Boston Early Music Festival, reviewed and reported by North America’s music critics

Amanda Forsythe as Edilia in Handel's 'Almira' at Boston Early Music Festival 2013 ( Kathy Wittman)
Amanda Forsythe as Edilia in Handel’s ‘Almira’ at Boston Early Music Festival 2013 ( Kathy Wittman)
Compiled by CVNA Editors

In attendance at the 2013 Boston Early Music Festival were dozens of music critics who are members of the Music Critics Association of North America, and who held their national meeting in the midst of the festival’s rich program of performances and exhibitions.

Reviews of  BEMF events by MCANA members, in this journal and other publications, include concerts by the Newberry Consort and the BEMF Orchestra, as well as Handel’s opera Almira – and several fringe concerts among many that enriched the festival’s main offerings (here and here).

Beyond the principal concerts offered by the BEMF itself, there were late-evening programs that served as night-caps for those very full days. Among these was one on the first day of  the MCANA’s gathering (July 13), presented by Atalante and reviewed (by the indefatigible local website Boston Musical Intelligencer) here.

Jordi Savall, HespèrionOn the afternoon of July 13, Ottoman, Sephardic, Greek, and Armenian music found astonishingly common ground in the refined hands of Hespèrion XXI, directed by Jordi Savall, whose sure leadership resulted in an artistic experience that proved truly timeless. Jacob Street describes the program for The Boston Musical Intelligencer here.

Among the MCANA’s most energetic Boston attendees was Chuck Lavazzi, who covered virtually everything for St. Louis radio station KDHX and for his personal blog. His reports are contained in the following four installments, covering the programs he heard in chronological order:

Day 1 – Newberry Consort & BEMF Orchestra:;

Day 2 – Gli Incogniti, Almira, & “My Small Dark Rose”:;

Day 3 – Hespèrion XXI, Charpentier, & Tragicomedia:;

& Day 4 – Royal Wind Music:

A more general overview of the festival, by Heidi Waleson, was published in the Wall Street Journal, linked here; she also helped put the maturing early music movement into an admirable present-day context with an article on enhancements in the Juilliard School’s historical performance program, linked here.

And Barbara Jepson, also writing for the Wall Street Journal, provided a superb overview of the many fascinations of the BEMF’s exhibitions, which occupied two copious spaces in the convention hotel. Her article may be read here.


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