The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include chamber music, silent film with live music, dramatic readings, literary readings, gothic folk-rock, and a whole lot more.
The 12-member ACRONYM Baroque string ensemble performs “The Faux and the Fabulous,” with special guest soloist Yehuda Hanani on cello, at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington on Saturday at 6 p.m., as part of the Close Encounters With Music series. The Acronym ensemble, dedicated to giving modern premieres of the “wild” instrumental music of the Baroque era, will perform works by 17th century composers who attributed their compositions to more famous personages, hence the faux and the fabulous.
Musicians of The Orchestra Now and pianist Peter Serkin will perform works by Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven at Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington on Tuesday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m, as part of the South Berkshire Concerts series. The program will feature masterpieces for piano and winds, including Mozart’s “Quintet for Piano” and “Winds in E-flat major K. 452.” I saw Peter Serkin perform just last week with the Orchestra Now at Carnegie Hall in New York City, playing the extremely complex and exciting Bartok piano concerto, and he is truly phenomenal, clearly one of the great virtuosos of our time.
Nancy Rothman performs a staged reading of “Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End” at PS21 in Chatham, N.Y., on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. This one-woman play is a tribute to the columnist and humorist who lovingly satirized the plight of the suburban housewife from the 1960s to the 1980s in her widely-syndicated column and best-selling books. I remember my mother used to read her column back in the day, often cutting it out of the newspaper and putting it on the refrigerator.
The Cantilena Chamber Choir will present Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 silent film “Passion of Joan of Arc” with live music at Trinity Church in Lenox, Mass., on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. Silent film organist Peter Krasinski will be a special guest on the program featuring a live chorus and orchestra playing the original music by Victor Alix and Leo Pouget. “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is based on the actual record of the trial of Joan of Arc and is widely regarded as a landmark of cinema.
Tonight at Club Helsinki Hudson at 9 o’clock, MorganEve Swain's gothic folk-rock band the Huntress and Holder of Hands brings her blend of roots, folk, and Gypsy sounds to Club Helsinki Hudson. With Swain's viola and Emily Dix Thomas's cello, the group at times channels a Velvet Underground-like vibe, and when Swain shreds on electric guitar a listener is put in mind of Led Zeppelin. Then the band turns around and features Swain's delicate vocals with female harmonies that sound borne of the Appalachian Mountains and transported to the Carpathians of Eastern Europe. It all makes for a beautiful, dark, dreamy sound.
Shira Dentz, Sam J. Miller, and Kathline Carrwill will read from their works at Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson on Saturday at 7 p.m., as part of Volume, the free monthly reading and music series every second Saturday of the month. Dentz’s work is a hybrid of poetry and prose; sci-fi and fantasy writer Sam J. Miller’s YA debut, The Art of Starving, was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2017; and Kathline Carr is the author of the hybrid narrative “Miraculum Monstrum”, winner of the Clarissa Dalloway Book Prize. The readings will be followed by book-signing and a DJ set by Ariel Hellwitz.
And the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra performs works by Richard Strauss and Hector Berlioz in the Fisher Center at Bard College on Sunday at 3 p.m. Conducted by Leon Botstein, the orchestra will perform Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and Strauss’s Don Quixote, Op. 35, ‘Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character,’ featuring cello soloist Emily Munstedt, winner of the 2017 Conservatory Concerto Competition.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com