Weekly Magazine

Miro Quartet

THIS WEEK

MIRÓ QUARTET returns to open Chamber Music Monterey Bay season, including CMMB original commission of Credo by Kevin Puts. Pianist ORION WEISS launches Carmel Music Society season, both at Sunset Center. The ROCKY HORROR SHOW is revived at Paper Wing Theatre in Monterey. SANTA CRUZ SYMPHONY starts its season. For details and links, click our CALENDAR  

JFWHY DO ORCHESTRAS PLAY BEHIND THE BEAT?

JUST ASK veteran conductor JoAnn Falletta, no stranger to the Monterey Bay. Several audio/video examples are included. Click HERE

NEW CARMEL POPS! ANNOUNCED

FOREST THEATER will host the first of an annual concert by well-known local artists and student performers from Carmel High School to benefit the Forest Theater Guild. It is set for October 21 and 22, and features vocal soloists Reg Huston, Gracie Poletti and John Daniel in scenes from recent cinema and television, including La La Land, Game of Thrones and Hamilton. Proceeds will benefit Carmel High performing arts and Carmel Academy of Performing Arts. Producer is Walt deFaria. Click HERE

THE MUSIC CRITIC’S JOB

ANTHONY TOMMASINI, chief music critic of The New York Times, muses on the recent performances by NY Philharmonic music director-designate, Jaap van Zweden, and takes a stab at an explaining his job without really unpacking it. Click HERE

ZERO-SUM ARTS FUNDING?

ARTS FUNDRAISING today increasingly turns to corporate sponsorships. So says blogger Doug Borwick. Click HERE

ROLE OF DANCE TODAY

Paige_Dominique_BioluminesenceON SEPTEMBER 24, I attended the SpectorDance program, “A Weekend Celebration of Dance,” which included the first complete presentation of Ocean Trilogy, a collaboration between SpectorDance and MBARI, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The ‘trilogy’ of the name referred to rap lyrics by Baba Brinkman, numerous video interviews with MBARI and other ocean scientists, and dance sequences. I wrote about the program last week (HERE) and though I said I thought the piece needs some editing, my review came out after the fact. Fran Spector, who runs SpectorDance and is a veteran choreographer and is dedicated to making dance socially relevant to issues of local, national and, in this case, global concern. She told she was disappointed that there were some unfilled seats at the three shows in her Marina studios.

That got me thinking. Ever since Michael Jackson wowed the world of entertainment with his virtuoso moves, dance in America has done nothing but expand—rapidly. Today television is full-up with dance: Dancing With the Stars, Ellen DeGeneres, So You Think You can Dance, America’s Got Talent, and the more recent World of Dance courtesy Jennifer Lopez. And what about the dance master in Chicago who has created buzz by combining ballet and hip-hop (hiplet)? And then there was La La Land which asked two Hollywood stars to sing and dance, even though neither was very good at either.

Dance is in the air. Smuin Ballet has a deeply dedicated audience in Carmel, and now there are two dance training companies in Carmel competing aggressively with each other over their complete stagings of The Nutcracker this holiday season.

Meanwhile, on the point of social relevance, Wayne McGregor is determined to bring new meaning to dance. In his playground, the Brit choreographer uses dance and dancers to explore cognition, mathematics, neuroscience, astronomy and modern literature. He now works at the Wellcome Genome Campus, the Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute. As a recent profile of McGregor in the Economist puts it, his work “can do grandeur and it can do melancholy. It can do mischief and it can do heartbreak.” And, “he always tackles big ideas head on.” To read the Economist piece, click HERE  (“Bioluminescence” photo by William Roden.)

NEW ARCANA

EbonyTHE EBONY QUARTET has just released a new Channel Classics CD titled “UNHEARD,” a collection of chamber music and songs they believe have never been previously recorded. The music comes from the “interwar” years and represents European composers who survived the Nazi “curse” and, all but one, lived out their post-war years in the US. The one is Josef Matthias Hauer (1883-1959) who was born and died in Vienna, and is represented here by Five Pieces for Quartet, Op 30. Like many chamber music aficionados, the Ebony Quartet indulges an insatiable appetite for discovering obscure works of distinctive merit. Composers of string quartets include Erich Itor Kahn (1905-1956), Otto Jokl (1891-1963) and Louis Gruenberg (1884-1964.) Hans Walter Susskind (1913-1980) who became well known as a conductor and is represented here by two sets of songs, sarcastic (like the singspiel cabaret songs by Kurt Weill) and serious. For them, the Ebony are joined by singspiel narrator Daniel Reuss and soprano Barbara Kozelj. Due to the disruptions and privations of the war, music of and around the period, much of it searingly intense, continues to surface.

SAVING GRACE

TOM PETTY, 1950-2017. From the album Highway Companion, 2006.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRESH REVIEWS

CYRANO at Carmel’s Forest Theater & THE MOUNTAINTOP in Santa Cruz. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

MONTEREY SYMPHONY opens its “Concert Grand” season of piano concertos in Carmel with soloist Orion Weiss. ESPRESSIVO chamber orchestra plays “Stringing You Along” in Santa Cruz.

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

 

Weekly Magazine

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THIS WEEK

PACREP FOUNDER Stephen Moorer takes the Forest Theater stage in the title role of Cyrano. GOSPEL MUSIC HERITAGE MONTH celebrated by the Monterey Peninsula Gospel Community Choir with guest soloists and gospel choirs from Oakland and Watsonville. LeANN RIMES makes good on the original date she was forced to cancel. IRMA THOMAS coming to the Rio Theatre and NEIL SEDAKA laughs in the rain. THE MOUNTAINTOP opens at Center Street Theater in Santa Cruz. Philip Glass’ wandering DAYS & NIGHTS FESTIVAL this year chooses the Golden Bough Playhouse. For more events and links, click our CALENDAR

YO-YO MA DOES THE IMPOSSIBLE

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JS BACH MAY BE LOSING CURRENCY in Carmel and Eugene. But apparently not in LA. Mark Swed was there when the famous cellist singlehandedly filled Hollywood Bowl. Click HERE

NEW YORK PHIL’S NEW FIREBRAND

JAAP VAN ZWEDEN has already made his mark even though his directorship doesn’t start till a year from now. Click HERE

SYMPHONY NO. 12 “THE YEAR 1917”

s4362084MONDAY MARKED THE 111TH birthday anniversary of Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich. His 12th Symphony was premiered on 1 October 1961 in the cities of Kuybyshev and Leningrad. Like the 11th Symphony, the 12th is programmatic; its four movements, titled Revolutionary Petrograd, Razliv, Aurora and The Dawn of Humanity, represent events around the Bolshevik Revolution, 100 years ago. The work is dedicated to Vladimir Lenin. Shostakovich remained an idealistic socialist—he had joined the Communist Party in 1960—but spent most of his life after 1936—when Pravda ran a harshly threatening critique of his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk— despairing over Stalin’s suppression of artists, free expression and, ironically, truth (Pravda.) While the 12th Symphony has never enjoyed the huge popularity of many of Shostakovich’s symphonies, it is nevertheless a fine work that displays the extraordinary talent and craftsmanship of its composer. To paraphrase a recent headline in The Economist—an article about a Gorbachev biography—Shostakovich was “a good Soviet man.”

RINGING CHURCH BELLS IN UNALASKA

AN ANCIENT TRADITION passed from one generation to the next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLAY COURI’S THANKSGIVING PRAYER

CouriASSOCIATE ORGANIST at All Saints’ Church celebrated his recovery from a medical near-death experience last year with a Sunday recital—he promised it was his last—on the incredibly versatile Allen Renaissance organ. The ebullient Couri, a natural showman, loves people and filled the church with friends and fans and regaled them (us) with a bunch of potboilers and chestnuts, among them Excelsior, The Lost Chord and Virgil Fox’s outrageous arrangement of Battle Hymn of the Republic. He also played some personal favorites by JS Bach, Joh. Rudolf Ahle, GF Handel and the rare and complex masterwork by Leo Sowerby, Requiescat in Pace, dedicating several of them to friends and family members. He was joined by tenor Jeffrey Thompson in Malotte’s The Lord’s Prayer and Schubert’s Ave Maria, and Thompson’s barbershoppers The Cannery Rogues.

CLASSICAL AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT

HOW THE CALIFORNIA SYMPHONY reinvented itself and is producing startling results. Click HERE

STARTLING STATS Capture

THE 50 BIGGEST SELLING musical artists of all time. Garth Brooks (right) has outsold everybody except The Beatles. Click HERE

CLASSICAL MUSIC ATTRACTS WOMEN TO MEN 

IT’S A ‘MORE SO’ PHENOMENON, reported by Tom Jacobs. Click HERE

FRESH REVIEWS

SPECTORDANCE’S Ocean Trilogy. Click HERE

THE BOONDAWGLE ESTATE in Salinas. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

MIRÓ QUARTET opens Chamber Music Monterey Bay season. PIANIST ORION WEISS celebrates 90th Carmel Music Society Season (before joining the Monterey Symphony a week later.) Vocalist MICHAEL ANDREW sings the Gershwin songbook. BIG BAND DINNER DANCE at Hidden Valley.

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor