Weekly Magazine

October mockingbird curating other birds’ songs

NEW THIS WEEK

STATE OF THE ARTS

ARTS COUNCIL FOR MONTEREY COUNTY files its first annual report. “We have had a successful and productive year, and are proud of the impact we made with so many students, seniors, veterans, artists, arts organizations and nonprofits that provide art programs, especially during the pandemic,” writes executive director Jacquie Atchison. “October is National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM), a national celebration of arts and culture in America.” Click HERE

DÍA DE MUERTOS STARTS EARLY

SANTA CRUZ MUSEUM OF ART AND HISTORY hosts a month-long celebration from October 9 through November 2, featuring performers from Senderos. Click HERE

VIRTUAL CALENDAR

THE MIRÓ QUARTET plays a recent Kevin Puts string quartet commissioned by Chamber Music Monterey Bay. SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL launches a new podcast series hosted by board chair Keshav Batish. HOWARD BURNHAM performs “Amid the Brave . . .” Anne Brontë and Family online webinar. JEWEL THEATRE’S Kennedy: Bobby’s Last Crusade resumes. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND

THE NATIONAL ANTHEM that came from radical roots. Click HERE

THE UNIQUELY COMPLEX STANLEY CROUCH

ADAM SHATZ remembers the late jazz man and jazz pundit. “He lived for music and argument.” Click HERE

THE ‘PHILOSOPHY’ OF MUSIC

A LANGUAGE OF IMAGINATION like no other. Click HERE

JIMI HENDRIX & JANICE JOPLIN 50TH

BOTH ROCK STARS died in 1970 at the age of 27.

NOW HEAR THIS: THE SCHUBERT GENERATION

FRANZ SCHUBERT composed 1,500 works, but his genius wasn’t recognized until after his death at age 31. The Vienna native never found success in his hometown, then the world’s musical capital. Host Scott Yoo goes to today’s musical capitals to meet tomorrow’s most promising artists—all of them Schubert’s age during his career—to understand Schubert’s life through some of his greatest music and learn what it takes for a young classical artist to make it in the 21st century. To watch the entire episode, click HERE

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

THE ONLY piece on this delightful new American Gifts actually composed for marimbas is Michael Tilson Thomas’ Island Music of 2003. The others are arranged from piano works. The CD’s title alludes to Simple Gifts, a shaker song attributed to Elder Joseph Brackett (1797-1882) that Aaron Copland made famous in the ballet Appalachian Spring; it was arranged here from a piano improvisation by Penny Rodriguez. MTT’s Island Music is an ambitious rondo (a classical form that alternates between a recurring principal theme with different material sandwiched in, like ABACA, etc.) that was inspired by a holiday house in Bali that contained a gamelan orchestra. Born in LA, MTT shared a keen affinity for Pacific Rim music styles and dedicated the work to the most noteworthy practitioner, Lou Harrison. (He also wrote it in memory of Harrison’s partner Bill Colvig and of composer Ingolf Dahl who was one of MTT’s most influential teachers.) The A theme first appears in the short Introduction to Part I: “Thoughts on the Dance Floor,” where it first takes on its definitive form. (The Bali house was also a dance pavilion.) Part II: “In the Clearing” changes moods to a more thoughtful reflection on sad memories “of those no longer with us” and grows more lyrical until dissolving into arabesques. Part III: “Ride Outs” grows more animated and its final coda is “very much indebted to both Beethoven and James Brown.” The piece was originally intended for a single marimba but with the urging of Jack Van Geem and Nancy Zeltsman takes its final form as a kind-of concerto for two ‘solo’ marimbas plus two ‘tutti’ marimbas and two percussionists. At 31 minutes, it is the longest piece on the album. Simple Gifts is also alluded to in the first of the seven short movements of Irving Fine’s Music for Piano (1947). Fine (1914-1962) was a pupil of Nadia Boulanger, like Copland; these enchantingly simple pieces conceal a complex mastery of style. Another Boulanger pupil was Roger Sessions whose Sonata No. 1 for Piano (1930) was also adapted for two marimbas on this occasion. A short andante serves as introduction to the first allegro. Subtle allusions to Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and/or Bach will catch any ear for such details. SM

FRESH REVIEW/PREVIEW

HOWARD BURNHAM’S Amid the Brave… Anne Brontë and Family upcoming this Saturday. Click HERE

CRY NO MORE

MET OPERA Chorus with Rhiannon Giddens.

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor