Weekly Update, Oct 22, 2013

Hallowe’en, Juilliard Quartet & more

THE exotic Hallowe’en party of the year opens the 35th season of The New Music Works, composer/visionary Phil Collins’ now-adult baby. Halloweeneworld, a “come as you aren’t” costume contest, gets underway at the Rio Theater, Soquel Avenue and Seabright in Santa Cruz, this Saturday, starting at 7pm. But the event is much more than a party and includes screenings of old films with new music, dance and pagan rituals “for the entire family”, and full concert fare. Plan to inhale the intoxicating vapors that drift across the spooky scene before, mere days later, righteous All Hallows Day banishes such unholy goings on.

Vocalist Amanda Mendon, the Ariose Singers, Noise Clinic and New Music Works ensemble provide the music. Phil Collins has composed a new score to accompany Frankenstein, the short Thomas Edison film of 1904. And Katrina Wreede provides music for Windsor McKay’s 1916 animation How a Mosquito Operates.

Also, hear Collins’ Yoshiwara from his 2011 score to accompany Fritz Lang’s controversial 1927 film Metropolis, and Charles Ives’ Hallowe’en of 1907. Ives’ 1912 song Charlie Rutlage and Christopher Pratorius’ Diary of a Black Widow of 2011 will both feature Amanda Mendon’s soprano tones. John Zorn’s All Hallows’ Eve of 2012 gets its West Coast Premiere, with Noise Clinic’s New Songs for the Occasion, excerpts from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Ernst Toch’s zany Geographical Fugue*, featuring the Ariose Singers, filling out the concert fare.

*Here’s Toch’s death-defying and/or lunatic 1930 text:

Trinidad! And the big Mississippi and the town Honolulu and the lake Titicaca / the Popocatepetl is not in Canada / rather in Mexico, Mexico, Mexico! / Canada, Málaga, Rimini, Brindisi / Canada, Málaga, Rimini, Brindisi / Yes, Tibet, Tibet, Tibet, Tibet / Nagasaki! Yokohama! Nagasaki! Yokohama!

You can get all the contact info on our Calendar page.

When the Juilliard String Quartet comes to Carmel this Saturday to entertain Chamber Music Monterey Bay at Sunset Center, they will prepare Thursday evening at an open rehearsal and master class to directly benefit six string players of Youth Music Monterey County. Other students present will of course gain from the experience as well. Anyone eager to witness how the world class quartet players interact in a master class with the YMM teens is welcome to attend with no charge for admission. Seating may be limited at the Carmel High School Performing Arts Center, Highway 1 and Ocean Avenue.

For the Saturday concert, the Juilliard will include the Quartet No. 3 “Whereof man cannot speak…” by Jesse Jones, a work composed specifically for the quartet’s 2013-14 concert tour. There’s a better than average chance you’ve heard Jones singing and playing mandolin on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion radio show. These days, his name is popping up more and more on concerts by chamber groups and orchestras. Jones took his Masters at the University of Oregon. He took his doctorate at Cornell where he studied with composers Roberto Sierra and Steven Stucky, and was long associated with the Cornell Avant-Garde Ensemble. His music has been widely performed at home and in Europe and Asia.

Details of the ChamberMusicMontereyBay concert on our Calendar page.

Of his new quartet Jones writes:

In his famous Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein coined the phrase “Whereof man cannot speak, thereof he must be silent.” Growing up, I often heard a variant of this terse aphorism, usually from my mother, whose motto in life (among many others) was, “If you don’t know what you’re talking about, you best not say anything at all.” This was usually her esoteric way of saying, “Son, you’re full of it and you know it, and you aren’t going to pull that over on me,” but she also used it effectively to remind herself and her family that guarding both tongue and temper is smart and virtuous, especially when words fall short and emotions run high.

My mother died right around the time I began work on this string quartet, and in the wake of her passing I found myself experiencing many intense emotions, most of which I could not fully explain in words. It was then that I realized: one need not be silent about the inarticulable, as Wittgenstein claims; one has the option of making music! And music it was, the writing of this my third string quartet, which helped assuage those emotions of loss, heartbreak, yearning, and even anger, eventually leading to a type of catharsis and spiritual acceptance.

At this Friday’s noon performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, deaf and hearing-impaired students of all ages from public schools in the greater Salinas area will join the hosting Santa Catalina School students at their on-campus performing arts center. Transportation is being funded by the STAR Foundation of Monterey County who is also sponsoring American Sign Language interpretations for these kids. (The ASL interpreters are Jacque Fitzpatrick and Shawnell Thompson.) STAR—Support Theater Arts Regionally—will also provide these services next spring for productions at All Saints’ Day School and Santa Catalina, which will stage Jule Stein and Mark Charlap’s Peter Pan. You can get more at www.starfoundationmc.org

Good friend Christina Waters, one of the brightest of Santa Cruz County’s bright pennies—when she’s not cruising La Scala, Bayreuth and other world-stage opera companies—contributes her thoughts on opera, food and movies, among other subjects, at her site, www.christinawaters.com We’ve also added her to our Links of Interest page.

And Philip Pearce offers much insight into Peter DeBono’s new production of You Can’t Take it With You on the Morgan Stock Stage at MPC, on our Theater Reviews page.

Scott MacClelland, editor