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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts • 45

The Boston Globei
Boston, Massachusetts
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C7 THE BOSTON GLOBE WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 2000 Church concerts mark the miUennium from i "You Could Get Whipwsh Loughflsg So Hard. -M Skj4 GOOD MOStiWG Has Year's 'Something About Verdi insisted the premiere take place in a church. "I am no longer a clown, serving the audience, beating a huge drum and shouting 'Come on! Come on! Step he wrote in a letter. Verdi soon realized what a valuable property the Requiem was, and he was an astute businessman, so he wasn't excessively particular about where the Requiem was performed, although he didn't like it when he heard the work had been performed in a sports arena with band accompaniment. The church acoustics obscure certain kinds of musical detail, but enhance others the bare octaves of the "Agnus Dei" sounded unusually lovely, with Ellen Chickering's soprano floating like an overtone over the mezzo of Gale Fuller.

By Richard Dyer GLOBE STAFF NEWTON CORNER -The New Philharmonia and the Newton Choral Society celebrated the mil- MUSIC lenniumincon-n certs featuring Review the Verdi Requi- em and Patricia Van Ness's "Nocturnes" last weekend. Sunday afternoon's performance of the Requiem was splendid, and it was interesting and rather wonderful to hear it in the resonant acoustics of Our Lady Help of Christians Church. The work has so long been associated with the concert hall and even the opera house that it's easy to forget that ic recording by Beniamino Gigli, but his sweet-toned, word-oriented singing had Gigliesque virtues as well. Bass Robert Honeysucker sang with imagination, taste, and resonant sound, announcing some of the more gruesome details of the Last Judgment with relish. Fuller's tones were startlingly opulent; her shaping of line, eloquent; her emotional expression generous.

Most sopranos get through Verdi's daunting writing either on naturally radiant tone or sheer guts. Chickering has both, but she also has something even rarer, real know-how; she could suspend a timeless pianissimo high B-flat, then seconds later, blaze out a high that eclipses chorus and orchestra in full cry. The concert began with another meditation on death. Van Ness composed her "Nocturnes" last year to mark David Carrier's 20th anniversary as music director of the Newton Choral Society. Neo-medievalism is very fashionable these days, yet Van Ness's music is obviously personal and sincere, so audiences respond to it Carrier led the chorus and brass players in an assured performance notable for uncommon precision of intonation; it wasn't his fault that the music is so sweet it makes your teeth hurt.

CMQUS LOTS SKMUSEUGUS LOEWS SHOWCASE ONBUS mm reyebe mmui mm mawuu ntciin wun mam ami ohmm ill' pair I RPrtHwewn i RAMI CHECK THEATRE DIRECTORIES OR CALL THEATRE FOR SH0WT1MES Spectrum Singers deliver sonorous, moving evening NEW PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA Ronald Knudsen, music director NEWTON CHORAL SOCIETY David Carrier, music director At: Our Lady Help of Christians Church, Sunday The New Philharmonia played the work quite handsomely under the direction of Ronald Knudsen. The conductor began a little fussily, with much distention of a tempo already too slow, but soon settled in to a direct, straightforward reading that refreshingly emphasized the devotional aspect of the music. The Newton Choral Society sounded a little underpopulated for some of the wailing and gnashing of teeth in the biggest choral episodes, but the clarity and balance of the fugal singing in the "Sanctus" and the "Libera me" was testimony to good musical discipline. The solo quartet outsang some celebrity groups that have performed this work with the Boston Symphony. Tenor Ray Bauwens indulged in some ludicrously lachrymose detail that recalled the histor At ryyj mf II vjf SS By Richard Buell GLOBE CORRESPONDENT More often than not John Ehr-lich's Spectrum Singers have on display the kind of virtues you'd MUSIC hope for in any chorus that aims Review high and works hard.

Though it may now fall short of outright virtuosity, the singing is sonorous, neat, musically alert. And with Ehrlich at the helm it takes on a shaped, curvaceous, almost personal quality that's nobody else's. What it comes to, really, is that the singers know how to phrase. And you can hear this. Granted, it did take them a while to warm up on Saturday night, and in Benjamin Britten's "Hymn to St Cecilia," with its curiously knowing yet childlike tone of voice is no creature Whom I belong to, Whom I could this showed somewhat in tricky rapid-fire "speaking" passages.

For a brief and unworthy moment the floor of the New York Stock Exchange came to mind. Would cut-glass British vowels and conso-' nants have made it any less fuzzy? Possibly not. The Advent's spacious acoustic (a mixed blessing) might still have been up to no good. As we say, they did warm up instances of admirable dynamic control abounded. And at the end you'd have had to be a cloth-eared Caliban not to realize what a charming, even moving, piece this is.

Mm 1 -d 'J 1 LOEWS SEMLMEtt SMfCKBUS SHOWCASE an wmn cmcu xm MfMwwmim HHiKtnipig affijicaaj mitaartt mi nwua ium mm GBBULCffiH GENERAL CKW SHOWCASE CKHAS LOEWS WNtiTOM RWBWtUIHI fttfDOUW DMVEXS BUMIII Mil MH tVMI SORRY. NO PASSES ACCEPTED FOR THIS ENGAGEMENT rr wV rmV7- Comic-strip pacing, gags drive excessive I THE SPECTRUM SINGERS John W. Ehrlich, conductor At: Church of the Advent, Saturday night The "Cantata Misericordium" is later Britten, from the period of the "War Requiem," which is to say severe, intense and, in this case, faultless in its dramatic pacing. The story is that of the Good Samaritan, and the fact that it's told in Latin somehow both distances it and makes it universal. Tenor Rockland Osgood and baritone Mark Andrew Cleveland were a single voice when they sang together, their vocal colors perfectly matched to Britten's oblique, dry, spartan orchestration and, even more important, to the emotional life of the music.

You couldn't doubt that you were hearing an underappreciated masterpiece. The Durufle Requiem? On paper this might have looked like the "big" piece on the program. But, please note, this was not the 1947 original, all purple passages and God-awful movie-palace opulence by some accounts, but the composer's drastic 1961 revision and thinning out. What purple passages? Traces of grandeur do remain, but how personal it all has become; it's as if we'd been taken into the composer's confidence. If you'd forgotten, Durufle's "Pie Jesu" is an almost alarming cry from the heart.

Gloria Raymond's radiant, impassioned singing had its true measure; it told no lies. Directed by: John Woo Screenplay by: Robert Towne Starring: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Richgard Roxburgh, John Poison, Brendan Gleeson, Rode Sherbedghia, Ving Rhames At: Chert, suburbs Running time: 12i minutes Rated: PG-1S (intense sequences of violent action and some sensuality) Vi torcycle joust, Cruise's white knight and Scott's dark one square off on a beach, where they provide a scientific demonstration of the number of times a star can get kicked in the head without loss of speed, much less function. Or teeth. Still, does have a certain integrity. At least it doesn't insist that Cruise's character and Newton's are supposed to have anything like real feelings for one another.

The weakness of is that it's too humorless to embrace its preposterousness. On the surface, it has a certain James Bond quality. But Bond would have winked at a lot of the stuff that just makes Cruise set his jaw more firmly here. Scott holds the screen ably against Cruise, considering that we know at the start that he's going to lose. Anthony Hopkins puts in only the most perfunctory appearance as Cruise's boss, although he has the film's best line wyhen Cruise momentarily balks.

Under the circumstances, Newton does a game job of projecting naughtiness and vulnerability. has all the fireballs, forward motion, latex masks, and views of Sydney harbor you could hope for. There's not much there, but with what there is, the film hits hard. At heart, it's a huge comic strip. But nobody seems to have reminded Cruise of this.

tome, wm I 'M I mm Continued from Page CI disguise. Woo overdoes the mask bit, a habit he apparently got into after directing "FaceOff." But what am I saying? Overdoing it is meat and drink to this film, as nothing else is. When Cruise's superspy meets up with Thandie Newton, as a larcenous love interest whose thieving abilities he needs, they enjoy the automotive equivalent of rough sex as they play bumper cars on a narrow road hugging the side of a cliff. Woo ups the ante by having Cruise's Ethan Hunt clash more than once with Dougray Scott's heavy, a renegade agent turned big-time biothief and global shakedown artist There are, of course, the usual car chases and shootouts, with Woo making copious use of slo-mo as this or that body hurtles through the air, gun in each hand, blazing away. The slo-mo, once original and even flecked with a certain visual poetry, is starting to look old, and there's nothing quite as spectacular here as the sight of Cruise clinging to the top of a train in the first "Mission Impossible." Not that anybody is going to complain of somnolence here.

Still, hard-driving and propulsive as it is, the film is unable to hide the fact that Woo seems not only to be repeating himself, but parodying his earlier films on a much bigger scale, more crudely and coarsely. You're as likely to laugh at as with it, especially if you know Woo's earlier films. When we see a doorway framed in flames, we know Tom Terrific will soon be framed by it too. At a certain point during one shootout, one of Woo's signature wThite doves flies out of an alcove, providing as much ironic comment as this film is interested in providing. After a mo- LP fu (J stir nC XT II "ikuti.

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