Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

EMIL KHUDYEV, Seattle Symphony clarinetist, plays a recital concert at Hidden Valley on Monday evening. THE CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL continues through July 27 with concerts at Sunset Center, Carmel Mission and various church venues around the Monterey Peninsula. THE JOHN HANRAHAN QUARTET pays an homage to Wayne Shorter. “ROCKET MAN” Elton John tribute to play Santa Cruz Civic. KIM NALLEY pays respects to Aretha Franklin. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR

MARIN ALSOP’S BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ON THE ROPES

AUDITORS find that it may no longer be a viable enterprise. Click HERE 

THE CABRILLO FESTIVAL WINS A NEW CONDUCTING FELLOWSHIP

YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, music director of the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and artistic director of Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, has gifted the Cabrillo Festival with a $30,000, three-year conducting fellowship, which will provide free tuition and travel support to top-tier Fellows of the Cabrillo Festival Conductors/Composer Workshop, itself designed to advance the careers of talented young composers and conductors. “I firmly believe we must invest in the future generation in order for our art form to thrive and inspire,” said Nézet-Séguin. “Contributing to the Cabrillo Festival is all the more meaningful because of my history with Cabrillo’s music director Cristian Măcelaru.” In his role as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin became Măcelaru’s mentor, colleague, and friend, as Măcelaru served as the orchestra’s assistant conductor, associate conductor, and Conductor in Residence, respectively.

WHEN MINGUS MET JONI

JONI MITCHELL’S Mingus, her vinyl LP that turns 40 this year, distills a sui generis project instigated by the jazz great, who died early in 1979 from ALS, even as neither of them was deeply immersed in each other’s music. Matthew Barton tells the unlikely story for Jazz Journal. Click HERE    

WHEN JENNIE MET DIZZY

AT 14, Jennie Litvack asked Dizzy Gillespie for a trumpet lesson. It lasted more than four hours. Remembering the finest female shofar blower in the world. Click HERE  

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

IF YOU GOOGLE “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” you will find links to Maya Angelou’s first autobiography. But you will have to look harder to find a link to the poem Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar, published in 1899, from which Angelou took her title. Dunbar’s tragically short life—33 years—is the subject of this new CD recording of Richard Thompson’s chamber opera The Mask in the Mirror. Thompson wrote both the libretto and the music for the two principal characters, Dunbar and the better educated Alice Ruth Moore—who would become his wife—a miscellany of friends, relatives and others, and an orchestra of 15 instruments, plus a jazz combo. Thompson, originally from Scotland, studied at the University of Edinburgh, Rutgers University and the Berklee College of Music. He is now associate professor of music at San Diego State University. His compositional skills are eclectic and masterful. What this CD reveals is a superb melding of words and music, economical yet vivid, passionate in its conflicts and unflaggingly intense. It confronts head-on the issues of racial identity and confusion, sexuality and alcoholism as they were experienced by black Americans in the first generation born to ex-slaves. The piece was brought to my attention by Monterey Peninsula native Leberta Lorál, who has two small roles in the recording—Paul’s friend Victoria and a woman in a Harlem bar. On listening to it I quickly recognized Thompson’s brilliant synthesis of story and score. Indeed, I find the opera deeply moving, even heartbreaking. Dunbar was a naturally gifted wordsmith and poet, but with profound wounds from a dysfunctional childhood. In the opera, he falls in love with Alice, but continues to womanize and drink heavily. One drunken encounter between them ends with rape. The CD notes provide this background: “Despite his success and determination, (Dunbar) was also confused about his identity as a black man in America, being ashamed of his dark complexion. Moore had similar problems with her racial identity: as a product of a casual interracial sexual relationship, she preferred to reinvent herself as a Creole from Louisiana.” In a broad brush, the notes continue, “The Dunbars wanted to promote themselves as role models for a new black middle class, comparing themselves to (well known) English writers. Sadly, Dunbar and Moore lacked the psychological strength to live up to their ideals.” Featuring tenor Cameo Humes and soprano Angela L Owens in the principal roles, and conductor Stephen Tucker, the recording was performed by the Sanaa Opera Project orchestra. SM

TO READ reviews of The Mask In the Mirror in Opera News and Fanfare Magazine, click HERE   The complete libretto is available at richardthompsonpiano.com

S.A. UBER DRIVER FINDS AN OPERA CAREER

VIDEO BY PASSENGER of self-taught tenor Menzi Mngoma goes viral. Click HERE 

JOAN BAEZ’ FAREWELL TOUR

REPORTED by Jeffrey Brown for the PBS News Hour.

 

DAVID CROSBY’S FAREWELL TOUR

HOW IS he even still alive?

 

FRESH REVIEW

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at Santa Cruz Shakespeare. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL completes its 82nd season on July 27. CABRILLO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC opens on July 28 with a free open rehearsal.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

82ND CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL (see above) opens its first of two weeks this Saturday with Joseph Haydn’s oratorio Die Schöpfung (The Creation.) COUNTRY ARTIST TIM McGRAW kicks off the Salinas Rodeo. CAMINOS FLAMENCOS returns their music and dance to Kuumbwa. SARAH DeLAPPE’S THE WOLVES opens at The Western Stage. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR

ARTIST DAVID LIGARE ON DAVID ESTERLY

THANK YOU for your obituary for David Esterly. His carved images are truly amazing but what might they mean in an age of 3D printers and the mass-produced? The 18th century poet, playwright and philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, described architecture as frozen music. Certainly the same could be said for Esterly’s astonishing wood sculptures of musical instruments. He raises the craft of carving to a radical degree equal to the radical knowledge needed for and applied to serious music. Furthermore, the process of looking at something, analyzing it and then carefully reproducing it is an act of reverence toward the thing seen whether it is musical instruments, flowers or the human figure. It’s an assertion that the important issue is seeking verisimilitude or truth rather than a casual impression, (as pleasurable as impressionism can be). It is also a lesson in logical inquiry and rational analysis, both so needed in our lives today. ~ David Ligare, Carmel Valley

BREXITEERS BOYCOTTING BEETHOVEN

MAYBE TURNING the Ode to Joy into the EU’s ‘national anthem’ wasn’t such a smart idea. Click HERE  

SHOCK ROCK

ARCATTACK, in Austin, uses science to make instruments and light them up with Tesla coils. Joe DiPrima wears a chainmail Faraday suit that gives a whole new meaning to electric guitar. Click HERE 

FOR ALL INTENSIVE PURPOSES

 

WALT WHITMAN’S WORDS TURNED INTO MUSIC

MORE THAN any other poet than Shakespeare? Joe Horowitz’ Unanswered Question blog reports on a freshly revived radio drama with music by Bernard Herrmann. (Be sure to follow the link to the music itself that includes Herrmann’s gorgeous Souvenirs de Voyage clarinet quintet.) Click the headline below.

Whitman and Music: A Fresh Discovery

AMERICAN MUSIC PIONEERS, PART 1

CONLON NANCARROW, 1912-1997, disillusioned expatriate composed directly onto piano rolls; became a darling of the late 20th century avant-garde.

 

THE REAL KING OF INSTRUMENTS

BEETHOVEN SYMPHONIES in piano transcriptions by Liszt. Are they really worth it? The New York Times’ Anthony Tommasini asked Vladimir Horowitz about it. The answer may surprise you. Click HERE   

JOÃO GILBERTO, 1931-2019

BLAME HIM FOR the bossa nova. Click HERE

 

NEXT WEEK

CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL continues with Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and JS Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio,” John Adams’ Shaker Loops and movie music by Bernard Herrmann (Psycho), Edward Elgar, William Walton, Stanley Myers, Howard Shore, John Williams in a program titled Psycho, and more.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor