Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

ME AND MY GIRL musical comedy opens at the Colligan in Santa Cruz. MONTEREY SYMPHONY returns concert pianist Kun Woo Paik for concertos by Mozart and Brahms. UC SANTA CRUZ CONCERT CHOIR’S Fall concert. SANTA CRUZ COUNTY YOUTH SYMPHONY (above) with Concerto Competition winner, 16-year-old flutist Hunter Bauman, performs at UC Santa Cruz. PICASSO ENSEMBLE at Cabrillo Sesnon House. IL DOLCE SUONO choir at Cabrillo. CABRILLO YOUTH CHORUS at Cabrillo. SAN JOSE TAIKO at CSU World Theater. FOR LINKS to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR OR ON THE DISPLAY ADS, LEFT.

THE MONTEREY SYMPHONY

WELCOMES BACK Kun Woo Paik for Mozart’s last concerto and Brahms’ first, both masterpieces. Controversy surrounds the year of composition and who first performed the Mozart concerto, in 1791 the year of his untimely death. Brahms’ First Piano Concerto was planned as a sonata for two pianos, then took the shape of a four-movement symphony before finally attaining its definitive three-movement concerto form, which was premiered publicly with the 26-year-old composer at the piano in 1859. While Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto has been described by some as his “best,” the First is widely regarded as his “greatest.” Kun Woo Paik has established a solid reputation as an exemplary artist in the European classical repertoire; his return to Carmel at the invitation of Max Bragado-Darman in his final season deserves sell-out audiences at Sunset Center. Kun Woo Paik soloed to acclaim with Bragado and the Monterey Symphony in Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto in 2014.

JEWEL THEATRE COMPANY
 
OPENS “ridiculously tuneful” Me and My Girl at the Colligan Theater as directed and choreographed by Lee Ann Payne (left). Set in the late 1930s, this classic musical comedy tells the story of an unapologetically unrefined cockney named Bill Snibson, who learns he is the 14th heir to the Earl of Hareford when he is summoned to the late earl’s estate to assume his destiny as a nobleman. But Bill will have none of it, especially since it involves ditching the equally unrefined love of his life, Sally. Filled with memorable tunes like “The Lambeth Walk” and “The Sun Has Got His Hat On,” this energetic Tony Award winning musical ran for 3 years on Broadway and 8 years in the West End.
 
BREAKING NEWS FROM PARIS

CRISTIAN MĂCELARU has just been named the next conductor of the Orchestre National de France, successor to Emmanuel Krivine. The 39-year-old Romanian, who has been enjoying a rapid rise as stand-in for some celebrated conductors, will take over in 2021. Măcelaru is presently music director of the WDR Sinfonieorchester in Cologne and of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz.

SLAVA PLAYS WHEN BERLIN WALL FALLS

ROSTROPOVICH had to be there in 1989.

 

CARL SAGAN’S BALONEY DETECTION KIT

HOW TO TELL the real deal using critical thinking. Click HERE

PHILIP GLASS’ AKHNATEN HAS COMPETITION

EGYPTIAN ARCHEOLOGIST Zahi Hawass plans to stage his new opera about Tutankhamun in Cairo and The Valley of the Kings. Click HERE 

LEONARD COHEN’S HALLELUJAH IN HEBREW

AND with microtones on the ney flute.

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

THIS FINE NEW recording by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir reveals some fresh insights into this inspired masterpiece. And like all recordings over the last five decades, it will be measured by the 1964 recording by the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Singverein conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Karajan (1908-1989) could be as cold-blooded and calculating as he was fastidious and intense. Once he designed his interpretations he rarely changed them, as documented by his several takes over the years of the Beethoven symphonies. His Brahms Requiem is highly detailed but ultimately timeless. During his tenure at the Carmel Bach Festival, Bruno Weil gave performances of the work that were modeled exactly on the Karajan interpretation. How is Daniel Harding’s take on it different? He approaches the work’s first movement tentatively—the beatitude “Blessed are”—but soon encourages the chorus to take up rhythmic energy and deliver a warmly seductive sonority. But Harding pulls the punch on Karajan’s forceful timpani solo in the second movement, probably the signature message of the 1964 recording. A former timpanist with the Monterey Symphony described her part as “a real melody.” (I’d say that Karajan called for hard stick heads while almost everyone else plays with softer mallets.) The most excerpted movement in choral concerts is the pastoral third movement, “How amiable are thy tabernacles,” but here the accented points and energy are aggressive, pushy, while Karajan applies them with more subtlety. Baritone Matthias Goerne sings a robust and compelling solo in the third and sixth movements. Soprano Christiane Karg (and chorus) sings the fifth movement with shimmer and pristine clarity. Both enhance the whole, though she could have dug deeper into the text and given it more personal expression. SM     

EDWARD ELGAR AND GEORGE WHITEFIELD CHADWICK may not seem to belong in the same sentence. In fact, the Brit and American composers were of exactly the same generation, The gifted Elgar, self-taught due to pecuniary family circumstances; Chadwick well-trained thanks to abundant family resources. (They met, but didn’t seem to find common ground.) Elgar wrote one of his best and personally favorite scores, Symphonic Studies in C Minor, inspired by details from scenes in Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Chadwick, best known for his Symphonic Sketches, chose Robert Burns’ portrait of Tam O’Shanter. Both Tam and Falstaff are characters of notorious self-indulgence. The new Orchid Classics CD took the unusual path of inserting the Shakespeare conversations of Falstaff and Prince Harry (Hal) between the movements of Elgar’s score. Chadwick’s own written introduction to Tam O’Shanter precedes the 20-minute tone poem. In both cases, trained actors provide the readings. (The Elgar score is performed without dialog on a second included disc.) Elgar introduces Falstaff with a wheedling, cajoling theme and follows it with a heroic tune for Prince Harry. Helpful as the dialogs are, Elgar’s music should be taken for its own considerable merits, pictorial and brilliantly imaginative. (Elgar was as adept at writing programmatic tone poems as his contemporary Richard Strauss; he even imitates Strauss in his Alassio.) But Elgar’s Falstaff has inexplicably never really caught on in concert programming, notwithstanding plentiful recordings. This may be its best moment, thanks to the spoken illuminations by actors Timothy West and Samuel West. Alas, on Harry’s elevation to King Henry V, Falstaff’s repudiation and banishment can only lead to his death. This is not the clownish Falstaff of the operas by Nicolai and Verdi but a worn down reject. Nevertheless, Elgar paints him with respect and love, even unto death. Andrew Constantine and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales give fine performances. SM    

WILLIE AND TRIGGER

THE LIFE of a guitar. Click HERE 

THE MYSTERY OF TALLAHATCHIE BRIDGE

BOBBIE GENTRY in 1967

 

FRESH REVIEWS

EVITA at Hartnell College. Click HERE

MODIGLIANI QUARTET in Carmel. PIANIST PÉTER TÓTH in Carmel Valley. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS host Black Cedar Trio in Aptos. MESSIAH SING-ALONG by I Cantori at Carmel Mission with guest conductor Sal Ferrantelli. CHEKHOV’S CHERRY ORCHARD opens at Mountain Community Theater. ELF JR., THE MUSICAL opens at King City High. MPC STRING ENSEMBLE in Monterey. LIKEWISE MPC CHORUS’ “Ceremony of Carols.” EVENING OF FLAMENCO at Hidden Valley. CHICAGO THE MUSICAL in Carmel. ANNUAL MUSICAL FEAST in Carmel Valley. INSCAPE ‘mixed ensemble’ to play Sunset Center. SONGWRITER KATHERINE LAVIN, age 11, at East Village in Monterey. UCSC ORCHESTRA; UCSC CHAMBER SINGERS; UCSC WIND ENSEMBLE. CABRILLO COLLEGE CHORALE. CABRILLO COLLEGE FALL DANCE CONCERT. SUPERIOR DONUTS opens at Monterey Peninsula College.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor