Weekly Magazine

 

THIS WEEK

CHANTICLEER (above) sings two performances at Carmel Mission. SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA at Kuumbwa. SANTA CRUZ CHORALE at Holy Cross. FUERZA REGIDA at the Fox in Salinas. MORE NUTCRACKERS (so far at least nine this season in Monterey Bay communities) in SC County. FOR LINKS to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR 

U.S. TO INCREASE FOREIGN MUSICIAN VISA FEES

THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS is very concerned about plans by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to substantially increase visa application fees for foreign artists, ensembles and orchestras, thereby jeopardizing international cultural exchange. Could area presenters, like Chamber Music Monterey Bay and Carmel Music Society, be on the hook to take up the difference? Click HERE     

LIZZO SCORES AGAIN

SHE’S TIME’S ENTERTAINER of 2019. Click HERE  

 

TAYLOR SWIFT SLAMS ‘TOXIC MALE PRIVILEGE’

AWARDED BILLBOARD’S Woman of the Decade. Click HERE  

ODE TO BEETHOVEN

IVÁN FISCHER, music director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, writes about how Beethoven changed our perception of music. Click HERE  

ISTANBUL SWING

NEW DANCE CRAZE is sweeping the ancient city. Click HERE 

THE ACCIDENTAL INSTRUMENT

JOHN CAGE RIDES AGAIN. Ju-Ping Song writes, “The toy piano is an avant-garde musician’s dream.” Click HERE  

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

MEET COMPOSER VICTORIA BOND

BOND APPEARED as singer and conductor at the 1974 Cabrillo Music Festival and she is still going strong. She is known for orchestral and chamber works. Her operas have been lauded by The New York Times as “powerful, stylistically varied and technically demanding.” (Her opera Mrs President tells of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for US President. Click HERE to learn more about Woodhull; be sure to listen to the audio.)   

NEW ON ALBANY label is “Soul of a Nation, Portraits of Presidential Character,” a set of four concertos, each with narration that describes and quotes from Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and George Washington, with texts by Myles Lee and music by Victoria Bond. (Each reminds me of Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait.) In his opening note, Lee—an eminent cardio thoracic surgeon, art historian and photo artist and member of the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel—concisely names particular qualities “to illustrate not just their accomplishments, but the inner turmoil each man faced on his journey to immortality.” Heard in the order presented, ‘Jefferson’ takes the form of a concerto-elegy for violin and strings with soloist Frank Almond, narrator Henry Fogel and conductor Emanuele Andrizzi. The other three use a wind ensemble and conductor Stephen Squires: ‘FDR’ featuring clarinetist John Bruce Yeh; ‘Teddy Roosevelt’ trumpeter Mark Ridenour and ‘Washington’ flutist Gabriela Vargas. Bond’s music for ‘Jefferson’ paints an elegy of an exhausted visionary at the end of his life. The music for the band quotes numerous well-known bits of mostly 19th century Americana. Her craftsmanship and response to context celebrate her art.

WHILE NOT EXACTLY program music, Bond’s new Naxos title, “Instruments of Revelation,” takes most of its cues from non-musical sources. The title piece (2010), for example, cheekily represents images from three tarot cards: The Magician, The High Priestess and The Fool. Frescoes and Ash (2009), in seven short movements, reflects on impressions of ruined Pompei, both now and in 79 AD. The instrumental arrangements are as scintillating as their performance by the acclaimed Chicago Pro Musica chamber ensemble. “Leopold Bloom’s Homecoming” (2011) from James Joyce’s Ulysses absolutely requires reading the included text; it is performed by tenor Rufus Müller and pianist Jenny Lin. (Joyce never makes his writing easy but somehow Bond’s music remains dialed in.) Lastly, Binary (2005) for piano (Olga Vinokur) brilliantly paraphrases the code, 0 and 1, that underpins all digital algorithms; its single movement is divided between 1) the interval of the second and 2) a rhythm of two beats. Victoria Bond does not let the listener off the hook, and that’s a good thing; there is much here that entices the ear back again and again. SM     

FROM COMPOSER ERIC WHITACRE

“WHEN DAVID HEARD,” one of Whitacre’s longest pieces, was composed in tribute to a friend whose son was killed in a car accident. The text, from the Book of Samuel, revolves around a father’s grief. When David heard that Absalom was slain he went up into his chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said: My son, my son. O Absalom, my son, would God I had died for thee!  The work was premiered in 1999 by Ronald Staheli’s Brigham Young Singers.

 

FRESH REVIEW

KEIKO SHICHIJO at Aptos Keyboard Series. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

SMUIN’S CHRISTMAS BALLET at Sunset Center. CHERRY TRIO plays Baroque in Carmel. WHITE ALBUM ENSEMBLE plays the Rio. 

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor