Weekly Magazine

BEETHOVEN ANNIVERSARY

THE GERMAN-BORN COMPOSER enters his 250th anniversary year on Monday, Dec 16. Computer generated video by Stephen Malinowski, with music by the Alexander String Quartet.

THIS WEEK

CSUMB GOSPEL CHOIR sings music of the season at Pacific Grove’s Wellspring Church. PIANIST KEIKO SHICHIJO plays rare music by Komitas, Mompou, others at Aptos Keyboard Series. JAZZ at Cabrillo College Black Box. WHOLEHEARTED CHORUS with Edwin Huizinga at Hidden Valley. THE MUSICAL JOURNEY OF JEWS IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE with Zirzuvi Sephardic Band at Kuumbwa. FOR LINKS to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR OR ON THE DISPLAY ADS, LEFT.

KEIKO SHICHIJO

PLAYS IN APTOS on Sunday afternoon, and includes dance pieces by Komitas, the legendary Armenian cleric and choral composer, and works by the Spanish pianist/composer Federico Mompou. Born in Japan, Shichijo—also a specialist in fortepiano—now resides in the Netherlands, with her flutist husband Ned McGowan, and their young son. She is much in demand and well-known for her artistic sensitivity and fastidious technique. Her program will also include Fireworks by Debussy, some Moments musicales by Schubert and keyboard pieces by Rozalie Hirs, a contemporary Dutch composer and a poet whose poetry and music are lyrical as well as experimental.

THE RIDDLE OF YEHUDI

A NEW BIOGRAPHY by Humphrey Burton explores the career of the 20th century’s most famous child prodigy, Yehudi Menuhin. It’s reviewed by Terry Teachout. Click HERE  

NPR’S TINY DESK CONCERTS

BLAME/PRAISE Bob Boilen. Click HERE  

JAQUEL KNIGHT CHOREOGRAPHS FOR THE STARS

“SINGLE LADIES” hip-hop creator shows how it’s done. Click HERE 

WHEN MOZART COMPOSED “O CANADA”

MARCH OF THE PRIESTS

O CANADA

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

ORLI SHAHAM’S MOZART

THE PIANIST JOINED HER VIOLINIST BROTHER GIL in 2001 for the Carmel Music Society. As one reviewer of this new CD just noted, Orli Shaham “revels in the theatrical richness and breath-taking invention” of Mozart’s Piano Concertos G Major (No 17) K453 and C minor (No 24), K491, two of my favorites. For this studio recording she joins forces with David Robertson and the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, ideal partners in a project that penetrates beneath the surface of Mozart’s music to its creative spark. “This is the first studio recording released in over 15 years by the orchestra—we think this gem makes it very much worth the wait.” Shaham plays with an innocent sense of discovery and joy. Happy holidays to her! The CD is released on Gil Shaham’s Canary Classics label. SM

‘SEASONAL MUSIC’

A MOST ORIGINAL VOICE is that of Christopher Stark, born 1980 and grew up in Montana. Stark earned his MM at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and his DMA from Cornell University. Stark has been awarded prizes and commissions from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, Chamber Music America, the Orléans International Piano Competition, the Guggenheim Foundation and ASCAP. He has received commissions from numerous orchestras and chamber music ensembles. This new Bridge CD represents the latter. Seasonal Music for string quartet (2016-18)—at 26 minutes the longest, is divided into three sections: Spring Music, Summer into Fall and Winter Music. Overall, the presence of Arcangelo Corelli and—even more—Antonio Vivaldi looms. The Momenta Quartet startles the senses right from the start, with its scratchy sul ponticello bowing (on the bridge), its use of natural harmonic overtones and its quotes. Vivaldi’s “Spring” is paraphrased and there’s a quote from Respighi’s Botticelli Triptych (the artist’s famous La primavera, specifically). But these are only allusions that spice up Stark’s creative imagination. Summer into Fall starts in what feels like a sweltering stillness that then glimpses the storm scene from Vivaldi’s “Summer;” it withdraws into a softly-uttered autumnal scene that quotes Vivaldi one again, then with a transition that sounds like a needle on an LP that has run out and elides into ghostly Winter Music that quotes briefly from Der Leiermann, the last song from Schubert’s great cycle Winterreise and goes on to a menacing protest and finally peaceful resignation. Stark’s Piano Quartet (2014), a work of more personal character, pays homage to late composer Jonathan Harvey (Assisi), to Sean Shepherd—who wrote the program note—(the percussive Meccanico) and to Roberto Sierra (the crackling Precisamente), by the Los Angeles Piano Quartet. More exotic violin effects weave through its textures. The final piece, the tongue-in-cheek This is Not a Story (2017) for clarinet quartet plus electronics, by clarinetist Scott Andrews and the Calyx Piano Trio, opens with Inner Dialogue with Bells, spends two minutes Sorting Out Beethoven (a spoof on that composer’s Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op 2, No 1), then, gently, (Saint) Cecelia Sings the Music in Her Heart, until Captain Leighton Bids Farewell in what sounds like an old sea shanty, recorded in the field in 1939. A pervasive resignation prevails over an electronic pedal point. This is haunting, memorable stuff. Anyone presenting chamber music locally should take a serious look at this music. SM

SURPRISE SYMPHONY

TWO SURPRISES actually. The composer’s misspelled name and the image of George Washington. If you need a proofreader we can recommend our associate editor, Rebecca Brooks.

 

WHEN ZELDA MET BOWIE

SHE THEN PRODUCED his last show, and tells the story herself. Click HERE 

WINTER BEGINS DECEMBER 21

STEPHEN MALINOWSKI ‘creates’ Vivaldi’s “Winter” Concerto.

 

FRESH REVIEWS

PIANIST OXANA YABLONSKAYA at Distinguished Artists. I CANTORI at Carmel Mission. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

SANTA CRUZ CHORALE at Holy Cross. MORE NUTCRACKERS (so far at least seven this season in Monterey Bay communities) in SC County.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor