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WCRB's 2018 In Concert of the Year!

With so many incredible concerts happening in Boston each week, it's impossible for any one person to attend them all. WCRB In Concert brings the concert hall to you -- and now, at the end of 2018, we're looking back at our favorite episodes of the year. They're all available on demand -- so take a listen!

Brownlee Sings Gut-Wrenching Schumann  

Chris Voss: Without a doubt, my favorite 2018 concert to be at, and my favorite 2018 WCRB In Concert broadcast to produce, was this Celebrity Series of Boston evening with tenor Lawrence Brownlee. It was one of those special nights you hope every concert will be, where everything just clicks. In April, Lawrence Brownlee gave a performance that left no doubt as to why he’s one of the best tenors in the world. The singing was out of this world, the music was fantastic, and the audience was on fire, and it all came together for a truly unforgettable evening. I’m so glad we captured it on tape and are able to share it with you on WCRB In Concert.

Jay Fondin: My favorite In Concert: Lawrence Brownlee - because his voice makes me teary-eyed.

If you liked this concert, you'll also love: 
Phan Sings British Gems with A Far Cry


Blue Heron's Deep Dive into Ockeghem  

Brian McCreath: Many months before the Boston-based vocal ensemble Blue Heron won the 2018 Gramophone Award for Early Music (the first time any non-European ensemble has won the award), we had the pleasure of featuring a part of one of their cornerstone projects on WCRB. Scott Metcalfe, the group’s leader, has, in collaboration with New England Conservatory musicologist Sean Gallagher, brought previously neglected and even unknown music by Johannes Ockeghem into the light and onto the stage. The story of the 15th century Flemish composer’s life and music is fascinating, and the performance itself is, as in all Blue Heron performances, absolutely radiant.


Grasping for Light at the Gardner Museum  

Kendall Todd: This year I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Criers Sarah Darling and Jesse Irons about this concert and about their latest album, "Visions and Variations," which has since been nominated for two GRAMMY Awards! A Far Cry is one of Boston's brightest chamber orchestras, and this concert -- featuring musical "portraits" of every variety -- is a sparkling example of their vibrant musicianship. From the opening notes of Leonard Bernstein's "Agathon," with violinist Tai Murray, to the electrically exciting all-string performance of Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition," to the world premiere of Jessica Meyer's "Grasping for Light," every moment of this concert is one to savor.

If you liked this concert, you'll also love: 
An International Tour with Mistral


The Calidore Quartet Illuminates Haydn, Shaw, Mendelssohn  

Rani Schloss: This was an easy one. I love Caroline Shaw’s music, I love this particular Haydn String Quartet, and the Calidore String Quartet’s performance here is crisp, joyful, flawless. This concert is a treat to revisit.

If you liked this concert, you'll also love: 
Chamber Music Highlights from Marlboro 
The Benedetti Elschenbroich Grynyuk Trio at the Gardner Museum 
The St. Lawrence String Quartet at the Concord Chamber Music Society


Introspective Piano Masterpieces, with Seong-Jin Cho

Colin Brumley: In this program, you get two pieces that altered the course of music forever. First, in Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata, the rules of music form and structure are tossed out the window and instead he writes the piece that he wants to hear. That practice of writing for the composer became a cornerstone of the Romantic era ideology. In Book II of Debussy’s Images we see the genius of his ethereal sonic textures in a masterpiece example of Impressionism, which inspired future composers to leave their musical textbooks by the wayside and join in on the musical water coloring. Seong-Jin Cho sweeps through the full spectrum of human emotion in both (not to mention a piece by Chopin), and I find myself coming back to this concert time and time again.

If you liked this concert, you'll also love: 
A Tour through the Piano Masters, with Rafał Blechacz and the Celebrity Series of Boston


Illuminating a Musical Friendship with Quatuor Mosaïques

Cathy Fuller: It’s impossible to choose a favorite concert from our broadcasts! But I was drawn deeply into the  intimate and nuanced performances by the Quatuor Mosaïques. Their program of Mozart and Haydn, presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston, was part of the Quartet’s 30th anniversary season, and they used their period instruments to speak and sing the works of both composers with incredible soul and finesse.

If you liked this concert, you'll also love: 
Formation and Identity with the Neave Trio at the Longy School of Music of Bard College 
A Retrospective with the Boston Chamber Music Society 
Highlights from Mistral's 2017-2018 Season


A Reflection of the Seasons with the Flanders Recorder Quartet

Alan McLellan: My selection for the In Concert of the Year is “A Reflection of the Seasons with the Flanders Quartet." This is the final Boston concert of a brilliant ensemble that has decided to end its long performing career.  The Boston Early Music Festival has been presenting concerts by the Flanders Recorder Quartet since 1993, and the quality of performance and musicianship is outstanding.  Along with the broadcast itself, you can listen to an interview with two members of the Quartet, and from their comments you get a sense of the Flanders’ serious level of commitment: to artistry, to the historical music they perform (mainly Renaissance and Baroque), and to the historically-informed instruments themselves. And from the concert, you get a full sense of the warm, lighthearted approach they take to performing.  It’s an absolute delight!

If you liked this concert, you'll also love: 
A Pair of Early Music Concerts from the 2017 Boston Early Music Festival


The list of concerts we love can go on forever - or at least for a year! Here are more riveting, beautiful, and extraordinary performances from WCRB In Concert that reflect the vitality of Boston's musical landscape.

If you like opera, listen to Odyssey Opera in ... 

Tchaikovsky's "Maid of Orleans" Beauty and Poetry in a Time of War Verdi's Operatic Telling of a Timeless Tale

If you like vocal ensembles, listen to ...

New Year's Under the Stars with Voces8
Boston Children's Chorus Celebrates MLK Day
A Private Look into the Life of Bernstein, from the Longy School of Music of Bard College
Cantus Sings Holiday Classics, from Rockport Music

If you like oratorio and other choral works with orchestra, listen to...

Handel and Haydn Society's "Ode to Joy"
A Celebration of the Afterlife, in a Handel Masterpiece at the Boston Early Music Festival
A Herculean Drama from Ancient Greece, from the Handel and Haydn Society
Telemann's Elegant "St. Luke's Passion" with Boston Baroque
An All-Bach Masterpiece Celebration with H+H
A Modern-Day Baroque Premiere by Pasquini at the Boston Early Music Festival
Handel's Messiah, from Boston Baroque