Weekly Magazine

LIMITED LINES  Choreographed for Suttle Dance Company in Detroit by founder Sylvia Suttle, daughter of former Monterey Symphony music director Clark Suttle.

NEW THIS WEEK

MONTEREY SYMPHONY NAMES ITS FIRST RESIDENT COMPOSER

JOHN WINEGLASS, who has had commissioned premieres by the Monterey Symphony (Big Sur: The Night Sun) and Cabrillo Festival (Someone Else’s Child) is writing a violin concerto for the Symphony and soloist Edwin Huizinga. Click HERE

CABRILLO VIRTUAL FESTIVAL

COMPOSERS answer challenging questions. Several of them speak up. Click HERE

HEROIC AMERICAN PIANIST FLEISHER DIES

LEON FLEISHER, who long-suffered from injury to his right hand, was 92. His Beethoven and Brahms piano concerto recordings with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra remain legendary. Click HERE

YO-YO MA ON PRESERVING HUMANITY DURING COVID-19

IN CONVERSATION WITH Amna Nawaz of PBS.

 

RHIANNON REPLACES YO-YO MA AT SILKROAD

RHIANNON GIDDENS is a multi-racial artist who embodies Silkroad Ensemble’s values of embracing difference and sparking radical cultural collaboration and passion-driven learning to create a more hopeful and inclusive world. These qualities—and more—make her perfectly suited to lead Silkroad’s artistic vision into the future. Click HERE

GIDDYUP

CLASSICAL MUSIC is trying to outrun its age. Click HERE

JAZZMAN CHICK COREA SCHMOOZES MOZART

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

SPEM IN ALIUM AT 450

THOMAS TALLIS (1505-1585) is probably best known today for his anthem “Why fum’th in fight” that resurfaced in the Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis of 1910—the work that put the late-blooming RVW on the global musical map. But the Tallis tale goes much deeper; a composer of choral motets and anthems in the years after Henry VIII defiantly established the Church of England, Tallis also straddled the transition from renaissance polyphony to ‘well-tempered’ harmony, the practice which has dominated Western music right up to the present. A Tallis contemporary, Alessandro Striggio, had gained fame for composing a 40-voice motet, “Ecce beatam lucem,” which inspired the 4th Duke of Norfolk to commission a work of similar ambition by an Englishman. Tallis accepted the challenge and created “Spem in alium nunquam habui” (I never have put my hope in any other) for eight vocal ensembles of five voices each. To celebrate the 450th anniversary of the extraordinary Tallis work, Suzi Digby and her ORA Singers recorded it on CD and DVD, scheduled for release on August 21. For the occasion, the Scottish composer James MacMillan was commissioned to write a new 40-voice motet, which makes its debut on this album. MacMillan followed the formal outline of the Tallis and chose the text “Vidi aquam egredientem de templo” (I saw water flowing out of the temple). If anything, the MacMillan is even more transparent and therefore gripping than the Tallis. (Both works last about nine minutes in performance.) The DVD contains the full performances of both as well as a conversation between Digby and MacMillan. Between the two bookends of the Tallis and MacMillan, ORA sings 16th century motets by Derrick Gerarde, Alfonso Ferrabosco, William Byrd, Philip van Wilder. Two more Tallis motets are included. SM

 

LETTERS TO PAMB

WHAT A GREAT SERVICE, and what a wonderfully presented, attractive site. Thanks for helping to keep the arts alive around our lovely Monterey Bay! ~Gary A Patton, Santa Cruz

YLVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

THERE ARE FEW MORE enjoyable ways to while away an evening in lockdown than discovering the work of Ylvis, a Norwegian comedy duo. Made up of brothers Vegard and Bard Ylvisaker, the band produces delightfully absurd pastiches of various kinds of music. Many of the songs were written in English for their variety TV show, “Tonight With Ylvis”, and are best consumed on YouTube with the zany accompanying videos. This is music designed to be appreciated at home, where the lyrics can be easily digested and the videos paused or repeated when laughter ensues. Much of Ylvis’s comic appeal lies in the way they treat everyday, even banal, themes with deadpan gravity. They wrote a song about animal noises, asking “What does the fox say?” (see below) and parodying European electronic pop, because they “wanted to make a very good production about something very stupid,” Vegard explains. It is an irresistible earworm, topping the charts in Norway and reaching number six on the Billboard chart in America. The video has been watched nearly 1bn times online. The country-inflected “Massachusetts” is a tongue-in-cheek ode to America’s 15th-most-populous state (it angered some Bay Staters by suggesting that they were homophobic). “Russian Government Process,” in the style of a traditional folk song, pokes fun at that country’s opaque bureaucracy—as the music increases in tempo, the list of instructions becomes harder to understand. They have also written lampoons of sultry R’n’B (“The Cabin”), misogynistic hip-hop (“Work It”) and dubstep (“Someone Like Me”). Besides their sheer range, what sets Ylvis apart from other comedy groups is the catchiness of the melodies and the brothers’ versatile and prodigious talents. You will try—and fail—to hit their high notes in the shower. In these dull, repetitive days, their work is a heartening reminder that even anodyne things can be a source of inspiration. (Excerpted from The Economist, July 18, 2020.)

 

THEATER REVIEW

OUR PHILIP PEARCE thanks the Monterey County Theatre Alliance for making available a Zoom-cast of Howard Burnham’s In a Dream within a Dream. It’s still available to watch. Click HERE

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor