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31.3.09

April Concert Planner

The Easter holiday takes some of the time out of the April concert schedule, but there are many good things to hear. These are the events we are putting at the top of our list, but everything will be listed in the calendar.

VOCAL:
Ian Bostridge, tenor>> If you are a fan of English tenor Ian Bostridge (not everyone is), you will not want to miss his all-Schubert recital with pianist Julius Drake, even if it does mean a trip to Baltimore and Shriver Hall (April 5).

>> Those who have not heard Anne Sofie von Otter's recording of music from the Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camp should do that. Also, take the chance to hear a live performance of some of the CD's music, with violinist Daniel Hope and pianist Bengt Forsberg, sponsored by the Vocal Arts Society in the Music Center at Strathmore (April 30).

>> Other worthy recitals include Vocal Arts Society's offering of soprano Felicity Lott and pianist Graham Johnson at the Embassy of Austria, a follow-up on a memorable recital last year (April 17), and an appearance by the Canterbury Cathedral Choir at the British Choir Festival at Washington National Cathedral (April 26).

>> Also, it is apparently the month for collegiate opera companies, with productions of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin (April 17, 19, 23, 25) and Handel's Xerxes (April 18, 22, 24, 26) staged by Maryland Opera Studio at Clarice Smith Center; also Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea at Catholic University (April 17 to 19); high marks go to Peabody Chamber Opera for its production of Melissa Shiflett’s Dora (April 23 to 25) at Baltimore Theater Project.

CHAMBER MUSIC:
Kim Kashkashian>> Count us as big fans of the series of recordings for ECM by violist Kim Kashkashian. She will perform a free recital with violist Dimitri Murrah this Wednesday (April 1) at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Nothing but two violas? It must be an April Fools joke.

>> The major string quartet event of the month is the "final" performance of the Guarneri Quartet, at the Clarice Smith Center, joined by the Left Bank Quartet in Mendelssohn's fabled octet (April 24).

>> My choices for noteworthy string quartets on the calendar this month include the Pacifica Quartet in the Barns at Wolf Trap (April 3), the Brentano Quartet with pianist Peter Serkin at the Library of Congress, reprising the program reviewed at Shriver Hall last month, with a different baritone (April 17), the Tokyo String Quartet with cellist Lynn Harrell at Strathmore (April 17), the Quatuor Mosaïques in a free concert at the Library of Congress (April 18), and the Jerusalem Quartet at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville (April 26).

EARLY MUSIC:
>> Opera Lafayette will perform Handel's L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato at the Terrace Theater (April 3), a beautiful way to celebrate the Handel anniversary year. For Bach fans, the tradition of the St. John Passion at Washington National Cathedral continues on Palm Sunday (April 5). Also in Holy week, don't miss the Washington Bach Consort's noontime cantata, a free concert at the Church of the Epiphany: it's not for Holy Week, but Nur jedem das Seine (BWV 163) will feature two fine singers who happen to be friends, Robin Smith and Gerald Javinski (April 7).

>> The classic novel by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, is the inspiration for the (mostly Baroque) music on the new program from the Folger Consort -- not the music heard in the novel, as on the marvelous recording put together by Jordi Savall. Bob McDonald and Floyd King will give some readings from the Cervantes text (April 17 to 19).

>> Earlier this month I reviewed a concert of Haydn's baryton trios. You have several other chances to hear this mostly forgotten instrument in the works Haydn wrote for it, with free concerts by the Geringas Baryton Trio at the Library of Congress (April 24) and the National Gallery of Art (April 26). Geringas will give a master class, on the cello not the baryton, at the Library of Congress (April 25).

SYMPHONY:
Gustavo Dudamel>> Symphony orchestra musts this month include the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's take on Mahler's ninth symphony, with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke singing Leonard Bernstein's Opening Prayer (April 4 at Strathmore, April 3 and 5 in Baltimore). The hottest ticket of the month is likely the one to hear the first Washington performance of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and their hotshot conductor Gustavo Dudamel at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, which will conclude with a (surely driven) performance of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (April 6). From the National Symphony Orchestra, put us down for the Brahms German Requiem, led (incredibly) by Kurt Masur and featuring one of the final performances of the soon-to-disband Master Chorale of Washington. Heidi Grant Murphy and John Relyea will sing the solos (April 9 to 11).

>> Any appearance by Leonidas Kavakos is likely to be worthwhile, as with the National Symphony Orchestra, even if he is playing the Mendelssohn (April 16 and 18) and Tchaikovsky (April 17) concertos. The other concerts by the NSO are noteworthy for their conductors: David Zinman in a program of Webern, Schoenberg, and Brahms (April 23 to 25) and Helmuth Rilling leading what will likely be a memorable performance of Haydn's Creation (April 30 to May 2).

KEYBOARD:
>> At the top of our list of piano recitals is the return of Krystian Zimerman, whom WPAS brings to the Music Center at Strathmore. Hopefully, he will refrain from talking about politics and just play the piano -- the program includes Bach's Partita No. 2, Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 32, Brahms's Klavierstrucke, Op. 119, and Szymanowski's Variations on a Polish Theme (April 8).

Olivier Latry>> We will also be interested in hearing the young Israeli pianist Yaron Kohlberg, who will be playing Prokofiev's eighth sonata among other things, in which he will have a hard time measuring up to Evgeny Kissin (April 4). Another promising youngster is Jonathan Biss, who will give a solo recital at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington out in Rockville (April 5). Adam Neiman will provide the performance part of Rob Kapilow's lecture on Liszt's Transcendental Etudes at the Freer Gallery of Art (April 15).

>> One of the best organists in the world at the moment, Olivier Latry from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris (and Ionarts favorite), will visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception this month. In an annual tradition, the Basilica invites a famous organist for the Octave of Easter (Sunday, April 19), when Latry will play during the Noon Mass and give a special evening recital at 6 pm. Both performances will feature improvisations by Latry.

MAKE IT MODERN:
>> The ever-adventurous 21st Century Consort returns to the Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture with a program of music by William Doppman, Jacob Druckman, Eric Moe, and Marjorie Merryman (April 4). Later in the month there is a, frankly, more interesting program offered by the Inscape Chamber Music Project, with music by Antheil, Nancarrow, and Ives, at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Bethesda (April 26).

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