Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

THE CATALYST QUARTET takes CMMB ticket-buyers on a tour of South America. CELLIST JONAH KIM is our Performing Arts People person. (See below.) DANCE IS IN THE AIR with SpectorDance’s Choreographers Showcase, and a second weekend of Random With a Purpose at UCSC. ROMEO & JULIET opens at Monterey Peninsula College. CROWNS opens at UC Santa Cruz. RACHMANINOFF & DVOŘÁK in Santa Cruz & Watsonville. SWEET JAZZ returns to Embassy Suites on Sunday. JAZZ MESSENGERS legacy at Kuumbwa. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events, click on the display ads, left, or on our CALENDAR

REVIEWERS REVIEWING THEMSELVES

PAMB LOOKS FOR and cultivates reviewers as critics who write informed opinions. Some are veterans, some are new to the game who need training, but they all understand the job. Either way, these people are hard to come by in our coverage area. What we see otherwise, over and over, is ‘reviewers’ so afraid of expressing an opinion, much less a criticism, that they prefer to either sugar-coast a description of a performance or review their own emotional reaction to it. From our point of view, this is not only irrelevant to the reader—you know who you are—but an insult to the performers. I recently read a locally published review of a Santa Cruz concert that was nothing more or less than a musicological dissertation having nothing to do with the event at hand. (The writer might not have even been in attendance.) Also recently, reviews that spent most of their time talking about the weather or views of Monterey Bay. Not so long ago I read a program note by another presenter that was plagiarized from a link on Wikipedia that took me about two minutes to find. Criticism, including reviewing, is first and foremost accurate reporting. Our writers know that. Sadly many others, publishing under a byline, don’t. SM

PERFORMING ARTS PEOPLE

JONAH KIM has so far packed a lifetime of experience into just thirty years. Born in Seoul in 1988, he acquired a world-class musical education at the most prestigious music schools in America, winning a scholarship to attend Juilliard at age seven. Later he studied at the Curtis Institute. A list of his cello teachers reads like a who’s who of the instrument in the latter 20th and early 21st centuries: Janos Starker, Mstislav Rostropovich and, by lineage, Yo-Yo Ma. He also studied with no less-eminent cellists Peter Wiley, Orlando Cole, David Soyer, Joel Krosnick, Aldo Parisot and Lynn Harrell. Click HERE for the rest of the story.   

THE THERAMIN’S MUSICAL LIFE BEFORE SCI-FI

A LAUGH OUT LOUD TED TALK is included. Click HERE

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

MEET HAROLD MELTZER

PLEASE DON’T BE PUT OFF by the album’s minimalist title. Veteran composer Harold Meltzer (born 1966) is neither a minimalist-style nor ‘sounds-like’ composer, but a man with his own voice. A practicing attorney, he gave up law for music. This CD makes for a fine introduction to his more intimate style. In Fanfare Magazine, Robert Carl commented that he “seems to write pieces of scrupulous craft and exceptional freshness, which makes each seem like an important contribution.” The first recording devoted to his music, released in 2010 by Naxos on its American Classics label, was named one of the CDs of the year in The New York Times and in Fanfare. A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009 for his sextet Brion, Meltzer has been awarded the Rome Prize, the Barlow Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and both the Arts and Letters Award in Music and the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His body of work, in all forms, is copious. Founder and co-director for fifteen years of the new music ensemble Sequitur, he lives with his wife and two children in the East Village of Manhattan. He has taught at Amherst and Vassar Colleges, and teaches currently at the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University. Two song cycles, Bride of the Island (2016) to poems by Ted Hughes and Beautiful Ohio (2010) to poems by James Wright show Meltzer’s sensitivity to words, the latter set with plenty of musical wit—opening verse is “Small Frogs Killed on the Highway”—both sung by tenor Paul Appleby with pianist Natalia Katyukova. The Avalon String Quartet plays his 16-minute Aqua (2011), comprised of many short bits in a single movement, and actually does dip into minimalism but without slavery to it, and shows refreshing spunk and attitude. (Any area presenters looking for some fresh material will find it here.) Finally, his 15-minute Kreisleriana for violin (Miranda Cuckson) and piano (Blair McMillen) of 2012 & 2014, commissioned by the Library of Congress to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the death of early 20th century violin virtuoso Fritz Kreisler. Its circular design pays homage to Robert Schumann’s piano cycle that bears the same name, if for a fictitious character invented by ETA Hoffman, short story author of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. SM

NO NIPPLES ALLOWED IN BAYREUTH

 

PHILIP GLASS’ AKHNATEN

FROM 1983, and one of the composer’s most fascinating operas, it’s about the 14th century BC Pharaoh who tried to replace the Egyptian pantheon with one god, Aten, ie., the Sun. (See image at top of page.) Akhenaten was husband to Nefertiti and father of Tutankhamun. For the 2016 production in London, countertenor Anthony Ross Costanzo, in the title role, agreed to appear naked. He talks to the Guardian about how that experience changed his life. Click HERE   

THE PRICE OF FUN

WHAT THE NUMBERS say. And why isn’t bullfighting included in the graphic? It’s high-priced entertainment too. Click HERE

CONCERT BY THE SEA

ERROLL GARNER’S legendary 1955 performance. Genius!

 

CORRECTION

IN OUR REVIEW OF the Brantano Quartet last week, I said that pianist Yekwon Sunwoo had won the Carmel Music Society semi-annual piano competition. In fact, he was brought to Carmel as winner of the 2017 Van Cliburn Competition. The CME prize winner was Kevin Lee Sun, who played his winning recital in Carmel on January 13. Apologies to him. SM

FRESH REVIEWS

TEMPEST TRIO in Santa Cruz and MONTEREY SYMPHONY in Carmel. (Also Ensemble Monterey added last week.) Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

PIANIST DARIA KISELEVA to perform for Aptos Keyboard Series. YOUTH MUSIC MONTEREY presents “Peasant Spirit,” classical orchestral music in Carmel. “WAYLON & TAELEN” celebrates the man who restored the country in country. CAMERATA SINGERS in Salinas and Monterey. JAZZ BASH BY THE BAY in Monterey. 

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate edito