Weekly Update, Nov 5, 2013


In one brush stroke the Seattle Times painted Bill Frisell, now awash in honors and awards and superstar collaborations, “…the single most important guitarist in jazz.” He and his colleagues who recorded the album Big Sur, containing the songs he wrote at Glen Deven Ranch, will pack Carmel’s Sunset Center this Wednesday for a much anticipated reprise of the album’s 19 tracks. The event will, among other things, provide additional support to the Monterey Jazz Festival’s youth Jazz Education program. Reservations strongly advised. You can watch the genesis of the Festival commission—and take a video tour of Glen Deven—by clicking here.

Meanwhile, the sizzling Brentano String Quartet, who provided thebrentano-7605-8x10 soundtrack for the acclaimed Yaron Zilberman film A Late Quartet, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener, will grace the Carmel Music Society this Sunday afternoon at Sunset Center. Named for one of Beethoven’s married lovers—in fact or his imagination—the Brentano foursome has just been poached by Yale University from its residency at Princeton. Their Carmel program includes Haydn, Debussy and Beethoven. (Note: IMDb incorrectly credits the Juilliard Quartet for the soundtrack.)

Azeri kamancha player Imanyar Hasanov performs two works for his ImamyarHasanov3instrument and orchestra as part of Youth Music Monterey County’s season-opening concert, Saturday afternoon at Sunset Center. YMMC music director Farkhad Khudyev, a native of Turkmenistan, has included a rhapsody and concerto by, respectively, Hasan Rzayev and Haji Khanmammadov, along with Finlandia by Sibelius, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and works by Ravel and Dvořák. The kamancha traces its roots to ancient Persia; it is bowed like a cello and sings with very distinctive character.

Speaking of the unusual, the Distinguished Artists series presents Haskell Small in Federico Mompou’s masterpiece, Musica callada (Quiet music), composed in four books between 1959 and 1967. Who is Federico Mompou, you ask? Well known to internationally respected keyboard artists, the Barcelona native (1893-1987) composed mostly piano music in the “primitive” style (no bar lines, no key signatures.) His meditative, improvisational style echoes Erik Satie and Gabriel Fauré. Small performs on Sunday in Santa Cruz.

See our Calendar page for details on the above, and more.

In 2005, Harmonia Mundi released a CD called Melpomen that contains nearly an hour of what is claimed to be ancient Greek music. This was reconstructed and composed, after exhaustive research and conjecture, by Conrad Steinmann, and recorded by vocalists and players of the aulos, barbitos, kymbala, krotala and salpinx. Now Armand d’Angour’s “How did ancient Greek music sound?” has been published by BBC News. Read it here (or later by way of our Links of Interest page.)

Saltshaker Theater has promised a new Gilbert & Sullivan festival, opening Feb 20, 2014, at Monterey’s Wharf Theater. Auditions for HMS Pinafore and Trial by Jury will be held at First Presbyterian, 536 Lincoln, Salinas, Nov 12-14, from 6:30-9pm. More at http://saltshakertheater.com/

Meanwhile, we have fresh reviews posted: Ensemble Monterey’s season-opener (Music Reviews page) and two plays, A Song for My Father at The Western Stage and The Normal Heart at UC Santa Cruz (Theater Reviews page.)

Scott MacClelland, editor