The region’s cultural highlights this weekend include the world’s most famous chamber group; a mix of holiday-inspired Italian classics; gospel treats, French art song, and Christmas jazz, among other select cultural treats.
The Kronos Quartet has of course been the most influential cutting-edge chamber music group for 40 years, both for shattering the standards of what it means to perform as a classical string quartet – including the use of amplification, electronics, and multimedia – and in their range of repertoire, including music ordinarily deemed as classical as well as championing works by contemporary composers and musics from outside the western Classical tradition. Filmmaker Sam Green is creating a multimedia documentary about the radical string quartet, which is meant to be shown with Kronos there onstage, live, and interacting with the film, which blends live music and narration with archival footage and filmed interviews featuring the likes of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Wu Man, and Terry Riley, among others. Green and Kronos will unveil a work-in-progress performance of “A Thousand Thoughts” tonight at MASS MoCA in North Adams at 8pm.
The Amernet String Quartet performs in “Souvenir de Florence: An Italian Holiday Celebration,” a program of Italian-inspired classics at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass., on Sat, Dec 9, at 6pm, as part of the Close Encounters with Music series. The centerpiece of the program is Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir de Florence”. Also on the program are works by Vivaldi; Puccini’s sole chamber work, “Chrysanthemums”; Hugo Wolf’s “Italian Serenade”; and a Verdi string quartet.
The members may no longer all be blind, but the current group touring as Blind Boys of Alabama still shakes the rafters with their rousing style of gospel and gospel-influenced popular music, including Christmas music, which they will perform along with the Preservation Hall Legacy Horns at the Mahaiwe on Sun, Dec 10, at 7pm.
Soprano Amanda Boyd and pianist Timothy Dunne will present a free recital of French art songs in “La Lumière de Musique,” including works by Hahn and Fauré and featuring Debussy’s Ariettes Oublièes and Études for Piano, as part of the “Touched by Light” pop-up series at Ellen Lynch Photography in Chatham, N.Y., on Sat, Dec 9, at 5pm.
Trumpeter Chris Pasin celebrates the release of his new album, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” with a release concert at Hudson Hall on Sat, Dec 9, at 7pm. Pasin will be joined by vocalist Patricia Dalton Fennell, pianist Armen Donelian, bassist John Menegon, and drummer Jeff Siegel in a concert of holiday favorites.
And Lady Moon is back - back as in she’s moved back home to Hudson - and to celebrate her return, her jazzy, soul-funk, multicultural, seven-piece outfit Lady Moon & the Eclipse performs at Club Helsinki Hudson on Sat, Dec 9, at 9pm. The group is led by lead singer Ngonda Badila - whose name means "moon" in Congolese, hence, Lady Moon.
Anna Victoria, Hallie Goodman, and Dani Grammerstorf French, all of Hudson, will read from their works in the annual “Hudson Homegirls Night” at Spotty Dog Books & Ale on Sat, Dec 9, at 7pm, as part of Volume, the free monthly reading and music series every second Saturday of the month. The readings will be followed by book-signing and a DJ set by Anna Victoria.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com