Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

THE OTHER PLACE opens in Jewel Theatre’s production at the Colligan. SPECTORDANCE presents its first-of-2020 Choreographers Showcase. PIANIST TIEN HSIEH (pictured above) plays Schubert, Scriabin and Beethoven ‘Postcards” at CSUMB’s World Theater. ESPRESSIVO chamber orchestra offers up “Masterful Fun” in Santa Cruz. OSCAR SPEACE’S JANKA, a Holocaust memoir, at the Cherry in Carmel. FOR LINKS to these and other live performance events click on our CALENDAR or on the display ads, left.

THE OTHER PLACE

IN A NEW PRODUCTION by Jewel Theatre Company, Sharr White’s intriguing puzzle goes where nothing is as it seems. Brilliant research scientist Juliana Smithton has been on the cutting edge in her field and is now promoting her groundbreaking drug for the treatment of neurological disorders. When she experiences a disturbing medical episode of her own, she begins to unravel a deep personal mystery. The past blurs with the present and fragmented memories collide in this riveting drama, directed by Susan Myer Silton with Julie James (pictured right) as Juliana. “Engrossing…tantalizingly intense, edgily suspenseful…Every element falls perfectly into place.” ~ San Francisco Chronicle. THIS SHOW CONTAINS ADULT LANGUAGE; Run time: approximately 85 minutes with no intermission.
 
THE FOREST THEATER GUILD IS BACK; AUDITIONS SET
 
AFTER FIRST LOSING THEIR SPACE at Carmel’s unique outdoor Forest Theater, there has been a reprieve for the Forest Theater Guild. They have been given time for one show this coming summer. Their production of the classic family musical, Annie, will open with a Veteran’s free event on Wed June 24, two discounted evening performances on June 25 & 26 with the official opening on Saturday June 27. The show will run weekends through July 12. AUDITIONS for the show, which seeks “orphans” from ages 6 to 13 plus older players from 16 to seniors, will be held Feb 8 from 10:00am to 3:45 pm and on Feb 9 from 1:15 pm to 3:45 pm at Vista Lobos, Junipero & 3rd, in Carmel. Participants need to have one song and a short monologue prepared. They may bring sheet music for an accompanist or sing to any electronic device they bring. For additional information email/call Walt deFaria at wjdefaria@aol.com/831 809-1065 or email/call Yvonne Bowen at yvonnedavida@aol.com/831 214-0031.
 
MTAC SCHOLARSHIP AUDITIONS
 
THE MONTEREY COUNTY BRANCH; of the Music Teachers’ Association of California announces its 41st Annual Piano Scholarship Auditions, a Piano Competition and Incentive Awards Program open to young pianists in Monterey County between the ages of six and eighteen, that will take place at Santa Catalina School on Saturday, April 25, 2020. Call Lyn Bronson at 625-0797.

 

FROM THE STEINWAY FACTORY FLOOR

THE FIVE BROWNS— Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra and Desirae—perform Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. All are students at Juilliard.

 

HOW TO SING TWO NOTES AT ONCE

AN MRI reveals the process visually. Would Mozart approve? Click HERE 

INUIT THROATSINGING

IN CANADIAN KANGIRSUK, a 2019 Sundance Festival screening. Click HERE  

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

THIS NEW CD, titled playlist, on New Focus label, will have limited appeal to violinists and violists who have a craving for new music that demands high virtuosity. Maya Bennardo and Hannah Levinson, who met at Oberlin Conservatory, and now known as inPlay, are two of them. Their program includes Crescita Plastica (2015) by Ashkan Behzadi (born 1983), Bézier (2013) by David Bird (born 1990), Limun (2011) by Clara Iannotta (born 1983) and the often-frantic Apocrypha (2017) by the aforementioned David Bird. (The latter, inspired by the sci-fi novel, and presumably the two movie versions, Solaris, adds digital noise to the mix.) Since the music on this CD stretches to extreme techniques—dissonantly close harmonies, stratospheric harmonics (overtones), whistles and slashing effects to twinge the ear. (In a grotesque way it reminds me of Arcangelo Corelli, at least for the close harmonies, though I doubt the Baroque master would agree.) Bézier, inspired by the Bézier parametric curves used in computer graphics, beats up the instruments with more percussion and twitters. Limun offers “skittering bows” and “a fluttering of harmonics” but also includes a quiet interlude in its closing moments. I think I like Apocrypha best because the electronics actually soften the combat between the instruments. SM

HOW TO TRULY LISTEN TO MUSIC

DEAF SCOTTISH PERCUSSIONIST Evelyn Glennie’s TED talk in Monterey.  

 

GREAT WRITERS ON THE POWER OF MUSIC

SUSAN SONTAG, Kurt Vonnegut, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edna St Vincent Millay, Aldous Huxley, Walt Whitman, Oliver Sacks, and many more. Click HERE  

RACHEL BARTON PINE REVIVING BLACK COMPOSERS

VIOLINIST SHOWS students of color that classical music is their birthright. A CBS News report. Click HERE 

FRESH REVIEWS

TANDY BEAL & CO’s Scoville Units. Click HERE

8 TENS @ 8 short plays at Center Stage. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

TANDY BEAL & CO hosts clown duo Coventry & Kaluza in Santa Cruz. SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL opens 2020 season with Vajra Voices. HORSZOWSKI TRIO in Carmel. BIG SUR FIDDLE CAMP benefit at Hidden Valley. GUITARIST WILLIAM COULTER at UCSC.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

Cirque de Tandy

By Scott MacClelland

OMG! Tandy Beal’s production of Scoville Units was like something you’d go to Las Vegas for. But at pennies on the dollar, you only had to go to Aptos. How good was the show? People streaming to their cars in the Cabrillo performing arts parking lot after the two-hour performance on Sunday afternoon could be heard raving out loud.

The program title celebrated Jon Scoville, Tandy’s “current” husband, company co-founder and resident composer. And while the globally prolific Scoville knows his craft inside out, much of his ‘music’ is sonic free-for-all, with electronic and concrète sources in equal measure. And with a cast of more than 45, the range of dance styles was equally global and local, the costumes from demure to exotic, the lighting and drops vivid and scintillating, like any circus of that calling should be.

Tandy Beal made her entrance in silence, rising alongside a concert grand piano that elevated slowly from the orchestra pit at Cabrillo Crocker Theater. Her stamp on what was to follow loud and clear. When the light came up again, Ivan Rosenblum presented four of Scoville’s piano pieces, the last, Pavane, with clarinetist Jeff Gallagher—both are well-known area musicians—joining in. Gallagher would reappear for a solo, Claire de Moon, accompanied by Beal in which her movements echoed the music’s phrases and melodic gestures with grace and simplicity, with hung clusters of reflective ribbons glittering and flashing with white light.

Between the two ‘units,’ and with the piano now gone from view, Omnigamelan (pictured above) presented Suciawani (sacred land) Balinese dancers Noni Anderawati, Nina Herlina and Maria Omo dancing their own Northern Bali-style choreography in spectacular costumes and ‘talking’ fans. Their steps embraced traditional gestures, hand, feet, arms, legs, neck and crowned heads, in coordinated patterns that allowed for individual solos. In plain attire, Elijah Leone launched Starscape with his roue Cyr—a six-foot metal hula hoop–in an acrobatic display of breathtaking skill and balance as he rolled around the stage like a gyroscope in every imaginable configuration within his magic wheel. (Leone has won numerous prizes for his art.) A recorded synthesizer solo accompanied him.

Balaço Baço, which means ‘mess,’ was choreographed and danced with precision by Palomar Ballroom’s Jeremy Pilling and his student Marinda James-Heskett, both glamorously attired in tango costumes. Compass Rose, from Beal and Scoville’s HereAfterHere, seen in the same theater several years ago, closed the concert’s first half with eight high-energy women in rank and file patterns of geographic design and explosive surprises, a testament to Beal’s musical and spatial instincts and unique sense of using contrary motion to beguile the senses.

Earlier, one of two videos—Boarding Pass—by Denise Gallant with a soundscape by Scoville, searched high and low for all manner of transport, from balloons to railways, from footage of the Wright Brothers to modern high-speed movement, imagery and music presented in montage. Gallant has collaborated with Beal and Scoville in the past, especially including HereAfterHere.

With music by Scoville, Paulo Brandão and Elizah Rodriguez, Lorin Hansen, an award winning malandro dancer (right), performed her own samba-saturated and very sexy Dobrada do Dobrado. This time those vertical ribbons were arrayed horizontally in a rainbow of bright colors.    

The other video, Tether, by Ellen Bromberg, depicted disturbing images and words about a car crash, falling to earth, being underwater and being undervalued, a powerful montage in chilling black and white. Maria Basile danced her own Glisten (in memory of bebop and hard bop drummer Paul Motian) to a recorded keyboard track. Basile is well-known in the San Francisco Bay Area, and for having choreographed for the Cabrillo Festival and appeared at SpectorDance in Marina. Fluttering hands and other familiar Beal gestures loom large in her designs.

The First Place (left)—Chris Banaga, Alo Galedo and Brandon Huynh—danced their own high-energy and high-precision, hip-hop take on Scoville’s Eskatos. They were followed by the composer’s 16-minute Sr Miro’s Saxophone, performed by the Premiere Saxophone Quartet—soprano, alto, tenor and baritone—a piece in seven short movements in a variety of styles. (As just one example of Scoville’s mastery of forms, the last movement was a passacaglia.) It was wisely played straight without any dancing, though the audience applauded each bit in turn.

That led to the grand finish, Beal’s Three Rivers for 12 women of all ages plus Tandy. Here again was Beal at her creative best, somehow making all the moving bodies speak coherently despite their individual and group differences. As the ten-minute work moved toward its climax, five four-year-olds scampered across the stage, only to be followed by all the previous dancers and musicians joining the corps on stage. After each took their own bows, Tandy dragged Jon on stage as a sustained standing ovation rewarded an unforgettable afternoon.

More attention on Scoville’s music is on tap in Beal’s more intimate A Wing and A Prayer, in mid-April at the Colligan in Santa Cruz.

Photos by Patricia Alpizar