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Encores and Curtain Calls
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The Pioneer Valley Symphony, shown here being led by Paul Phillips, its music director and conductor, was honored recently with a 2013-2014 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.

Encores & Curtain Calls: Pioneer Valley Symphony, the little orchestra that could!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

“I’m not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself. I want it to sound like the composer.” — Leonard Bernstein The Pioneer Valley Symphony, which is soon to turn a venerable 76, has released its 2014-2015 season of offerings with an eye toward focusing on music born of the stage, in honor of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday this past April. … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Theater, music and laughter

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Never mind June, the July summer arts scene is bustin’ out all over and it seems only fair to at least touch upon some of the less-known possibilities lest they go unnoticed in the sheer abundance of riches. Original musical theater Happening right under our noses — indeed, opening this evening — is … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Three tales of summer

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

One of the most poignant moments of the Superman saga occurs in “Superman Returns,” when we see our solitary protagonist descending toward earth from the darkness of insterstellar space, hearing, as he does so, to a desperate, densely layered cross-section of earth-born voices, beseeching the cosmos for intercession. A bit further on, Lois … 0

Glorious madness at The Met

Thursday, July 11, 2013

“Inspiration is an awakening, a quickening of all man’s faculties, and it is manifested in all high artistic achievements.” — Giacomo Puccini The final of Giacomo Puccini’s incomparably beautiful creations, “Turandot,” displays this abidingly intimate, exquisitely delicate composer at his most unrestrained and resplendent. It’s a fabulous — … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls

Thursday, July 4, 2013

“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”  — Henry James Now’s the time to start circling summer music dates for July and August; having kicked off last week, the Old Deerfield Sunday Afternoon concerts will … 0

The elusive creature called harmony

Thursday, June 27, 2013

If melody is the defining profile and identity of a piece of music (would any of us recognize “Let It Be” or “The Star Spangled Banner” if it were left out?), harmony is its lifeblood, its emotional heart. The proof: play or sing any great tune, such as … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls

Thursday, June 20, 2013

“I only sing in the shower. I would join a choir, but I don’t think my bathtub can hold that many people.” — Jarod Klintz Choral singing — a merely pleasant, but marginal pasttime? Banish the thought. To set the record straight, get a load of this, from … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: ‘Faure Requiem’

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Several decades ago, I was fortunate enough to hear performance of the “Faure Requiem” under the direction of Blanche Moyse, who for many years was a founding member and director of the Marlboro Music Festival in the Brattleboro, Vt., concert choir. The music was — in short — … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

“Look! You want to see? See! Feast your eyes, glut your soul on my cursed ugliness! Look at Erik’s face! Now you know the face of the voice! You were not content to hear me, eh? You wanted to know what I looked like? Oh, you women are … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls

Thursday, May 30, 2013

“The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”  — Henry Wordsworth  A dark cinema screen: a deep monk-like voice, layered upon itself, ominously chanting … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

“It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony. — Benjamin Britten The official consensus on Benjamin … 0

Troubled? Then stay with me

Thursday, May 16, 2013

“In the house of lovers, the music never stops, the walls are made of songs & the floor dances” — Rumi Rosie Fanale describes herself as “a woman 61 years old, a pianist and multi instrumentalist since the age of 5, classically trained for 25 years” and “a … 0

PVS offers climactic cinematic finale

Thursday, May 9, 2013

“A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.” — Gustav Mahler The year is 1960. Leonard Bernstein, in his radiant prime at 42 and having ascended to directorship of the New York Philharmonic, somehow finds time to pen one of musical theater’s most exquisite and … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls

Thursday, May 2, 2013

“No one feels another’s grief, no one understands another’s joy. People imagine they can reach one another. In reality they only pass each other by.” — Franz Schubert When composers are spoken about, perhaps no other creator gets the greatest share of votes for sweetness and innocence as … 0

The strings of spring

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blessed be the sound of plucked strings. What is it about them that so harpoons the human heart? If one probes into the earliest historical remnants of ancient Grecian urns, you will find that the first instruments represented there are the aulos, the progenitor of the modern flute, … 0