AFTER A FULL YEAR, a live concert with a live and long-starved audience as cellist Michelle Djokic joined violinist Cindy Wu at her home in Corral de Tierra on Sunday afternoon.
NEW THIS WEEK
NEW RADIO PLAY from Jewel Theatre Company: The Whistler-Stranger in the House. APRIL IN SANTA CRUZ the annual series of new music at UCSC goes online Friday and Saturday. CABRILLO MUSIC FESTIVAL presents Vol 2 of its new series, Composers in Conversation, with Clarice Assad, Anna Clyne and Kevin Puts this Saturday morning at 11. MANHATTAN CHAMBER PLAYERS perform online Saturday through the Chamber Music Monterey Bay website, including Chris Rogerson’s Clarinet Quintet, Gideon Klein’s String Trio and Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE
APRIL IN SANTA CRUZ AT UCSC
THE UCSC Music Department presents its annual April in Santa Cruz Music Festival, a month-long series of free concerts featuring works by UC Santa Cruz faculty and graduate students, April 2 through May 1. All concerts stream at 7:30 p.m. on the April in Santa Cruz Facebook Page Click HERE
LAST WEEK FROM ST IGNATIUS
A TECHNICAL GLITCH denied access to the harp recital by Jieyin Wu. To hear it on YouTube, click HERE
PENDERECKI IN MEMORIAM
AN EXCELLENT PODCAST SERIES honoring the dominant Polish composer of the second half of the 20th century and first two decades of 2021 who died one year ago. Produced and hosted by Max Horowitz (pictured) of Crossover Media—one of our most valued suppliers of musical content and information. The series was created by Anna Perzanowska and presented by the Polish Cultural Institute New York. The approximately 30-minute podcasts began a month ago with a bevy of major classical artists interviewed on their involvement with Penderecki’s music. Click HERE
HILARY HAHN’S NEW ALBUM “PARIS”
THE ZOO AT HOLLYWOOD BOWL
RECORD SALES: CDs TUMBLE, VINYL RISES
IN THE UK at least. Click HERE
HIMARI, 9 YEARS OLD, PLAYS PAGANINI
THE COMPLETE Violin Concerto No 1 in D with the New Japan Philharmonic.
THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH
WHEREVER HK GRUBER GOES mischief is sure to follow. This clever Austrian has made a career of playful, even naughty, tricks and games rarely found in classical music. (When he appeared with his toy instruments in the Santa Cruz Symphony’s production of his hellzapoppin’ Frankenstein!! in 2016, he actually got away with giving the audience the finger.) Percussion monster Colin Currie, well-known as a solo virtuoso—if a one-man orchestra of sticks, mallets, drums, metal, marimbas and bells can be deemed a soloist—has held star position in new 21st century music as percussion itself has risen in prominence. His dizzying displays of virtuosity have beguiled Cabrillo Music Festival audiences with his every appearance, infrequent as they have been. The first of the two works on Colin Currie’s own label is titled Rough Music (1982-83), its three movements respectively called Toberac, Shivaree and Charivari, the latter in homage to the French composer Henri Sauguet. Fortunately you can take in the fun and games without getting tangled up in that arcana. The BBC Philharmonic is conducted by Juanjo Mena, though the strings stay in the background in the first movement. This is charming, witty stuff with solo flights on the brass and woodwinds. The second movement gets aggressive (rough, I suppose) with piano, strings, motoric high winds and thudding then explosive percussion. Toward the end all goes quiet with gentle bell tones and marimba. The final movement is almost a lullaby with violent eruptions and ends with circus music. What’s not to like? (If you do want to get down in the weeds, you’ll find pinches of Charles Ives, Alban Berg and Erik Satie.) The second piece, of about the same duration, is the single-movement into the open…, “more of a symphony with solo obbligato percussion leading the drama.” It is also a tribute to David Drew, the composer’s alter-ego, and close associate of Currie, who died in 2009. The piece opens with mysterious gongs and goes on to a purposeful adventure of discovery. On the one hand, you will hear Gruber’s ever-active eclecticism, from Romantic to Avant-garde, from deeply felt expression to parody. (In this case Kurt Weill’s Alabama Song appears in fragments.) Yet there is a coherency that manages to remain, well, coherent, even relevant. This performance, with John Storgårds conducting, was of the work’s world-premiere at the Albert Hall in July 2015. The album is a keeper. SM
IF YOU’RE A CLASSICAL MUSIC FAN chances are you have heard Orion Weiss in person. He performed in Santa Cruz as part of John Orlando’s Distinguished Artists Series, for the Carmel Music Society and with the Monterey Symphony. Now he partners with the conductor Leon Botstein, a man well-known for trodding the path rarely taken. The Orchestra Now joins the adventure with Korngold’s Concerto in C-sharp (for one hand), Chopin’s brilliant but fairly silly variations on “Là ci darem la mano, the duet” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Concerto in C-sharp Minor. You could safely add this CD to your collection without worrying about duplicating any of these pieces. The Korngold was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, of that well-known and fairly dysfunctional family, after having lost his right arm in World War I. (Wittgenstein notoriously made changes to the many concertos he commissioned from the leading composers of his time—Richard Strauss, Sergei Prokofiev, Paul Hindemith, Maurice Ravel—but not this one.) For all the grand sweep of Rimsky’s orchestral and operatic scores, his piano concerto is remarkably compact, its three movements played straight through in under 14 minutes. Meanwhile, Weiss’s reputation continues to flower, meaning his fees keep rising. Can our local presenters keep up? Hopefully. SM
MONTEREY SYMPHONY musicians Dawn and Mark Walker, with Symphony ED Nicola Reilly, performed live online on Saturday from the renovated Pacific Grove Library. The next Balcony Sessions live concert will spotlight clarinetist Sarah Bonomo in late May.
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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor