Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS presents “From the Old World to the New.” ALESSIO BAX-LUCILLE CHUNG piano duo play Friday in Santa Cruz. PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE in Carmel to launch Music Director Nic McGegan’s farewell season. SPOTLIGHT ON THE SYMPHONY presents Santa Cruz Symphony wind players at Cabrillo College. 8 TENS @ 8 short play series begins at Center Stage in Santa Cruz. LAYALI MOROCCO: Jewish Songlines & Soundscapes (pictured above) at Kuumbwa, in conjunction with UC Santa Cruz Humanities Division. FOR LINKS to these and other live performance events click on our CALENDAR or on the display ads, left.

ALESSIO BAX-LUCILLE CHUNG PIANO DUO

WHETHER YOU TRUST IT OR NOT, the term ‘Power Couple’ turns heads in the Classical Music world—think Wu Han and David Finckel—no less than music competitions. Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung—husband and wife—have each earned their individual stripes. Bax catapulted to prominence with First Prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and is now a familiar face on five continents, not only as a recitalist and chamber musician, but also as a concerto soloist who has appeared with more than 100 orchestras, including the London, Royal, and St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestras, the Boston, Dallas, Sydney, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, and the NHK Symphony in Japan, collaborating with such eminent conductors as Marin Alsop, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Yuri Temirkanov, and Jaap van Zweden. Born in Montréal, pianist Lucille Chung made her debut at the age of ten with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra and Charles Dutoit who subsequently invited her to be a featured soloist during the MSO Asian Tour in 1989. Since then, she has performed an extensive concerto repertoire with over 60 leading orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Staatskapelle Weimar and many others. For Distinguished Artists their program will include the great Fantasy in F Minor by Schubert, Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka, Debussy’s Petite Suite and charmers by Astor Piazzolla.

HOW NEW AB5 LAW HARMS MUSICIANS

A PETITION TO EXEMPT THEM and their contractors needs your support. Click HERE 

THE CASE FOR AFTERNOON CONCERTS

LONG-SUSTAINING CLASSICAL MUSIC LOVERS hate to drive at night. Could advancing age explain it? Or maybe it’s the time of year—shorter days and longer nights. (I personally know seniors who have prematurely quit attending altogether because matinees by their favorites are no longer.) Yet some presenters still schedule nighttime concerts, like Chamber Music Monterey Bay. (CMMB, Paper Wing Theatre and Mountain Community Theater, have steadfastly stuck to their historic 8pm curtain times; most of the rest, including the majority of theater companies, have moved their evening start times back to 7:30pm, yet many of them offer Sunday matinees.) The Monterey Symphony and Santa Cruz Symphony—the latter recently moved to 7:30 on Saturdays—perform both evenings and Sunday matinee performances. Luckily for all concerned the Carmel Music Society only hosts its guest artists on Sunday afternoons. With many older audiences in the Monterey Bay region not being replaced in numbers among subsequent generations, shouldn’t this be at least worthy of some presenters’ internal planning? Or is the only good excuse for not choosing a Sunday matinee a beautiful afternoon outdoors? SM

PUBLIC DOMAIN DAY

JANUARY 1, 2020, saw the release from copyright into the public domain of dozens of works of art published in 1924. Among them: Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, the first film adaptation of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan, EM Forster’s A Passage to India, WEB Du Bois’ The Gift of Black Folk, Jelly Roll Morton’s King Porter Stomp and Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. For these and many more, click HERE 

THE GIMLET EYE

ARCANE RHETORICAL DEVICES; they’re useful for writers, the very people on whom we count to keep us accurately informed and well-entertained. Click HERE 

JIMMIE RODGERS: FROM COUNTRY MUSIC LEGEND TO KIPSIGIS DEITY

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

MEET KEYBOARD ARTIST KEIKO SHICHIJO

THE JAPANESE ARTIST, now living in Amsterdam, a master of modern piano and the classical-era fortepiano, recently performed a solo recital of mostly rare music for the Aptos Keyboard Series. These two new CD releases reveal aspects of her range of styles and interests. They, like her solo performance in Aptos, also spotlight her laser-focus and artistic intensity.

THE ETCETERA CD, “Beethoven 1802,” for fortepiano, proves to be a smart ‘concept’ album; all the music, and the fortepiano itself, date from 1802, when the composer began making his move as the force of nature that shocked the evolution of Classical-era music onto a new direction, a game-changer that would spawn radical progeny for a century. The instrument was built in 1802, in Vienna, by Frère et Soeur (brother and sister) Stein, thence restored by Sietse Kok in 2011. The program includes the groundbreaking “Tempest” Sonata, the ‘quasi fantasia’ “Moonlight” Sonata and the so-called “Eroica” Variations based on an earlier contradance and only named for the “Eroica” symphony in hindsight. A particular challenge for Shichijo in 2016 was learning to manage the lack of a ‘back check,’ a kind of shock absorber that returns the hammer to striking position in a split second. Nevertheless, she worked it out and delivers here a splendid document from a time when neither Beethoven nor his fortepiano were capable of delivering the thunder of his imagination that he could imagine but would never hear.

TOM JOHNSON, born 1939, studied with American-original Morton Feldman in New York in the 1960s. (Johnson had heard some of the early minimalist music associated with Philip Glass and Steve Reich and, being of that generation, believed he could do at least as well.) But with Feldman, in hindsight certainly a godfather of minimalism, Johnson was still finding his way. Feldman suggested that his protégé develop a series of fresh chords. The result, with Feldman’s nod, is Spaces, composed in 1969, a 15-minute ‘discovery’ of sonorities and overtones built from seven chords. As Shichijo makes clear, this is concentrated stuff that requires deeply penetrating subtlety. Yet between the chords, played loud and soft, and notes extracted from them individually, it becomes clear that Johnson, like his mentor, gives forth an original voice. An hour for piano, 1971, draws on the lessons of Spaces that challenges the listener’s concentration, notwithstanding the work’s true variety of impulses and digressions, even though Shichijo’s reading comes in at a bit under 55 minutes. But here, the operative words are ‘minimalism’ and ‘laser-like.’ In other words, the artist makes a riveting case for this music. And in the minimalist spirit, the album cover could not be more austere and the composer makes a point of using no capital letters here in his program notes for the edition wandelweiser records 2018 release. SM 

LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE

IF YOU MISSED CNN’s telecast of this outstanding documentary, on New Year’s Day with repeats later last week, you can acquire a DVD of it from various sources.

She put Don Henley & Glenn Frey’s Desperado on the map.  

 

 

 

NEXT WEEK

TANDY BEAL & CO presents “Scoville Units” at Cabrillo Crocker Theater. GUITARIST ERIC JOHNSON in Carmel. SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK at the Rio. COMEDY VARIETY SHOWCASE at the Cherry in Carmel.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

Weekly Magazine

 

THIS WEEK

TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT! First Night, that is, with 30 performance events, indoors and outdoors, throughout downtown Monterey. THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE (abridged to 90 minutes) to play in New Monterey for one weekend only. “GLORIA” Madregalia (pictured above) sings Renaissance Christmas music. BENNY GREEN TRIO at Kuumbwa. FOR LINKS to these and other live performance events click on our CALENDAR or on the display ads, left.

FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION BEGINS JAN 4

WHEN SCIENCE CREATES ART. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) global robotics competition season will begin with a local Kick-Off celebration on Saturday, January 4th, 2020, starting at 7am, at Monterey High School, in which the season’s challenge will be revealed to students and team mentors. Participants are challenged to design, build, and program industrial-sized robots to compete in an alliance format against like-minded competitors. Participants will have six weeks to create a robot that can compete in the Monterey Bay Regional March 25-28 at Seaside High School. The winning robotics alliance will compete at the World Championship in Houston in April. Click HERE 

UCSC ARTS DEAN’S LECTURES STARTS JAN 7

INTERIM ARTS DEAN and Professor of Dance Ted Warburton (pictured) launches 11:50am Tuesday series of eight ‘Art of Change Podcast’ interviews, hosted by Lyle Troxell, at Theater Arts Second Stage on UC Santa Cruz campus. January 14 interview features Dramaturg Michael Chemers. Click HERE 

 

GREAT INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS LOST IN 2019

AN UNUSUALLY BRUTAL YEAR.

COMPOSERS: Giya Kancheli, Christopher Rouse, Michel Legrand, Dominick Argento, João Gilberto, Mario Davidovsky, Michael Colgrass, Sven-David Sandström, Ami Maayani, John Joubert, Chou Wen-chung, Jerry Herman. CONDUCTORS: Mariss Jansons, André Previn, Stephen Cleobury, Michael Gielen, Ján Valach. SINGERS: Doris Day, Peter Schreier, Jessye Norman (pictured above), Hilde Zadek, Heather Harper, Marcello Giordani, Sanford Sylvan, Ann Crumb, Carol Channing. PIANISTS: Jörg Demus, Paul Badura-Skoda, Márta Kurtág, Jacques Loussier, Dalton Baldwin, Abbey Simon. STRING PLAYERS: Jaap Schröder, Aaron Rosand, George Neikrug, Uzi Wiesel, Vladimir Orloff, Michael Grebanier, Petr Wagner. ACTORS: Sue Lyon, Albert Finney (left), Diahann Carroll, Rutger Hauer, Valerie Harper, Caroll Spinney (Big Bird), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Peter Fonda, Danny Aiello, René Auberjonois. WRITERS, DIRECTORS & CRITICS: Toni Morrison, Judith Kerr, Herman Wouk, Clive James, Johannes Schaaf, Jonathan Miller. Franco Zeffirelli, Harry Kupfer, Paul J Pelkonen, Roger Covell. (This list is extensive but not exhaustive.)

HOW CDs AND DOWNLOADS DIED

UNLESS YOU HAVE a reason to ‘own’ them. Click HERE 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

IN 1979, Virgil Thomson was a composer-in-residence at the Cabrillo Music Festival. At the time, music director Dennis Russell Davies often scheduled new music along with unfamiliar works by well-known classical composers. During one concert—at the old Cabrillo College auditorium—Thomson, sitting next to me in the audience, chirped up loudly after the first movement of Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, “Jesus, what a silly piece!” At the time, he may not have known that Mendelssohn was all of 14 when he wrote the nearly 40 minute concerto. It, and the Concerto for Violin and Strings in D Minor—composed at age 13—predate the teenager’s first two masterpieces: the Octet for Strings, of 1825, and the Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture, of 1826, ages 16 and 17 respectively. As this new Brilliant Classics CD reveals, the “silly piece” is redeemed by the composer’s mastery of classical forms and the sparkling performance by violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv and the pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi, who is no stranger to Santa Cruz thanks to his appearances in the Distinguished Artists series. The Concerto in D Minor actually flashes evidence of more originality by the budding genius, an exercise that points toward the great Violin Concerto in E Minor, a true masterpiece. Theodore Kuchar conducts the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. It was recorded at the Fatra House of Arts in Ziliny in 2017. SM 

THE LA PHILHARMONIC’S STAR POWER

RECENT ASSESSMENT by Mark Swed in the LA Times. Click HERE  

PARADISE LOST MAKES AN FINE AUDIO BOOK

JOHN MILTON’S MASTERPIECE speaks to our time musically. Click HERE 

DOES ALL MUSIC HAVE A COMMON ANCESTOR?

A NEW STUDY prompts us to ask what in music deserves an evolutionary or physiological explanation, and what is better explained by the individual cultures we live in. Click HERE 

CHINESE RADETZKY MARCH

AN ALTERNATIVE to the annual Viennese New Years’ concert.

 

HOW CHINA MADE THE PIANO ITS OWN

THE TRUE KING OF INSTRUMENTS survived a violent past and ultimately flourished. (Shanghai alone has over 2,700 music schools, by one estimate.) Click HERE 

BERNSTEIN ON TEACHERS & TEACHING

‘AN AUTOBIOGRAPHIC ESSAY’, rarely seen, sheds light on Lenny’s early life—he began teaching students at age 12—and the importance of teachers of music.    

 

THANKS TO ALL OUR REVIEWERS AND SPONSORS

THANK YOU! Dana Abbott, Don Adkins, Roger Emanuels, Jocelyn McMahon, Monica Mendoza and Philip Pearce. You enrich PAMB and your Monterey Bay communities more than you know. Thanks to you and our advertisers, 2019 saw the biggest surge of new subscribers to PAMB in our history.   

NEXT WEEK

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS presents “From the Old World to the New.” PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE in Carmel to launch Music Director Nic McGegan’s farewell season. SPOTLIGHT ON THE SYMPHONY presents Santa Cruz Symphony wind players at Cabrillo College. 8 10s @ 8 short play series begins at Center Stage in Santa Cruz. LAYALI MOROCCO: Jewish Songlines & Soundscapes at Kuumbwa.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor