Weekly Magazine

Maggi Hambling’s The Scallop, Aldeburgh, dedicated to composer Benjamin Britten

NEW THIS WEEK

CHRISTINA MOK, concertmaster for the Monterey Symphony, plays their next Balcony Session Friday afternoon. THE ECLECTIC COLLECTIVE, Zoom Theatre of the Absurd, presents Janice Blaze Rocke’s The Passion of the Fool, February 5-7. ACTOR/PLAYWRIGHT HOWARD BURNHAM performs A Butt of Canary in a Saturday webinar. CRISTIAN MĂCELARU conducts the WDR Radio Orchestra in early 20th century Viennese music on Saturday, 11am. LOU HARRISON VIOLIN CONCERTO online Sunday at noon.FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL 2021

‘THE POWER OF ONE’ gives the theme to the 48th annual festival that begins on February 13 and includes virtual and ‘in person’ concerts and events through July 10. Music for voices and instruments include contralto Karen Clark and violinist Edwin Huizinga. For specifics and details click on the square ad, left, or HERE   To enter a contest for two free tickets to the February 13 concert, click HERE

YOUTH MUSIC MONTEREY

SCORES OF CONCERT FANS joined a Zoom session on Sunday to see and hear the YMM Junior Youth and Honors Orchestras in their long-delayed Fall (2020) concert. Dozens of young musicians had to submit their parts individually while technicians edited the parts into a whole. Under their conductor, Danko Druško, both groups played suites from film scores. Joining the junior group was competition winner Bryan Kim (pictured) for a Haydn piano concerto. (Kim has also played percussion for YMM and trumpet in the bands at York School.) The Honors Orchestra ended their set with Aaron Copland’s Hoedown. For the Zoom audience it was a reassuring look at the future of concert music, now entrusted to a new generation. SM

OUR CONCERTS LIVE

ONGOING SERIES of top artists, among them violinist Rachel Barton Pine, pianist Orion Weiss, the Miró Quartet and Finckel/Wu Han duo, and programs available on demand and by subscription. Click HERE

NOVUS DIEM CHORALE

SEÁN BOULWARE seeks to form a new Monterey Bay choir. Click HERE

VIOLINIST DANIEL KOBIALKA, 1943-2021

THE FORMER principal second violinist for the San Francisco Symphony participated in many chamber music performances at UC Santa Cruz during the 1970s. He was an internationally acclaimed violinist, composer, teacher, and lecturer who for over forty years performed and recorded best-selling albums that made the New York times Best Recording List. Before retiring from professional life, he engaged in a wide variety of pursuits surrounding his love for music and specifically, the violin.

PIANIST OLGA KERN

YOUTUBE FROM JANUARY 30, and co-sponsored by the Carmel Music Society, a special one-hour glimpse into a highly successful, if rare, concert career of a Van Cliburn Competition winner. You may be asked to link to the YouTube with one more step. That should work.

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

ONE OF THE MOST uniquely original American composers of the late 20th century is George Crumb. With his fertile imagination, insatiable curiosity and cheeky wit he is also one of the best. Now 91, he can look back on 17 CDs on the Bridge label exclusively devoted to his music, and others that include him in their programs, and a DVD documentary titled Bad Dog. (Click HERE) Crumb’s appetite for unusual timbres includes a solo voice singing into an open-lidded piano in order to capture its passive echoes and hushed, guttural whispers. One of my personal favorites is Vol. 9 in the Bridge catalog, containing song settings of verses by Federico García Lorca (Ancient Voices of Children (1970) and four books of madrigals) and the premiere recording of Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik (2001), nine ruminations on ‘Round Midnight by Thelonius Monk. Crumb consistently seduces your own imagination by maintaining his mystique through all manner of musical allusions and implications. His response to García Lorca grows more magical by the moment with bold brush strokes against sighing afterthoughts. For Ancient Voices (1970) he deploys soprano, boy soprano, oboe, mandolin, musical saw, harp, piano and percussion, with wordless vocalizations. The poetry alternates between a child’s vision and the implicit violence that consumed Granada during the Spanish civil war—and that led directly to the poet’s assassination. There is as much between the lines as on them. Among the 12 madrigals (1965 and 1969) Crumb selects his texts acutely; his setting of “Los muertos entra y sale de la taberna” (Death goes in and out of the tavern) makes no attempt to represent the entire poem, as Shostakovich terrifyingly did in his 14th Symphony. Crumb instead goes for a prevailing mood. Excellent performers in this CD are soprano Tony Arnold (and her boy counterpart Justin Murray) and Emanuele Arciuli playing (and knocking) the amplified piano in Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik, which paraphrases such incompatibles as Richard Wagner and Claude Debussy! Finally, especially in the García Lorca settings, there remains a thread of ephemeral fragility that keeps on beguiling. SM

BEETHOVEN RECOMPOSED

 

21 YOUNG COMPOSERS FOR 2021

MAKE A NOTE of the names and keep your eyes open for their work. Click HERE 

THE GENIUS OF DUDLEY MOORE

IN 1996, Moore performed solo in Pacific Grove in what was to have been the start of a national tour. What ultimately became his final illness would not be diagnosed until April 1997, though in retrospect he did exhibit symptoms that affected his judgment at the Pacific Grove appearance. On 30 September 1999, Moore announced that he was suffering from the terminal degenerative brain disorder, progressive supranuclear palsy. Tragically he died of the disease in 2002 at age 66.

MONK’S ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT

FRESH REVIEW

PHILIP PEARCE attended Carol Marquart’s Inside Andy Warhol. Click HERE

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

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