Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

MODIGLIANI STRING QUARTET at Sunset Center. PIANIST PETER TOTH to perform at Hidden Valley. BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET-two shows at Kuumbwa. EVITA opens at Hartnell College. MOSCOW BALLET NUTCRACKER (above) in Monterey. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR OR ON THE DISPLAY ADS, LEFT.

YOUTH MUSIC MONTEREY COUNTY

DANKO DRUŠKO’S debut with Youth Music Monterey County’s two orchestras. Prior to the Sunday afternoon concerts at Sunset Center, he led dress rehearsals with the Junior Youth Orchestra and the Honors Orchestra in a challenging program that included Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, Chabrier’s España and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol. Thirteen-year-old Rose Finn was soloist in a movement from a violin concerto by Friedrich Seitz. The concert program was designed by Druško’s predecessor Farkhad Khudyev under the pressure of time since Khudyev departed for a post conducting the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra immediately after YMMC’s 2018-19 season. Born in Germany to Croatian parents, Druško holds a Doctor of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from Indiana University. He took his Master’s Degree in the same field at Eastman School of Music. His Staatsexamen degrees were completed in Germany. While at Indiana he founded the Hoosier Philharmonic. Druško has won awards and developed major affiliations with orchestras in Europe, England and the US, most recently in Los Angeles. He has studied English Literature and Linguistics, and Philosophy and Ethics. Recently married, he and his wife are seeking further opportunities to use their respective skills.   

OREGON SHAKESPEARE SEEKS NEW EXECUTIVE

POPULAR ASHLAND FESTIVAL solicits applications. Click HERE 

800 MUSICIANS BOYCOTT AMAZON MUSIC FESTIVAL

AT ISSUE is Amazon’s contracts with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Click HERE  

JULIEN FRANÇOIS ZBINDEN

THE SWISS PIANIST/COMPOSER, a former head of the country’s Creative Rights Society, never misses a day at his piano. Julien will be 102 on November 11.

 

PABLO CASALS ON CREATIVITY AND LOVE

LEGENDARY CELLIST (1876-1973) offered advice at the end of his long life. Click HERE   

TAILOR TO THE MARIACHIS

FROM GUATEMALA to Boyle Heights, Jorge Tello has made hundreds of trajes de charro for the well-known (Anthony Quinn, Gael García Bernal, Carlos Santana) and the unknown.

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

BOTH Aaron Jay Kernis and Andrew Waggoner were born in 1960. For Kernis’ Second Symphony Marin Alsop conducts the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, the same work Cristian Măcelaru conducted at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2017, with Kernis at that time in residence. The work, from 1991, is one of several “war” pieces composed in the wake of the Persian Gulf War. “The absurdity and cruelty of the war, the first in my conscious adulthood, and the particularly brazen nature of its reliance on gleaming new technological “surgical” warfare used at a safe distance, made an enormous and lasting impression on me,” Kernis says. The Symphony is in three movements, each with bristling and clashing climaxes, titled respectively Alarm, Air/Ground and Barricade. The middle movement however surrounds its eruptive center with a vast serenity, a loving embrace. The Flute Concerto of 2015, composed in collaboration with virtuoso Marina Piccinini, goes far beyond its generic title. The first movement alone, Portrait, at nine minutes, is a concerto unto itself, packed with ideas as vivid on the solo instrument as on the orchestra, and conducted by Leonard Slatkin in its premiere recording. The three remaining movements, titled Pastorale-Barcarolle, Pavan and Taran-Tulla, provide a mind-boggling array of fresh material and intense energy. A new version of Air, originally for violin and piano, composed in 1996, fills out this fabulous CD in its own premiere recording. (Alsop conducted it at the 2005 Cabrillo Festival in a version for cello and orchestra.)  

The Waggoner collection consists of three short concertos, each in three movements, inspired by the composer’s previous concerto for four cellos and orchestra, itself inspired by “Stretched on the Beauty,” a line from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The music itself is highly organized in its tonality and themes, yet the Violin Concerto (2010, rev. 2013), Piano Concerto (2013) and Guitar Concerto (2012) almost sound like the work of three different composers. Waggoner uses words like “anxious” and “dogged” in describing the Violin Concerto, an often contentious and conflicted piece, yet full of orchestral color, lyricism and even touches of wit. The fine soloist is Michael Lim. Gloria Cheng is soloist for the Piano Concerto and was one of its commissioners. The composer writes that the first movement, Nocturne (The Red Book), is modeled on Carl Jung’s phantasmagorical collection of his own dreams and desires; think of Halloween with fireflies and things that gently bump in the night. The second movement …hands of the sisters, Death and Night continues the nocturnal mood, more pensively, with another reference to Whitman. The finale, Quantum Memoir, is dedicated to Steven Stucky, a prominent American composer who died from cancer at age 69 in 2016, and was a friend and mentor to both Waggoner and Cheng. It’s “catchy, unsentimental and…expressively mutable.” Kenneth Meyer is soloist in the 13-minute Guitar Concerto, whose movements are titled “changeable”, “dogged” and “elegiac.” Yes, the guitar is featured, but surrounded by solo moments on a huge range of other instruments concertante style. For all three works, Julia Tal conducts the Seattle Modern Orchestra. 

Both of these discs are keepers, mother lodes to be mined in the years to come. SM  

FAN OF LANG LANG? MEET LONG LONG

CAN A JOINT RECITAL be in the air?

 

FRESH REVIEW

SANTA CRUZ SYMPHONY in Watsonville. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

ME AND MY GIRL opens at Jewel Theatre Company. MONTEREY SYMPHONY AND KUN WOO PAIK in piano concertos by Mozart and Brahms. SAN JOSE TAIKO at CSU Monterey Bay. SERGIO MENDES & BEBEL GILBERTO bring Bossa Nova to Carmel.  

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor