Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

PIANIST YEKWON SUNWOO, who made a vivid impact for the Carmel Music Society early this season, returns to join the Brentano Quartet (See above) for a program of Beethoven and Dvořák. SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL opens its 46th season, “Roots of Bach,” with lutenist John Schneiderman. BARITONE TOM LEHMKUHL sings Mahler in Carmel and Santa Cruz. POLITICAL COMEDIAN BILL MAHER returns to Santa Cruz Civic. (Good luck getting a ticket.) MUSIC TEACHERS’ ASSN OF CALIFORNIA gathers for the weekend at UC Santa Cruz Music Recital Hall on Friday at 2pm. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events, click our CALENDAR

NEWS SHOCK

SANFORD SYLVAN, locally celebrated Bach and Cabrillo Festival baritone, has died at age 65. He was found lifeless last Tuesday at his home in Manhattan, said to have been struggling with a respiratory condition. Sylvan sang for many seasons of the Bach under then-conductor Bruno Weil and, in 1991, the Cabrillo Festival when composer John Adams served as interim music director between the departing Dennis Russell Davies and incoming Marin Alsop. (Adams once called Sylvan his muse.) At Cabrillo he sang Adams’ The Wound Dresser, Britten’s Songs and Proverbs of William Blake and Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder. At the Bach Festival he left an indelible impression; an artist of his sensitivity and imagination comes along only once in two or three generations. For Sylvan’s obit in the New York Times, click HERE   

 

CARMEL MUSIC SOCIETY CREATES ANNE THORP FUND

THE CO-PRESIDENT of the board, who died on January 22, is being remembered through a new memorial fund in her name. Friends and area music lovers are invited to make contributions to it at CMS, Box 22783, Carmel 93922. Anne was a rare power player in her role with the Society and, generally, in the community’s classical music scene. Her husband, Peter, as co-president will carry on her important work.

PERFORMING ARTS PEOPLE

By Susan Meister

LEBERTA LORÁL is a tall woman whose magisterial presence easily dominates a concert stage, yet her affect bespeaks gentility, even formality. She has a deeper speaking voice than one would associate with a soprano, which indeed she is, and while she exudes confidence, there is no hint of overweening ambition.  She has the voice to justify nearly any aspiration she might conjure, yet she steers away from outlining a detailed strategic plan that might lead her to fame and fortune. She has goals, but they are modest ones for now (“to keep my voice healthy and to sing full time”). The latter might be accomplished in short order: she has just engaged her first agent.  To read the rest of her story, click HERE  

2019 CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL

MUSIC DIRECTOR Paul Goodwin lays it out in detail.

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

THIS NEW CD from Bridge contains 21 songs written between 1877—Arthur Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord”—and 1939—Sigmund Romberg’s “When I Grow Too Old to Dream”—sung by Brian Mulligan, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2003 while still a student at Juilliard. Fifty years ago anyone drawn to Mulligan’s choice of material would have considered it nostalgic, perhaps quaint, and certainly of their mom and dad’s generation. But now, young people might just be surprised to discover a body of old music that is totally new to their ears. Mulligan is gifted with a commanding baritone that has opened doors across the US and Europe. His 2018-19 operatic season began with the role of Mandryka in Strauss’ Arabella last fall in San Francisco, and includes productions of Puccini’s Le Villi for Opera Rara, The Pearl Fishers in Zürich, Madama Butterfly and Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande in Amsterdam. His concert season is nearly as busy. On Mulligan’s new CD you’ll hear such old saws as On the Road to Mandalay, Sylvia, Bluebird of Happiness, Trees, There is no Death, Roses of Picardy, Without a Song, I’ll See You Again and Goin’ Home for which William Arms Fisher fitted words to the gospel-flavored melody from Dvořák’s New World Symphony. The pianist is the estimable Craig Rutenberg. One last notice: the very cheeky The Green Eyed Dragon from 1926 with music by Wolseley Charles and words by Greatrex Newman. SM   

BUDDING STAR IN AN ANCIENT CHINESE OPERA

FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD TAN WEI TIAN is reviving an ancient classical Chinese opera. Click HERE

ORIGINS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

AS AN EXHIBITION IN LONDON brings together treasures from Anglo-Saxon England, Cameron Laux traces a history of the language through ten objects and manuscripts, including a burial urn, a buckle with bling (see above the Sutton Hoo buckle from an early 7th Century burial mound in Suffolk) and the first letter in English. Click HERE   

WILD IS THE WIND

WINTER HAS ROARED IN with downed trees, blocked roads and highways, freezer-thawing power outages and even water main breaks. (Smuin Ballet went home early on Saturday because Sunset Center was dark.)

