The Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra has shown a great deal of growth and improvement since last year, particularly in its most recent concerts. The coordination between the players and with the conductor has increased noticeably, as the orchestra performed impressively some especially challenging works requiring ample technical and interpretive skill.
The HRO has also been more imaginative and original in its choice of programs, performing both modern works and less famous pieces by famous composers. The Orchestra continues this practice this weekend in its final concert of the season, an unusual program of Haydn, Kirchner and Mahler. James Yannatos will conduct Haydn't Symphony No. 45 ("Farewell"), and Mahler's Symphony No. 1 ("Titan"); Kirchner will be the guest conductor for his own "Music for Orchestra." The Mahler deserves close listening, expecially if you've never heard his orchestral works before; it's an interesting prelude to his even more mammoth later symphonies. The concert is on Friday evening at 8:30 pm at Sanders Theatre. Tickets are $1.50 for students, available at Holyoke Center Ticket Office. Call 495-2663 for more details.
The Boston University School of Music performance offers another season finale this week, in two concerts featuring winners of the annual Concerto/Aria Competition. On Thursday, Roger Voisin conducts the Boston Repertory Orchestra and School of Music vocal and instrumental soloists in Weber's Bassoon Concerto in F Major, Hindemith's Viola Concerto "Der Schwarendreher," and Berlioz's "Les Nuits d'Ete." The Friday program should be even more special, as Joseph Silverstein conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Brahms' Violin Concerto in D Major op. 77, Chausson's Poeme for Violin and Orchestra op. 25, and Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major. Both free concerts are at the School of Music Concert Hall, 855 Comm. Ave., Boston. Call 353-3345 for more details.
The Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, Harvard Glee Club and Radcliffe Choral Society perform the Bach St. Matthew Passion twice this week with a professional orchestra and soloists, including Karl Dan Sorenson as the Evangelist. The concerts are tonight (Thursday), at 8:15, and Saturday at 7:30 pm, at Sanders Theatre.
Also at Harvard this weekend, the Quad Arts Festival offers a diverse and interesting selection of concerts all week. The Cambridge Women's Slavic Chorus holds an outdoor concert at Radcliffe Quad on Saturday at 2 pm. Baritone Sanford Sylvan and pianist Peter Lurye perform Schumann, Wagner, Debussy, Wolf and Falla on Sunday at 8:30 pm in South House. The next day, Jim Ross and Jessica Krash play piano-and-horn works by Haydn, Chopin, Schumann and Ginastera--same place, same time. Finally, David Sogg and Peter Lurye give a bassoon and piano recital of Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven and Weber on Wednesday at 8 pm.
From Boston University's radio station, WBUR (90.9 FM) and Allison Acoustics of Natick, Mass., comes word of a new service catering to classical-music listeners. The Concertline (353-3810) gives up-to-date details and information on classical concerts in the Boston area--including performers, programs, locations and times of concerts.