Author Archives: Melanie Cervi

Chamber Music Monterey Bay — Escher String Quartet

Escher String Quartet

We were an appreciative audience. I was concerned the damp, drippy weather might keep some from attending, but many still ventured out to enjoy an evening of excellent music performed by outstanding musicians. So, on Saturday, March 7, 2020 Sunset Center opened its doors and we settled into our seats to hear the Escher String Quartet. I recommend that you find a chance to see and hear them play in the future. The Escher String Quartet members are currently Adam Barnett-Hart, violin, Brendan Speltz, violin, Pierre Lapointe, viola, and Brook Speltz, cello. Each of these musicians performs as soloist, as chamber musicians, and teaches or mentors aspiring string players. We were introduced to a few of the young people they worked with earlier in the day. I found myself smiling in approval that Chamber Music will have such a bright future.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Romantic Era, String quartet


Ensemble Monterey’s Tribute to an Early Spring

Spring has come early to my yard. The pines are full of pollen, the roses and other shrubs are budding, morning walks include a swing by the seal pupping beach. I hadn’t thought about it being “early” until seeing the title for the concert on February 22, 2020. I suppose so though, there are places with snow still on the ground in February. For this early Spring evening, Ensemble Monterey under the leadership of Dr. John Anderson offered 3 pieces for our listening pleasure. I chose to attend the performance at First Presbyterian Church, Monterey. The ensemble for this concert is made up of 15 instrumentalists, all playing string instruments. This venue presents a wonderful opportunity to really experience a chamber orchestra. The seating is on a lower level than where the musicians sit on the wood platform. This gives us great acoustics for hearing the music and good viewpoint to watch the musicians at work. 

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Strings


Chamber Music Monterey Bay presents the Horszowski Trio

Horszowski Trio

How do you enjoy the rare warm velvet night of a Carmel winter? An evening by a fire? A walk along the shore? How about entering the soft light of a concert hall for a chamber music concert? I enjoyed an evening at Sunset Center listening to the Horszowski Trio on Saturday, February 1, 2020. The members of this ensemble: Jesse Mills, violin, Raman Ramakrishnan, cello, and Rieko Aizawa, piano presented three compositions. For the final piece, they welcomed guest violinist Aaron Boyd. In his pre-concert talk, Kai Christiansen mentioned the contrasts in the compositions. I did hear the contrasts, and I also heard an ensemble of master musicians play some fabulous music.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber Music Monterey Bay


Philharmonia Baroque — Music of Shakespeare

            Shakespeare. It’s a family name. A famous name. All around the world, people think immediately of William Shakespeare. Thousands of people can claim a Shakespeare in their family tree. We had the pleasure on Sunday afternoon, January 12, 2020, of listening to a fine chamber ensemble led by one such descendant: Nicholas McGegan. The Carmel Music Society invited us to Sunset Center in Carmel to hear Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players with Sherezade Panthaki, soprano. This was part of a tour during McGegan’s Farewell Season as Music Director of Philharmonia Baroque. Since I particularly enjoy productions of Shakespeare’s plays where music is added between acts, or as part of the action, I was curious what music McGegan had chosen especially because we were not to hear the words of any of the plays.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Music Society


Chamber Music Monterey Bay — Inscape: A Mixed Ensemble

As the air turns crisp and the leaves rustle as they fall to the sidewalk, I tend to notice music around me more often. Hardly a minute goes by in public that music is not offered for your listening pleasure. Our ears are full. Modern music from the 20th and 21st Century is challenging at times. Modern life is challenging at times. This listener does not begrudge a Classical Music fan for taking a “bye” on a concert when life has just been too challenging. Life happens. Music happens. Sometimes one just wants the music to speak to one’s heart. No brain stretching harmonies, no new instruments, no clash of instrumental techniques; just music to stir the ear and the mind and of course, the heart. No in-depth conversations of differences, just the chance to hear old friends. When the promotional Press Release mentions that a group “is pushing the boundaries of classical music” one may need to pause and reframe your ears and mind before entering the concert hall. This listener has often been in that “just give me easy listening” frame of mind. Last night, I was ready for some new experiences; a concert of all modern stuff.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Chamber Music Monterey Bay