Weekly Magazine

NEW THIS WEEK

ACTOR HOWARD BURNHAM performs The Greatest Game by way of Zoom on Saturday. CELLIST AMIT PELED (pictured above) performs for Distinguished Artists in an ‘online gathering’ Sunday. KUUMBWA JAZZ ARCHIVES, Tammy Hall & Ruth Davies Encore on Monday. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

CAN’T GO TO ‘MUSIC AT KOHL MANSION’?

THEN LET ‘Music at Kohl Mansion’ come to you.

By Janos Gereben

PERFORMING ARTS organizations trying to cope with the challenges of pandemic times rarely stick to their usual format … and then there is Music at Kohl Mansion. It is unusual in maintaining the usual. The current 38th season presenting ensembles from around the world seems similar to “normal” seasons, except for virtual presentations replacing live concerts in Burlingame’s enchanting mansion.

Music at Kohl Mansion Executive Director Patricia Kristof Moy calls the season a realization of “our core belief that the arts are essential to the health of our communities at all times. We are determined to play a key role as ‘second responders’ in providing relief and comfort through easily accessible, affordable virtual programming this season, and to preserving the vitality of our music community by supporting and promoting artists who have lost so much in the past year.” To read the complete report, click HERE

KULNING

HYPNOTIC Swedish high pitched singing. Click HERE

MEET THE ALBOKA

THE BASQUE ALBOKA is a woodwind instrument consisting of a single reed, two small diameter melody pipes with finger holes and a bell traditionally made from animal horn. Additionally, a reed cap of animal horn is placed around the reed to contain the breath and allow circular breathing for constant play. In basque language alboka players have the name albokari.

AFROBEATS TO GO GLOBAL IN 2021

By John McDermott: chief Africa correspondent, The Economist, Johannesburg. Click HERE

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

ANALEKTA, based in Montreal, is Canada’s largest independent classical record label with, since 1988, more than 500 albums and featuring some 200 of the most prominent Canadian musicians. Violinist Andrew Wan has served as concertmaster for the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM) since 2008. He enjoys an international reputation as a concerto soloist and chamber musician. These two new CDs showcase him in both roles, the first with OSM’s music director Kent Nagano and second with pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, the latter in four early Beethoven sonatas.

As for the concerto CD I thought I knew all the major works by Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983); his violin concerto was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for its debut at the new Lincoln Center in 1963. Not so. What a crazy, wonderful monsterpiece this is; a long solo cadenza, aggressive and moody, begins it only to be followed by seven very brief “studies” with orchestra titled, in turn, Chords, Thirds, Other intervals, Arpeggios, Harmonics, Quarter tones and a stormy Maestoso. Then comes a 10-minute Adagio for 22 (if you say so) soloists, the expressive heart of the piece with various concertante cameos from across the orchestra referencing the earlier studies. A short pianissimo scherzo (with a quote from Paganini) follows with an even briefer perpetuum mobile finale. A prescient vision of the future, Ginastera writes for seven percussionists playing four dozen instruments. That soloist Wan got his mind around this kaleidoscopic score proves revelatory.

Then comes Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade for solo violin, harp, strings and percussion, his only true concerto, in five classical-patterned movements inspired by Plato’s Symposium with each movement named for its feasting participants. Right away we find ourselves in the composer’s Broadway idiom, lavish melodies replete with his natural instinct for exuberant counterpoint and concise rhetoric. Again, Nagano defers to his soloist. Samy Moussa’s 15-minute OSM commissioned concerto is nothing if not a show of harmonic arpeggios in retro-romantic style, with immediate sensual appeal but, unlike the Ginastera, not much intellectual challenge.

Wan’s Beethoven CD, recorded last year in Quebec, includes the three sonatas of Op 12 and the Sonata in F “Spring.” His performances are nicely understated while his partner, Richard-Hamelin, carries the heavier keyboard part with sensitivity and panache.

Postscript: Rafael Payare (pictured), music director of the San Diego Symphony since July 2019, will succeed Kent Nagano as music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal starting with the 2022-23 season. The Venezuela-born Payare is a product of El Sistema.

WHAT’S WRONG AT CALIF ARTS COUNCIL?

INTERNAL POLITICS and lack of accountability are undermining its mission and staffers. Sarah Garcia blows the whistle for Hyperallergic. Click HERE

PIANIST ANGELA HEWITT’S NIGHTMARE IS OVER

“BEST FRIEND” Fazioli piano was smashed beyond repair. Click HERE

MAXIM VENGEROV’S FREE ONLINE LESSONS

PRINCE’S ESTATE OWES THE FED $32 MILLION

IRS CLAIMS executors undervalued the artist’s estate by $80 million. Click HERE

JOAN BAEZ TURNS 80

DEPORTEE

WORDS BY Woody Guthrie: plane crash at Los Gatos Canyon, west of Coalinga, 1948.

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor