Classical Notes

Next season at Gardner museum opens with Beethoven

Violinist Corey Cerovsek .
Violinist Corey Cerovsek.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s winter-spring season will open on Jan. 13 with violinist Corey Cerovsek and pianist Paavali Jumppanen beginning a multiconcert series of the violin sonatas of Beethoven, with the second concert following on April 7. This sort of project — frequent visitors devoting themselves to multiple works by a single composer — is a hallmark of the Gardner’s programming, and it provides continuity in the new season, both with ongoing concerts and with its approach more generally.

The season, which the Gardner recently announced, also includes two entries in a similar series already underway. The Borromeo String Quartet continues its “Dvorak Project” with a concert devoted to the String Quartet in E-flat, Op. 51, and the Double Bass Quintet, Op. 77, with bassist Donald Palma (Feb. 3); and one that features the String Quartet in G, Op. 106, and the String Sextet, Op. 48, with violist Yura Lee and cellist Paul Katz (April 14).

Schubert will also have a significant presence in the Gardner’s Calderwood Hall. On a
Feb. 17 program, pianist Benjamin Hochman plays the D major Sonata, D.850, and then teams up with baritone Randall Scarlata for the “Schwanengesang” song cycle. And 24-year-old Charlie Albright plays Schubert’s final, valedictory piano sonata, in B-flat, along with the Impromptus, D.899 (March 24).

Christian Steiner
Paavali Jumppanen.

Elsewhere, there are three concerts by the Gardner’s resident chamber orchestra, A Far Cry, including one in the museum’s “Avant Gardner” series (April 4); two visits by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, on Jan. 20 and
Feb. 24, the latter a wind-heavy program featuring music by Poulenc, Milhaud, Ligeti, and Mozart; two concerts by Musicians From Marlboro (March 17 and May 5); and a Composer Portrait from New York’s Miller Theatre devoted to the music of Sofia Gubaidulina, with the International Contemporary Ensemble (March 21).

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Tickets are available to members now, with a general onsale date of Dec. 6.

Marking a local milestone

Usually there’s nothing noteworthy about a performance of Carl Orff’s cantata “Carmina Burana,” long a favorite of professional and amateur groups alike. But a performance Monday at Symphony Hall is an exception.

The Nov. 19 concert featuring the Boston University Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus marks the 58th anniversary of the East Coast premiere of the piece by the same forces, known in 1954 as the Boston University Orchestra and the Boston University Chorus. Leading that performance was the legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski.

One of the singers in that concert was Joan Cavicchi, then a student at the College for the Arts. “The Carmina Burana performance was the high point of my four years at Boston University,” she said, according to material from the university. “It was the most thrilling and inspiring experience of my youth.”


A Nov. 10, 1954, article in the Globe concentrated on less artistically pressing matters. Referring to him as a “celebrated conductor and composer,” Ted Ashby noted that Stokowski “has found Boston menu literature exciting reading during recent weeks. He has scored a succession of culinary triumphs at a series of Hub restaurants. His appetite might be described in musical terms as lusty, wide of range, never harsh or discordant, spontaneous, from the heart.” To be fair, the story also noted that Stokowski was working “a minimum of six hours a day with groups and individual students.”

Two days later, the same forces brought the piece to New York’s Carnegie Hall. A New York Times review by Olin Downes criticized the conductor’s “overly theatrical” interpretation of the piece. Nevertheless, he continued, “Mr. Stokowski gave us the music, in his highly effective version. . . . The chorus was capable, the orchestra excellent. A fine piece of music triumphed.”

Also on the Nov. 19 program is another Boston premiere, Percy Grainger’s “The Warriors,” as well as Edgard Varèse’s “Hyperprism.” David Hoose conducts. The concert will be webcast live on the BU School of Music’s website.

David Weininger can be reached at globeclassicalnotes@gmail