Weekly Magazine

Superbloom, Soda Lake, Carrizo Plain Nat’l Monument, March 21

THIS WEEK

PIANIST ALEXEY TRUSHECHKIN plays for the Aptos Keyboard Series. ESPRESSIVO Chamber Orchestra performs in Santa Cruz. NEW MUSIC program at Cabrillo College. VOCALIST MARISELA (the Latin Madonna) comes to the Fox. ZAKIR HUSSAIN & THE DRUMMERS OF KERALA play the Rio. THE BAND celebrates 50 years on the road. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events, click on the display ads, left, or on our CALENDAR

THE RENAISSANCE HOT TICKET

RENAISSANCE CONVENT CHOIRS led the charge. You should have been there. Click HERE

 

‘WE WERE ALWAYS BUSY IN FEBRUARY’

GETTING COMPOSERS OF COLOR into the symphonic canon. The ‘gospel’ according to Thomas Wilkins. Click HERE   

OKLAHOMA! GUNNING FOR GUNS

REVIVAL SHOOTING at illegal firearms. Click HERE  

GREAT BIG STORY

IBEYI: THE DIAZ TWINS 

Daughters of Latin jazz legend Miguel Angá Diaz and French-Venezuelan singer Maya Dagnino. Click HERE  

MILESTONES

CONDUCTOR MICHAEL GIELEN dead at 91. Led the Cincinnati Symphony from 1980 to 1986. Click HERE   

CELLIST GEORGE NEIKRUG dead at 100. Performed under Leopold Stokowski; made a legendary recording of Bloch’s Schelomo in 1960. Click HERE  

 

THE TWO FACES OF JOSEPH MARX

THE AUSTRIAN COMPOSER whose music disappeared before and after his death in 1964, was praised as an exemplar of new music in the early 20th century by no less an authority than the famous German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. These CDs were originally released on the now-defunct ASV label and have just resurfaced in the Naxos catalog. Volume 1 contains the “devastatingly gorgeous” Nature Trilogy, performed by the Bochum Symphony Orchestra. (The same orchestra and conductor, the American Steven Sloane, also perform the world-premiere recordings of Marx’s Old Vienna Serenades.) Marx’s lush, beautifully crafted late-Romantic music has unjustly languished in both recordings and the concert hall. Fortuitously, Naxos has begun to remedy this situation. The Natur-Trilogie is a richly impressionistic work in three parts that brims with lyrical passion, portraying the moods of Marx’s native landscapes while displaying his subtle feel for harmony and orchestration. This is unambiguously the work of a nature ecstatic. Arnold Schoenberg laid a foundation for ‘post-Romantic’ music in which tonality was blurred to the border of atonality by chromaticism, in other words tonal ambiguity. This style was taken up and carried forward by Alexander Zemlinsky—Schoenberg’s brother-in-law, among others. (Gustav Mahler was an enthusiastic supporter to this generation.) If you love sensual washes of sonority and impressionistic moods, this music is for you. It calls to mind the opulent music of Zemlinsky, Franz Schreker, Frederick Delius and some of Debussy’s late orchestra music, like Jeux. Heady company to be sure. Of the Nature Trilogy, I find the last, Spring Music (1925) the most energetic and closest in character and style to Delius. Nothing about Volume 1 could prepare you for Volume 2, a totally retro return to the classical forms and baroque dances of bygone eras—even though the three works, Old Vienna Serenades, Partita in Ancient Style and Symphony in Classical Style—were composed in the 1940s. Marx may have been the author of his own musico-historic demise, yet the mother lode of his art will remain relevant to fans of both his faces, like me. SM   

THE WHITE WOMEN WHO BANNED PUEBLO INDIAN DANCE

WHEN THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS actually had that power. See image, top of the page. Click HERE  

DANIEL CASTRO PLAYS THE BLUES FOR YOU

 

FRESH REVIEWS

BREAKING THE CODE at the Colligan in Santa Cruz. Click HERE

PIANIST WU HAN in Carmel, HENRY MOLLICONE’S MOSES in Los Angeles. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

MONTROSE TRIO to play Shostakovich, Arensky in Carmel. BARITONE DANIEL BELCHER to sing at UCSC. APRIL IN SANTA CRUZ series begins. ESA-PEKKA SALONEN’S Karawane in Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor