Weekly Magazine

NEW THIS WEEK

ACTOR HOWARD BURNHAM performs The Greatest Game by way of Zoom on Saturday. CELLIST AMIT PELED (pictured above) performs for Distinguished Artists in an ‘online gathering’ Sunday. KUUMBWA JAZZ ARCHIVES, Tammy Hall & Ruth Davies Encore on Monday. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

CAN’T GO TO ‘MUSIC AT KOHL MANSION’?

THEN LET ‘Music at Kohl Mansion’ come to you.

By Janos Gereben

PERFORMING ARTS organizations trying to cope with the challenges of pandemic times rarely stick to their usual format … and then there is Music at Kohl Mansion. It is unusual in maintaining the usual. The current 38th season presenting ensembles from around the world seems similar to “normal” seasons, except for virtual presentations replacing live concerts in Burlingame’s enchanting mansion.

Music at Kohl Mansion Executive Director Patricia Kristof Moy calls the season a realization of “our core belief that the arts are essential to the health of our communities at all times. We are determined to play a key role as ‘second responders’ in providing relief and comfort through easily accessible, affordable virtual programming this season, and to preserving the vitality of our music community by supporting and promoting artists who have lost so much in the past year.” To read the complete report, click HERE

KULNING

HYPNOTIC Swedish high pitched singing. Click HERE

MEET THE ALBOKA

THE BASQUE ALBOKA is a woodwind instrument consisting of a single reed, two small diameter melody pipes with finger holes and a bell traditionally made from animal horn. Additionally, a reed cap of animal horn is placed around the reed to contain the breath and allow circular breathing for constant play. In basque language alboka players have the name albokari.

AFROBEATS TO GO GLOBAL IN 2021

By John McDermott: chief Africa correspondent, The Economist, Johannesburg. Click HERE

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

ANALEKTA, based in Montreal, is Canada’s largest independent classical record label with, since 1988, more than 500 albums and featuring some 200 of the most prominent Canadian musicians. Violinist Andrew Wan has served as concertmaster for the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM) since 2008. He enjoys an international reputation as a concerto soloist and chamber musician. These two new CDs showcase him in both roles, the first with OSM’s music director Kent Nagano and second with pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, the latter in four early Beethoven sonatas.

As for the concerto CD I thought I knew all the major works by Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983); his violin concerto was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for its debut at the new Lincoln Center in 1963. Not so. What a crazy, wonderful monsterpiece this is; a long solo cadenza, aggressive and moody, begins it only to be followed by seven very brief “studies” with orchestra titled, in turn, Chords, Thirds, Other intervals, Arpeggios, Harmonics, Quarter tones and a stormy Maestoso. Then comes a 10-minute Adagio for 22 (if you say so) soloists, the expressive heart of the piece with various concertante cameos from across the orchestra referencing the earlier studies. A short pianissimo scherzo (with a quote from Paganini) follows with an even briefer perpetuum mobile finale. A prescient vision of the future, Ginastera writes for seven percussionists playing four dozen instruments. That soloist Wan got his mind around this kaleidoscopic score proves revelatory.

Then comes Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade for solo violin, harp, strings and percussion, his only true concerto, in five classical-patterned movements inspired by Plato’s Symposium with each movement named for its feasting participants. Right away we find ourselves in the composer’s Broadway idiom, lavish melodies replete with his natural instinct for exuberant counterpoint and concise rhetoric. Again, Nagano defers to his soloist. Samy Moussa’s 15-minute OSM commissioned concerto is nothing if not a show of harmonic arpeggios in retro-romantic style, with immediate sensual appeal but, unlike the Ginastera, not much intellectual challenge.

Wan’s Beethoven CD, recorded last year in Quebec, includes the three sonatas of Op 12 and the Sonata in F “Spring.” His performances are nicely understated while his partner, Richard-Hamelin, carries the heavier keyboard part with sensitivity and panache.

Postscript: Rafael Payare (pictured), music director of the San Diego Symphony since July 2019, will succeed Kent Nagano as music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal starting with the 2022-23 season. The Venezuela-born Payare is a product of El Sistema.

WHAT’S WRONG AT CALIF ARTS COUNCIL?

INTERNAL POLITICS and lack of accountability are undermining its mission and staffers. Sarah Garcia blows the whistle for Hyperallergic. Click HERE

PIANIST ANGELA HEWITT’S NIGHTMARE IS OVER

“BEST FRIEND” Fazioli piano was smashed beyond repair. Click HERE

MAXIM VENGEROV’S FREE ONLINE LESSONS

PRINCE’S ESTATE OWES THE FED $32 MILLION

IRS CLAIMS executors undervalued the artist’s estate by $80 million. Click HERE

JOAN BAEZ TURNS 80

DEPORTEE

WORDS BY Woody Guthrie: plane crash at Los Gatos Canyon, west of Coalinga, 1948.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

 

 

Weekly Magazine

NEW THIS WEEK

ST IGNATIUS PARISH presents a livestream “Journey to Revelation” on Thursday featuring harpist Jean Wu, cellist Jonah Kim and pianist Kevin Navarro. YOUTH MUSIC MONTEREY will host Sony music producer Peter Scaturro in a Zoom session of “the ins and outs of video game music” on Saturday. CHAMBER MUSIC MONTEREY BAY streams a concert by the St Lawrence String Quartet and pianist Stephen Prutsman in music by Haydn and Franck on Saturday. UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST Church of Monterey presents ‘Lunchtime Songs’ by singer/guitarist Joanna Wallfisch (pictured above) on Sunday. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

END OF THE TUNNEL?

SUSAN WILLATS, executive director of the Community Music School in Santa Cruz has announced that their Teen Camp, starting June 14, “is a go, at least for now.” THE CARMEL MUSIC SOCIETY has announced its 2021-22 season, starting this October 24 with a solo piano recital by George Li. Resuming in January, the season will include the Dover String Quartet, violinist Stefan Milenkovich, guitarist Manuel Barrueco, piano duo of Olga and Vadim Kern, Israeli Chamber Project and Chamber Music at Lincoln Center string quartet.

COVID STIM’S IMPACT ON PERFORMING VENUES

SF CHRONICLE THEATER CRITIC Lily Janiak reports. Click HERE

MONTEREY CHAMBER SINGERS DEBUT

“A” FOR EFFORT with a minor glitch here and there in their holiday offering. Director Cyril Deaconoff does the introductory honors and promises a full sacred concert later this month. Meanwhile, if you have a craving to sing, here’s one place to apply.

 

JANUARY 1, PUBLIC DOMAIN DAY

COPYRIGHTS FROM 1925 have expired. Click HERE

CLAUDE BOLLING, 1930-2020

FRENCH JAZZMAN who loved Bach left us December 29

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

THE PROLIFIC MORAVIAN COMPOSER Leoš Janáček wrote nine operas between 1887 and 1928. The Cunning Little Vixen (more accurately Tales of Vixen Sharp-Ears) from 1923 was inspired by a serialized novella on folkloric themes from which Janáček fashioned his own libretto. The story line tells how a young vixen was captured by a forester and kept as a pet for his children. After the first of several orchestral interludes we see the vixen now fully grown as she chews through the rope that keeps her confined, kills the forester’s chickens and evicts a badger to claim its den. In Act 2, the forester, a schoolmaster and a pastor drink heavily at an inn and mutually fantasize about an alluring gypsy girl. The second half of the act is a tender love scene between the vixen and a fox who soon fill their den with a litter of pups. In Act 3, a poacher becomes engaged to the gypsy and shoots the vixen and turns its furry coat into a wedding gift for his betrothed. At the wedding the forester recognizes the vixen’s fur piece and withdraws to the forest to contemplate the cycle of life and death. Even though the work has sometimes been referred to as a comic- or children’s opera, Janáček lavished his full powers on the 95-minute score, invoking Moravian folk rhythms and a combination of tonal and modal harmonies. (Indeed, the famed Czech conductor Václav Talich distilled a fine concert suite from the opera.) This new release on the LSO label features the outstanding bass-baritone Gerald Finley as the Forester and soprano Lucy Crowe as the Vixen. The cast of solo voices is large owing to all the animal and insect roles that abound. Simon Rattle does a fine job with the LSO and its chorus. The second half of the second disc is taken up by Janáček’s well-known Sinfonietta for orchestra of 1926, an annual celebration of the Sokol Gymnastics Festival at Brno. The piece, in five movements, offers up several marches, replete with extra brass and percussion. It’s almost Cook’s tour to many of Brno’s historic sites, including the old castle, the queen’s monastery (the most complex movement in the suite) and the town hall. Pacing and shading the orchestra requires care to avoid bombast; Rattle rushes here. (The recording that gives Sinfonietta its most dignity was that of George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra in 1965.) The opera and Sinfonietta were recorded live in London in 2018 and 2019.) SM

HANZHI WANG, CLASSICAL ACCORDION

BREATHTAKING Chinese virtuoso began winning prizes as a teen.

 

WHAT DRIVES WRITERS TO DRINK?

OR VICE VERSA? Click HERE

TIME IN A BOTTLE

JIM CROCE in 1973, the year of his death.

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor