Weekly Magazine

Left to right, composer Michael Daugherty, percussion virtuoso Evelyn Glennie, your PAMB editor, composers John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse, 2011 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Photo by rr jones.

THIS WEEK

62ND MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL takes over the Monterey Fairgrounds. ENSEMBLE MONTEREY opens season with ‘Songs for Fall.’ SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, based on the motion picture, opens at Carmel’s Forest Theater. ROCKER JIM MESSINA at the Rio. LEBERTA LORÁL VOCAL MASTER CLASS at CSUMB Music Hall, Saturday, September 28, 1pm. SONDHEIM’S COMPANY opens at Center Stage in Santa Cruz. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR

CHRISTOPHER ROUSE, RIP

ONE OF AMERICA’S greatest orchestral composers died Saturday at age 70. His students, among the best of their generation—not least Michael Daugherty and Kevin Puts—are in deep mourning. He was a favorite of Marin Alsop and appeared numerous times at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music as composer-in-residence, the last in 2016. Click HERE    

ROUSE SPEAKS ABOUT HIS “REQUIEM”

 

KEN BURNS’ PLUNGE INTO COUNTRY MUSIC

A TELEVISON DOCUMENTARY REVELATION that defies prejudices and jokes reveals America to Americans as a dynamic, living culture. Dacey Orr Sivewright puts Burns’ odyssey into print for Garden & Gun. Click HERE 

20 BEST DANCE PRODUCTIONS OF THE 21ST CENTURY

ANOINTED BY The Guardian. Click HERE  AT NUMBER THREE is Sutra, by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the monks from Shaolin Temple

 

JOHN MILTON’S NOTES ON SHAKESPEARE

COULD THERE BE a better qualified critic? Click HERE 

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

LA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA JOINS BIS LABEL

VIOLINIST MARGARET BATJER is featured in concertos by Pierre Jalbert and JS Bach and concertante works Arvo Pärt and Peteris Vasks, with music director Jeffrey Kahane conducting. Jalbert, an American composer who has appeared as composer-in-residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa in 2010, 2011 and 2018, has crafted a 25-minute work, in two movements, that displays extreme contrasts. The first movement begins in magical mystery that soon turns moody then fiercely virtuosic. Its middle section, Scherzando, is manic and dramatic, Jalbert’s colorful orchestra palette on vivid show, hellzapopin’ and timely good for Halloween, with a brief solo cadenza just before returning to its spooky opening. The second movement. marked “With great energy,” restores the theatrics from the middle of the first, moans around the shadows with quarter tones, and goes quite unpredictable and angular in the dark. Rhythmic pulses alternate with hesitant lack of motion. Another, longer solo cadenza sets up a flourishing finish. Overall the piece is a beguiling shape-shifter.       

Bach’s Concerto in A minor gives anyone bewildered a safe haven and, by contrast, a steaming cup of chamomile tea with a touch of lemon. (Kahane plays its harpsichord part.) Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, from 1977—his ‘greatest hit’—originally for violin and piano but with many other versions, usually featuring violin solo, authorized by the composer. This one adds percussion to the strings orchestra (as does the Jalbert concerto.) The piece borrows some harmonic tricks from Bach, and opens with a flurry of arpeggios across the strings at high speed, then abruptly goes into slow motion as the strings keen long-lined lamentations. More violin arpeggios follow, at first at moderate speed, then again at high speed over a bed of the slower moving orchestra and a pedal point. These elements continue to alternate, resembling variations. In character, this is a passionate work, a cry for some kind of redemption as befits so much of the composer’s music. Vasks’ Lonely Angel, a reworking of a movement from the Latvian composer’s fourth string quartet (1999) clearly follows the example of Fratres, but with a more lyrically consoling tone, with sad falling gestures on the orchestra. Listening to it I could not but remember and lament Christopher Rouse whose death on Saturday leaves a huge hole in the heart of new music, American and worldwide. SM     

SPEAKING OF THE LA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SEARCH is now underway. Click HERE 

‘PUNK CONDUCTOR’ SHAKES UP CLASSICAL

TEODOR CURRENTZIS—anarchist, goth, guru—has burst out of the Russian provinces and scaled the classical heights. Click HERE 

MARY LOU WILLIAMS HONORED AT MONTEREY JAZZ

UNIQUELY GIFTED artist (1910-1981) celebrated on this Friday’s opening night lineup. She appeared at the MJF in 1965, 1971 and 1972.

 

FRESH REVIEW

“AMERICANA” at Church in the Forest features mezzo-soprano Solmaaz Adeli and friends. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

KRONOS QUARTET at Henry Miller in Big Sur. KA-HON LATIN PERCUSSION opens new Tandy Beal ARTSmart series in Santa Cruz.

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor