THE SCOTTISH FIDDLERS ARE COMING DOWN from the highlands of Bonny Doon, Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek to descend upon Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. SANTA CRUZ SHAKESPEARE 2017 season ending this weekend. Check our CALENDAR for these and more live performance goodies this week.
CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL’S ROOTS
SCHOLAR AND ‘PUNK’ CRITIC JOHN BUTT—once a regular presence at the CBF—points to the Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther as having laid the foundation for Western Classical music, 500 years ago. By implication, he is advising the Bach Festival not to wander away from its roots, a drift that has accelerated during the Bruno Weil and, now, Paul Goodwin eras. The festival’s long-time music director, Sandor Salgo, understood this and kept Bach in focus even as he added the rich varieties of the classical tradition. But his successors have made self-indulgence paramount, at the diminution of the festival’s namesake. That original foundation is permanently enshrined in all its subsequent iterations—baroque, classical, romantic, contemporary—including jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop. But at the Bach Festival it is just as crucial to maintain the link backward from Bach to the foundation he too built upon. For Butt’s perspective click HERE
NO MORE MESSIAH ALLOWED IN CHINA
FINAL PUBLIC PERFORMANCE of Handel masterpiece was in December, 2016. What could terrify the Chinese government more than a 2000-year-old Nazarene called Jesus? Could it be it’s loss of totalitarian control over the Chinese themselves. Click HERE
ORPHEUS, MUSICAL GENIUS OF MYTHOS
HE SEDUCED THE VERY GODS, especially Proserpine and Pluto, with the sweet allure of his music. His story has often been told in—what else?—music. Composed in 1686-87, the purported first version in the French language, as an opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704). In fact, this is more divertissement than opera on the grand scale of the composer’s predecessor, Jean-Baptiste Lully, a bubbly charm that lasts less than an hour, and in which the ensembles of nymphs, shepherds, shades, furies, guilty souls and blessed spirits dance most vigorously. Of course the piteous farewell to life by Eurydice after she is bitten by a snake, and the laments of Orphée as he appeals to Pluto to restore his beloved to life take a sorrowful turn. Yet, the music enchants more than the gods, of course, and the character roles are well-cast with excellent singers. The Ensemble Correspondances (great name for an early-music French band!) are led from the organ by Sébastien Daucé. Oh, and as Pluto warns him not to look at Eurydice on their escape from hell “Or else I will reclaim her for a second death,” Orphée dutifully obliges, unlike the familiar Monteverdi version in which he fails to resist Eurydice’s entreaties and loses her forever.
THE FRENCH embraced him with an acclaim most Americans never took as seriously—or did they? To understand how and why, click HERE
GHOST TOWNS IN INDIA
BY DEFINITION they are those without at least one band.
NO MORE PIANO, MAN
INSTRUMENT DISAPPEARING is from pop music. Click HERE
PLAY THE PIANO TO SAVE YOUR LIFE
SO SAYS James Rhodes, who promises you can learn to play in just six weeks. Click HERE
SINATRA SINGS BRAHMS
“TAKE MY LOVE” was composed by Frank Sinatra, Jack Wolf, and Joel Herron in 1950. The theme, from Brahms’ Third Symphony, has also been used in songs sung by Jane Birkin (arrangement and lyrics by Serge Gainsbourg) and Carlos Santana (with lyrics by Dave Matthews), Yves Montand sang a version opposite Ingrid Bergman in “Goodbye Again,” plus multiple films, and a computer game. I’ll stick with the original.
IN THE HEIGHTS has opened at The Western Stage. Click HERE
Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor