Weekly Magazine

Winter sunrise over Crater Lake National Park. See Symphony for Nature story below.

THIS WEEK

ESPRESSIVO CHAMBER ORCHESTRA opens its fifth season. THEO CROKER, trumpeter/composer plays Kuumbwa. JAZZ VOCALIST TIERNEY SUTTON appears at Kuumbwa next Monday. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR

MAJOR NEW SUPPORT FOR YOUTH MUSIC PROGRAMS

THE LEWIS PRIZE FOR MUSIC is excited to announce the opening of its inaugural awards process. At the core of The Lewis Prize is the belief that music can inspire and catalyze positive social and systemic change. With the mission and vision of creating fair and vibrant communities through music, it will give three multi-year awards of $500,000 each to leaders of U.S. youth music organizations and initiatives in January 2020. Visit The Lewis Prize for Music website HERE for eligibility criteria, process and a link to the Letter of Interest application portal. All Letters of Interest are due no later than 11:59 EST on Monday, September 16, 2019.

SPECTORDANCE WINS STATEWIDE GRANTS

WITH A GENEROUS AWARD of $45,000 from the California Arts Council JUMP StArts Grant for State Facilities, SpectorDance and the Department of Juvenile Justice will build upon SpectorDance’s successful dance program at Rancho Cielo and offer a similar program at the Department of Juvenile Justice in Stockton. SpectorDance will offer dance classes and choreography workshops, culminating in a public performance of East West. East West will include Department of Juvenile Justice students rehearsing and performing with SpectorDance Company dancers. East West will be performed at the Department of Juvenile Justice in Stockton on September 17. The grants also will help fund Ocean Trilogy to be presented at the New York Botanical Gardens on September 28, as part of New York Climate Week, and a work-in-progress showing of When You Were Gone at the CSUMB Center for Arts and Culture on October 24.

DANCES THAT SCANDALIZED THE WORLD

LA VOLTA, the Charleston, Tango and Jitterbug. Shocking! Click HERE 

SYMPHONY FOR NATURE AT CRATER LAKE

THE BRITT FESTIVAL orchestra and chorus with conductor Teddy Abrams and composer Michael Gordon join members of the Klamath Nation to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Crater Lake National Park.

 

SAMUEL L JACKSON AND PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN

WHERE AND WHEN? Answer next week.

MEET ARVO PÄRT, MASTER OF SILENCE

ESTONIAN COMPOSER who redefined minimalism honored by his countrymen and the generations he influenced. Click HERE 

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

GEORGE GERSHWIN famously declared,My people are American, my time is today…music must repeat the thought and aspirations of the times.” Subtitled Inspiration from the Gershwins, Haerim Elizabeth Lee’s new CD combines 14 Gershwin classics, including arrangements, with four original works by living American composers, Patrick Harlin, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Michael Daugherty and William Bolcom. Alex Brown plays the 1933 Steinway A owned by George Gershwin in New York, now at the University of Michigan (and recorded here for the first time.) One of the greatest violinists of the 20th century, Jascha Heifetz, arranged many of Gershwin’s most beloved songs in versions for violin and piano, eight of which (including themes from An American in Paris) are included. (Gershwin’s Short Story appears in an arrangement by Samuel Dushkin.) I cannot verify it, but some of the Heifetz arrangements, like Summertime, include a lengthy introduction to the main melody that might have been fashioned by Brown; for certain he made the arrangements for Embraceable You, Sleepless Night and Violin Piece. No one can do justice to this music without swagger and swing, and both artists have plenty of it. Harlin’s #tbt (Throwback Thursday) and Daugherty’s Viva for solo violin get their first recordings here. Likewise Zwilich’s Fantasy for solo violin. Bolcom’s Graceful Ghost rag has long been a favorite violin recital encore. After three hearings, this Haerim Elizabeth Lee debut continues to enchant me; it’s a keeper. SM 

HOW ELLA FITZGERALD IS INFLUENCING A NEW GENERATION

ONE OF HER EARLY FANS was Doris Day. Click HERE 

BLACK MAGIC WOMAN

CARLOS SANTA in 1998. It’s still the blues, with nearly 15 million views.

 

FRESH REVIEWS

A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN and PERICLES. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

ILYA KALER AND ALON GOLDSTEIN play music for violin and piano in Santa Cruz. SAXOPHONIST STEVE LEHMAN & TRIO at Kuumbwa. BASSIST MICHAEL FEINBERG plays Kuumbwa. BOBBY McFERRIN at the Rio. MAMMA MIA at Mountain Community Theater. VERDI’S FALSTAFF at Vets Memorial.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

EUGENE O’NEILL’S A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN opens at the Colligan in Santa Cruz. DAVID CROSBY (pictured above) takes the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. SHAKESPEARE’S PERICLES opens in Carmel. PIANIST CHETAN TIERRA plays a ‘pay what you can’ benefit for Distinguished Artists in Santa Cruz. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR

A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN

EUGENE O’NEILL sequel to A Long Day’s Journey into Night tells a soaring tale about a barren patch of land on a Connecticut farm in 1923 and of two lost souls who hope to find love under a lover’s moon. The boisterous and sharp-tongued Josie Hogan seems destined to live her life alone working a rented farm with her bullying father. When the weary but charming Jamie Tyrone returns to settle the farm’s estate, which was owned by his late mother, sparks fly, hearts open, and desire just might make dreams come true. Moon is a moving exploration of the power of our collective humanity. For Jewel Theatre’s new production at the Colligan, bring a handkerchief or some tissues.

JAMIE BARTON AT ‘LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS’

AMERICAN MEZZO was featured at the 2019 Cabrillo Festival in Kristin Kuster’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg tribute When There are Nine. Ahead of the BBC Proms finale, Sept 14 at the Albert Hall, Fiona Maddocks interviewed Barton, beginning with “You’ve revealed you’ll be wearing the bisexual pride colours of lavender, pink and blue at the Last Night.” Click HERE  

MARIN ALSOP TO CONDUCT LOCKED OUT BSO

THIS SATURDAY, Baltimore Symphony music director Marin Alsop will conduct the locked out orchestra in a free concert to celebrate their city. Click HERE  

THE CROW WE LOVE

MULTI-STYLED SHERYL CROW revuelve los huevos. Click HERE    

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

SEATTLE SYMPHONY AT THE CUTTING EDGE

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN these two CDs of new music could hardly be more extreme. John Luther Adams’ Become Desert is a nearly motionless crescendo-decrescendo that lasts 40 minutes. Marc-André Dalbavie’s four works honor French composers of previous generations—especially the one just ahead of him—with a variety of styles he has assimilated and made his own. For both of these recordings the conductor is Ludovic Morlot whose tenure with the Seattle Symphony came to a close at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Adams prefers to take inspiration from places without people, like oceans, deserts and the tundra. A propos, he is drawn to the poetry of Octavio Paz whom he quotes “you sense that ‘there is no one, not even yourself.’” Like John Cage’s Four minutes, thirty-three seconds, this is existential music, absolutely in the moment. (After winning the 2014 Pulitzer for his Become Ocean, Adams explained that he took its title from a poem by John Cage, written “in tribute to composer Lou Harrison,” one of his mentors.) The existential idea/ideal here is total immersion in the music to the exclusion of all other sensual stimuli. (The philosophy is similarly embraced by high-end audio-video home theater expert Keith Yates of Keith Yates Design Group on behalf of his international clientele.) 

This may seem at odds with the time-honored Western classical tradition that music embraces a temporal journey from a clear beginning to a resolved ending, notwithstanding digressions, tensions and surprises along the way. But that concept was turned on its head when 1960s minimalism paved a new path of numbing repetition. And why not? Richard Wagner’s critique of Italian opera in the 19th century was that life doesn’t stop moving just because an aria puts it on hold. Maybe I’m writing this to an older generation, but JL Adams is not alone among composers and artists who have a more urgent understanding of existential. And in Adams’ case, it is socio-geopolitical, specifically desertification, the conversion of a mutually beneficial environment into a wasteland as accelerated by human activity.

Adams also engages the entire orchestra in his meditation, calling largely on delicate percussion to set the scene in the high register to which, after the swelling orchestra plumbs the depths, he returns. This action demands an extraordinary ability to sustain sonorities and textures over the long haul. (Below, hear the Seattle Symphony in Become Ocean.)

Dalbavie is a protégée of the late Marius Constant and the late Pierre Boulez. This new release begins with a tone poem, La source d’un regard (The Source of a Look), specifically inspired by a large-scale piece by Olivier Messiaen called Vingt Regards sur l’enfant-Jésus (Twenty looks on the child Jesus), for solo piano. Dalbavie uses a four-note sequence from the Messiaen work to launch his piece that immediately turns attention to harmony, aural textures and instrument color. And what colors! The Seattle Symphony is at once a warm embrace and a cold shower of originality.

Thereafter, the disc serves up the composer’s oboe concerto (symphony solo oboe Mary Lynch), flute concerto (symphony solo flute Demarre McGill) and cello concerto featuring virtuoso Jay Campbell. The oboe and flute concertos outline the three-part classic concerto form. The six-section cello concerto is subtitled “Concerto in the manner of fantasies.” All three of these works are played through without break or pause. They equally demand extraordinary virtuosity from their soloists, from fiendish high-speed bravura to deeply examined expression. And there’s wit woven in as well; the spirit of Poulenc and Milhaud pops up in some of the soloists’ passages.

As these new recordings demonstrate, the Seattle Symphony must go on record as a leading light on behalf of new music, not only as performers but as commissioner funders. It is time for every American symphony orchestra to either unshackle itself from the past, slow or fast, or die. A side note: associate principal clarinet, Emil Khudyev, well known locally and who recently performed a recital at Hidden Valley, played principal clarinet in Dalbavie’s cello concerto. SM

LISTEN TO Adams’ 2014 Pulitzer winning Become Ocean here.

 

THE EXIT INTERVIEW MODEL THAT DOESN’T WORK

ARTI PRASHAR was told to never create a job that no one else could fill. She looks back on 13 years as CEO of Spare Tyre Theatre Company. Click HERE

I SAW HER AGAIN LAST NIGHT

MAMAS AND PAPAS from their second 1966 album, the year before they attended Monterey Pop. (Where did that counterpoint come from?)

 

NEXT WEEK

SANTA CRUZ FOLLIES returns to Civic Auditorium. COMEDIAN KEVIN NEALON at the Rio. THEO CROKER comes to Kuumbwa.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor