Weekly Magazine

NEW THIS WEEK

YOUTH MUSIC MONTEREY concert on Zoom with piano soloist Bryan Kim and Danko Druško conducting the Junior Youth and Honors Orchestras on Sunday afternoon. INSIDE ANDY WARHOL (see Warhol’s blue Beethoven above) webinar by Carol Marquart on Sunday. ENSEMBLE MONTEREY archival concert. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

THREE NEW FANFARES FOR BIDEN

THE US MARINE BAND performed at Wednesday’s inauguration. This is Peter Boyer’s.

VIRTUAL INAUGURATION CONCERT

RENÉE FLEMING leads a cast from the Washington National Opera. PS Keep your ears and eyes open for mezzo-soprano Rehanna Thelwell after her stunning performance of Gene Scheer’s American Anthem. SM

 

‘FROM HALL TO HOME’

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY new streaming service. Click HERE

LETTERS

I SAW “I’m so Excited” (Tony Coates’ dance video on last week’s Weekly Magazine) three times tonight and will probably see it a few more times tomorrow. Every time I look, I find more delight. Thank you for bringing this wealth of entertainment to us all. In these very dark times, it’s a reminder to embrace joy and live our best lives. It’s all we can really do. ~Layne Littlepage, Carmel

THE HEALER

THE JANUARY 29–30 PREMIERE of The Healer, a new quartet for four women choreographed by Katerina Wong of RAWdance, will include livestream screenings of the performance, a presentation by a healing practitioner, and a moderated talk with artists involved in the project. The conversations with the online audience are led by Yutian Wong, an author and professor of dance in the School of Theatre & Dance at San Francisco State University.

PUTTING VIDEOS TOGETHER WITH MUSIC

LOVERS OF FAMILIAR MUSIC frequently resent the ‘distraction.’ Click HERE

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

I MUST CONFESS that when I saw this name I imagined a Dutch fast-food drive-through. Therefore, apologies to this outstanding Canadian composer here represented by two new CD releases. Born to a Jewish family in 1959 in Amsterdam, he began to study music at age three. But upon moving to Canada got a “real” job as a cardiac surgeon in Vancouver. Having gained fame for his medical practice he decided to return to music, specifically to become a classical composer. His two chamber symphonies, the first performed by Ensemble Caprice directed by Matthias Maute and titled Remember to Forget, the second by Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal under Vincent de Kort titled Children’s War Diaries, are programmatic. Remember to Forget, in two movements and lasting about 17 minutes, is described as “both a chamber symphony and an opera without words, inspired by a biography of one of the great composers of our time, György Ligeti.” Each movement is a clearly laid out narrative tone poem divided into several short sections. The grim first movement begins with A Train to Death and ends with Returning to Home No Longer There. The second begins with A Train to Life and ends with The Third Train. It contains quotes from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and a Yiddish folk song. Hamburger’s mastery of musical resources is both familiar and surprising, just what you want in composers of new music. The 15-minute Chamber Symphony No. 2 is based wordlessly on five diaries of children who did not survive the Holocaust, dating respectively from the years 1940 to 1945. In the 1944 movement voices are heard, or synthesized. At the end of the 1945 movement, a choral outcry suggests the end of the war. Hamburger has the wind instruments play bending notes adding even more colors to his orchestration. On the other CD, the 22-minute piano concerto, in three movements, gets even more unpredictable. Once again Vincent de Kort’s orchestra does the honors with soloist Assaff Weisman. The first movement, beginning with bells and winds and Mahlerian horn calls, is all orchestral, rising to a climax, until at last the piano quietly appears alone during the last minute of its five minutes duration. Then comes the longer Molto allegro, a propulsive romp between solo and orchestra, including sirens in the manner of George Antheil and Edgar Varèse, and quiet solos on string instruments and percussion and a large solo cadenza for the piano followed by a goodly rip of a finish. Longer still is the final Molto adagio, which broods and growls while the piano goes for a long, measured walk with ominous punctuations and ends with a sigh. All these performances, on the Leaf Music label, were recordied in Montréal in 2019. SM

CRISTIAN MĂCELARU CONCERT IN PARIS

CABRILLO FEST music director conducts l’Orchestre national de France last week including a violin concerto by Pascal Zavaro with gifted soloist Julia Fischer. Click HERE

MAUREEN McGOVERN’S SIGNATURE

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

The Greatest Game

By Philip Pearce

GOLF IS A SECOND RELIGION for many a Monterey Peninsula resident and many another visitor but even if that doesn’t include you Howard Burnham’s new show The Greatest Game is a total delight.

He offers a swift, informative, often funny history of the game in the role of a bearded, 18th century Scottish champion named Thomas Mitchell Morris Sr. Opinionated, informed and full of anecdotes, he spends three quarters of an hour telling us first about himself and then about our own beloved Bobby Jones.

Nicknamed “Old Tom” to distinguish him from his nearly as famous golfer son “Young Tom,” Morris starts out with a sniffy rejection of a claim that the great game was invented when some Chinese sportsmen began batting a small round object around with sticks during the Tang Dynasty. Old Tom will have none of that nonsense. The Greatest Game began in Scotland, where he was instrumental in changing the original sewn leather bag stuffed with feathers into the recognizable hard gutta percha golf ball he and his mates called “the guttie.”

The show, which took the form of a webinar on Saturday, is a treasure trove of interesting facts about the development of the game, much of it centered in the shifts and changes of Scotland’s world famous St Andrews course. Like the fact that a round of golf at first involved only eleven holes, but you played them going out and then back in reverse order for a total of 22. When players found some of the awkwardly short holes they were redesigned in a one way, eighteen-hole pattern. The eighteenth hole at St Andrews today is named for Old Tom himself.

The action moves from 18th century Scotland to colonial America and swiftly forward to the life and career of Bobby Jones of Atlanta, generally regarded as the greatest man who ever covered the international golf scene. And he did it for only three months out of the year, the other months being spent as a successful Atlanta lawyer. Along the way, we note the development of  major tournaments like the British Open and the Augusta National.

Burnham’s performance was so vividly acted and with visuals so compelling I was sure Howard  himself had to be a keen golfer, a distinction he firmly denied in the closing Q and A. But acting’s all about being someone different from yourself and you shouldn’t miss the fun of watching him do that in The Great Game: Old Tom and Young Bobby.