 

FRESH REVIEW

BACH FESTIVAL BARITONE Dashon Burton’s solo recital in San Francisco. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

THE TEMPEST TRIO performs Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio for the Distinguished Artists. ENSEMBLE SAN FRANCISCO appears with the Santa Cruz Chamber Players in Aptos. OLIVER TREE coming to the Rio. FOUR OLD BROADS opens at MCT. 

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

 

Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

CHAMPIONS OF THE ARTS, the annual Arts Council Monterey County awards banquet (see below.) US MARINE CORPS JAZZ ORCHESTRA (above) plays CSUMB’s World Theater on Friday. CLASSICAL GUITARIST BENJAMIN VERDERY at UC Santa Cruz. MINIMALIST PIONEER composer Terry Riley (right) at Peace United Church; his shocking IN C of 1964 turned the world of new music upside down. SMUIN BALLET returns to Carmel with its new Dance Series 01 with a focus on Etta James, a Michael Smuin original plus three mainstage premieres by company artists. ELTON JOHN’S BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL opens in Carmel. BEN WENDEL’S ‘SEASONS’ BAND turns Tchaikovsky into jazz at Kuumbwa. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events, click our CALENDAR

 

BLIND MUSICIANS CAN NOW ‘SEE’ THE CONDUCTOR

BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGY liberates them to play in time. Click HERE   

THE HEART KNOWS NO BORDERS

THIS IS THE FIRST PERFORMANCE of a new concerto for double bass and orchestra, The Heart Knows No Borders, commissioned and played by the venerable Gary Karr. The composer, Andrés Martín, conducts the Baja Chamber Orchestra of Tijuana. 

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

ADAM NEIMAN plays the complete Preludes and Études-tableaux by Rachmaninoff in this new 3-CD set. These 45 miniatures, including the early Cinq morceaux de fantaisie, which contains the notorious Prelude in C-sharp Minor—all in the unmistakable style of the great Russian pianist—offer a generous range of interpretive possibilities and Neiman takes the plunge with swagger and panache. Moreover, his excellent program notes shed important light on Rachmaninoff’s contribution to 20th century music: “Whereas the Op 33 Études-tableaux serve as harbingers of early modernism, the nine Études-tableaux, Op 39, fully embrace the spirit of exploratory dissonance and the shedding of traditional tonality.” “Fully” is a stretch; for all his popular allure he was certainly well behind the new wave of his time: Debussy, Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Bartók. Even his exact contemporary, Alexander Scriabin, stepped out of the romantic Russian homesick yearning. Neiman has achieved a major career as a concerto soloist, chamber musician—he is music director of the Manchester Music Festival in Vermont—and solo recitalist. He is currently building a discography on Aeolian Classics, has recorded for Naxos and includes titles on the Bridge label as a member of Trio Solisti. Neiman’s brother James, also a pianist, is a recently-arrived resident of Carmel Valley, assertively active in the classical music scene of the Monterey Peninsula.SM

NEW JERSEY TEEN TO BE SPIELBERG’S MARIA

 

WAS CHOPIN A GREAT COMPOSER?

OR MERELY a salon miniaturist? Terry Teachout asks and attempts to answer. He picks up several quotes, including this one by the early 20th century pianist Artur Schnabel, “If I spend the same amount of time with a Chopin [étude] or with some Beethoven bagatelle, I get tired of the Chopin piece sooner.” Teachout follows up on Alan Walker’s Chopin biography published last fall. Click HERE 

MICHEL LEGRAND, 1932-2019

COMPOSER OF Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Windmills of Your Mind. Here he joins late chanteuse Maurane, 1960-2018.  

 

WAS SHAKESPEARE SHAKESPEARE?

ACTOR MARK RYLANCE revives the old debate anew. Would you like some Bacon with that? Click HERE  

TOP SECRET DRUM CORPS

DROP A STICK and the show stops immediately.

 

FRESH REVIEW

PHILIP PEARCE attended the opening of Red Velvet at the Colligan in Santa Cruz. Click HERE   

NEXT WEEK

THE BRENTANO QUARTET is joined by pianist Yekwon Sunwoo in music by Beethoven and Dvořák. CELLIST LEYLA McCALL brings her Capitalist Blues to Kuumbwa. ENSEMBLE MONTEREY plays Carmel & Santa Cruz. SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL begins a new season. POLITICAL COMEDIAN BILL MAHER to rock SC Civic.   

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor