B.U. Bridge is published by the Boston University Office of University Relations.
By Eric McHenry
The 10th anniversary of the Summer Concert Series really snuck up on its founder.
I was amazed to learn, as I was setting up this years series, that it was the tenth, says Mark Kroll, SFA professor and chairman of the department of historical performance. Time really does fly.
In choosing material and recruiting musicians for the 2000 program, Kroll had his mind on another milestone the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bachs death. The series, which began June 20 and continues through June 29 in the Tsai Performance Center, features both familiar and lesser-known works by Bach, as well as classical and contemporary compositions for harpsichord and a number of premieres.
At 8 p.m. on June 22, Kroll will join three distinguished string performers baroque cellist Thomas Fritzsch, baroque violinist Carol Lieberman, and violinist Waltraut Wächter for a concert entitled Bach the Violinist. Along with trios for violin, cello, and harpsichord, the performance will include Bachs Unaccompanied Sonata for Violin in G Minor, arranged by Robert Schumann for violin and piano.
Bach wrote sonatas for solo violin in the 1730s and 40s, and then, 100 years later, Schumann decided to add a keyboard part, says Kroll, who will perform that part himself. Its sort of like adding a string quartet to a rock band. Thats a little extreme, but you get the idea. Its quite strange, and hardly ever performed. But its beautiful. Its a great composer Robert Schumann expressing admiration for an even greater composer.
Three first-time performances will highlight the free noon concert on June 28. Kroll and his protégé, Marina Minkin (SFA90,98), will play harpsichord duets by Viennese organist Peter Planyavsky (a Boston premiere), Sergei Prokofiev (an American premiere), and Vittorio Rieti (a world premiere).
Prior to his death in 1994, Rieti was what Kroll calls walking history a colleague of Stravinsky, Ravel, Debussy, and Balanchine. In Paris, he wrote the music for George Balanchines first ballet, says Kroll. Were playing from his own manuscripts.
The series, which opened June 20 with a performance of Bachs The Musical Offering, will conclude on June 29 with an 8 p.m. recital by one of Frances leading young harpsichordists, Olivier Baumont, who teaches at a conservatory in Lille and directs a popular festival devoted to the music of François Couperin. Making his American debut, Baumont will play some familiar French baroque pieces, as well as a selection of rarely heard works from 18th-century Russia.
This is very interesting, says Kroll. I didnt even know, until recently, that there was harpsichord music from 18th-century Russia. But Baumont found it and recorded a whole album of it. And when I heard it, I said, Boston has to hear these composers.
Until 10 years ago, Boston in the summertime was something of a classical musical desert. Kroll was able to create the oasis that is the Summer Concert Series, he says, because of a supportive Summer Term administration, a receptive BU community, and an air-conditioned but idle venue the Tsai Performance Center.
When June and July rolled around, he says, all the classical music left Boston and moved out to the mountains. Theres that great New England tradition of festivals Tanglewood and Vermont and New Hampshire. And for the people who stayed in town, there was no classical music to speak of. Nothing. And I said, Well, why not?
Summer Concert Series recitals are held in the Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Ave. Admission to all shows is $10, $5 for students and seniors, except the June 28 performance, which is free. For more information, call the School for the Arts at 353-3350 or the SFA Events Line at 353-3349, or visit the SFA homepage.