Classical

Mercury Orchestra

Houston Early Music Festival

Over the last few decades, Houston has been quietly developing one of the most exciting early music scenes in the country. Four of the top early music groups in town—Houston Early Music, the Bach Society HoustonArs Lyrica, and Mercury (which used to be called Mercury Baroque but now plays music from the 19th century as well)—teamed up last year to launch the Houston Early Music Festival. This weekend's performances include Bach's complete Branderburg Concertos by Mercury, Bach's Mass in B Minor by the Bach Society Houston, and a chamber music concert by Ars Lyrica and Music at St. Philip. See our full story here

Thru Feb 16. Multiple events and locations—check houstonearlymusicfestival.org

Visual Art

La trahison des images (Ceci n’est pas une pipe) (The Treachery of Images [This is Not a Pipe]), 1929. Oil on canvas. 23 3/4 x 31 15/16 x 1 in. (60.33 x 81.12 x 2.54 cm). Los Angeles County Museum of Art. © Charly Herscovici -– ADAGP - ARS, 2013

Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 (Feb 14–June 1) & Memories of a Voyage: The Late Works of René Magritte (Feb 14–July 13)

The Menil Collection holds the world’s largest privately assembled Magritte collection, so it makes sense that it would host these simultaneous exhibitions, the first focusing on the beginning of the French painter’s career, the second on Magritte’s late works. See our full story here

Wed–Sun 11–7. Free. The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross St. 713-525-9400. menil.org

Georges Braque: A Retrospective

Braque famously described his collaboration with Picasso as “two mountain-climbers roped together.” Together, the two climbers invented Cubism, the revolutionary style that shattered the idiom of artistic realism and created what we now know as modern art. Since then, Braque has been overshadowed by the more charismatic Picasso, but the 50th anniversary of Braque’s death provides the perfect opportunity to reevaluate his work.

Feb 13–May 11. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St. 713-639-7300. mfah.org

Exhibition

Magna Carta

Houston suddenly seems to have become a magnet for world-historical artifacts. Last year the Museum of Fine Arts hosted the Cyrus Cylinder, known as the “world's first declaration of human rights,” and now the Houston Museum of Natural Science will be displaying a rare copy of the Magna Carta, the 13th century English document that established the principle of habeas corpus. See our full story here

Feb 14–Aug 17. Mon–Sun 9–5. $20; children, college students, seniors, and military $15; Thursdays free. The Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. 713-639-4629. hmns.org

 

Reading

Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas

As most Houstonians know, Austin was only chosen as the capital of the Republic of Texas in 1839, after legislators revolted against being forced to live on the malarial, swampy Gulf Coast. Historian Jeffrey Kerr provides a new account of the city’s birth, focusing on the rivalry between Mirabeau Lamar and Sam Houston, the republic’s first two presidents.

Feb 15 at 2. Free. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet St. 713-523-0701. brazosbookstore.com