Weekly Magazine

NEW THIS WEEK

2020 CABRILLO FESTIVAL CANCELED: Message above from music director Cristian Măcelaru. SANTA CRUZ SYMPHONY cancels May concerts; June Pops Concert still scheduled. MONTEREY SYMPHONY cancels April concerts. Max Bragado-Darman’s last concerts as Music Director are currently set for mid-May. CARMEL MUSIC SOCIETY’s May 10 concert canceled. APTOS KEYBOARD SERIES postpones April recital by Frank Huang. I CANTORI cancels May concerts at Carmel Mission. MUSIC IN MAY still plans to go forward. NEW MUSIC WORKS moves May 4 concert to November. SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE cancels remainder of current season. YOUTH MUSIC MONTEREY COUNTY calls off final 2020 spring concert. YOUTH ORCHESTRA SALINAS goes to its students on line.

CABRILLO FESTIVAL OPENS ITS ARCHIVES

THIS MESSAGE arrived in our in-box last Wednesday. “We hope this message finds you safe and well. As the world slows down during this chaotic and unsettling time, we come to you with an offering of aural relief, hopefully heartwarming and mind-opening. Reaching back into the Festival’s archives, we will release a series of treasures via our Blog, starting with our first post today!” Click HERE

C-19 TAKES DEADLY TOLL ON ARTISTS

TERRENCE McNALLY, 81 (right). SF Opera press release: “A voice for humanity. A voice for compassion. Today, we lost an icon, a leader, a friend: Tony-winning playwright and librettist Terrence McNally. He passed away at age 81 from complications from the coronavirus. McNally brought a critical eye to the greatest social issues of our time, immortalizing them in plays and music, as he did as librettist for our 2000 world premiere of “Dead Man Walking,” an opera about pain, forgiveness and morality set against a Louisiana death penalty case.” STAGE, FILM & TELEVISON ACTOR MARK BLUM, 69; he starred opposite Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan, Gus and Al and numerous television franchise series. SAXOPHONIST MANU DIBANGO at age 86 in Paris.

CORONAVIRUS ÉTUDE

 

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI, 1933-2020

POLISH COMPOSER Krzysztof Penderecki died Sunday after a long illness. He forced Polish music out of Stalinist oppression in 1961 with his powerfully atonal work for massed strings, Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima. He became the pioneer of Polish modernism, the fulcrum of Warsaw’s Autumn Festival and the figurehead of a different kind of music that would lead Poland out of its long darkness. Alongside Hiroshima at the 1961 Autumn Festival, the world also heard the world premiere of Lutosławski’s Venetian Games and the playful Three Diagrams by Gorecki. Poland had resumed its rightful place as a musical powerhouse. Polymorphia (below) was used in the soundtrack of the horror films The Exorcist by director William Friedkin (1973) and The Shining by director Stanley Kubrick (1980).

 

DONNA MARIE FORSTER, 1946-2019

OBOIST DONNA FORSTER was a familiar figure at the Monterey Symphony during the 1970s. She took a Masters of Arts in Music degree from Stanford University. A Connecticut native, she performed and worked at Carnegie Hall in New York and was a member of the Singapore Symphony. Later, Donna returned to the States and moved to Carmel Valley where she continued to play oboe and teach music. She served as recruiter and coordinator for John Mack, principal oboe of the Cleveland Orchestra for 35 years, when he conducted master classes at Hidden Valley Music Seminars from 1985 to 2002. (She always referred to him as Mister Mack.) When Luciano Pavarotti came to the Monterey Peninsula to sing a concert at Pebble Beach, Donna served as his music librarian. She retired to the family home near Troy, NY.

CAMERATA SINGERS SEEKS NEW DIRECTOR

APPLICATION deadline is April 18. Click HERE

FROM 1924

VIOLINIST FRITZ KREISLER plays Tanzlied by Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

 

THE INCREDIBLY DISAPPEARING SAXOPHONE

YOU RARELY HEAR IT in today’s popular music. Click HERE 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

ANY CLASSICAL RADIO LISTENER who’s heard the name Henry Charles Litolff (1818-1891) might recall only his Scherzo for piano and orchestra from the oddly named Concerto Symphonique in D Minor. That piece has consigned the brilliant European (born in London) pianist to that of ‘One-Trick Pony.’ Hyperion Records is one of few labels that includes ‘project’ categories. In 1990, an idea was hatched that the following year turned in The Romantic Piano Concerto. Within the first 50 CDs of mostly forgotten concertos are two that contain four of Litolff’s Symphonic Concertos—actually symphonies with piano obbligato—with pianist Peter Donohoe and conductor Andrew Litton. (The 70th CD in the series, from 2017, contains three concertos by women composers with Santa Cruz native Rebecca Miller conducting and her husband Danny Driver as soloist.) The new release of two piano trios, plus a Serenade for violin and piano—the second trio and the Serenade in first commercial recordings—by the Leonore Piano Trio enriches the repertoire for violin, cello and piano fabulously and further demonstrates that Litolff was a composer of prodigious gifts. All the glitter of his piano writing is on display, along with his authoritative command of the classical models plus his own visionary twists and surprises. His facile grasp of the influences of his time at times takes one’s breath away. Weber, Hummel, Mendelssohn, Alkan and especially Liszt are found in abundance but filtered through Litolff’s individual personality. The First Trio in D Minor, from 1850, predated by one year the Concerto Symphonique in D Minor. (All of these works contain a scherzo movement, not typically found in concertos and trios.) The Second Trio in B-flat Major, was composed around the same time. The Trio in D Minor is darker at the outset but spends much of its time in the major. These works are full of energy, self-confident and constantly entertaining. Fugal passages show up in unexpected places; likewise pizzicato. They rely on sturdy themes that make contrasts with lyrical melodies with theatrical touches. The cellist is Gemma Rosefield. Her colleagues are violinist Benjamin Nabarro and pianist Tim Horton who get the tender Serenade of 1851 to themselves. Polished and sizzling performances of some fine music are your rewards. SM

WHO CLIMAXES “NESSUN DORMA” BEST?

SORRY, but there’s no other way to ask.

 

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor