Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

“YULETIDE JEWELS” seasonal stories at Monterey Museum of Art. AKIKO-HAMILTON-DECHTER ORGAN TRIO at Kuumbwa Jazz. SECOND CITY comedy at Sunset Center. KIRTAN WITH KRISHNA DAS at the Rio Theatre. “THROWING CAUTION TO THE WIND” with Taelen Thomas, Melinda Coffey & guests at Hidden Valley. AN IRISH CHRISTMAS in Monterey. FOR LINKS to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR OR ON THE DISPLAY ADS, LEFT.

NOVEMBER SNOW, 50 YEARS ON

REJOICE, 1969. Whatever happened to this amazing baritone/songwriter, Tom Brown? 

 

SOPRANO JESSYE NORMAN REMEMBERED

CELEBRATION of her life at the Metropolitan Opera drew stars and thousands. Click HERE 

DE NIRO & PACINO CHEW OLD TIMES

TOGETHER for GQ. Click HERE  

ANNE MIDGETTE’S LAST REVIEW FOR WASHPO

INSIGHTFUL AND RETIRING MUSIC CRITIC shares “parting thoughts” about the National Symphony Orchestra which she covered for the Washington Post for eleven years. “German music played in American concert halls often sounds like a facsimile.” Click HERE 

HOHNER HARMONICAS

EVERYTHING you never knew you needed to know.

 

COMPOSER DIANE MOSER AND HER BIRDS

SHE DOESN’T GIVE CREDIT to Olivier Messiaen who pioneered composing bird songs. Click HERE  

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

ONE OF THE TOUGHEST PERSUASIONS must be seduction by trumpet. The horn can do it by blending in with woodwinds. But brassy trumpets rarely if ever whisper sweet nothings. However, they did for Youth Music Monterey’s new music director, Danko Druško, who admitted to my Topics in Music class at the Carmel Foundation that the instrument bewitched him at an early age. Paul Merkelo’s new Sony CD, “The Enlightened Trumpet,” substitutes virtuosity for subtlety. Merkelo’s choice of repertoire comes as no surprise. The Haydn concerto is probably the best known for the instrument. One Anton Weidinger, used an ingenious array of mechanical keys that allowed him to play a full chromatic scale, amazing the composer with its liberation from the natural overtone series. (Weidinger’s design predated the invention of valves by more than a decade.) Haydn’s concerto made its public debut on March 28, 1800. For the CD, Merkelo used his own solo cadenza in the first movement. Telemann’s concerto, from c. 1720, only accesses wide-gapped low tones from the overtone series like a bugle; to play notes close together is only possible in the high register. (The solo trumpet is used in only three of the four movements.) Leopold Mozart’s concerto is in fact two movements—Andante and Allegro moderate—from a nine-movement serenade from 1762. (Mozart had to work with the same limitations as Telemann.) Encouraged by the success of the Haydn concerto, Weidinger approached J Nepomuk Hummel whose Trumpet Concerto in E he premiered on New Year’s Day in 1804. Hummel modeled much of the piece on Wolfgang Mozart’s late piano concertos. At ten minutes, its opening Allegro movement, in fully developed sonata form, is the longest on this disc. The slow movement bears a striking resemblance to its corresponding movement in the popular Piano Concerto No 21 in C. The final rondo serves up an operatic romp that blisters with ever more spectacular fireworks, including a solo cadenza by the Ukrainian virtuoso Timofei Dokshizer (1921-2005). Merkelo plays with a full, warm tone and very sparing vibrato in the slow movements. His pitch is unerringly true. But it’s the dazzling pyrotechnics that are likely to win him new fans on first hearing. The excellent Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by its founding music director, Cyprus-born Marios Papadopoulos. They are in residence at Oxford University. SM   

KEN BURNS’ COUNTRY MUSIC

THIS EIGHT-PART DOCUMENTARY will inevitably be criticized for giving short shrift to those since the start of the 21st Century—since the death of Johnny Cash. Otherwise, it’s a masterpiece. Your education is incomplete without it. “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap,” says the always-adorable and blonde Dolly Parton. “I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb… and I also know that I’m not blonde.” At 75 bucks it’s the best bargain of the season.  

WHERE’VE YOU BEEN?

KATHY MATTEA sings Jon Vezner and Don Henry’s tearjerker, in 1990.

 

CHRIS BLISS JUGGLES GOLDEN SLUMBERS

 

FRESH REVIEWS

BLACK CEDAR TRIO in Aptos. Click HERE

THE CHERRY ORCHARD in Ben Lomond; SUPERIOR DONUTS at MPC. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

PIANO ICON OXANA YABLONSKAYA to perform in Santa Cruz. KITKA’S “WINTERSONGS” returns to Santa Cruz to launch the last concert of their 40th season. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE radio drama opens at Carmel High School’s Black Box with a cast of 25. RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA opens in Monterey. THE NUTCRACKER by Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theatre in Carmel. GUITAR ROCKER TOMMY EMMANUEL at the Rio. A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS opens in Salinas. LA PASTORELA opens at El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista.

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor