JEWEL THEATRE opens Nell Benjamin’s comedy The Explorers Club at the Colligan. “It’s 1879, in London. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president wants to admit a woman, and their bartender is legendary as the worst in town. Phyllida, the female candidate in question, is brilliant, beautiful, and has discovered a legendary Lost City, but letting a woman into the Club could shake the very foundation of the British Empire.” LOVE SIDE STORIES as Youth Music Monterey celebrates Mother’s Day. MONTEREY PENINSULA VOICES and CAMERATA SINGERS hit the road. JAZZ AT UCSC & Cabrillo College. GAMELAN ENSEMBLES (above, photo by Sakura Kelley) at UC Santa Cruz. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events, click on the display ads, left, or on our CALENDAR
YMMC’S FARKHAD KHUDYEV NAMED FOR TEXAS ORCHESTRA
“THE BUTLER SCHOOL is elated to announce that its search for a Music Director of the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra has come to a successful conclusion. Farkhad Khudyev will be moving to Austin from the California coast, where he has served as Music Director of the Hidden Valley Orchestra Institute and Youth Music Monterey County. In recent years, he has guest conducted many of the world’s distinguished orchestras including the Seattle Symphony, the Danish National Symphony, and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, and has worked with the London Philharmonic as Assistant Conductor. A recipient of the Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award in 2018, as a violinist and chamber musician he won the gold medal in the Fischoff competition in 2007. His education was at Yale University, Oberlin Conservatory and Interlochen Arts Academy.” (Press release dated May 1, 2019.)
CARMEL MUSIC SOCIETY’S 93rd SEASON
2019-2020 SEASON INCLUDES the returning Van Cliburn gold medalist OLGA KERN (pictured), the MODIGLIANI String Quartet from Paris, PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA from San Francisco with in music director Nicholas McGegan in his final season, PIANIST BENJAMIN GROSVENOR’s regional debut, and VIOLINIST DANIEL HOPE returns with his homage to Yehudi Menuhin. All concerts at Carmel’s Sunset Center.
HOW TO GO NON-PROFIT WITHOUT A 501(c)(3)
JOE SEKON of Aptos Keyboard Series figured out one way. For another, Click HERE
STANFORD TO QUIT FUNDING ITS UNIVERSITY PRESS
OUTRAGE AMONG ACADEMICS. “At first glance the proposition that a university of Stanford’s stature would voluntarily inflict damage upon an asset like the Stanford University Press seems shockingly improbable. The press is a world-class scholarly publisher with a 125-plus-year history — a global ambassador of the university’s brand,” said Peter Berkery, executive director of the Association of University Presses.” Click HERE
VICKI McCLURE’S DEMENTIA CHOIR
IT HAS WORLDWIDE applications. Click HERE
AMERICAN COUNTRY MUSIC HAS GONE GLOBAL
INCLUDING in Kenya! Grand New Opry? Nairobi’s Elvis Otieno will show you. Click HERE
THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH
COMMENTATORS often proclaim that historic works of music and theater are “restored to life” in live performances and modern recordings. That may be half of the story, since there had to be life there to begin with. Anyone familiar with the works of JS Bach—the more of them the better—soon recognizes the “life” that infuses his music. What always jumps out to me is the composer’s personality: loving (“Bist du bei mir” borrowed from GH Stölzel for the Anna Magdalena Notebook), faithful (choruses from the John and Matthew Passions), joyful (the skipping “Wir eilen mit schwachen” duet from Cantata BWV 78), playful (the naughty soprano aria from the “Coffee” Cantata), grieving (the Chaconne from the violin Partita in D Minor), sarcastic (the frequently over-the-top secular commissioned Name Day cantatas.) It’s all there and more, plain to see.
REVIVING THE LOST Mark Passion began in the 1960s, with several reconstructions to follow. This new version, like the others, uses a pastiche of scenes from other Bach cantatas, including the Funeral Ode, BWV 198, Cantata “Widerstehe doch der Sünde” BWV54, and the John and Matthew Passions, a recycling Bach himself frequently availed. A huge advantage to scholar-musician Jordi Savall, who made this recording in live performance at the Chapelle Royale de Versailles in March, 2018, was the discovery in St Petersburg in 2009 of a copy of the libretto, written by longtime Bach librettist Picander (who provided the composer with texts for the choruses and arias for the Matthew and the John and several cantatas). Fellow ‘reconstructionist’ Alexander Grychtolik and Savall therefore had an advantage in choosing the music to fit Picander’s book. Savall also opted to throw out old made-up recitatives, leaving a first-ever “all-Bach” recreation. There are several familiar chorales as the chorus expresses dismay at the events in the narrative. Compared with Matthew and John, there are notably fewer arias that serve the same function as the chorales but for solo voices. As in the other passion oratorios, Bach “paints” images with musical lines. The famous “O sacred head sore wounded” chorale makes its first appearance in the finale to Part One of the two-part work, not as a chorale four-part harmonization but rather as a chorale fantasia where the chorale tune overtops the other textures in long-drawn phrases. The finale to Part Two does not scale up to the emotionally intense endings of the John and the Matthew. While the work is rich in variety and expressive textures, it doesn’t aspire to the same ambitious expressiveness of the other two. It seems Bach did not “feel” the Mark passion as deeply as the John and Matthew. Still, it makes a stunningly fresh impact.
SAVALL’S CHORUS, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, and the orchestra, Le Concert des Nations, are joined by David Szigetvari as Evangelist (who sings the gospel), solo quartet of Marta Mathéu, Raffaele Pé, Reinoud Van Mechelen and bass Konstantin Wolff, who sings the role of Jesus with an oddly masked nasality. Along with the two CDs is a 235 page booklet with the complete libretto and commentary in English, French, Catalan and Italian. The work should have a place at the Carmel Bach Festival. SM
WYNTON MARSALIS PICKS 12 ESSENTIAL JAZZ RECORDINGS
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER of Bolden, the new Buddy Bolden biopic, also explains why in a Rolling Stone interview, including audio tracks. (Hear Ornette Coleman, below.) Click HERE
I CANTORI introduces music by Sviridov. GUITARIST MANUEL BARRUECO. Click HERE
MONTEREY SYMPHONY welcomes pianist Marcos Madrigal in a program of Wagner, Chopin and Beethoven. MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY THEATER opens Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn. CSUMB Spring Choral Concert. MIRIAM ELLIS INTERNATIONAL PLAYHOUSE at UC Santa Cruz. MONTEREY COUNTY COMPOSERS FORUM presents new compositions at Hidden Valley. THIRD ANNUAL Hâ Mbongui African Dance & Drum Conference at the Tannery in Santa Cruz. ARIOSE SINGERS in Santa Cruz. MPC STRING ENSEMBLE and guests.
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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor