Critic Picks for 2022-23

Thu Sep 08, 2022 at 9:39 am
By George Grella & David Wright
Hannu Lintu conducts the New York Philharmonic in music oi Sibelius and Saariaho November 16-19. Photo: Veikko Kähkönen

Momenta Festival. September 15-18

Rescheduled from June due to a Covid diagnosis, this festival has two things going for it that make it one of the premiere presentations of its kind. The first is that the Momenta Quartet is one of those excellent contemporary string quartets that play the classical, modern, and contemporary repertoire with great skill. The second is that the musicians themselves who choose the programs, so what one hears is their own musical judgement and personal advocacy. This year’s lineup will feature 20th century music from Mario Davidovsky and Grażyna Bacewicz, contemporary pieces by Elizabeth Brown and Valentin Silvestrov, and Brahms and Beethoven. All concerts are free with a suggested donation.

Davóne Tines in “Recital No. 1: MASS.” November 3.

The exceptional range and power of bass-baritone Davóne Tines’s voice is matched by his imagination in creating what is not just a well-selected recital program but a new work in itself: an evening-long mosaic of music by (among others) J.S. Bach, Margaret Bonds, Julius Eastman, and Tyshawn Sorey, interleaved with new settings of the Mass by Caroline Shaw. Pianist Adam Nielsen joins Tines at Weill Recital Hall on this spiritual journey powered by black experience and Western tradition. (DW)

Music of Sibelius, Saariaho and Bartók. New York Philharmonic/Hannu Lintu with Daniil Trifonov and Sergei Babayan. November 16-19

The big New York Philharmonic news this season is the newly reconfigured David Geffen Hall and the open question of what that experience will be like for the audience. The best way to sample that looks to be the exciting “Of Earth, Sea, and Sky:” concerts led by Hannu Lintu. The program opens and closes with Sibelius—The Oceanides and the marvelous Symphony No. 7—includes Kaija Saariaho’s Ciel d’hiver, and features a rarity with Bartók’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, played by Daniil Trifonov and his teacher Sergei Babayan. (GG)

Tacet Ensemble at Spectrum. November 18.

Glenn Cornett has brought his Spectrum space back to life, now situated in a waterfront warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Programming is currently sparse, but the schedule has an intriguing visit. Tacet is a new music ensemble from Southeast Asia, founded by a group of Thai musicians in 2014. This is a chance to hear contemporary thinking from composers like Erika Dohi, Kyle Brenn, Thanakarn Schofield, and Piyawat Louilarpprasert, and also to hear a perspective on musical thinking one rarely finds in New York. (GG)

Music of Jimmy López. J’Nai Bridges and Catalyst Quartet. December 1. New York Philharmonic, December 8-10.

It will seem like Jimmy López week in NYC, as the young Peruvian composer’s yet-untitled new work for mezzo-soprano and string quartet makes its world bow at the 92Y, followed by his rich orchestral travelogue Perú negro, sharing the bill with Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky on a Philharmonic program conducted by a Finnish rising star, Klaus Mäkelä. (DW)

As part of her Debs Creative Chair series at Carnegie Hall, flutist Claire Chase will perform a tribute to Pauline Oliveros January 21, 2023.

Claire Chase in “Pauline Oliveros at 90.” January 21, 2023.

Plunking herself down in Carnegie Hall’s Debs Creative Chair for 2022-23, pioneering new-music flutist Claire Chase looks to shake the temple of the classics with a puff of air. Zankel Hall’s new 360-degree configuration will host Chase, other noted musicians, and a very involved audience as they build the music from the ground up, following two conceptual blueprints by Pauline Oliveros—The Witness and The Tuning Meditation—and the late composer’s “deep listening” philosophy. (DW)

Suzanne Farrin. Miller Theatre Composer Portrait. February 2.

The Composer Portraits series at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre never fails to intrigue, and sometimes the composer her- or himself joins in the performance of their music. But how often do they do it on the ondes martenot? Suzanne Farrin is not only a highly listenable and interviewable composer, but an accomplished player of this ancient, haunting, and still-rare electronic instrument. In her hands, the ondes flies free of sci-fi film scores to make its own indelible statement. (DW)

Nicole Mitchell. Miller Theatre Composer Portrait. March 30

Flutist and composer Mitchell is an exciting choice for a Composer Portrait. She comes out of jazz, where she’s not only a scintillating flutist but one of the swingingest musicians in the business, playing modern ideas with a traditional feel. She’s also an expert and imaginative composer, making organic forms and reworking the likes of Ornette Coleman into truly new compositional music. This concert of five new and recent works will feature Mitchell, vocalist Lisa E. Harris, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. (GG)

Motets of Josquin des Prez and Jean Mouton. Cappella Pratensis at Music Before 1800. April 16.

As it transitions to a new era after the retirement of founder-director Louise Basbas, the venerable Music Before 1800 series at Corpus Christi Church in Morningside Heights is marking significant composer centenaries from way before 1800. Last season it presented Boston’s Blue Heron vocal ensemble in a pandemic-postponed observance of Johannes Ockeghem’s 600th birthday. Next April it’s the turn of those youngsters Josquin des Prez and Jean Mouton, who passed away a mere 500 years ago. The vocal music of these two colossi hasn’t lost its power to move and fascinate, especially when rendered by the internationally renowned Dutch ensemble Cappella Pratensis, which is named after the Latin form of Josquin’s surname. (DW)

Music by Jean-Marie Leclair and Jean Baptiste Senaillé. Violinist Théotime Langlois de Swarte and harpsichordist William Christie. April 25

William Christie has been such an important scholar and conductor of the French baroque repertoire for so long that it’s easy to forget that he is also a performer who has brought so much of this music to life on the keyboard. This Carnegie Hall concert pairs him with Théotime Langlois de Swarte, a violinist who represents a new generation of musicians mining the vast and fruitful early music repertoire among others. Here’s a chance to hear old music that will be new. April 25. (GG)

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