Baroque in the forefront of the historically-informed, early-instrument field not only by its standard of performance but by keeping ahead of the curve in programming. The Requiem is a darkly colored and emotionally powerful piece, somewhat unusually scored for chorus and orchestra without soloists. The writing for chorus is skillful and the orchestration is full of imaginative touches of color...[The orchestra displayed] some fine playing, and the chorus was splendid...This was an important rediscovery...The program ended with a spirited, even swaggering performance of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony...The early instruments and Pearlman’s disposition of them onstage created many fresh and compelling sonorities and balances and revealed much detail in the inner life of a work that is full of it.” — Richard Dyer
Bach’s Magnificat and Vivaldi’s Gloria
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“The joyous music surges with energy. The brilliant players and the exuberant chamber chorus achieve near-perfect balance. Tempos are brisk, rhythms swingy, phrases crisply articulated, dynamics expressive...spirited interpretations.”
The Observer (London)
“This seraphic ensemble lavishes its celestial charms on Vivaldi’s wonderful Gloria...Rarely are performers and repertoire so perfectly matched; fine soloists and a large, vivacious orchestra bring out all the vivid charms of both works, icons of the choral repertoire.”
Copley News Service
“Only adds to the high reputation Boston Baroque enjoys as probably the best orchestra playing period instruments in the land.”
American Record Guide
“This release may be the find of the year.”
Purcell, The Fairy Queen
March 4 & 5 in Jordan Hall
“A crowning achievement...Boston Baroque’s delightful performance...brought a full palette of pleasures.”
“A fine example of the style, instruments and rhythm of a music period which has become the eminent domain and Trust of Boston Baroque and its fine conductor, Martin Pearlman...With a wonderfully resonant chorus (its rendition of ’Hush, no more’ was absolutely riveting), solid narration by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, and delightful performances from five very talented singers, [the performance] easily captivated a full house and seduced its audience into entering a world of fairy queens and magical impossibilities—and it did so with great success.”
October 21 and 22 in Jordan Hall
“Boston Baroque’s semi-staged account of
Handel’s ’Agrippina’...was not just the best production in a week
crowded with opera, it was the finest local operatic performance in
several seasons...Guest director Sam Helfrich...is a smart, musical,
and theatrically savvy guy. He drew terrific performances and real
shadings of character out of his cast, while earning cascades of
laughter from the audience...The singing was mostly first-rate, even in
the small parts...Ravishing tone came from mezzo Margaret Lattimore,
who sang with a large, deep, and opulent sound. As Claudius, bass Kevin
Deas sang flexibly and resonantly...Soprano Sari Gruber’s coloratura
was as clean and bright as a whistle, and [she was] fun to
watch...Twyla Robinson, in the title role, offered vibrant, thrusting
tone...Michael Maniaci, as Nero, [sang] with a strikingly pure,
powerful, and beautiful voice...He can purl a long and eloquent line
and click off coloratura with virtuoso aplomb...Martin Pearlman
conducted with real vigor, style, and purpose; the Boston Baroque
orchestra and its continuo section played with uncommon vitality and
attention to detail...This production may have had no set and no real
costumes, but it had all the qualities that matter more.” —Richard Dyer
The Patriot Ledger
“An exhilarating semistaged performance by
Boston Baroque...With witty staging, brilliant singing and Pearlman’s
masterly leadership, this production proved that baroque opera can be
as vital and entertaining as any musical theater...Once again Boston
Baroque’s period-instrument specialists showed themselves to be among
the world’s finest with their precision and flexibility, including the
sinewy underpinning by the continuo players...’Agrippina’ is fairly
lengthy but didn’t seem so with Pearlman’s brisk pacing and instinct
for the right rhythmic pulse and expressive effect...With her vocal and
acting gifts, Twyla Robinson seems headed for an important
career...Making a spectacular debut, male soprano Michael Maniaci
[displayed] a voice of unusual clarity, size, scope and
beauty...Margaret Lattimore poured out seamless, velvety sound...with
gorgeous tone and affecting emotion...Soprano Sari Gruber vivaciously
flitted and trilled through a succession of would-be lovers and flighty
arias. With his resonant bass and spirited acting, Kevin Deas gave
Claudius a human face. Sumner Thompson, Eudora Brown, and Aaron
Engebreth made strong contributions in supporting roles.” —Peter M.
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January 28 and 30, 2005 at Cutler Majestic Theatre
“The joint production of Gluck’s Alceste by Opera
Boston and Boston Baroque moves this grave and beautiful opera out from under
the shadow of its historical importance...and reveals it as thrilling musical theater...The
16 singers from Boston Baroque’s chorus cover themselves with glory with clear,
focused singing; vivid acting; purposeful gesture; and even a bit of line
dancing...The playing is beautiful and stylish, and Pearlman leads with a fire
in his belly.”
“With an outstanding cast under conductor Martin
Pearlman, a vivid musical experience was guaranteed. Gluck’s miraculously pure,
powerful score [was] rendered by Pearlman and company with Boston Baroque’s
trademark energized elegance.”
“The orchestra was, as always
with Boston Baroque, a thing of beauty. Pearlman conducted the dark overture
with impressive power and the dances with grace.”
“The Boston Baroque orchestra played
beautifully...the superb playing of all the sections was readily appreciated.
Martin Pearlman was in excellent form. With a fine recording of Gluck’s
‘Iphigénie en Tauride’ under his belt, he attacked the score to
‘Alceste’ with assurance and fervor, providing razor-sharp entrances
and cut-offs...The Boston Baroque chorus deserves special praise...”
December 17 and 18, 2004 at Jordan Hall
“Pearlman really knows what he wants
to hear and how to get it, and that’s a lithe, fleet, transparent, ebullient,
dancing performance...Chorus and orchestra were fluent, accomplished, and
tireless over the long haul, which passed in a moment, the twinkling of an
Bach, Orchestral Suites
“A fine new version of the Bach suites
and I warmly recommend it...Boston Baroque’s virtuosity and elan leaves little
to be desired...And how good to be welcoming a US-based period instrument
ensemble into a fold traditionally occupied by European ensembles.”
“Rousing readings...goes right to the
top of the list of recommended performances...The recording is as fine as the
performances, which is to say, remarkable.”
Mozart, “Jupiter” Symphony & Flute Concerti
“Jacques Zoon offers up both virtuosity
and charm...His tone is bright, his fast passage work impeccable, his legato
song-like...The Boston Baroque shine...This is a superbly balanced reading of
the glorious Jupiter syjmphony...The second movement unfolds with elegance and
the Menuetto swings...The famous finale is spotlessly played and
articulated...This recording is a wonderful hour-and-17 minutes of music.”
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Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610
May 7 and 8, 2004 at Jordan Hall
“The Vespers displays a dazzling range of
sonorities, moods, methods, and forms....Over the years Boston
Baroque’s Martin Pearlman has become an expert [in this music]. Boston
Baroque has recorded his version and is preparing to take it to Los
Angeles, Chicago, and Tanglewood...The choral singing by a team of
all-stars was of a high standard, and so was the orchestral
playing...The greatest gifts Pearlman has to bring to Monteverdi are
insight and affection. The music made the spirit soar, as it was meant
“An exultant reading by Martin
Pearlman...opulent...His chorus was a wonder, their singing combining an ethereal
purity of tone with expressive fervor.”
December 12 and 13, 2003 at Jordan Hall
“Depth and refinement...vivid and
compelling...This was a Messiah about which one could sing Hallelujah.”
October 17 and 18, 2003 at Jordan Hall
“Pearlman conducted with taste, style,
energy, and the Boston Baroque orchestra sounded splendid... The
performance was lively, well-played and well-sung, and it’s hard to
imagine how any three-hour stretch of music could be more varied and
These arias demand supersingers, and Pearlman assembled
several...Margaret Lattimore sang with luscious tone and dashing
coloratura...Amanda Forsythe was captivating...Stephen Salters is a
major talent...Lauren Skuce [is] a vivacious stage personality with a
creamy soprano...propelled by technique and imagination...Twyla
Robinson has a fantastic voice, large and vibrant, and a fearless
“Boston Baroque transformed Jordan Hall
into an opera house on Friday...and with a superb orchestra, chorus and
cast under the ever-dynamic leadership of Martin Pearlman...the
transformation was pure magic.
One of the world’s most promising young artists, soprano
Twyla Robinson, in her Boston debut...made an enormously sympathetic
Alcina. Her bright, silvery voice...draws you right to her...”
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Beethoven’s Symphonies No. 1 & 2
February 27 and March 1, 2003 at Jordan Hall
“An exhilarating program.... Performances that were
remarkable for their transparency, agility, and drama.... The
performances of both the Beethoven symphonies were revelatory...
Pearlman captured the vigor, the contrapuntal density, and Beethoven’s
ingenious exploitation of conventional forms.”
Return of Ulysses
October 25 and 26, 2002 at Jordan Hall
“Boston Baroque [gave a] gripping, deeply moving
performance.... Pearlman [is] an inspired interpreter of
Monteverdi’s music.... Pearlman assembled a cast fully worthy of Boston
Baroque’s noble Monteverdi tradition.”
“With the belated Boston premiere of Monteverdi’s The
Return of Ulysses.... Martin Pearlman and Boston Baroque completed
their triumphant turn around the cycle of the composer’s three
surviving operas... Pearlman’s [performing version] was informed,
tasteful and effective and so was the playing...”
“The Jordan Hall stage was filled with a superb
group of musical artists...Two musicians in particular catapulted the
performance from the superior to the sublime: mezzo Phyllis
Pancella...and Music Director Martin Pearlman, who conducted his own,
brand-new edition of this nearly lost masterpiece.”
“What an extraordinary act of scholarship and
imagination Boston Baroque’s Martin Pearlman has
achieved.... Pearlman[’s]...rhythmical vigor and dramatic contrasts of
timbre and tempo...made for a riveting three hours.”
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October 26 and 27, 2001 at Jordan Hall
“Pearlman and company — his ever-lovely
orchestra, expert chorus and a team of golden-throated soloists —
delivered the story exactly the way the composer surely intended,
through a gentle performance of exceptional beauty and poise.”
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