Our Thanksgiving guests are already arriving
NEW THIS WEEK
SMUIN BALLET presents “Offstage, Onscreen” November 29 and December 2. MONTEREY SYMPHONY Balcony Sessions presents cellist Isaac Pastor-Chermak on Thanksgiving. UCSC AFRICAN-AMERICAN THEATER troupe online, December 1. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE
VIOLINIST DANIEL HOPE and his New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco have produced a series of six programs of new music and well-known masterpieces available online. The daily webcasts began last Wednesday and ended yesterday. BUT, all six episodes will be archived and available for viewing 30 days after the air date. The series will be delay-streamed free at ARTE Concert. Make sure the sound is turned on; click HERE
SIMON WOODS ON AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS AFTER COVID
CEO OF THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS ponders the future. Click HERE
JAMES CONLON GOES TO BALTIMORE
INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED conductor James Conlon will join the BSO as Artistic Advisor beginning in the 2021-22 season. Conlon, who has affirmed that he is not a candidate in the BSO’s forthcoming Music Director search, has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire, having conducted virtually every major American and European symphony orchestra since his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1974. He is currently the music director of Los Angeles Opera and principal conductor of the RAI National Symphony Orchestra. As Artistic Advisor, Conlon will help ensure the continued artistic quality of the Orchestra. In addition to leading three concert weeks per year in each of the 2021-22, 2022-23, and 2023-24 seasons, Conlon will fill many duties off the podium including those related to artistic personnel – such as filling important vacancies and attracting exceptional musicians as outlined in the BSO’s recent five-year collective bargaining agreement.
IRVING BERLIN’S SUPPER TIME
IT WAS WRITTEN by Irving Berlin for the 1933 musical As Thousands Cheer, where it was introduced by Ethel Waters. It is about a wife’s reaction to news of her husband’s lynching. It was a newspaper report that Berlin read that inspired him.
WHITHER THE CHOIRS?
VENERABLE I CANTORI AND CAMERATA SINGERS of Monterey County are currently without music directors. The former parted ways with Cyril Deaconoff after two remarkable seasons while the latter lost longtimer John Koza who retired last spring. For obvious reasons, the groups cannot rehearse, so it only remains to be seen if they will come back to life after the pandemic relents. Meanwhile, Deaconoff, an adjunct but currently shelved professor at Monterey Peninsula College, has accepted an offer to lead the newly formed Monterey Chamber Singers. They are holding in-person rehearsals in strict compliance with covid-19 protocols, chorus member and MCS board treasurer Carole Dawson told us. “We want to keep singing to maintain our voices, our sanity and our sense of joy,” she said. Currently, the ensemble, consisting of two groups, rehearses outdoors with a maximum of 12 people per group, wearing masks while maintaining six-foot spacing. “We plan to produce a virtual concert with selections from both groups and are pursuing having our in-person sessions recorded, using a microphone for each singer, so that we can maintain proper social distancing.”
BREATHING AT THE BOUNDARIES by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company livestream with the Paul Dresher Ensemble was postponed at the last minute. Our VOICES OF SILICON VALLEY piece from last week ascribed the music of the Sugihara Project to Cyril Deaconoff. In fact it was written by I’lana Cotton, a composer from Oregon; the new VOSV recording contains only music by Deaconoff and Stockhausen.
OPERATIC BASS ARTHUR WOODLEY, 71
TRIBUTES are pouring for Woodley, a fine operatic bass who died on Saturday. A New Yorker who grew up in the Virgin Isles, he sang in an Italian rock band to get him through his studies in Bologna and made his debut in October 1979 in Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Carnegie Hall. He sang at the Met and many other US houses, latterly in Porgy and Bess. He appeared in 12 productions at Seattle Opera. His last major appearance was as Rocco in Atlanta’s Fidelio.
THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH
HSIANG TU’s new solo album for Bridge looked a little suspect on first glance, but turns out to be quite an adventuresome wander into some very rare corners of the keyboard literature. It opens with The Swan by Saint-Saëns in an ornament-encrusted transcription by Leopold Godowsky, a late 19th-early 20th century virtuoso that pianist Antonio Iturrioz has dubbed “The Buddha of the Piano.” Some pieces are expected: Debussy’s Goldfish, Granados’ The Maiden and the Nightingale, Schumann’s Prophet Bird, Liszt’s Saint Francis’ Sermon to the Birds and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee. But there are surprises: Messiaen’s The Golden Oriole (which captures the bird’s own song), Ravel’s Night Moths, William Bolcom’s Butterflies & hummingbirds, Tabby Cat Walk and The Serpent’s Kiss (complete with knocking on wood, mouth clicks and whistle), Bartok’s From the Diary of a Fly and The Night’s Music & The Chase, Villa-Lobos’ The Little Lead Bull (from The Baby’s Family suite) and Henry Cowell’s Tiger. If this sounds like a collection of concert encores, it’s a pretty unusual one. SM
CÉCILE SERAUD’s first album, Shoden, offers a strangely seductive introduction to a budding keyboard talent, now in her early 40s. The album was inspired by Yann Tiersen’s melancholy music of his native Brittany, and reflects the influence of musicians from farther north, including Chopin and Arvo Pärt. A surfer, Seraud takes to the waves on the Atlantic coast of Brittany near her home in Lorient. The album contains ten tracks, three of them titled Shoden, a Japanese word referring to a first step into a meditation technique called reiki; it means ‘open your wings and dare to fly.’ The other tracks come with such titles as Frozen Earth, The Blue Kiss, Lost Little Waltz, Pen er Malo (a popular surfing beach), Tenderness and Life. Seraud composed all of them and plays them at the piano with lots of sustaining pedal in the slower moments, joined in two cases by cellist Juliette Divry, and with occasional digital sound effects. Some short pieces actually serve as introductions to longer ones. When one hand is busy, the other often supports it with statically repeating tones and patterns. The collection sets and sustains a hypnotic mood. SM To hear a sample or collect it as a CD or digital download, click HERE
NANNETTE STREICHER, piano maker to the great composer was also a fast friend. Click HERE
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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor