Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

MUSIC FROM COPLAND HOUSE brings rare chamber music to Sunset Center on Saturday. (See feature below.) SPECTORDANCE’S EAST WEST (video above) in Salinas. EURIPIDES’ TROJAN WOMEN opens at Cabrillo College. YOUTH MUSIC MONTEREY’S “Eclectic Delight” features a concerto from Azerbaijan. “BIG SHEBANG”—who chose that word?!—celebrates 40th anniversary of New Music Works & Santa Cruz Chamber Players at Peace United, Sunday at 4pm. For links to these and other live performance events, click our CALENDAR or on the ads, left.

JORDI SAVALL’S “ROUTES OF SLAVERY”

NOVEMBER 3, 8pm, Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley. Click HERE   

 

K-SQUID RADIO COMING SOON

LISTENER-SUPPORTED FUNDRAISING continues to secure studios and related infrastructure. KSQD will being broadcasting at 90.7 FM around the end of the year. It promises not to make the mistakes that doomed the lamented KUSP. Click HERE  

MUSIC FROM COPLAND HOUSE

COMPOSER AARON COPLAND (1900-1990) lived the last three decades of his life at a hilltop home surrounded by forests in Cortlandt Manor, New York, about 30 miles up the Hudson from Manhattan. After extensive renovations, Copland House, as it is now known, opened in 1998 as a non-profit center to provide composers with all-expenses-paid residencies, post-residency awards and performances that further advance their work, plus fiscal sponsorships and commissions. The Copland House Ensemble tours extensively and makes both audio and video recordings. Their latest visit to Chamber Music Monterey Bay, this Saturday, includes three works not performed here before plus a CMMB commissioned clarinet quartet , Living Frescoes, by Kevin Puts that premiered locally in 2012. The program will include the California premiere of Angel Lam’s Fragrance of the Sea. Both works are scored for clarinet, violin, cello and piano. “They represent journeys,” ensemble pianist and Copland House director Michael Boriskin (pictured left) explains. “The Puts piece is a journey of life, death and rebirth.” The Lam piece was a joint commission by SaltBay Chamber Festival in Maine and Copland House, jointly premiered in 2017. “It’s a simple and striking work that traces the multi-generational migration from rural China to Shanghai to Hong Kong, San Francisco and Manhattan,” Boriskin says. “It has a lot of stereotypical Chinese pentatonic melodies, sparseness of textures plus hints of jazz.”

Having performed the Puts quartet several times, Boriskin describes it as “vibrant, moving and stunning.” The ensemble will be recording it later this season, for release on the Copland House Blend label. The work was inspired by a video installation created by Bill Viola. For the Carmel revival five large stills will be displayed, “one or two panels per movement.” The program will begin with the first of two piano trios by Shostakovich. “It’s a portrait of the artist as a young man,” Boriskin says. “A kind of autobiography, in that creative sense, that makes clear where he’s come from. It has some juicy hyper-romantic themes.” The composer was just 17 when he wrote it. “The Shostakovich soundprints are already there. It shines.” 

The program will close with Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Trio in D Minor, Op 120. “It dates from 1923, just before he died,” says Boriskin. “It’s his second to last major work. It feels autumnal, balanced between elegance and heartbreak.” Calling it “totally exquisite,” he singles out the “melting slow movement.” He adds that when Copland was a young man in France for the first time, Fauré was a contemporary. “Copland’s first article was about Fauré, in which he wrote ‘Many in France will regard him as the country’s greatest living composer.’” SM

HOW DO YOU ‘WRITE DOWN’ DANCE?

DANCE NOTATION must account for three-dimensional art. Click HERE   

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

DYONYSUS

NEW DEAD CAN DANCE CD took shape as Brendan Perry became fascinated by long established spring and harvest festivals that had their origins in Dionysian religious practices throughout Europe. The album’s seven movements, in the form of an oratorio, represent different facets of the Dionysus myth and his cult. As with the rest of the Dead Can Dance catalogue, rhythms inspired by world traditions play a key role. On Dionysus, sounds blend into one another to create an esoteric, atmospheric, at times magical realist experience for the listener.

THE SCENE OF THE CRIME

RENOWNED INTERNATIONAL PERCUSSIONIST Colin Currie’s new collaboration with trumpet virtuoso Håkan Hardenberger, released last week, is breathtakingly colorful. There are two kinds of percussion instruments: fixed or indeterminate pitch (cymbals, gongs, bells and most drums) and keyboards (marimbas, xylophones, vibraphones). Adjustable timpani can work both sides of that street. Currie is a master of all and paints bright colors as well as subtle shades. Somehow, Hardenberger manages to make a match of it in the magical Heptade of 1970 by André Jolivet (percussion of the first order mentioned above). Joe Duddell’s exciting yet moody Catch (2011, revised 2017) depends on marimbas, as does and Tobias Broström’s charming, mysteriously wistful Dream Variations, with gongs and drums. Daniel Börtz’ Dialogo 4 begins whisper quiet, intimately beguiling and fraught with internal tension. Currie makes the most of his bongos, gongs and snapsticks. Finally the ‘argument’ resolves into gentle melody above soothing percussion comfort. The piece ends as it began. Brett Dean’s The Scene of the Crime calls for the biggest drums while the trumpet spends much time talking to itself. As the tempo picks up to a quick-step, wood blocks join the jazzy party. That energy winds down to hushed whispers, then recovers its swinging momentum. Hardenberger uses a straight mute for added color. His open tone is warm and generous; his ability to make his instrument sound like a clarinet, an oboe, and even an ocarina—a perfect fit with marimba and bongos—puts him in a class all his own. SM

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT

AMERICAN COMPOSER PAUL LANSKY, born 1944 in New York, takes on all possible opportunities with glee, as does Bridge Records which has released an unending series of his compositions on CDs. His music is nothing to fear; it will charm your socks off. This new one is titled after his 25-minute wind quintet, performed by Windscape, whose horn player, David Jolley, once performed at King Hall on the campus of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. (I’m not making this up; I was there.) While I have long advocated that ‘live music is best,’ I have also defended the role of recorded music in the right circumstances; in this case a late autumn afternoon—alone to avoid the temptation of distracting conversation—with a glass of dry sherry and a wedge of aged stilton. (A cat purring on your lap would fill the picture quite nicely.) The Long and Short of It combines traditional forms and procedures with spicy, piquant harmonies and textures. The recording is rounded out with Pieces of Advice, a 20-minute horn sonata featuring hornist William Purvis with pianist Mihae Lee, and Talking Guitars played by Jiyeon Kim and Hao Yang. Trader Joe’s sells stilton at a much lower price than Safeway. SM

SHANGHAI JAZZ RESTORATION

Click HERE

DANIEL HOPE AND FRIENDS

EXACTLY WHAT YOU MISSED, if you missed them on Sunday in Carmel.

 

FRESH REVIEWS

DANIEL HOPE AND FRIENDS in Carmel. INSPIRARE CHOIR debut. Click HERE

THE CHILDREN’S HOUR at UC Santa Cruz; LEGACY OF LIGHT at Hartnell College. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS present “American Voices” in Aptos. PAPER WING THEATRE in Monterey opens Terms of Use. SUDS, THE ROCKING ‘60S MUSICAL SOAP OPERA begins at Jewel Theatre in Santa Cruz.   

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor