Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

DISTINGUISHED ARTISTS Beethoven sonatas continue through Wednesday. (Click ad, left.) JEWEL THEATRE COMPANY streams world-premiere of a new holiday family-friendly musical, Estella Scrooge, with 24 Broadway actors on-demand through January 31. EL TEATRO CAMPESINO presents La Virgen del Tepayac in both a radio broadcast and a streaming video. PACREP serves up “The Impossible Dream,” a live drive-in musical revue on Thursday at the Monterey Fairgrounds. DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL in a one-man streaming performance by Gary Bolen with the Boulware Family Singers. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

ORCHESTRA IN THE SCHOOLS

“CONCERT AND COCKTAILS,” Thursday, December 10, at 5:30pm. A Zoom fundraiser concert with your choice of cocktails or wine delivered. Click HERE

MEET VIOLINIST CINDY WU

ACCLAIMED VIRTUOSO just relocated with her husband to their new home in Corral de Tierra, near Chamisal Tennis Club. Cindy joins colleague cellist Michelle Djokic for an outdoor recital on December 13, 4pm. Covid protocols will be strictly observed and seating is very limited. Click HERE

LIVE ONLINE

LETTERS

I’M SO SHOCKED and saddened to learn of the death of Arthur Woodley. (Click HERE) Just a wonderful man and a great talent. We were in a production of Cosi fan Tutte together in New York many years ago. Thank you for letting all of us know. Your website is such a great service. Layne Littlepage, Carmel

GEORGE PETERSON, RIP

SOUGHT-AFTER Monterey County pianist and uniquely original composer died yesterday after weeks in a coma following a vehicle crash in which he suffered catastrophic head injuries. He succeeded Pauline Troia as rehearsal and concert pianist for the Camerata Singers. He was an active and generous member of the Monterey County Composers’ Forum. More details as they emerge.

YUJA WANG & KHATIA BUNIATISHVILI GLITZ

 

BEETHOVEN@250

MICHAEL SHAW, Danube tour director lectures on Beethoven’s life and music. Designed for eager students. Click HERE

BALLET DANCER CITES RACISM IN BERLIN

FRENCH DANCER Chloé Lopes Gomes went public with accusations of institutional racism against Staatsballett Berlin. Click HERE

PAUL BARTON TRIES HERDING MONKEYS

Click HERE

THE RESURRECTION OF ETHEL SMYTH

BACH FEST’S Dashon Burton joins in the revival of an English multi-pioneering, complicated, self-serving, lover of women and men. Click HERE

BBC TO LAUNCH NEW BROADCAST SERIES

FIFTEEN newly recorded plays set for TV, radio and online. Click HERE

DAVE BRUBECK’S CENTENARY, DEC 6

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

BEETHOVEN@250

A FLURRY OF NEW BEETHOVEN recordings is popping up in two directions: obscure works in fresh revivals and familiar warhorses scrutinized as never before. That is certainly the case in François-Xavier Roth’s new reading by his ‘period instruments’ Les Siècles orchestra, a performance based on a 2019 critical edition published by Bärenreiter-Verlag, Kassel. The latter is not hard to understand; what’s the point of another Fifth Symphony recording without revealing hitherto overlooked details? For that matter, orchestra musicians who could play Beethoven 5 in their sleep are most likely to need a fresh provocation. Roth demonstrates here that he has made common cause with his musicians; clearly they had to join their captain as a coordinated team. It’s not just that Roth leads an impatient and shrewdly paced performance but that he’s revealed startling new facets that most conductors I have heard somehow never noticed, or, didn’t think important. Time and again surprises jump into your ears. The sizzling double basses in the scherzo display astonishing coloratura from the bowels of the orchestra. The transition from it to the final movement will make your skin crawl. The recording was made in 2017 at the Philharmonie de Paris (see photo above.) FRANÇOIS-JOSEPH GOSSEC’s Symphony in 17 parts—a fanciful title that doesn’t really matter—dates from the same time as the Beethoven, c. 1809, but comes from the world of Joseph Haydn, who was born just two years before Gossec. The piece follows Haydn’s classical forms and practices as used in the series of symphonies from that composer’s first years in London. Gossec took a long hiatus from symphonic music in favor of operas and sacred oratorios. When he returned to the form, history had already moved on, thanks or no thanks to Beethoven whose music reflects the humanist, utopian ideals of the French Revolution as against the institutionalized aristocracy of Haydn’s time. Still Gossec shows plenty of brilliant technique and snappy ideas here. If you’re not familiar with the name Gossec, you can partly blame him for leaving his manuscripts in messy condition without fair copies; a critical edition of the work was finally finished in 2018, and was recorded by Roth and his band early this year at La Seine Musicale (pictured left above). SM

LA LA LAND DANCING ON CITY HALL

 

FRESH REVIEWS

BEETHOVEN SONATAS from Distinguished Artists. Click HERE

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor