Weekly Magazine

Above: Gerald Wilson*

NEW THIS WEEK

MEROLA SINGERS Jacqueline and Salvatore Atti perform operatic love duets online from St Ignatius Parish on Thursday. THE OTHER SIDE OF EDEN, online theater, Thursday through Saturday. CONTRALTO KAREN CLARK opens Santa Cruz Baroque Festival 2021 with ‘Love Songs through the Ages’ on Saturday. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

KAREN CLARK

ACCLAIMED as a recitalist, concert singer, and ensemble director, contralto Karen Clark’s performances of medieval to modern music have been heard worldwide. In early music, Karen has performed and recorded with Boston Camerata, Sequentia, Waverly Consort and Joshua Rifkin’s Bach Ensemble. American Record Guide writes, “Karen R. Clark has a beautiful voice that shows flexibility and nuance. Her performance is gorgeous.” Karen is founder and director of the professional women’s vocal ensemble Vajra Voices, whose 2016 CD, O Eterne Deus: Music of Hildegard von Bingen (Music & Arts) is acclaimed by the U.K. Choir & Organ as “the most convincing Hildegard disc I’ve yet heard from the USA.” In new music, Karen works with the Bay Area’s Galax Quartet to commission and premiere works for contralto and baroque string quartet. Their CD released in 2020 on Music & Arts featuring the Pulitzer-winning American composer Joseph Schwantner’s song cycle Dream Drapery: Thoreau Songs received high praise in the January 2021 issue of Fanfare Magazine.

MONTEREY CHAMBER SINGERS

THEIR SECOND PUBLIC CONCERT on YouTube

 

DUELING SOPRANOS

ANGELA GHEORGHIU (pictured) goes to bat for the Met Opera musicians after the Met instead hosted Anna Netrebko in Vienna. On February 21, 2021 at 3pm EST, the MET Orchestra Musicians will present soprano Angela Gheorghiu in concert from Bucharest’s stunning Romanian Athenaeum Concert Hall. This opera star, since her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1993, is one of the most beloved sopranos on the planet and was slated to return to the Met in the 2020/21 season. Ms. Gheorghiu will also appear in a live chat session at the conclusion of the event. The MET Orchestra Musicians will collaborate from #NewYorkCity through the wonder of #technology. Angela Gheorghiu states: “My fellow colleagues and I speak about how happy we are for being part of the “Metropolitan Opera family”—for me, since my Met debut in 1993, these are not just empty words, and I want to show my love, my respect and my real support for all of them through facts, through offering my voice for this cause, in a special appearance during their next virtual concert and joined by MET musicians. Tickets for this concert are $15 USD and are available for purchase at spotlight.metorchestramusicians.org.

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, 1929-2021

IN THE LATE 1990s, the widely acclaimed Canadian actor Christopher Plummer gave a one-man recitation at Carmel’s Sunset School Auditorium. Appalled at the poor acoustics, good for neither music nor the spoken word, he wrote on the podium, “For God’s sake, get yourself a real theater.” Talk about renovating Sunset Center had begun in 1992. Plummer’s exclamation kick-started the complete reconstruction of Sunset Center which began in 2001.

LARA DOWNES LAUNCHES RISING SUN

*PROFILE, LOW; IMPACT, HUGE

JAZZ MASTER GERALD WILSON (pictured top of the page) remembered during Black History month. Click HERE

HARRISON “WILD TRIP” VIOLIN CONCERTO

POSTCLASSICAL ENSMBLE’S first ever Covid-19 performance, Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Violin and Percussion, heard Sunday at noon, will remain available on YouTube until March 5.

 

BALCONY SESSION, FEBRUARY 2021

CHRISTINA MOK’S solo recital from Sunset Center, February 5, 2021: after works by JS Bach, Astor Piazzolla and Prokofiev she gave the public premiere of John Wineglass’ excellent (and timely) Alone for solo violin and elctronica in two contrasting movements, Frenzied Lives and Realms of Rest. To watch the recital, Click HERE

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

A DECADE-LONG assortment of recent works by Louis Karchin adds to his multi-faceted reputation. The Chamber Symphony (2009) opens with an effervescent sparkle in the high register of winds, percussion and piano. A quick look at the score reveals a vivaciously colorful palette of timbres: flute, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, horn, trombone, percussion, harp, piano, two violins, cello and doublebass. Of course that’s no guarantee of quality except in sure hands, like those of Karchin. They—his hands—show a mastery of tone colors and transparency of textures that is rare among contemporary composers. (Karchin was born in 1951.) Within this three movement work, Karchin uses the violins sparingly, except in the slow middle movement. In fact he also takes the role of conductor of the crack Washington Square Ensemble. Rochester Celebration (2017) for piano solo is a feisty piece built on transforming motives and contrasting themes; here it is played by Margaret Kampmeier. Postlude for trumpet and piano (2019), by contrast, soothes with almost-nostalgic, drawn-out phrasing, with trumpeter Sam Jones featured. Quest (2014) for flute and harp and Barcarole Variations (2015) for violin and harp add further contrast to the program and round out the Bridge CD. SM

VERY CLEVER this program by baritone Tyler Duncan and pianist Erika Switzer. All the composers are French and all the lyrics are in English. Poets include Robert Louis Stevenson, Rabindranath Tagore, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Byron, Shelley, Longfellow, Burns, Joyce and a few others. The composers are well-known, but perhaps not always for their contributions to the song literature. Reynaldo Hahn is best-known for his songs; the others include Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Roussel, Ravel and Gounod. More than clever, this program makes for enchanting discovery of song-settings virtually all unknown to me. Duncan is a fine and nuanced singer who has obviously steeped himself in these works. SM

HOW ANNA CLYNE FOUND HER VIOLIN

POPULAR CLASSICAL COMPOSER and frequent guest of the Cabrillo Festival tells the story.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

SEE ME, a Global Concert.

FRESH REVIEW

PHILIP PEARCE attended Howard Burnham’s A Butt of Canary. Click HERE

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor