Weekly Magazine

Choreographer Amy Seiwert directs Smuin Ballet’s Class for a Cause

NEW THIS WEEK

GABE YOUNG offers an online oboe masterclass to musicians of Youth Music Monterey on Wednesday. SMUIN CONTEMPORARY BALLET will conduct a Zoom interactive Class for a Cause: Democracy in Motion in celebration of the 19th Amendment on Friday. SUNSET CENTER’S Live from the Lot hosts Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer in three concerts at the weekend. ENSEMBLE MONTEREY’S online concert in the vineyard with vocal and instrumental musicians this Sunday afternoon. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

BACH FEST SEEKS NEW CONDUCTOR

CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL has launched its search for its next Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Applications will be accepted until November 30, 2020. A limited number of finalists will be selected by mid-2021 and invited to conduct at the 2022 Festival, after which a final decision will be made by the Festival’s Board of Directors. The formal engagement will begin immediately, and the first priority of the new Artistic Director and Principal Conductor will be to plan the 2023 Festival and present a longer-term artistic vision covering multiple future seasons.

FOUR ORCHESTRAS TO SHARE WINEGLASS COMMISSION

COMPOSER JOHN WINEGLASS has been co-commissioned by the Fresno Philharmonic, Monterey Symphony, Pacific Symphony and the San José Chamber Orchestra to compose a new work, Alone Together, in memory of George Floyd. Wineglass’s responsive piece for strings and percussion is planned to run eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time Floyd survived while a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. A joint statement from Wineglass and Fresno Philharmonic conductor Rei Hotoda explains the impetus and intent of the new work: “Alone Together addresses the social issues we are all facing during this pandemic—from not being able to perform together to even the systemic racial disparities given a world stage due to shelter-in-place. Despite all the setbacks of our present limitations, we are moving forward. This work is allowing us to continue our work as performers—to never lose sight of just how important the arts are and have always been. By creating this work, we are providing a way to connect to one another which is so valuable and something most of us probably once took for granted. We may feel alone at this moment but we as four performing arts organizations are coming to move forward together as one.” As of today there are no firm plans for premiering the work. Each of the orchestras will announce its performance at a later date.

ZOOM TO REPLACE BOX OFFICES

HOW TO buy tickets to online performances. Click HERE

HOW TO MAKE A TRUMPET

 

IS SF’S NEW ARTS GRANT PROGRAM REALLY WORKABLE?

DO the math HERE

GRAMOPHONE CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARDS

THE 2020 awards presented from Glyndebourne, the entire two-hour celebration.

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

LISTENING TO the complete sonatas for violin and piano by Beethoven provides a hard look into the composer’s growth from 1797 to 1812. Moreover, hearing these works on instruments from Beethoven’s lifetime—several pianos, one violin and several bows—offers a fresh glimpse into what the composer would have heard before deafness overwhelmed him. The new four-disc set by violinist Jerilyn Jorgensen and pianist Cullan Bryant was recorded over two years—between the fall of 2016 and the fall of 2018—at the acoustically generous Ashburnham Community Church in Massachusetts. The program booklet offers extensive information about the instruments in use, with photos, to wit: a 1797 Andrea Carolus Leeb violin made in Vienna; four bows from roughly the same period including some from the school of the legendary François Xavier Tourte; pianos by anonymous, Joseph Brodmann, Caspar Katholnig, Johann Nepomuk Tröndlin and Ignaz Bösendorfer, a student of Brodmann and the founder of the only piano maker of that time still in business today. I cannot hear the differences among the four bows—though I’ve never heard a professional violinist who uses so little vibrato—but the tone quality of the different pianos ranges from the sound of late fortepiano right up to that of a modern piano. (This was the era of the greatest technological change in the history of the instrument.) Like most piano concertos, seven of the violin sonatas are in three movements; the other three, including the popular fifth “Spring” deploy four movements. The early 1797 set of three sonatas run on average 20 minutes. The fifth, sixth and seventh average 25 minutes. The monumental ninth, “Kreutzer,” runs fully to 40 minutes; its massive opening Adagio-Presto and second movement variations alone account for 30 minutes between them. Surveying all ten sonatas was, for me, a rare treat. It could be for you too if you’ve got four hours of concentrated listening available. In that case, you might actually thank COVID-19 sheltering in place. SM

BERNARD HERRMANN’S WHITMAN

COMPOSER TO ORSON WELLES and Alfred Hitchcock collaborated with Norman Corwin for a radio play about the American poet, with audio excerpts. Click HERE

NEARLY 250 YEARS OF THE ACCORDION

FASCINATING HISTORY. Click HERE

PAUL McCARTNEY DEFENDS THE MELLOTRON

 

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

 

Weekly Magazine

NEW THIS WEEK

JEWEL THEATRE COMPANY offers Next to Normal and It Can’t Happen Here. BALCONY SESSION features Monterey Symphony violist Sarah Lee (pictured) on Friday afternoon. LIVE FROM THE LOT Sunset Center hosts Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra live in the north parking lot. SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE hosts guitarist William Coulter and cellist Barry Phillips. LIVING JAZZ’S CALL AND RESPONSE, an intimate talk with Terri Lyne Carrington, moderated by Allison Miller, Sunday afternoon. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

INTERVIEW WITH CRISTI MĂCELARU

CABRILLO FEST music director on German television and with the West German Symphony Orchestra. Click HERE and be sure the sound is turned on

JAKE HEGGIE’S NEW OPERA PODCASTS

BAY AREA COMPOSER of operas Dead Man Walking and Moby Dick launches a new in-depth series, Sing LOUDER, with guest opera stars. Click HERE

MUSIC@MENLO EXPLORER SERIES

FAMED CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL online streaming starts October 25. Click HERE 

PARIS OPERA RETHINKS BLACKFACE

A QUARTER of its staff called for a major shake-up of how it deals with race in the opera and its ballet. Click HERE

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL MUST DIVERSIFY

INTERNATIONAL festival ordered to diversify its programming in the current atmosphere of racial justice. Click HERE

NOW HEAR THIS: BECOMING MOZART

CANADIAN pianist Stewart Goodyear joins conductor Scott Yoo at his mostly Mozart-inspired Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor. For the event, Yoo teaches Goodyear how to conduct from the keyboard. Goodyear also improvises his own solo cadenzas, just as Mozart did more than 200 years ago. The Mozaic festival orchestra consists of topnotch hand-picked musicians (not least the locally well-known cellist Jonah Kim) who perform in various SLO County venues including the unique Serra Chapel in Shandon, east of Paso Robles. To watch the full episode click HERE

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

NEW FROM Music@Menlo Live, baritone Nikolay Borchev and pianist Wu Han perform Schubert’s ultimate song cycle, Winterreise. Performances and new recordings of this 24-song masterpiece always call for fresh attention. When Schubert shortly before his death at age 31 performed Winterreise (Winter’s Journey) for his devoted circle of friends the feedback was decidedly mixed, owing to the dark sentiments of Wilhelm Müller’s verses and the visionary far better than glove-like fit of Schubert’s music. (The composer assured his friends that they would come to love them “best” among his 600-plus songs.) The tone for the whole collection is set right at the start: “As a stranger I arrived, as a stranger I depart again” accompanied by a dirge on the piano. A chill wind haunts from the first song to the last, “There behind the village stands a hurdy-gurdy man, and with stiff fingers he cranks as best he can.” Even so, there is great variety as the narrator expresses fear, longing, despair and even hope. So many of Schubert’s songs can easily be taken out of context by Lieder singers, frequently sung as encores. Indeed, many in Winterreise could be as well, yet they rarely are; Winterreise in its entirety is held as sacrosanct. Borchev began his career at a very young age as a principal at the Bavarian State Opera. After several seasons in Munich, he spent two seasons as a member of the Vienna State Opera. With both companies he sang numerous main roles of his Fach including Papageno/Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo/Così fan tutte and Figaro/Il Barbiere di Siviglia. An exceptional musician, he developed an extensive repertoire within just a few years and, thanks to his vocal and artistic qualities as well as his stage presence, has established himself as a regular guest of the world’s most important operatic, concert and recital venues. Wu Han is co-artistic director of Music@Menlo and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She has also appeared several times for the Carmel Music Society. While Schubert rarely heard his music performed, including many of his late masterpieces, Winterreise was in fact published in 1828, the year of his death. Here is a welcome new account by a splendid singer and a superbly sensitive piano partner. SM

PRODUCING OPERA IN LOCKDOWN

PHONING IT IN: Eight Songs from Isolation by eight different composers who are forced to put the drama in the music. Quelle idée! Click HERE

TIME FOR A TRUMP OPERA?

SF CHRONICLE music critic Joshua Kosman imagines so. “…the entire Trump presidency, might seem at first glance to be ripe for an operatic interpretation. There was something undeniably theatrical about the [recent] proceedings, so why not add vocal music to the soundtrack?” Click HERE

EDDIE VAN HALEN, 1955-2020, SCARY GENIUS

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor