Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

ESTELLA SCROOGE a World Premiere (see above) offered by Jewel Theatre Company. PACIFIC VOICES in “Moments of Joy” this Sunday. HOWARD BURNHAM performs Dickens’ A Christmas Carol online. REMY LEBOEUF plays Kuumbwa. ONGOING: Smuin Christmas Ballet online; SWEAT at Cabrillo College; LA VIRGEN DEL TEPEYAC at El Teatro Campesino. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

STEINWAY SOCIETY

PRESENTS PIANIST Vyacheslav Gryaznov in Steinway Society Home Concert Hall, Dec 18-21. Click HERE

CALLING ALL CHOREOGRAPHERS

SPECTORDANCE wants you to sign up for their next virtual Choreographers Showcase. Deadline extended to December 21. Click HERE

LETTERS

GEORGE PETERSON, who died last week following a catastrophic head injury in a car crash, was a member of the Monterey County Composers Forum from 2018 until his death and contributed many fine pieces to our concerts. His works included Miniatures, Suspended in Light, While the Sands O’ Life Shall Run, Labyrinth, Blue Remembered Hills and Keep On Keeping On, most of them for voice and instruments. His compositions show a particular adroitness in setting text, as was evidenced by his settings of the poems of Robert Burns and Jane Davis. He also wrote instrumental music inspired by the poetry of A.E. Housman, showing great creativity in expressing the feelings and emotions of the poem by using instrumental timbres to convey the feeling of spaciousness. He was a prolific performer as well as a composer, playing piano/keyboards, guitar, and upright bass. He had a very modest and unassuming nature, always speaking very humbly of himself and his musical abilities. He also had a very generous nature, offering to help out in any way necessary. These qualities were apparent during our monthly Composers Forum meetings and our concerts at Hidden Valley Music Seminars. His presence and his music will be dearly missed by us in the Composers Forum and in the wider musical community. ~ Steve Ettinger, King City

I HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE to watch the “A” program. It consisted of four principal dancers during the first half hour in new choreography, then went to archival Christmas Ballet scenes in high-definition video and audio. The Holiday Season finally arrived. ~ Editor

JOSHUA KOSMAN’S ‘GOD-AWFUL’ MESSIAH

HOW DIY music-making can go so wrong. Click HERE

TOM LEHRER IN SANTA MONICA

 

BOB DYLAN’S TRUMP TAX GAMBIT

HE SOLD his song catalog to Universal Music. Click HERE

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

Music for the Christmas season

THE MAJOR WORKS on this new Delos CD, Brian Edward Galante’s So Hallow’d the Time and Stephen Paulus’ Christmas Dances, are here recorded for the first time and will certainly attract the interest of choral directors all over. Galante’s So Hallow’d describes an arc from quiet meditation to energetic exaltation in five movements he titles Wisdom, Peace, Love, Light and Hope, most of them prefaced by a cappella 7th century antiphons followed by Christmas-themed extracts from Shakespeare, Milton, Robert Southwell and Tennyson. In richly harmonic terms, later with rhythmic drive, he alternates choral textures with soprano, tenor and baritone solos. Flute and harp accompany with a solo violin joining for the last movement. The late Stephen Paulus’ four Christmas Dances, called by the first lines of their poems “Break forth” (adapted from 17th century hymnist Johann Rist), “Methinks I hear” (from 18th and 19th century verses by Timothy Swan), “The Nativity of our Lord” (18th century hymnist Christopher Smart) and “On the Nativity of Our Saviour” (to words by 18th century poet Ben Johnson), also hew in favor of harmonic textures, no less satisfying than the Galante settings. The program is rounded out by two short gems by Paulus, How Far is it to Bethlehem and his best-known Pilgrim’s Hymn, excerpted from his opera The Three Hermits. SM

BRITTEN’S A Ceremony of Carols of 1943 is among the most popular seasonal holiday treats in the English-speaking world. Its 11 short movements, plus solo harp interlude, from a wide range of poetical sources, both Christmas- and pastoral-themed, are accompanied by harp, here arranged by Julius Harrison. The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, directed by Graham Ross, devotes most of the rest of the program to other Britten settings: “Venite exultemus Domino,” “Te Deum,” “Jubilate Deo,” “Deus in adjutorium meum intende,” A Hymn to the Virgin, A Hymn to St Colomba, Hymn to St Peter, “The Sycamore Tree,” “Sweet was the song the Virgin sung” and A New Year Carol. Short pieces by John Ireland, Frank Bridge and Gustav Holst fill out this fine Harmonia Mundi CD. SM

NEW JS BACH Christmas Oratorio from Spain

BEETHOVEN@250

A SPECTACULAR “EROICA” SYMPHONY

THE COMPOSER’S favorite at the time. Paavo Järvi conducts the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Thanks ti Joe Sekon at Cabrillo College for sending the link.

 

BEETHOVEN 9TH FROM VIENNA

GUSTAV MAHLER’S orchestration in full performance conducted by Johannes Vogel, on demand this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Click HERE

FRESH REVIEWS

ROGER EMANUELS covers two piano recitals at Distinguished Artists. Click HERE

PHILIP PEARCE attended Gary Bolen’s one-man A Christmas Carol. Click HERE

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor