NEW THIS WEEK
ST IGNATIUS PARISH presents a livestream “Journey to Revelation” on Thursday featuring harpist Jean Wu, cellist Jonah Kim and pianist Kevin Navarro. YOUTH MUSIC MONTEREY will host Sony music producer Peter Scaturro in a Zoom session of “the ins and outs of video game music” on Saturday. CHAMBER MUSIC MONTEREY BAY streams a concert by the St Lawrence String Quartet and pianist Stephen Prutsman in music by Haydn and Franck on Saturday. UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST Church of Monterey presents ‘Lunchtime Songs’ by singer/guitarist Joanna Wallfisch (pictured above) on Sunday. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE
END OF THE TUNNEL?
SUSAN WILLATS, executive director of the Community Music School in Santa Cruz has announced that their Teen Camp, starting June 14, “is a go, at least for now.” THE CARMEL MUSIC SOCIETY has announced its 2021-22 season, starting this October 24 with a solo piano recital by George Li. Resuming in January, the season will include the Dover String Quartet, violinist Stefan Milenkovich, guitarist Manuel Barrueco, piano duo of Olga and Vadim Kern, Israeli Chamber Project and Chamber Music at Lincoln Center string quartet.
COVID STIM’S IMPACT ON PERFORMING VENUES
SF CHRONICLE THEATER CRITIC Lily Janiak reports. Click HERE
MONTEREY CHAMBER SINGERS DEBUT
“A” FOR EFFORT with a minor glitch here and there in their holiday offering. Director Cyril Deaconoff does the introductory honors and promises a full sacred concert later this month. Meanwhile, if you have a craving to sing, here’s one place to apply.
JANUARY 1, PUBLIC DOMAIN DAY
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CLAUDE BOLLING, 1930-2020
FRENCH JAZZMAN who loved Bach left us December 29
THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH
THE PROLIFIC MORAVIAN COMPOSER Leoš Janáček wrote nine operas between 1887 and 1928. The Cunning Little Vixen (more accurately Tales of Vixen Sharp-Ears) from 1923 was inspired by a serialized novella on folkloric themes from which Janáček fashioned his own libretto. The story line tells how a young vixen was captured by a forester and kept as a pet for his children. After the first of several orchestral interludes we see the vixen now fully grown as she chews through the rope that keeps her confined, kills the forester’s chickens and evicts a badger to claim its den. In Act 2, the forester, a schoolmaster and a pastor drink heavily at an inn and mutually fantasize about an alluring gypsy girl. The second half of the act is a tender love scene between the vixen and a fox who soon fill their den with a litter of pups. In Act 3, a poacher becomes engaged to the gypsy and shoots the vixen and turns its furry coat into a wedding gift for his betrothed. At the wedding the forester recognizes the vixen’s fur piece and withdraws to the forest to contemplate the cycle of life and death. Even though the work has sometimes been referred to as a comic- or children’s opera, Janáček lavished his full powers on the 95-minute score, invoking Moravian folk rhythms and a combination of tonal and modal harmonies. (Indeed, the famed Czech conductor Václav Talich distilled a fine concert suite from the opera.) This new release on the LSO label features the outstanding bass-baritone Gerald Finley as the Forester and soprano Lucy Crowe as the Vixen. The cast of solo voices is large owing to all the animal and insect roles that abound. Simon Rattle does a fine job with the LSO and its chorus. The second half of the second disc is taken up by Janáček’s well-known Sinfonietta for orchestra of 1926, an annual celebration of the Sokol Gymnastics Festival at Brno. The piece, in five movements, offers up several marches, replete with extra brass and percussion. It’s almost Cook’s tour to many of Brno’s historic sites, including the old castle, the queen’s monastery (the most complex movement in the suite) and the town hall. Pacing and shading the orchestra requires care to avoid bombast; Rattle rushes here. (The recording that gives Sinfonietta its most dignity was that of George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra in 1965.) The opera and Sinfonietta were recorded live in London in 2018 and 2019.) SM
HANZHI WANG, CLASSICAL ACCORDION
BREATHTAKING Chinese virtuoso began winning prizes as a teen.
WHAT DRIVES WRITERS TO DRINK?
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TIME IN A BOTTLE
JIM CROCE in 1973, the year of his death.
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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor