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If you're further afield, our Live-Streaming program is back!   To kick of Season 9, the stream of our very first Jordan Hall concert, Gargantua, is FREE!  Just tune into tonight at 8:00 pm to join us in Jordan Hall.  For the full concert experience, enjoy these thoughtfully prepared program notes as you listen along.    

Schoenberg:  Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night)
Françaix: The Incredible Tales of the Great Gargantua

Two larger-than-life narrative pieces: Schoenberg’s intense tone poem on giant love and Françaix’s wildly entertaining adventures of a lovely giant with former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky as reader and narrator.

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Gargantua Program Notes

By  Kathryn J Allwine Bacasmot

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) is arguably one of the most complex figures to appear on the scene of 20th century music, an era that reflected an equally complex world in the midst of massive political and social upheaval. Ideas were very important to Schoenberg and he was equipped to pair his ideas with actions that would change the way music was composed, considered and heard. A prolific writer, his prose illuminates the concepts that fueled his creativity (and are recommended reading to better understand his music, which can sometimes seem cerebral and opaque). In one 1946 essay, New Music, Outmoded Music, Style and Idea, he wrote: 

It is very regrettable that so many contemporary composers care so much about style and so little about idea. From this came such notions as the attempt to compose in the ancient styles, using their mannerisms, limiting oneself to the little that one can thus express and to the insignificance of the music configurations which can be produced with such mathematician would invent something new in mathematics just to flatter the masses who do not possess the specific mathematical way of thinking, and in the same manner, no artist, no poet, no philosopher and musician whose thinking occurs in the highest sphere would degenerate into vulgarity in order to comply with a slogan such as ‘Art for All.’ Because if it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art.

This did not mean that he was particularly averse to the music of the past; in fact, he was a proponent of various older composers whom he viewed as being inventors, or evangelists, of their own ideas (his love for Bach and hailing of Brahms as more “the Progressive” than Wagner are good examples).  What he disliked was when ideas became tired and threadbare through overuse. 

Based on Richard Dehmel’s poem, Verklärte Nacht (read this evening in a translation by Mary Whittall), the heart of Schoenberg’s score beats in rhythm with the dialogue in five stanzas. A woman (represented by the viola) and a man (represented by the cello) journey physically and spiritually as individuals and as a couple when they take a moonlit  stroll and she offers her lover the stunning and risky confession that she is pregnant with the child of another man. Illumination in the dark is the metaphorical center of this “Bright night.” This is a work about events and outcomes: the weight of searing guilt and the buoyant balm of mercy. It balances on the razor’s edge between terror and beauty. Abated is a dark night of the soul when, in a transcendent moment her lover reiterates his love and speaks of the baby as his own. Musically Verklärte Nacht is a thread Schoenberg ran through “Impressionism,” Brahms and Wagner, sewing together and transfiguring their elements of symbolism, developing variation, and grand scale. His idea here was to forgo straight programmatic music that sonically describes the action of the poem, and instead depict something more ambiguous: mood. The musical language of Verklärte Nacht has Wagner’s syntax of perpetually sliding key centers, but the delivery seems to strike the ear as more deliberate and clarified. The sentiment of the poem is conveyed but the music evades becoming sentimental. It calls forth the dramatic power of emotion without necessarily exploiting it. 

Inagurating the “How to Cause A Scene” chapter in the Strauss & Stravinsky Riot Playbook, Verklärte Nacht for string sextet had an eventful premiere on March 18, 1902: the audience “hissed and caused riots and fist fights,” as the composer documented. This may mystify us, because for our 21st century ears Verklärte Nacht is romantic and lyrical in comparison to Schoenberg’s later 12-tone works and the sounds of Stockhausen and Varèse. But at the time, the audience was less accustomed to its sound world (for further context, Strauss’ opera Salome, which was greeted with a “riot” came three years after Verklärte Nacht). Fifteen years later, in 1917, Schoenberg expanded its textures for string orchestra, which is now the most frequently performed version. 

Jean Françaix (1912-1997) :: Les Inestimables Chroniques du Bon Géant Gargantua (1971)

Ravel noted to Jean Françaix’s father, a composer, musicologist, pianist and Director of the Le Mans Conservatoire: “Among the child’s gifts I observe above all the most fruitful an artist can possess, that of curiosity: you must not stifle these precious gifts now or ever, or risk letting this young sensibility wither.” Taking the advice to heart, and observing his son’s obvious talents, his father soon had Jean studying composition with the venerable Nadia Boulanger, and by age eighteen he accomplished the thing Ravel never could: winning the premier prix as a pianist at the Paris Conservatoire where he studied with Isidore Philipp. 

“Les Six” was a nickname given to a group of French composers that included Honegger, Milhaud, Tailleferre, Auric, Durey, and Poulenc. Collectively known for their wit, and bright, effervescent writing (a reaction to Wagner’s heavy handed excess and drama) they were praised by Jean Cocteau, the Surrealist artist, who asserted the French should reclaim their own outlook on music, shrugging off the influences of the Russians or the Germans. It was the tradition of “Les Six,” and Poulenc in particular, that Jean Françaix would fold into his own compositional career. In doing so, he carried on the great French knack for neo-classic wit mixed with overt revelry in pleasure for the sake of pleasure, paired with jaunty rhythms barrowed from jazz, and beautiful lyricism, leaving serialism and atonality (his oeuvre has been described as “resolutely tonal”) to his contemporaries. 

Les Inestimables Chroniques du Bon Géant Gargantua is based on an extracted portion of a 16th century satirical novel in five volumes called La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel (The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel) by François Rabelais, which recounts the various events and predicaments the two giants, Gargantua and his son Pantagruel, find themselves in. (The composer Frederic Rzewski based his work Les Moutons de Panurge, which AFC performed in their 2014-2015 season, on a different book of the same tale). Françaix said of his adaptation, which comes from the second volume dedicated specifically to stories about Gargantua, “I am not writing a text to follow it, but on the contrary to follow my music, which goes faster and further than the text.” The main body of the Françaix concerns the moment Gargantua’s studies at the Sorbonne are interrupted by a letter from his father, Lord Grandgousier, informing him of a conflict that has broken out with Lord Picrochole whose bakers insulted Grandgousier’s grape-growers. Gargantua comes to help stop the ludicrous bickering that has expanded to a grand scale. In the end he triumphs, and the story is viewed as a moral about the importance of education against the destructive habits of people like Picrochole who will stop at nothing to conquer and win.

©  Kathryn J Allwine Bacasmot 

That was nuts

I’m sitting down to write this post on my second day off since mid-August. And my first day off was yesterday, which I spent binging on TV and Super Nintendo … really needed that.

I honestly can’t remember a more intense start to a year. Two tours, eight AFC concerts, our annual three-day retreat at Kneisel Hall in Blue Hill, ME, where we sketched out our Season 10, a three-day residency at DePauw University in Indiana where we discussed our experiences and AFC’s artistic and business models with the fantastic and engaged students there, two grant applications, one photo shoot, twenty-seven rehearsals, and probably the most bonkers program we’ve ever pulled off.

That was “VS.,” one of two AFC shows on the Gardner’s Thursday night Stir series this season (the other will be the awesome and powerful “Lady Russia” on March 3rd, featuring music by Sofia Gubaidulina and Olga Bell). “VS.” was a program I drew up and the group picked out a year ago, featuring music relating to conflict in sports, war, and politics, hopping back and forth between the baroque and the 20th century. Sport went from Queen to John Zorn to Rameau, War was a WWII radio drama, Samuel Scheidt, Shostakovich, and Takemitsu, and Politics went from The Song of the Birds through Vivaldi to Frederic Rzewski’s epic Coming Together. It all made sense in my head… at some point.

In my introductory comments to the audience, I referred to our Stir concerts as AFC’s Test Kitchen, a forum where we have the freedom to take risks and delve into high concept programs, the avant garde, jazz, dance, or whatever strikes our imagination. And I made that comparison mere seconds before the first note, truly without the slightest clue how the evening was going to go, only the thought: “this could work.” A couple days out I’m still not quite sure what happened.

What it confirmed though is really the same thing that all of our shows do, only to an especially pronounced degree here: that this group is populated and surrounded by people with some serious superpowers. I’m looking at you Alicia Mielke, coordinator of the concerts at the Gardner, who handled innumerable special requests, printing out newly edited parts up to 15 minutes before show time, all the while graciously welcoming patrons as if nothing was amiss. Or Bradford Gleim, kickass baritone, here our narrator, who brought exceptional dedication, focus and intensity to the Rzewski, far exceeding anything I could have imagined. Or Karl Doty, who took it upon himself to dust off his electric bass and learn the Rzewski’s harrowingly difficult part for that instrument, a full 22 pages of constant 16th notes.

If only there were military-style decorations for musicians, I think they’d be bestowed to each and every person involved in making this show happen. And at this point it really does feel like we made it through some kind of a crazy ordeal, that’s left us all unsure whether to think “let’s do that again!” or “let’s never do that again!” After some well-earned rest, though, I think I know which we’ll choose.



Our season-opening TransAmericana is just around the corner! Curated by Omar, this program imagines a wild road trip that starts in New York and heads south, with memorable stops in Brazil, Peru, and Argentina. Enjoy a sneak peek at Kathryn Bacasmot's fabulous program notes below: 

Philip Glass (1937) :: Symphony No. 3

Classical and Romantic era symphonies relied on the momentum of key change—the harmonic propulsion that comes from the tension and release of dissonance to consonance. What one finds in the Symphony no. 3 of Philip Glass, a chamber work written originally for the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, is more of a reliance on variations of rhythm and pace. As with many works in the “minimalist” vein, there are many bars where specific patterns are repeated numerous times. The ear of the listener becomes accustomed to the pattern (ideally to the point of being lost within it), so that even a slight change can play a significant role.

In a brilliant gesture of tying this idea to the past, Glass employs the ancient repetitive chaconne structure in the third movement of the symphony; in the chaconne, a harmonic sequence and/or bass line is recast over and over again, creating a foundation for a series of variations built “on top.” The composer elaborates a bit on this, and the surrounding three movements in a previous set of liner notes from a recording of the work:

“The opening movement, a quiet, moderately paced piece, functions as a prelude to movements two and three, which are the main body of the symphony. The second movement mode of fast-moving compound meters explores the textures from unison to mult-harmonic writing for the whole ensemble. It ends when it moves without transition to a new closing theme, mixing a melody and pizzicato [plucked strings as opposed to being bowed] writing. The third movement is in the form of a chaconne, a repeated harmony sequence. It begins with all three celli and four violas, and with each repetition new voices are added until, in the final variation, all nineteen players have been woven into the music. The fourth movement, a short finale, returns to the closing theme of the second movement, which quickly re-integrates the compound meters from earlier in that movement. A new closing theme is introduced to bring the Symphony to its conclusion.”

Gabriela Lena Frank (b. 1972) :: Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout

Frank paints a picture vivid with Andean legends (“leyendas”). Walking about, following the Andes (the longest continental mountain range on this earth) would take you across several borders, those of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. But the borders Frank is concerned with are much more complex to navigate: those between cultures and races.

She has said of her work: “Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout draws inspiration from the idea of mestizaje [those of mixed race] as envisioned by Peruvian writer José María Arguedas, where cultures can coexist without the subjugation of one by the other. As such, this piece mixes elements from the western classical and Andean folk music traditions.” Frank is the product of mixed elements: a Chinese/Peruvian mother and a Lithuanian/Jewish father. Her tapestry of sound, woven together from far-flung threads and patterns, speaks with a foreign – and yet familiar – accent.

“Toyos” and “Tarqueda” represent two traditional Andean wind instruments, the panpipes and tarka, respectively. “Himno de Zampoñas” is described by the composer as featuring another type of panpipe, the zampoña that sounds with “a fundamental tone blown fatly so that overtones ring out on top.” The zampoña ensembles often play using a technique of bouncing the melody from one player to anther to create the melodic line (a kind of pointillist surround sound), known as “hocket” in medieval European music. The following two movements introduce legendary figures, the “Chasqui,” a sprinter that would run across the mountains to deliver messages from village to village, and the “Canto de Velorio,” a woman who was hired to cry at funerals. Frank notes her quotation of the traditional European Requiem service sequence, the Dies Irae, as “a reflection of the comfortable mix of Quechua Indian religious rites with those from Catholicism.” The final movement, “Coqueteos,” depicts a love song.

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) :: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9     
In 1945 Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote to the Bach Society of São Paulo saying:

The music of Bach is without question the most sacred gift to the world of art…Since Bach expressed his thoughts of God and the universe through his musical creations originating from his own country, he gave the most spiritual expression of human solidarity, we should also understand, love and cultivate the music that is born and lives, directly or indirectly, from our own land, and make it also universal with faith and good conscience.

The nine pieces known as Bachianas brasileiras were written between 1930-1945 in an attempt to both pay homage to Bach (Villa-Lobos conducted the Brazilian premiere of Bach’s B Minor Mass in 1932) but also show common ties Villa-Lobos believe existed between music of the Baroque and the improvisations in the popular music of Brazil. Furthermore, as David P. Appleby notes “He [Villa-Lobos] once said that the Bachianas brasileiras were the kind of music the Leipzig master might have written had he been born a twentieth-century Brazilian composer”.

The pieces in nearly all nine feature traditional Baroque form titles, such as Preludio, or Fuga integrally paired with a Portuguese word for a subtitle further establishing a connection between the two composers and cultures. An example would be from Bachianas brasileiras no. 1 where the word Fuga is paired with Conversa. Each of the nine suites feature different and widely varied instrumentation. Some are for chamber orchestra, one features a piano concerto structure, and another is for flute and bassoon. Bachianas brasileiras no. 5 is the most well known of the nine and is certainly one of the best-known pieces by Villa-Lobos in general. Bachianas brasileiras no. 9 was originally conceived for chorus, and re-written for string orchestra.

Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) :: Concerto per Corde, op. 33

Ginastera composed his String Quartet No. 2 in 1958. Seven years later in 1965 he produced Concerto per Corde, op. 33 (“Concerto for Strings”), an adaptation of the quartet for full string orchestra that was premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy in Caracas, Venezuela, the following year. In revising the work, Ginastera eliminated the original first movement and reversed the order of the remaining movements.

Ginastera was known for his flair for the dramatic, skinning off emotion, showing every tendon, and exposing rawness to the air. In the first movement, Variazioni Per I Solisti, each principal of the orchestra plays a cadenza bracketed by punctuations from the ensemble that echo the soloist in mournfulness or ferocity. Therefore a micro world of slightly lunatic theme and variations is created. The second movement, Scherzo Fantastico: Presto, is a nervous landscape where dreams wreak havoc on reality. Porcelain scraping on glass. Hysteric. Manic. Breathless. Like push pins on a magnetic pincushion, the sounds splay every which way by force of field and yet allude to controlled chaos. In the Adagio Angoscioso we leave the landscape and walk into a Piranesi-like “prison of the imagination” with the sounds of ancient hinges squeaking slowly and methodically. As the movement intensifies, coming unhinged altogether seems like a distinct possibility. The Finale Furioso is breathlessly kinetic, interjected with folk idioms and extremely defined rhythms juxtaposed against constantly changing time signatures where the melodic cells emerge like clear thoughts in a troubled mind. The effect is structured disorientation.

Kathryn J Allwine Bacasmot is a pianist/harpsichordist, musicologist, music & cultural critic, and freelance writer. She is a graduate of New England Conservatory, and writes program annotations for ensembles nationwide.


Composer's Notes: Noam Elkies' "Allegro Troppo"

“Allegro Troppo” Op.39 (1995), written for and premiered by Scott Yoo and the Metamorphosen Chamber Ensemble, is a one-movement work for string orchestra in an unapologetically Classical idiom.  The music of the First Viennese School (Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn) always a fertile source of wonder and inspiration, can still call forth new music in a similar vein; it need not matter whether a piece was composed in 1995 or in 1795, so long as it delights, moves or astounds on its own terms. “Allegro Troppo”, though at times intricate, is never cryptic, and a capable and committed performance should make lengthy program notes redundant if not distracting.

The title of course plays off the admonition of the familiar tempo marking "allegro ma non troppo" [allegro, but not too much]: for once we abandon this restraint.  Naturally, the piece is not meant to be played literally "too fast" --- the actual tempo marking is "Presto" --- but its near-*perpetuum mobile* contrapuntal writing in asymmetric 5/4 meter should at times convey the off-balance headlong rush suggested by the title.

This piece doubles as the final movement of a string quartet, provisionally titled the "Consonant Quartet", whose other three movements are in various stages of partial completion.

—Noam Elkies

Noam D. Elkies is professor of mathematics at Harvard and the youngest person ever tenured at the University.  His work on elliptic curves, lattices, and other aspects of the theory of numbers has been recognized by such prizes and awards as the Presidential Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation and the Prix Peccot of the College de France.

Alongside his mathematical career, Elkies has been playing the piano and composing since the age of three.  Born in New York, he studied piano with A.Vardi in Israel, and with J.Carlson at the Juilliard Pre-College after returning to the States in 1978; his composition teachers have included Sadai, Davidovsky and Kirchner. His solo performances include Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #5 with the Metamorphosen Chamber Ensemble and Elkies' own “Rondo Concertante” with the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras' Repertory Orchestra in Boston's Symphony Hall.  His compositions include the abovementioned “Rondo Concertante”; the "Brandenburg Concerto #7", commissioned and premiered by the Metamorphosen Chamber Ensemble; Three Steganographic Etudes, which he premiered in Hungary at the Bridges 2010 conference; and the opera “Yossele Solovey”, staged at Harvard in 1999.

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Old School Program Notes

This is your shovel. The music is your earth. Dig in. 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) :: Adagio & Fugue, K. 546

When Mozart reached his mid-twenties, he effectively made a break for it—to Vienna, one of the great cultural capitals on the European continent. His father, Leopold, though perhaps well meaning, was often an overbearingly dominant figure in his son’s life. Seemingly, he also sent somewhat mixed messages by parading Wolfgang around Europe during his childhood as a prodigy, and then coercing him to remain in Salzburg, a bit of a backwater in comparison with the glittering cities with which Mozart the son was well acquainted. 

To prove to his father he could manage his career independently, Mozart set to work immediately finding creative ways to make ends meet, and quickly securing a position as one of the “must see” acts around town (perhaps building on his reputation from childhood, and playing to the crowd curiosity of seeing what the child prodigy had become). Sometime in those early Vienna years, Mozart penned a fugue for piano duet, which he revisited five years later by transcribing it for strings. Even in the eighteenth century the fugue was considered an old musical form (Bach, who died just six years before Mozart’s birth, was considered a bit antiquated for continuing to dwell on them). Among serious pupils of music, however, it was much revered and admired as a distinguished tradition in which to make one’s own contribution, and Mozart and his colleagues admired and studied the old master Bach with diligence—hence, perhaps, the fugue. In order to round out the work in the transcription (and perhaps harkening back to the pairing of prelude and fugue), Mozart prefaced the counterpoint a grand, somber, adagio.

Osvaldo Golijov (b. 1960) :: Three Songs (2002)

Within a generation filled with minimalism, Golijov’s compositional voice stands apart as deeply personal in a very audibly translatable way. In his songs and instrumental music are the mixes and influences of his experience of the world, from Klezmer to Piazzolla, gypsy music and the standard Western classical canon. They are the sounds of life, unfettered by compositional techniques that, while beautiful or interesting in their own way, mitigate or hide the element of the personal behind structures. 

These three songs were freestanding or part of other projects (though Golijov’s frequent collaborator, the American soprano, Dawn Upshaw, premiered all three) before Golijov was commissioned by the Minneapolis Symphony to orchestrate them as a set for their 100th anniversary celebration. 

Night of the Flying Horses, was carved out of the soundtrack Golijov did for Sally Potter’s film The Man who Cried, about love, ethnicity, and the terrible prices paid for both during World War II. It is a lullaby sung in Yiddish which, in the words of the composer, “metamorphoses into a dense and dark doina (a slow, gypsy, rubato genre) featuring the lowest string of the violas. The piece ends in a fast gallop boasting a theme that I stole from my friends of the wild gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks. The theme is presented here in a canonical chase between two orchestral groups.”

Lúa Descolorida, is set to the poetry of María Rosalía Rita de Castro (1837-1885), and harkens back to the French Baroque, “The song is at once a slow motion ride in a cosmic horse, an homage to Couperin's melismas in his Lessons of Tenebrae.” Sung in the dialect of Gallego (found in Spain), it also functions as the “Peter’s Tears” aria in Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marco. 

How Slow the Wind, the final song in the group, was written after the sudden death of Golijov’s friend, Mariel Stubrin, and embodies the feeling of going through life in slow motion after a shocking emotional blow. Golijov has said of the piece, “'I had in mind one of those seconds in life that is frozen in the memory, forever-a sudden death, a single instant in which life turns upside down, different from the experience of death after a long agony.” The music, dark, low, with tolls and a pulsation that both drives the music forward and lends it a static quality is paired with the beautiful, sometimes soaring, lyricism of the soprano singing “How slow the wind/How slow the sea. Is it too late to touch you, dear? We this moment knew: Love marine and love terrene, love celestial too/Oh, how late their feathers be.” (Text, Emily Dickenson.) 

Michael Tippett (1905-1988) :: Fantasia Concertante on a theme by Corelli

In 1953, the Edinburgh Festival commissioned the English composer, Michael Tippett, to write a piece in commemoration and celebration of the three-hundredth anniversary Arcangelo Corelli’s birth. Italian domination of the arts during the Renaissance and much of the Baroque was felt across the continent, and carried over across the channel (Francesco Geminiani, thought to be a student of Corelli’s, capitalized on this popularity during his lifetime, immigrating to live out his life and career in England and Ireland). In particular, it was the art of the violin where the Italians excelled; even today, Stradivarius are the most coveted violins, and Paganini’s compositions are still amongst the most difficult in the repertoire. Corelli, though perhaps not as widely recognized today as Paganini, was another of the most renowned and skilled violinists/composers of his era, whose work had a profound influence upon his contemporaries and successors. 

For the Fantasia Concertante, which is a hybrid of a fantasy (where the music tends to just unfurl, relying less upon rigid form) and concerto (highlighting certain soloists or pairings within the larger ensemble), Tippett used the melody of the Adagio from Corelli’s Concerto Grosso op. 6, no. 2. Clearly stated in the opening bars, it then undergoes a distinctly twentieth century metamorphosis, fracturing off like broken shards of a mirror, showing us the Adagio from a variety of angles and perspectives: sometimes angular, sometimes sparkling, other times reflecting a singular moment of exquisite beauty. 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) :: Symphony no. 29 in A major, K. 201

In 1774, Mozart was a teenager, and the number of symphonies pouring out of his pen outnumbered his age: eighteen years old, twenty-nine symphonies. While this is admirable from the simple perspective of workload, it is remarkable because the music is not just a collection of typical classical gestures (antecedent-consequent phrases, alberti bass, etc.) pulled together prettily and cleanly, but displays the distinct hallmarks of Mozart’s compositional voice. It is a space where light and shadow dance, where the play between bustling and dense musical content is paired with, or suddenly parts for, spaciousness (note the opening bars, where the shimmering upper registers play off the deeper, slower moving waters of the bass like sunlight off waves), and where serene beauty is balanced with drama, and the dance gives way to a frolic.

It has been noted by several observers that Mozart is unique in this sense, that he seems to find and know his compositional voice much earlier than others. Part of the reasoning for his distinct sound out of an era when many pieces sound, quite frankly, ubiquitous, was that he had an advantage through being taken all across Europe as a child prodigy. In an era long before recording, he was exposed to the variety of sounds from the Italians, French, Germans, English, and Scandinavians, and was able to then take snippets from all their traditions and layer his sound. In short, restless curiosity fed with extensive travel, and melded with emotional sensitivity (and just the right amount of Germanic practicality to keep any one element from becoming excessive), gives us something beyond the sound of a student work: it gives us the sound of Mozart.  

Tickets are still available for performances on Thursday, March 5th, at the Gardner and Friday, March 6th, at Jordan Hall.

by Kathryn J Allwine Bacasmot

Kathryn J Allwine Bacasmot is a pianist/harpsichordist, musicologist, music & cultural critic, and freelance writer. She is a graduate of New England Conservatory, and writes program annotations for ensembles nationwide.