Too much too soon?

Classical goodies for 2008
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 31, 2008

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COMING NEXT MONTH: The Celebrity Series of Boston brings countertenor David Daniels to Jordan Hall.

Anyone for cloning? Two of the most exciting concerts announced for this winter are on the same date, February 24. The CELEBRITY SERIES OF BOSTON is presenting the great German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff in Schubert’s greatest song cycle, Winterreise (“Winter Journey”), with no less an accompanist than James Levine (Symphony Hall; 617.482.2595). And BOSTON CECILIA, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Donald Teeters’s directorship, is having a Handel bash, with more than a dozen singers (Jordan Hall; 617.232.4540).

Maestro Levine will also conduct Quasthoff in a BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA program of Schubert (the Tragic Symphony No. 4 and five songs orchestrated by Webern, Reger, and Offenbach!) and William Bolcom (the premiere of his Symphony No. 8, for chorus and orchestra). That’s February 28–March 1 — don’t forget it’s a leap year. The week before, Levine is doing Mozart, Berg, and Brahms, with pianist Peter Serkin and violinist Isabelle Faust (February 21-23, 26).

BSO guest conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos is concentrating on Richard Strauss (Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel, January 3-5, 8; An Alpine Symphony, plus Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with Leif Ove Andsnes, January 10-12). Colin Davis will be here with pianist Mitsuko Uchida (January 17-19, 22) and in one of his specialties, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, with Sarah Connolly, Ben Heppner, and Gerald Finley (January 24-26). Among the BSO’s other visitors: Charles Dutoit (February 7-9, 12); Mark Elder, with violinist Vadim Repin (February 14-16); Julian Kuerti, with pianist Leon Fleisher in Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (March 6-8, 11); and Daniele Gatti, with pianist Garrick Ohlsson (March 13-15). Principal guest conductor Bernard Haitink will return for Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, with celebrated tenor Ian Bostridge as the Evangelist (March 20-22), and a Bartók/Schubert evening, with pianist András Schiff (March 27-29; 617.266.1492).

The Celebrity Series also has a promising line-up. Countertenor David Daniels will do a recital with pianist Martin Katz including Brahms, Handel, songs of the Italian Baroque, and later French and English songs (Jordan Hall, January 19). Pianist Marc-André Hamelin will play Haydn sonatas and pianist/composer Alexis Weissenberg’s enchanting Sonata in a State of Jazz (Jordan Hall, January 25). Mariss Jansons leads the great Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam in familiar Berlioz and Debussy (Symphony Hall, February 1). The Guarneri and Johannes String Quartets join forces for an evening to include octets by Mendelssohn and William Bolcom (Jordan Hall, February 15). Pianist Alfred Brendel plays classic repertoire (Symphony Hall, February 22), and Imani Winds make their Boston debut with wind quintets from more than the two usual continents (Jordan Hall, March 15). Federico Cortese leads clarinet star Richard Stoltzman and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (GBYSO) in a 50th-anniversary celebration concert (Mahler and Bernstein at Symphony Hall, March 9). And violinist Gil Shaham returns with pianist Akira Eguchi for an unusual program of Bach, Walton, and Spanish composers (Jordan Hall, March 30; 617.482.2595).

The CANTATA SINGERS, under David Hoose, continue their superb re-examination of the music of Kurt Weill with Propheten, from The Eternal Road, and composer Lior Novak adding his installment to Slavery Documents (Jordan Hall, January 18 + 20), an afternoon of Weill, Gershwin, and Schoenberg songs (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, February 17), and his Concerto for Violin and Winds on a bill with Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem (Jordan Hall, March 14 + 16; 617.868.5885).

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