Weekly Update, Feb 25, 2014

Opportunities abound

High school students who want to compose music for film or television have a rare opportunity to be introduced to the skills and techniques used by professional composers during a one-day workshop this Saturday in Monterey. From 8:15am to 5pm, at CTB McGraw Hill, 20 Ryan Ranch Road, “A Day in the Life of a Composer” is sponsored by Composers and Schools in Concert, and will offer students a choice of morning and afternoon sessions (with lunch included) at no cost. To learn more and sign up, www.composersandschools.com/events/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-composer/

Among the many items in next week’s PAMB Calendar is an ambitious program by the Camerata Singers called “Stravinsky, Copland and Friends.” With performances in Salinas and Monterey, the Singers, including student members of their Camerata Futures, frame the program with works by Aaron Copland including The Promise of Living from his opera The Tender Land. Rare pieces by Teminghe, Britten, Barnum and Griffin fill out the menu whose pièce de résistance is the neo-classical Stravinsky masterpiece, Symphony of Psalms. Our Calendar listing has a link to further details. See details in our Calendar page next week.

9421You’ll also note a Sunday program in Carmel of Baroque concertos by some guys named Bach and one called Telemann. The latter is represented in Musica Pacifica’s concert by a concerto for flute and recorder that happens to be among the works on a new Bridge CD of double concertos performed by Rebel, a New York-based Baroque band directed by Jörg-Michael Schwarz. The CD is especially bright and intense which is all right with me. As in Baroque practice, A is set at 415 hertz, well below the standard 440 that we commonly encounter in 19th and 20th century music.

Also new from Bridge is a collection of works by New Yorker and Princeton composition professor Paul Lansky called “Notes to Self.” If you’re not acquainted with him this is a fine introduction that includes two orchestral works, and some 91hj96H37dL._SL1500_chamber and solo piano pieces. Lansky, who has several CDs in the Bridge catalog, can hardly be called avant-garde, but is a consummate craftsman with a flair and grace all his own. The opening piece for string orchestra, Arches, was originally composed for the Brentano Quartet then was reincarnated twice, this last version for the conductor on the CD, Justin Brown, who recorded it, along with another work called Line and Shadow, with members of the Odense Symphony in Denmark. The ‘arches’ of its title do indeed rise and fall like slow-mo roller coasters but you won’t need Dramamine to enjoy the experience. A three-movement trio for piano, cello and percussion called Horizons was recorded in 2010 by three players who call themselves Real Quiet. Pianist Mihae Lee represents the CD’s title, Notes to Self, while guitarist David Starobin and percussionist Mari Yoshinaga share duties for Partita. I’ve enjoyed listening to this 72-minute program twice so far and am going for a third.

New theater openings in Santa Cruz this week include Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal at UCSC and Jewel Theatre’s Three Days of Rain, a “tense, brittle” family reunion by Tony-winner Richard Greenberg.   

Fresh music reviews of the Monterey Symphony and recitalist Eugene Villanueva can be found on our Music Reviews page, and Philip Pearce covers Magic Circle’s new comedy and the Gilbert & Sullivan Festival on our Theater Reviews page.

Frédéric Chopin’s love for his native Poland couldn’t be clearer than his request that his heart be buried there. His sister dutifully carried out the instruction, leaving his other remains at Père Lachaise in Paris. Alex Ross tells the story for The New Yorker, and you can read it here, or on our Links of Interest page.

Scott MacClelland, editor