The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 7, 2008


Cultural Compass

The local classical music scene

“Where griping griefs the heart would wound
And doleful dumps the mind oppress,
There music with her silver sound
With speed is wont to send redress.”
- Anonymous

Griping griefs? Doleful dumps? There is good reason why the stanza above is anonymous. However, it makes its point. In times like these, when we teeter on the brink of doleful economic dumps and approach the dark days of another New England winter, the solace of good music can lift our spirits and give us light. More good news is that we do not have to travel far to be able to enjoy some great classical music. At the First Religious Society right here in Carlisle, the Cambridge Society for Early Music presents a series of performances yearly, featuring small ensemble music, dating from medieval times to the present. The first Carlisle concert this year, on November 20, presents the vocal ensemble, Tapestry, performing a program of music by, for and about women called Faces of a Woman. Pieces in the concert date from the 12th century to the present.

Many orchestras and chamber groups in the area

Within ten miles of us, there are a fair number of good orchestras and chamber ensembles with full seasons of offerings. The Lexington Symphony opens their season tomorrow night with a program of Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky, featuring violinist Irinia Muresanu and conducted by the Boston Ballet Orchestra’s Jonathan McPhee. The Concord Conservatory of Music’s faculty kicks off its performance series on Sunday with a free concert in the beautiful rotunda of the Concord Free Public Library, with music by Brahms, Haydn, Puccini and Bellini. Perfect!

The women of Tapestry – singers Diane Brewer, Cristi Catt, Laurie Monahan and Daniela Tosic, with Shira Kammen on vielle – present their program, “Faces of a Woman,” in Carlisle on November 20 at 8 p.m. at Union Hall. The program is presented by the Cambridge Society for Early Music. (Courtesy photo)

The Orchestra of Indian Hill in Littleton offers an eclectic season including classical performances and opera (Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro opens November 20). The Concord Orchestra, based at 51 Walden Street in Concord, focuses over the next two months on youthful musicians with a performance featuring CCHS’s string players on December 7 and a concert including a concerto performed by the winner of their Annual Young Artist Competition in January. In the spring, the orchestra will offer a study in contrasts, with an evening devoted to the lush sounds of Brahms and the rich, transitional music of Prokofiev.

A full musical season

Just up the road, the Lowell Philharmonic is featuring music by and about Lowell natives (including actress Bette Davis and composer George Whitefield Chadwick) in March and more concerts later on. The Concord Chamber Music Society performs next, on November 23 and again in January, March and April. Each of their concerts highlights different artists and soloists. The University of Massachusetts, Lowell has a number of student classical music groups that perform regularly during the year. In December, you can attend concerts in Westford by the Nashoba Youth Orchestra. Concord Academy and Middlesex School in Concord each have a number of orchestral and chamber groups that perform throughout the year as well.

Large and small professional, community and student performances of classical music abound in our area and are available free or for reasonable ticket prices. If you play an instrument yourself, there are opportunities to join one or more of these ensembles. When the cold weather finally settles in, and we begin to see snow blanketing our sylvan New England town, a lovely candlelight chamber concert at the First Religious Society or the strains of classical music filling another of the beautiful venues in our area will certainly chase away any griping griefs and doleful dumps. Somehow, our seasons, our lovely scenery and the music just seem to fit together, don’t they?

No doubt, this column has missed mentioning some groups, but if you send in their websites, they will be printed in future columns. ∆


Cambridge Society for Early Music:

Lexington Symphony:

Concord Conservatory of Music:

Orchestra of Indian Hill:

Lowell Philharmonic:

Concord Orchestra:

UMass Lowell: /

Nashoba Youth Orchestra:

Concord Academy:

Middlesex School:

Concordia Consort:

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito