Author Archives: Dr. Gary Lemco

The Chagrins of Love — Ian Bostridge in Recital

Ian Bostridge

A small but highly appreciative audience attended the Wednesday, October 16 recital by tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist-composer Brad Mehldau at Stanford’s Bing Hall. The program rubric, “The Folly of Desire,” featured music by two composers, Mehldau and Robert Schumann. For the eleven songs by Mehldau, the self-immolating and often debased aspects of desire became subject matter for a series of jazzy treatments, more rhythmic and harmonic than conspicuously melodic. The poems Mehldau selects, from his “post MeToo” sensibility, derive from such diverse talents as Auden, Cummings, Shakespeare, Yeats, Blake, Brecht, and Goethe. Their content affirms, denies, mocks, and even salaciously depicts the more carnal implications of love – or rather, lust – in its attempt to achieve the spiritual resolution it might offer as agape. For Robert Schumann, whose music commanded the second half of the concert, his four independent songs and the 1840 cycle Dichterliebe, Op. 48, seek to reconcile love with Nature’s ineluctable tendency to make ephemeral our most exalted moments. 

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Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Piano, Vocal


Refreshed: Pianist Jon Nakamatsu in Recital

                                          

Jon Nakamatsu

With his signature encore, his idiosyncratic rendition of Scott Joplin’s stride-jazz piece “The Entertainer,” pianist Jon Nakamatsu had responded to a cheering, thoroughly enthusiastic audience on Saturday, September 21, at the McAfee Performing Arts and Lecture Center in Saratoga. This season-opening recital for the Steinway Society, the Bay Area’s 25th season also served as a Memorial Concert for Frieda Ann Murphy, a distinguished member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California.

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Archived in these categories: Piano


Elastic Brio: Menlo’s Overture Concert

An inspiring, rare moment of collaboration marked the Friday, August 2nd Overture Concert at [email protected]’s Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton, the occasion’s inviting young, International Program artists to share the stage with seasoned veterans, in the spirit of musical pedagogy and performance-practice. In music by Beethoven, Franck, and Brahms, the participants emanated a thoroughly integrated and often feverishly intense series of performances that point to the active musicians’ futures as much as to their appreciation of past masters, a thoroughly happy meeting of youthful hopes and experienced professionals.                                             

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Archived in these categories: Chamber music, Classical Era, Piano, Romantic Era


Masterful: [email protected]’s Concert Program V

Photo by Anna Kariel

A quartet of diverse, post-Romantic composers comprised the July 26 Concert Program V of [email protected]’s ongoing survey of Incredible Decades, 1890-1900: Moscow to Montmartre, held at The Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton. Music by Joseph Suk, Claude Debussy, Johannes Brahms, and Sergei Rachmaninov provided masterful vehicles for a literal pageant of accomplished participants while expanding our own horizons on the repertory of this fertile period of imaginative creation.

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Archived in these categories: Chamber music, Classical Era, Piano, Romantic Era


Sonorous Sweep: The Romantic Revolution at Menlo

Photo by Anna Kariel

While only three chamber music works comprised the [email protected] concert of the July 26 Concert Program No. IV at The Center for Performing Arts, Menlo-Atherton, the brilliant artistry by which these works – Schumann’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D MinorOp. 63; Chopin’s Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 65; and Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 87 – found realization so illuminating that they seemed to exemplify their motivic rubric, “1840-1850: The Romantic Revolution.”

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Archived in these categories: Chamber music, Romantic Era