Author Archives: Melanie Cervi

Carmel Bach Festival: Saints and Sinners, A Night at the Opera

How Groucho Saw It

            Is opera your guilty pleasure? Do you revel in drama, romance and full orchestral sound? There is nothing like meeting friends, hearing the whisper of fine clothing, and settling in your favorite seat for a few hours of enjoyment. Each year, Carmel Bach Festival presents opera excerpts that stretch our imagination and challenge the musicians. This year we heard selections from four different operas from four different musical eras.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Opera


Carmel Bach Festival — Bach & Shakespeare

Carmel has inspired many people. Over the decades, stretching as far back as early 20th Century, creative people have thrived in this small town by the sea. On Sunday, July 14, 2019, day two of the 82nd Carmel Bach Festival, we enjoyed a glimpse of what Carmel has inspired in Maestro Paul Goodwin. Every conductor and director has a vision with much joy to share. Attending live performances seems the only way to understand and receive that joy and vision. At first blush, one wonders how Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, by Johann Sebastian Bach is related to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Incidental Music, Op 61 by Felix Mendelssohn. Andrew Oster gave us some insight with his pre-concert lecture. His well-presented thoughts with recorded excerpts made it easier to enjoy the afternoon’s concert. I’ve decided to let the musicologists discuss the connection. It is enough for me to honor Felix Mendelssohn for his work in reviving Bach’s music.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Choral, Orchestral


Musikiwest – ChamberFest

Musikiwest ChamberFest

Learning an instrument is a lotta work. Learning how to be a part of a Chamber Group can be even harder! Musikiwest ChamberFest is training young aspiring chamber musicians to be the best in both respects. Participants in their programs explore the means by which to identify an unhealthy collaborative experience and develop the skills to create music with grace, flexibility and sensitivity. This week, from July 7 to July 10, 2019, at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, Artistic Director Michelle Djokic has guided 4 Fellows and 4 Artists through workshops, discussion sessions and rehearsals. 

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Archived in these categories: Strings


King’s Trumpeter — Carmel Bach Festival 2019 Comes to Life

State Trumpeters

            The trumpet has sounded! Let the Festival begin! With a Pre-Festival recital on Monday, July 8, 2019 at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, the 2019 Carmel Bach Festival is underway. Andrew Arthur and Robert Farley presented an excellent collection of music for trumpet and organ. The focus was on music written during the Restoration Period of English history. Initiated by Henry V and continued until Queen Victoria, the post of King’s Trumpeter inspired great music. This reviewer has often played pieces from this era for wedding music.

            The pews at St. Dunstan’s were comfortably full. The Dobson organ is a striking instrument well designed for the building and well suited to the compositions. Andrew Arthur shared his mastery of both the instrument and literature of the Early English music. Robert Farley played a beautiful reproduction of a J. L Ehe II Baroque Trumpet. In his hands, the instrument brought the music to life. I appreciated reading the thorough program notes. One can learn much by listening to recordings and reading, but to actually experience the music performed is to truly understand.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Organ


Ensemble Monterey — The King Shall Rejoice

Director John Anderson

The Season Finale of Ensemble Monterey was a wonderful collection of regal music. The title for this concert is taken from the last piece offered: Handel’s Coronation Anthem. Included in the program material was a graphic featuring “The Fab Five.” This refers to 5 composers who wrote mostly in the 18thCentury with one work from the 17thCentury. I attended the Saturday evening concert on April 27, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church in Monterey, CA. The day was a lovely Spring day, so the room grew warm as the evening progressed. Still, I thank the church for opening their doors and sharing the good acoustics of their space.

As is the custom of Ensemble Monterey, Conductor and Artistic Director Dr. John Anderson offered his insights prior to the concert as a short talk with question/answer session. This opportunity to learn about the music and performers is so vital. Dr. Anderson has a gift for conveying information that engages those literate in music while being accessible to those just beginning their musical journey. It makes concerts more enjoyable when the audience is as attentive and engaged as they were Saturday. These talks along with the excellent printed program are gems we should encourage and take advantage of regularly. 

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Chamber music, Choral, Vocal, Vocal ensemble