Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

“YULETIDE JEWELS” seasonal stories at Monterey Museum of Art. AKIKO-HAMILTON-DECHTER ORGAN TRIO at Kuumbwa Jazz. SECOND CITY comedy at Sunset Center. KIRTAN WITH KRISHNA DAS at the Rio Theatre. “THROWING CAUTION TO THE WIND” with Taelen Thomas, Melinda Coffey & guests at Hidden Valley. AN IRISH CHRISTMAS in Monterey. FOR LINKS to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR OR ON THE DISPLAY ADS, LEFT.

NOVEMBER SNOW, 50 YEARS ON

REJOICE, 1969. Whatever happened to this amazing baritone/songwriter, Tom Brown? 

 

SOPRANO JESSYE NORMAN REMEMBERED

CELEBRATION of her life at the Metropolitan Opera drew stars and thousands. Click HERE 

DE NIRO & PACINO CHEW OLD TIMES

TOGETHER for GQ. Click HERE  

ANNE MIDGETTE’S LAST REVIEW FOR WASHPO

INSIGHTFUL AND RETIRING MUSIC CRITIC shares “parting thoughts” about the National Symphony Orchestra which she covered for the Washington Post for eleven years. “German music played in American concert halls often sounds like a facsimile.” Click HERE 

HOHNER HARMONICAS

EVERYTHING you never knew you needed to know.

 

COMPOSER DIANE MOSER AND HER BIRDS

SHE DOESN’T GIVE CREDIT to Olivier Messiaen who pioneered composing bird songs. Click HERE  

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

ONE OF THE TOUGHEST PERSUASIONS must be seduction by trumpet. The horn can do it by blending in with woodwinds. But brassy trumpets rarely if ever whisper sweet nothings. However, they did for Youth Music Monterey’s new music director, Danko Druško, who admitted to my Topics in Music class at the Carmel Foundation that the instrument bewitched him at an early age. Paul Merkelo’s new Sony CD, “The Enlightened Trumpet,” substitutes virtuosity for subtlety. Merkelo’s choice of repertoire comes as no surprise. The Haydn concerto is probably the best known for the instrument. One Anton Weidinger, used an ingenious array of mechanical keys that allowed him to play a full chromatic scale, amazing the composer with its liberation from the natural overtone series. (Weidinger’s design predated the invention of valves by more than a decade.) Haydn’s concerto made its public debut on March 28, 1800. For the CD, Merkelo used his own solo cadenza in the first movement. Telemann’s concerto, from c. 1720, only accesses wide-gapped low tones from the overtone series like a bugle; to play notes close together is only possible in the high register. (The solo trumpet is used in only three of the four movements.) Leopold Mozart’s concerto is in fact two movements—Andante and Allegro moderate—from a nine-movement serenade from 1762. (Mozart had to work with the same limitations as Telemann.) Encouraged by the success of the Haydn concerto, Weidinger approached J Nepomuk Hummel whose Trumpet Concerto in E he premiered on New Year’s Day in 1804. Hummel modeled much of the piece on Wolfgang Mozart’s late piano concertos. At ten minutes, its opening Allegro movement, in fully developed sonata form, is the longest on this disc. The slow movement bears a striking resemblance to its corresponding movement in the popular Piano Concerto No 21 in C. The final rondo serves up an operatic romp that blisters with ever more spectacular fireworks, including a solo cadenza by the Ukrainian virtuoso Timofei Dokshizer (1921-2005). Merkelo plays with a full, warm tone and very sparing vibrato in the slow movements. His pitch is unerringly true. But it’s the dazzling pyrotechnics that are likely to win him new fans on first hearing. The excellent Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by its founding music director, Cyprus-born Marios Papadopoulos. They are in residence at Oxford University. SM   

KEN BURNS’ COUNTRY MUSIC

THIS EIGHT-PART DOCUMENTARY will inevitably be criticized for giving short shrift to those since the start of the 21st Century—since the death of Johnny Cash. Otherwise, it’s a masterpiece. Your education is incomplete without it. “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap,” says the always-adorable and blonde Dolly Parton. “I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb… and I also know that I’m not blonde.” At 75 bucks it’s the best bargain of the season.  

WHERE’VE YOU BEEN?

KATHY MATTEA sings Jon Vezner and Don Henry’s tearjerker, in 1990.

 

CHRIS BLISS JUGGLES GOLDEN SLUMBERS

 

FRESH REVIEWS

BLACK CEDAR TRIO in Aptos. Click HERE

THE CHERRY ORCHARD in Ben Lomond; SUPERIOR DONUTS at MPC. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

PIANO ICON OXANA YABLONSKAYA to perform in Santa Cruz. KITKA’S “WINTERSONGS” returns to Santa Cruz to launch the last concert of their 40th season. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE radio drama opens at Carmel High School’s Black Box with a cast of 25. RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA opens in Monterey. THE NUTCRACKER by Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theatre in Carmel. GUITAR ROCKER TOMMY EMMANUEL at the Rio. A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS opens in Salinas. LA PASTORELA opens at El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista.

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

 

Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS host Black Cedar Trio (above) in Aptos. MESSIAH SING-ALONG by I Cantori at Carmel Mission with guest conductor Sal Ferrantelli. CHEKHOV’S CHERRY ORCHARD opens at Mountain Community Theater. ELF, THE MUSICAL opens at King City High. MPC STRING ENSEMBLE in Monterey. MPC CHORUS’ “Ceremony of Carols” likewise.CHICAGO THE MUSICAL in Carmel. INSCAPE ‘mixed ensemble’ to play Sunset Center. UCSC ORCHESTRA; UCSC CHAMBER SINGERS; UCSC WIND ENSEMBLE. CABRILLO COLLEGE CHORALE. CABRILLO COLLEGE FALL DANCE CONCERT. SUPERIOR DONUTS opens at Monterey Peninsula College. ARIA WOMEN’S CHOIR in Aptos & Pebble Beach. FOR LINKS to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR OR ON THE DISPLAY ADS, LEFT.

BLACK CEDAR TRIO’S “VIRTUOSITY DEFINED”

CONCERT DIRECTOR AND FLUTIST Kris Palmer, concert director and flute, guitarist Steve Lin and cellist Isaac Pastor-Chermak bring their award-winning blend to audiences in Aptos. The program includes music of Bach, Paganini, and Piazzolla, plus new music by San Jose composer Andre Gueziec and Chilean composer Javier Contreras. After the trio’s recent San Francisco concert, the Rehearsal Studio blog wrote, “Contreras’ music was an examination of not only the unique sonorities of each of the three instruments but also a rich study of how those sonorities could be blended in different combinations…clearly a major undertaking; but those willing to listen to it attentively were richly rewarded.”

NEW CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL ‘ACADEMY’

DURING THE 2020 Festival, four string musicians will participate in a series of public masterclasses in Baroque and Classical style and interpretation, receive private lessons, chamber music coaching, and mentoring from Festival musicians. The Academy will be directed by Festival violinist Edwin Huizinga (pictured). The Festival is seeking applicants with professional experience and training in Baroque and modern string playing and who participate in or have a graduate or undergraduate degree in performance. The Festival is also interested in pre-formed quartets and encourages musicians to apply as a string quartet and focus on the period classical style of this genre. “My Festival colleagues and I hope to encourage the next generation with this Academy,” said Huizinga. “We have an unbelievable offering in Carmel with the Festival—world class artists, and incredible music. Now we are going to be able to teach, inform, guide, and inspire four young musicians every summer.” Festival Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Paul Goodwin added, “By creating a String Academy to go alongside our acclaimed vocal masterclass program, I hope we can share the unique qualities of our musical vision and flexible style with aspiring musicians. We want to help shape the future musical horizon of these talented young professionals.” 

NEW AWARD NAMED AFTER LENA HORNE

$100,000 HONOR to target leading lights in the arts and social activism. Click HERE 

 

PIANO PERFORMANCE PANIC

MARIA JOÃO PIRES was prepared to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C Major but suddenly found herself caught in his Concerto in D Minor. Conductor Riccardo Chailly gave her courage.

 

“GOD HATES ART”

SO DECLARED early 20th century English composer Edward Elgar. He was right. Music is no less subversive. Click HERE  

HOW TO SAVE THE BALTIMORE SYMPHONY

“TURNAROUND KING” Michael Kaiser’s advice focuses on five specific points that have implications for and history of other arts organizations. Click HERE   

WHAT THE HECK IS A WAGNER TUBA?

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

AMERICAN PIANIST Victor Rosenbaum should be familiar to you. He has maintained an international career, has collaborated with many of the biggest names in chamber music, performed at numerous music festivals and premiered new music by a roster of contemporary composers. Rosenbaum has long been on the faculties of the New England Conservatory (NEC) and, until 2017, Mannes School of Music. After he played at Tully Hall the New York Times said, “He could not have been better.” The Boston Globe described him as, “One of those artists who make up for all the drudgery the habitual concertgoer has to endure in the hopes of finding the occasional real right thing.” This CD was recorded in 2017 in the NEC’s Jordan Hall. Its program of rarities spans the years 1797 (Rondo in C) to 1825 (Six Bagatelles, Op 126). The Sonata in A-flat, Op 26 (1801) makes a surprising impression because it is rarely heard. Unique among Beethoven’s piano sonatas, its first movement is a theme and variations. Its fourth (of four) movement is a funeral march. The Six Variations, Op 34, dates from 1802; its variations come in several different keys. The Sonata in E (1814) offers only two movements; the dramatic first (in E minor) whose German title translates as “With liveliness and throughout with feeling and expression.” The ‘Schubertian’ second, “Not too fast and very singingly played.” The Bagatelles were composed at the same time as the Ninth Symphony, a charming collection the composer called “a cycle of little pieces.”  SM

I LOVE THIS NEW release! The Authentic Light Orchestra was founded in 2009 by the Swiss multi-instrumentalist with Armenian roots, Valeri Tolstov. His idea is to combine ancient Armenian folk songs and mix them with classical influences, jazz, rock and a touch of electronica to create a new musical form. In this fusion of styles, all of the elements supplement each other harmonically, producing a unique sound and an original interpretation of Armenian folk—the defining musical language of the Authentic Light Orchestra. The album packs 19 pieces into one entertaining hour. Some tracks run less than one minute, others to nearly seven. The production is alive with high energy and vitality. But it includes some reflective pieces too. The synthesis of traditional music and jazz sizzles; the colorful arrangements include voices, folk songs, clicking insects, rain and flowing water. SM   

GLASGOW

MARY STEENBURGEN’S song for the film Wild Rose, sung by Jessie Buckley

 

FRESH REVIEWS

ME AND MY GIRL at the Colligan Theater. Click HERE

MONTEREY SYMPHONY with pianist Kun Woo Paik in Carmel; ENSEMBLE MONTEREY. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

SECOND CITY comedy in Carmel. YULETIDE JEWELS at Monterey Museum of Art.   

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor