Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

MONTEREY SYMPHONY serves up Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. TRUMPET MASTER CHRIS BOTTI plays the Rio in Santa Cruz. TAELEN THOMAS & BILL SPARKMAN perform Waylon at The Lab in Carmel. THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL Beautiful at Sunset Center. MASSENET OPERA CINDERELLA for families at UC Santa Cruz. RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA at Cabrillo College. FOR LINKS to these and other live performance events click on our CALENDAR or on the display ads, left.

WHO CAN RESIST AN ENIGMA?

EDWARD ELGAR’S Enigma Variations put the Victorian/Edwardian composer on the international map. Max Bragado-Darman and the Monterey Symphony will recreate Elgar’s masterpiece at Sunset Center this weekend, no doubt rekindling the ongoing debate over the ‘enigma’ that inspired it. True enough, its variations are portraits of personal friends and acquaintances in the manner of the French harpsichord composers of the Baroque. Yet the ‘enigma’ remains, cleverly disguised by a self-taught composer who was lifelong self-conscious about his modest familial circumstances. As an ‘outsider’ in a class-conscious society this drove him to over-compensate when he was knighted by flaunting the award. So what is the enigma? Hint: it is the theme on which Elgar fashioned his variations. Despite numerous theories that have sought to explain it, the answer is actually quite simple. (Find out in next week’s Symphony review.) Wisely, the composer stayed mum.

PIANIST PETER SERKIN DIES AT 72

FOUNDING MEMBER of the pioneering Tashi Quartet, he performed in Santa Cruz with Espressivo chamber orchestra in 2018.

 

MARIN ALSOP ADDS A MAJOR NEW ROLE

FORMER CABRILLO FEST conductor has been offered a new position, created for her, at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, the oldest outdoor music festival in the country. Click HERE 

HOW TO GET KIDS HOOKED ON ENGINEERING

PURDUE PROFESSOR Mark French teaches guitar-building. Click HERE

ITALIAN OPERA SOPRANO FRENI DIES AT 84

CLOSE FRIEND and collaborator of Luciano Pavarotti, Mirella Freni died Sunday at her home in Modena. (The Gazetta de Parma mourned her with a photo of very-much-alive Deborah Voigt!)

 

BELMONT UNIVERSITY TO TERMINATE NON-CHRISTIAN ART FACULTY

WATKINS ART COLLEGE faculty in Nashville to be purged in merger with Belmont University. Click HERE 

JOAQUIN PHOENIX AT THE BAFTAS

HE WON BEST ACTOR AWARD for Joker.

JOKER COMPOSER WINS OSCAR

ICELAND’S Hildur Guðnadóttir outpaced former winners John Williams, Thomas Newman, Alexandre Desplat and Randy Newman; first female composer to win since Anne Dudley took the award for The Full Monty in 1997.

 

CULTURAL SPACES IN LOS ANGELES

ANDREW DICKSON picks his faves for BBC News. Click HERE 

WHAT MAKES THE PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY STAND OUT?

ALEX ROSS finds reasons to rave about the musicians and their conductor, Manfred Honeck. Click HERE  

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

“DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON is proud to announce the signing of Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning composer Dustin O’Halloran and his release of a new EP, Sundoor.” The EP (extended play) offers a single 20-minute piece entitled “196Hz,” adapted from a 2017 site-specific composition for cross-disciplinary American artist Slater Bradley’s Sundoor at World’s End–an installation at the Church of Mary Magdalene in Venice during the city’s Biennale. A five-minute sample from the 20-minute piece showed it up to be sonic wallpaper, a meditative, two-voice, minor-key synthesizer chord progression sitting on an obstinate pedal point bass. (The installation itself is pictured above.)

ROUTE 66

 

NEXT WEEK

INDIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC at UCSC. SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE at UCSC. SKELETON CREW at UCSC. CIRQUE ÉLOIZE in Carmel.

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor