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Adventurous Music in Kent

The Music Scene

The “Music in the Nave” series at St. Andrew’s Church in Kent returns next weekend with a piano recital by Russell Hirshfield.
On the program are pieces by Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin and Piet Swerts.

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They’re Back, HD Opera Broadcasts

The Music Scene

Tickets have gone on sale for the 2012-2013 season of the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts.
It’s time to look ahead.
Donizetti’s comic opera “L’Elisir d’Amore” (The Elixir of Love) opens the season in a new production Oct. 13. The stellar cast features the alluring Russian soprano Anna Netrebko as Adina, who has captured the heart of Nemorino (Matthew Polenzani). Its best-known aria, sung by the tenor (Nemorino) is the plaintive “Una furtiva lagrima” (A furtive tear).

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Love’s Labours Found

The Music Scene

It’s still five months to Valentine’s Day, but words of love — pastoral and mischievous, spiritual and ethereal — will fill the air at Music Mountain Friday evening.
Les Inegales returns for its second engagement on the mountain, with a delightful program of early and high Baroque pieces celebrating love in its many guises.
The program is titled “Corydon, the Lonely Shepherd: Concert with Baroque Music – On Love Human and Divine.” The reference is to an ancient stock character of the lovelorn shepherd, Corydon (much like the harlequin or other traditional figures).

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Folk Gems Nearby

The Music Scene

Woody Guthrie, the iconic American folk singer, has a center named after him, and it’s right here in Great Barrington, MA. The Guthrie Center’s mission is to bring individuals together for cultural, educational and spiritual exchange. 
Part of that mission is delivered through the Center’s Troubadour Series. This summer it has featured Maria Muldaur, Tom Paxton and Christine Lavin, veteran folk greats all.
If you’ve missed them, you still have another chance to hear a folk gem this weekend, Lucy Kaplansky. 

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Entering Beethoven’s World

The Music Scene

This weekend, Music Mountain features the Juilliard String Quartet playing two of Beethoven’s late string quartets: Op.132 in A minor and Op.131 in C-sharp minor (the latter actually composed after the former).
These last five quartets, composed in the final three years of his life, are usually referred to as the
“late quartets,”and include the last pieces he wrote. With them, Beethoven entered a whole new realm of music-making and imagination.

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Argazzi Gallery Hosts Hevreh Ensemble Fundraiser

The Music Scene

In July, the New York City and Berkshire-based Hevreh Ensemble recently released a new album, “Between Worlds.” To celebrate, the group is having a concert and fundraiser at the Argazzi Art Gallery in Lakeville next weekend.
Judith Dansker, oboist and music teacher in our region — she is on the faculties of The Hotchkiss School and Bard College at Simon’s Rock — founded the group in 2001, which continues as the ensemble-in-residence at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, the Reform Jewish temple in Great Barrington, MA.

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Return to Goshen For Jazz Under the Stars

The Music Scene

The Litchfield Jazz Festival returns this weekend for its 17th season, and this year it moves back to its former home, the Goshen Fairgrounds, where the main stage will be housed in a large tent.
The festival features a wall-to-wall profusion of jazz superstars, among whom I can pick out but a handful to highlight.

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Let’s Hear It From Saint-Saëns

The Music Scene

Camille Saint-Saëns – the French Romantic composer who is the subject of this year’s Bard Music Festival, “Saint-Saëns and His World” – is one of the most enigmatic figures in music.
A long-lived and prolific composer, he might be surprised, were he alive today, to note how few of his pieces have entered the standard repertoire. A symphony, an opera, some tone poems (including the familiar “Danse Macabre”), and the perennial children’s favorite, “Carnival of the Animals,” are nearly all of a much larger output that gets regularly played in concert halls.

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The Celts Are Coming, Hurrah!

The Music Scene

My love affair with Celtic music began more than 30 years ago in a small church on Long Island, where the rising band, Silly Wizard, came to play.
That toe-tappingly infectious, virtuoso group of Scots — lead vocalist Andy M. Stewart, Phil Cunningham on accordion and his brother Johnny on fiddle, Martin Hadden on bass and keyboards, and Gordon Jones on guitar and bodhran (the handheld Celtic drum) — went on to become one of the greatest Celtic ensembles of all time.

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Beautiful and Rarely Heard

The Music Scene

Next weekend, Bard SummerScape continues with a little-known opera by the French Romantic composer Emmanuel Chabrier, “Le Roi Malgre Lui” — literally, “The King in Spite of Himself,” though perhaps more accurately “The Reluctant King.”
Bringing unjustly neglected works to light has been a specialty of SummerScape and its musical director, Bard College President Leon Botstein. The musical canon can be narrow, circling back to the small number of “greats” while leaving a lot of first-rate compositions untouched.

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