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October 3, 2004

This afternoon I attended the first concert of a Schumann Series being undertaken by Emmanuel Music at Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street in Boston.  Randall Hodgkinson, piano, performed
Carnaval, Opus 9 (1833-35).  William Hite, tenor, accompanied by Craig Smith, piano, performed 6 Gedichte, Opus 36 (1840), a setting to music of six poems by Robert Reinick.  It was a delight to hear William Hite sing, enunciating the texts clearly, with appropriate facial expressions and gestures.  After intermission, the Lydian Quartet (Daniel Stepner, violin; Judith Eissenberg, violin; Mary Ruth Ray, viola; and Joshua Gordon, cello) performed the Quartet in A Major, Opus 41 No. 3 (1842).  All of the musicians this afternoon were of very high quality, and I thoroughly enjoyed the performance.
November 7, 2004

This afternoon the Cantata Singers presented a beautifully moving performance of Schumann's
Scenes from Goethe's Faust at Jordan Hall in Boston, conducted by David Hoose. Among the soloists were baritone David Kravitz (Faust), soprano Jennifer Foster (Gretchen), bass Mark Andrew Cleveland (Mephistopheles), and tenor Charles Blandy (Ariel). The chorus was excellent.
Renee Fleming's new book The Inner Voice:  the Making of a Singer was released on November 4, 2004, and can be ordered from
January 29, 2005

Last night I attended a recital by countertenor David Daniels at Jordan Hall in Boston.  He was accompanied by Martin Katz, piano.  It was a very pleasant evening.  Daniels communicated the songs moving and effectively to the audience.  My one quibble was that he did not enunciate the German and French texts nearly so well as he did the English.  (And I am very familiar with the Verlaine texts of the four Faure songs that sang.)  He was certainly more than audible at all times, despite statements by the
Boston Herald critic to the contrary.  The audience was very appreciative, and Daniels sang three encores:  "Pur dicesti, o bocca bella;" "Blackberry winter" by Wilder; and "Ombra mai fu" from Serse by Handel.   It appeared that approximately 25% of the seats had gone unsold.
On the afternoon of Sunday March 13, 2005, I attended a performance of Bach's Saint John Passion at Jordan Hall in Boston.

The Cantata Singers & Ensemble
David Hoose, Music Director
John Harbison, conducting

William Hite
, tenor, Evangelist
Mark Andrew Cleveland, baritone, Jesus
Karyl Riczek, soprano
Lynn Torgrove, alto
Charles Blandy, tenor
David Kravitz, bass
Dana Whiteside, bass, Pilate
Jason Sabol, tenor, Servant I
Alan McLellan, bass, Servant II
Kathleen Kew Lee, alto, Maid
Brian Church, baritone, Peter

John Harbison, composer of the opera
The Great Gatsby, conducted a moving performance that brought out the drama inherent in the work. Tenor William Hite as the Evangelist gave an exceptionally memorable performance, his very pleasant voice delivering the text clearly and dramatically, but never overdoing the drama. The orchestra and chorus were superb, and the soloists were all of high standard.

Richard Dyer wrote in a review for the Boston Globe:

"Harbison's performance of the ''St. John' was text-oriented and exceptionally dramatic; after all, Harbison is a composer of opera. And the storytelling dimension of the piece was intense and compelling, and the chorus's characterization of mob mentality was terrifying in its violence and smug self-righteousness.

* * *

"Tenor William Hite delivered the Evangelist's texts like a fire-and-brimstone preacher, and with hauntingly personal vocal colorations."

There had been a previous performance on the evening of Friday March 11, 2005, also at Jordan Hall.
On April 2, 2005, Emmanuel Music presented a concert performance of Schumann's Genoveva at Emmanuel Church, Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.

Genoveva--Sarah Pelletier
Siegfried--James Maddalena
Golo--Frederick Urrey
Margaretha--Krista River
Hidulfus, Drago--David Kravitz
Balthazar--Paul Guttry
Cspar--Mark McSweeney

The Spectrum Singers, johr Ehrlich, Music Director
The Orchestra of Emmanuel Music

Craig Smith, conductor

Emmanuel Church was filled almost to capacity for the concert performance of
Genoveva.  The cast, chorus, and orchestra were all excellent.  The music is good, but never really memorable.  The music and drama were never boring, but at the same time never really presented anything especially moving.  The pleasure came from hearing good singers with pleasant voices sing pleasant music with good articulation of the text.  The opera is about an eighth-century German countess falsely accused of adultery while her husband is away fighting the Moors.
March 12, 2007

Yesterday afternoon mezzo-soprano Pamela Dellal, accompanied by pianist Michael Beattie, gave a moving performance of Schumann's
Mary Stuart Lieder, Opus 135, as part of the Schumann Chamber Series of Emmanuel Music in Boston.

Schumann set to music German translations of five poems that Mary, Queen of Scots, had written in French or Latin.  Looking today at, I see that a recording of a performance of the songs by Victoria de los Angeles in Tokyo in 1986 was released on CD.
March 25, 2007

This afternoon I attended a very exciting concert performance of Beethoven's
Fidelio with Christine Brewer, Johan Botha, Robert Lloyd, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus at Symphony Hall in Boston.

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November 15, 2007

"Craig Smith, the conductor and pianist who founded Emmanuel Music and built it into a cherished hub of Boston's musical life, died yesterday morning at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He was 60.

"The cause of death was heart failure as a result of diabetes-related kidney failure, according to a Pat Krol, executive director of Emmanuel Music." --The Boston Globe

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