This morning we made plans to join alto Meg Bragle for breakfast and came upon a SEA of people wearing black and gold jerseys at the T-stop. The Boston Bruins ice hockey team won the Stanley Cup last Wednesday and the city was going to celebrate with a big parade downtown today. It was a fortunate that we crammed into the train at Newton Centre, about a dozen stops down, because the train was so full that it didn’t pick up anymore passengers. We got off at the Boyleston station but had to walk down to Arlington to cross the street because of the barricades. People here were absolutely crazy about their team winning and it seemed like every man, woman and child was wearing a Boston Bruins jersey or T-Shirt.
We had a very enjoyable breakfast with Meg away from the crowds and went to the first of FIVE concerts today, a program of college students from around the country who performed polychoral music of Praetorius and Gabrieli. You remember we performed a Praetorius mass last Christmas — well, this program had at least half a dozen pieces like this including one where there were 18 separate parts with choristers and instrumentalists spread into four corners of the church.
The next program was back at Jordan Hall and was a brilliant performance of Kristian Bezuidenhout playing all Mozart with three members of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. Wow! he was able to play the fortepiano so softly and sensitively.
At 5:00 we went to First Lutheran Church for a Praetorius Organvespers which was a “reconstruction of a Lutheran Vespers for the feast of Pentecost as it may have been celebrated in the time of Michael and Hieronymus Praetorius.” This service included chant, readings, congregational hymns and responsories similar to our Bach Vespers programs but included the organ music of Jacob Praetorius and the multi-choir music of Michael and Hieronymous Praetorius. Ensembles were placed at four corners of the church and at the last Te Deum, we in the congregation were completely surrounded and enveloped in music. Wow, what an over-the-top program, extremely well-performed.
We had a quick bite to eat with Edith Ho, then ran off to Jordan Hall for a staged performance of Handel’s “Acis and Galatea.” The chamber orchestra was placed on stage while the singers were costumed and acted around them. I liked every single singer but especially the bass, Douglas Williams.
Then we stayed for the late-night concert, duets by Handel and Steffani. Some of the biggest names in early music performed, including Ellen Hargis, Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs — and of course, alto Meg Bragle. Kristian Bezuidenhout also played harpsichord. What was truly astounding was that several people who had performed in the last concert also played in this concert, including the tenor and bass singers, and O’Dette (archlute) and Stubbs (lute), and Bezuidenhout had played the big Mozart program this afternoon. I can’t imagine how tired these people must be — not only is it midnight, but the instrumentalists have been playing in the opera night after night.
We’re tired too — in case you’re counting, we have now gone to TWENTY-FOUR CONCERTS in the last six days.