I CANTORI sings “Expressions of the Heart” in Pacific Grove and Carmel. (See commentary by conductor Cyril Deaconoff below.) ACCLAIMED MANUEL BARRUECO (above), international guitar virtuoso, plays Sunset Center on May 5. PIANIST MISUZU TANAKA performs for Aptos Keyboard Series. STUDENT RECITALS bunch up at UC Santa Cruz. MARIACHI REYNA DE LOS ANGELES at CSUMB is sold out. ENROUTE URBAN DANCE SHOWCASE at Cabrillo Crocker Theater. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events, click on the display ads, left, or on our CALENDAR
CYRIL DEACONOFF will conduct the I Cantori choir Saturday afternoon in Pacific Grove and Sunday evening in Carmel. Their program, “Expressions of the Heart,” includes the regional premiere of A Pushkin Garland by Russian composer Georgy Vasilyevich Sviridov (1915-1998)– pictured–a native of Kursk, in southwest Russia near the border with Ukraine. As Deaconoff introduces him, “Sviridov is one of the most important Russian composers of the 20th century, a most original talent who embodied contemporary Russia during the Communist times.” He adds that Sviridov studied with Shostakovich “who appreciated him very much.” A Pushkin Garland is comprised of ten poems, “a window into Russian life, not only peasant life, with folklike songs, but also moments where Sviridov speaks from the same intellectual place as Pushkin, his love, his heartbreak, folk and city life.” Deaconoff says one song sounds like Shostakovich. Another, ‘Reveille’ “calls for singers off stage to sound like trumpets, while the rest of the chorus hums.” In the ninth poem, Pushkin borrows a text from the Quran. Deaconoff says the Russian language has been a challenge for the singers. “This is the real Russian collusion, not the fake one,” he laughs. The program also includes JS Bach’s joyful motet, “Lobet den Herrn” and Palestrina’s “Do Re Mi” Mass.
PERSONAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM PAULETTE LYNCH
IT HAS BEEN my great honor, joy and privilege to serve this wonderful region as Executive Director of the Arts Council for Monterey County since April of 2004. I am writing today to announce my retirement effective September 15, 2019. The Arts Council is now well positioned for further success and it is time for me to make time for my family, my music and consulting projects. I am confident that our board will find and support the right person to take our work to the next level. For now, though, I will be helping prepare for the transition.
DANIEL STEWART TO CONDUCT SFS YOUTH ORCHESTRA
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY YOUTH ORCHESTRA viola alumnus and Santa Cruz Symphony music director Daniel Stewart returns to guest conduct the Youth Orchestra in San Francisco in four programs during the 2019-20 season: November 17, December 15, March 15 and May 10.
MOUNTAIN WINERY 2019-20 SEASON BECKONS
NEW SEASON AT HISTORIC Saratoga hilltop venue runs from May 25 through October 11 and includes more than 60 events and artists, including Diana Krall, Seal, Jackson Browne, George Lopez, Steve Martin, Josh Groban and Earth, Wind & Fire. Click HERE
CHICAGO SYMPHONY MUSICIANS STRIKE SETTLED
HOW DID the musicians fare? They didn’t get what they struck for, writes Drew McManus. Click HERE
FACEBOOK’S DIRTY MIND
THE NORWEGIAN LABEL Lawo Classics has been suspended from Facebook after posting cover art by the Dutch master Jan Davidsz De Heem (1606-1684) on a Baroque CD release, which Facebook deemed to be sexual.
HOW MUSIC WORKS
NOLAN GASSER’S new book, Why You Like It, reviewed. Click HERE
INDONESIA’S TRADITIONAL CROSS-GENDER DANCING
IT’S NOT what you may think. Click HERE
A GIANT OF 20TH CENTURY CLASSICAL MUSIC
WHEN THE HISTORY is certified, Mstislav Rostropovich will loom the largest among a cohort of great cellists. But this newly released documentary film by Bruno Monsaingeon doesn’t really explain why. Rather, it is the astounding body of concertos, sonatas and other major works composed for him that have virtually doubled the instrument’s repertoire. Between 1950 and 1996, the composers who wrote works for and dedicated to Rostropovich—which he also recorded—include (alphabetically) Benjamin Britten, Boris Chaikovsky, Dmitri Kabalevsky, Aram Khachaturian, Karen Khachaturian, Lev Knipper, Fernando Lopes-Graça, Nicolai Miaskovsky, Astor Piazzolla, Sergei Prokofiev, Alfred Schnittke, Yuri Shaporin, Dmitri Shostakovich, Boris Tishchenko, Yuzo Toyama, Galina Ustvolskaya and Mieczysław Vainberg. When Monsaingeon—one of the most admired documentarians of extraordinary musicians—proposed such a film to Rostropovich over countless rounds of vodka in his Paris apartment, in 2000, the cellist said, “Only after I’m dead.” But simultaneously, Slava, as he was widely known, had dumped a trunkful of films taken during his life on the documentarian. What to do? It’s Monsaingeon’s job; to date he has created 96 such works on world famous musicians, and made several more world famous. The film, also available on Blue-ray, centers on Rostropovich’s life after he welcomed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of the Nobel-winning The Gulag Archipelago and refugee from the Soviet authorities whose ‘truth’ he had deeply embarrassed, into his home. By that action alone, Rostropovich also became a target and saw his performance career begin to dry up, ultimately losing his Russian passport, as well as that of his wife, the heroic opera soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. It was then that the two Russian artists sought and found a welcoming embrace in the United States. (After the Soviet collapse, they returned to Russia and tumultuous acclaim.) It’s a heroic story and Monsaingeon, as well he is known to, tells it splendidly. “The Indomitable Bow” runs 79 minutes and is complemented by several complete performances of other works and a 40-minute interview with people who knew both Rostropovich (died in 2007) and Solzhenitsyn (died 2008). SM
SAODAT ISMAILOVA RESTORING UZBEK CULTURE
MATRIARCHAL FILMMAKER and historian recruits “girl warrior” musicians. Click HERE
LIME JELL-O MARSHMALLOW COTTAGE CHEESE SURPRISE
THE ORIGINAL, 1980, by Joan Morris and composer (is that the right word here?) and husband William Bolcom, a Cabrillo Festival Composer-in-Residence in 2018.
BALLET THE NIGHTINGALE premieres in King City. Click HERE
SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS lose their minds. Click HERE
JEWEL THEATRE opens Nell Banjamin’s The Explorers Club at the Colligan. YOUTH MUSIC MONTEREY ‘loves’ mothers on Mother’s Day. MONTEREY PENINSULA VOICES, CAMERATA SINGERS
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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor