Weekly Magazine

ZOOM SESSION, September 12, 7pm via Sunset Center. For tickets, click HERE

NEW THIS WEEK

SC SYMPHONY’S NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

HE’S JASON PYSZKOWSKI, recruited from the San Francisco Symphony administration. Like Symphony music director Danny Stewart he also plays viola. His first day on the job was September 1. Click HERE

OUR VIRTUAL CALENDAR

ST IGNATIUS CHURCH presents a live concert of Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals and Vince Guaraldi, Thursday at 7:30pm. SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE ONLINE CONCERT HALL with the Virtu Ensemble, Saturday and Sunday. SPECTORDANCE VIRTUAL CHOREOGRAPHERS SHOWCASE this Saturday and Sunday. Because of Covid-19, SpectorDance & New Dawn Studios are producing the 2020 Choreographers Showcase as a virtual event for the first time. Nine works by choreographers from California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Ohio have been selected to be a part of SpectorDance’s first Virtual Choreographers Showcase. Meet the artists here.

FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

SC ARTS COUNCIL GRANTS NOW OPEN

FOR ARTISTS and organizations. Click HERE

FALL IN LOVE WITH THE VIOLIN

ALL OVER AGAIN. Hear about it from the composers, performers and experts, and the violin itself. Click HERE

ITZHAK PERLMAN TURNS 75

BARITONE sings Puccini—the jailer who opens Act III in Tosca opposite Placido Domingo—when not busy fiddling around.

 

YO-YO MA ENDORSES BIDEN

UNUSUAL STANCE for artists to take. “I’ve lived my life at the borders. Between cultures. Between disciplines. Between musics. Between generations. And throughout my life I’ve learned that in culture, we build bridges, not walls. We believe that we are better together than alone. I am worried that we’ve lost sight of that belief in America. We need a president who builds bridges, not walls. That’s why I’m personally asking if you can join me in donating to the Biden-Harris campaign today.”

THE RENAISSANCE OF KIP WINGER

LONG FADED ‘80s ROCK STAR turns himself into a classical composer, from scratch! Click HERE

SERIOUSLY DUDE?!

JOHN CAGE’S As Slow As Possible, with a performance time in excess of 600 years, hits its first chord change in seven years. Hoards are packing into a Halberstadt church to hear it. The performance of the organ piece began in 2001. Click HERE

‘PATRIOTISM AIN’T NO ONE SONG’

SO SAYS A REGRETFUL NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell now with second thoughts about Colin Kaepernick. The new music critic at The Washington Post explains. Click HERE

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

ABOUT TEXTURES 

HARMONIC MUSIC is demonstrated by an underlying chord progression. Its texture is called homophonic (homo- meaning same) because all the ‘voices’ change from one chord to the next at the same time. Polyphonic texture consists of several ‘voices’ that move independent of one another, without chords. (The ‘voices’ can be vocal or instrumental.) Like JS Bach before him, James MacMillan’s music frequently seeks to synthesize both. As this new CD, recorded in May 2019, demonstrates, MacMillan’s single-movement Symphony No 4 (completed 2015) is essentially harmonic in texture, yet is so decorated with contrary bits that interrupt or bedevil harmonic progress that you are left trying to sort out what is the Main Event at any given moment. This is not a bad thing at all. Rather, it enriches the whole panorama with a depth of craft that makes for adventurous listening and a seduction to come back and listen again. Now you have a glimpse into what makes MacMillan one of contemporary music’s leading lights, one that will continue to burn brightly well into the future. During her tenure at the Cabrillo Festival in Santa Cruz, Marin Alsop included MacMillan’s music fifteen times, between 1996 and 2016, during which MacMillan appeared twice as composer-in-residence. For this new Hyperion release, the Fourth Symphony and Viola Concerto are performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Martyn Brabbins and, in the concerto, viola soloist Lawrence Power. In a delicate beginning on metal percussion, piano, keening winds and growling low brass, four contrasting musical thoughts—“ritual archetypes”—are introduced: “Rituals of movement, exhortation, petition and joy,” inspired by renaissance Scottish composer Robert Carver, specifically his ten-voice Missa Dum sacrum mysterium of 1503. The 40-minute symphony’s textures whirl sonorously, with often dissonant string harmonies, chirping winds and high brass, sudden outbursts from percussion, multiple contrarian tempi and scurrying strings. Bits of Carver are sprinkled here and there until a fully-recognizable renaissance motet takes hold and spreads out as the symphony’s centerpiece, haunting and tender. The modal motet theme continues in the low brass as the orchestral resources once again invade. Among the ancillary bits are cameo solos on violin, cello and other first-chair instruments. At 32 minutes, the three-movement Viola Concerto embraces many of the orchestral techniques heard in the symphony, but keeps the spotlight on the solo part. After a dark chorale-like start, the viola soon gets a solo cadenza which evolves into a discursive wandering melody that grows more animated until a second theme, in triple time, gets the orchestra to bounce. The mood of the opening movement grows chameleon-like between propulsive outbursts and soothing hymn, the viola often going high into the violin range. The second movement, andante/adagio, grows circumspect, warm and comforting as the long unfolding melody cries out and shares a weeping duet with solo oboe. The final movement begins with chattering strings, now fully animated, and a return to the glitzy palette heard earlier and in the symphony. Another solo cadenza is interrupted by a fiesta of brass and orchestra, now in a fully major key. The rush to conclusion ends abruptly. SM

BASSIST GARY PEACOCK DIES AT 85

JAZZ GREAT played with Miles Davis, later with Jack DeJohnette and Keith Jarrett

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor