This past winter, gossip seems to have risen to the surface of our musical life like the foam on chicken soup. But spring is upon us and we hope that our thoughts can now turn to music itself, especially since we have some very promising performances to which we can look forward. Here are some of them.
BLAZING STRINGS Leila Josefowicz plays Esa-Pekka Salonen's Violin Concerto on the BSO program April 12-14, under the direction of the composer.
Hard on the heels of its triumph with Peter Maxwell Davies's The Lighthouse at the JFK Library,BOSTON LYRIC OPERA returns to more familiar territory with Rossini's best-loved comedy, The Barber of Seville. BLO music director David Angus conducts a cast of mainly BLO debutantes (Shubert Theatre, March 9-18; blo.org).
Protean David Hoose and the CANTATA SINGERS (cantatasingers.org) leap from composers of the 17th-19th centuries (Jordan Hall, March 18) to composers of the 20th-21st (Jordan Hall, May 12).
WINSOR MUSIC premieres the impressive young British composer Helen Grime's Oboe Quartet, composed for stellar oboist and Winsor music director Peggy Pearson. The program also includes Brahms's Liebeslieder Waltzes and a Bach cantata (St. Paul's Church, Brookline, March 25; winsormusic.org).
Mozart's ravishing Clarinet Quintet leads off a BOSTON CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY concert with clarinetist Paul Green joining music director/violist Marcus Thompson and his superb crew (Sanders Theatre, March 25; bostonchambermusic.org).
Harry Christophers leads the two closing programs of the HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY (handelandhaydn.org) at Symphony Hall: Bach's St. Matthew Passion (March 30, April 1) and Mozart's CORONATION MASS (April 27, 29)— with Rosemary Joshua, Paula Murrihy, Thomas Cooley, and Sumner Thompson — on a program with Handel and Haydn.
EMMANUEL MUSIC, under the direction of Ryan Turner, is giving us a still-rare opportunity to hear Mozart's opera seria La Clemenza di Tito (Emmanuel Church, April 14; emmanuelmusic.org), composed while he was working on the last opera he finished, The Magic Flute. The strong cast includes William Hite in the title role, Deborah van Renterghem as the woman who both does and doesn't want him dead, and Krista River, Pamela Dellal, Susan Consoli, and Aaron Engerbreth. John Harbison is on hand for the pre-concert talk.
Some BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (bso.org) highlights include former LA Philharmonic music director ESA-PEKKA SALONEN returning to lead his own Violin Concerto with LEILA JOSEFOWICZ on a program with Ravel and Stravinsky's Firebird (April 12-14), followed by CLAIRE BLOOM joining singers LAYLA CLAIRE and KATE LINDSEY in Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream music under BERNARD HAITINK (April 18-21, 24), who later closes the season with Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms and the Beethoven Ninth (May 3-5).
The Celebrity Series of Boston (celebrityseries.org) brings us the EUROPEAN UNION YOUTH ORCHESTRA, with VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY leading Copland, Richard Strauss, and the Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2 with YEFIM BRONFMAN (Symphony Hall, April 20) and the legendary Italian pianist MAURIZIO POLLINI playing Chopin and Liszt (Symphony Hall, April 22).
Benjamin Zander is best known for his powerful, probing Mahler. He's closing his BOSTON PHILHARMONIC season with the black sheep of Mahler symphonies, the elusive Seventh, either the most or least favorite on anyone's list. I love it (Sanders Theatre, April 26 and 29; Jordan Hall, April 28; bostonphil.org).
Boston's first period-instrument orchestra, BOSTON BAROQUE ends in an operatic mode with Martin Pearlman, a Gluck champion, leading a semi-staged version of his landmark Orfeo ed Euridice (Jordan Hall, May 4, 5; bostonbaroque.org).