Weekly Magazine

Violin

YES, IT’S A PAGE of sheet music. Can you see the 3-D violin floating in front of it?  Hint: relax your eyes and look through the image, not at it.

COMING UP THIS WEEK

MIRIAM ELLIS brings her annual International Playhouse to UCSC. MONTEREY SYMPHONY gives regional premiere of Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Concerto in G Minor, featuring Michael Noble, first prize winner of the Carmel Music Society’s 2013 piano competition. Max Bragado-Darman also conducts Otto Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor overture, completing the Symphony’s ‘Season of Shakespeare,’ and Cesar Franck’s great Symphony in Dchucho Minor. SAN JOSE SYMPHONIC CHOIR visits Seaside’s St Francis Xavier. Jazz guitarist BRUCE FORMAN presents his new THE RED GUITAR; a Jazz Libretto at Carmel’s Cherry Center. TAELEN THOMAS and friends enact scenes from Jane Smiley’s Horse Heaven, one time only on Sunday afternoon. The MONTEREY PENINSULA COLLEGE ORCHESTRA, directed by David Dally, will present a concert Monday, 7:30pm, in the MPC Music Hall, including Dvořák’s Symphony 8, Verdi’s Nabucco Overture, with Michael Blackburn, soloist in Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto in A Minor, and trombonist Elijah Taurke performing Guilmant’s “Morceau Symphonique.” Renowned Cuban jazzman CHUCHO VALDÉS (pictured left above) plays two nights of solo piano, Monday and Tuesday, at Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz. For details and links to these and many other events, click our CALENDAR

anne-akiko-meyersSPEAKING OF VIOLINS

ANNE AKIKO MEYERS played her celebrated Guarneri “Vieuxtemps” with the Monterey Symphony exactly one year ago. At $16 million it’s the most expensive violin ever sold. Is all that Cremona legendary luster about to change? Two reports explain why it well might: from The Economist HERE and The Atlantic HERE

WHEN TOY PIANOS ARE STILL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

MET OPERA IN THE LAST 50 YEARS

A SURVEY since it moved house into Lincoln Center. Nothing short of an operatic history. Click HERE

THE GREATEST AMERICAN MUSIC TEACHERBoulanger-Nadia-01[1966]

WAS FRENCH. “Nadia Boulanger was the most astounding woman I ever met in my life,” Quincy Jones. Nadia Boulanger’s students include Jones, Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Roy Harris, David Diamond, Leonard Bernstein, Ned Rorem, Elliott Carter, Astor Piazzolla and Philip Glass. She was the first woman to conduct the Boston Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra. She played the world premiere of Copland’s Organ Symphony in 1925 in New York. She became the first woman to conduct a complete program by the New York Philharmonic in 1962, during the Bernstein years. Click HERE

COWS WHO LOVE JAZZ

DAIRY FARMER Ed Henderson’s audience captured him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOUNGE LIZARDS

QUATTRO MANI’s new CD takes its title from a witty 1994 piece for two pianos and percussion by Michael Daugherty, a talented composer of “American Icons,” pieces that celebrate our pop culture—like his Barbie opera, Superman Symphony and Le Tombeau de Liberace—its four movements are titled Sip ‘N’ Sir (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Dennis Swing 9486_cover_rgb_3000x3000_2f939fbc-38ec-4728-968d-49196358c0a6_largeClub (Hamburg, Germany), Ramada Inn (Exit 1, New Jersey Turnpike) and Bamboo Bar (Amsterdam, the Netherlands.) The piece comes at the end of a wide-ranging survey of new American music, but also includes a fascinating recollection of Charles Ives’ largely experimental Three Quarter-tone Pieces of 1925. Quattro Mani consists of Steven Beck and Susan Grace, who deliver thoughtful and exuberant performances of John Musto’s Passacaglia (2000/2011) and Arlene Sierra’s of Risk and Memory (1997). Least memorable, perhaps for being too subtle for its own good, is Quiet Music (1994/2001) by Fred Lerdahl, a reduction from the earlier orchestra version which I have not heard. (Note: the Sip N Stir restaurant in Cedar Rapids is now closed; Daugherty’s misspelled title seems to have escaped all proofreaders.)

THE LIGHT SHE BRINGS

INTRODUCING now world-famous composer/pianist Joep Beving

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRESH THEATER REVIEW

HAROLD PINTER’S BETRAYAL at Carmel’s Circle Theatre. Click HERE

TRUE CONFESSION

HAVING PROCLAIMED Verdi’s Requiem as one of my ultimate ten Desert Island essentials, I’ve been set upon with demands to disclose the other nine. Fair enough: JS Bach’s St. Matthew Passion; Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro; Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major; Wagner’s Die Walküre and Tristan und Isolde; Brahms’ Ein deutches Requiem; Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique;” Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde; Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Each is included for its own specific/peculiar reasons, and, of course, is subject to change. Beethoven remains a huge fave but to date I can’t make up my mind. BTW, I love Haydn, Berlioz, Lou Harrison, the blues, the Beatles, Elton John, the Eagles, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Bill Evans.

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca RC Brooks, associate editor

Betrayal

betrayalBy Philip Pearce

SOMERSET MAUGHAM said that writing a good play means discovering what it’s about and then sticking stubbornly to the point. Harold Pinter’s Betrayal does just that. The title tells what it’s about, and the script never looks at anything but the combinations and permutations of betraying or being betrayed—in this case by marital infidelity.

In major earlier works, like The Birthday Party and The Homecoming, Pinter’s characters act from motives ranging from the puzzling to the impenetrable. Confused, challenged and sometimes repelled, you still can’t stop watching these sordid strangers build their own alien world with its own murky patterns of believability.

With Betrayal, which just opened at the Pac Rep Circle Theater, it’s different.

Emma, her husband Robert and her lover Jerry are anything but grubby enigmas. Informed, witty, moving in civilized surroundings, tastefully dressed, they seem like characters who would fit seamlessly into a Coward or Rattigan comedy. It’s what Pinter does with this familiar material that makes it so disturbing and memorable. To start with, he tightens the tension by upending normal chronology. Scene 1 starts with the aftermath of Jerry and Emma’s affair and we move, sequence by sequence, back to its beginnings seven years earlier.

Who knew what about whom and when did they know it? Betrayal happens in a world where lying is as natural as breathing and what seems to be real or true now is unmasked a scene or so later as false and self-serving. At one point Emma appears to break through the ugly crust of deception and tell the truth about when and how Robert has learned she is betraying him with Jerry. But a later (earlier) sequence reveals, almost casually, that her refreshing breakthrough into truth is just another face-saving lie. There are wonderful ironies. Jerry feels huffy and ill-used when Emma admits that she’s pregnant, not by him but by her legal spouse Robert.

Pinter is a master of the twists and turns dialogue takes to cover embarrassment or deception. It can be nervous repetition, as in the opening scene, where Emma and Jerry, no longer lovers, struggle to show interest in and a lingering affection for each other by asking again and again some form of “How are you? I hope you’re doing well.” Their repeated banal expressions of concern manage to seem sincere and at the same time subtly dismissive.

When Jerry and Robert, who are lifelong best friends, natter on inanely about differences between male and female baby tantrums or why women should never be involved in games of squash, Pinter isn’t ignoring Maugham’s advice and wandering off onto rabbit trails of empty banter. The irrelevancies are smoke screens hiding some new piece of betrayal or a defense against the possible revelation of an old one. People on stage, like people in life, don’t always say exactly what they mean. It’s called subtext and Pinter knows how to use it brilliantly.

All of this calls for incisive and subtle acting. Kenneth Kelleher has cast and ably directed three performers who know how to tell a story that depends as much on what isn’t happening on the surface as what is. Watch the gifted Julie Hughett as she listens to information being told her by Robert which threatens her relationship with Jerry in a way that Robert mustn’t know about but Jerry does. Without a touch of mugging, Hughett briefly but clearly projects both messages.

The two men are just as good. As the cuckolded Robert, Michael Ray Wisely is never the daunted victim. He shades his performance so that we are continually re-assessing how much he knows and how he is using it to feed and complicate his own pattern of deceptions.

Paul Jennings is excellent as a spontaneous and impulsive Jerry, who manages to persuade himself and almost to persuade us that, undetected by Robert, he can sleep regularly with Emma and still remain Robert’s best friend.

The three speak in convincingly British tones, possibly coached by the production’s only native born Brit, the wonderful Howard Burnham, who appears briefly but delightfully as a waiter with a heavy Italian accent.

Pinter didn’t conjure this story out of thin air. Before Betrayal opened at London’s National Theatre back in 1978 he showed the script to B.B.C. personality Joan Bakewell, who publicly expressed her indignation at the detailed parallels between Pinter’s text and an extramarital affair she had had with him between 1962 and 1969.

Another dictum of good play writing, but not from Somerset Maugham, is “write about what you know,” and I guess Betrayal does that too.

It continues in PRT’s Circle Theater through May 28th.