Santa Cruz Symphony — Horizons

Maestro Daniel Stewart

Esa-Pekka Salonen is certainly one of today’s finest and most adventuresome composers. In 2018 the Santa Cruz Symphony under Stewart’s imaginative programming, ventured out into the world of contemporary music by presenting Salonen’s Karawane, a work that incorporates a poem set in synthetic language by Dadaist poet Hugo Ball, by all consideration a huge success. Now the Maestro turned to yet another of Salonen’s musical creations, his eclectic 30-minute Violin Concerto, composed in 2009, in a performance featuring virtuoso Concert Master Nigel Armstrong.  

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Orchestral, Santa Cruz Symphony


San Francisco Symphony — Pictures & Percussion

Adam Schoenberg

It was the moment Adam Schoenberg had been anticipating since early 2018: the world premiere of ‘Losing Earth’, his first percussion concerto. Also in the spotlight was Jacob Nissly, the soloist for the piece and the SFS Principal Percussionist. Wondering how long we have left before our earth succumbs to global warming, Schoenberg wrote the piece as pondering on what is to come.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Orchestral


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


CBF 2019: Signs and Seasons

Seasons

            Just as several of the programs during the 82ndCarmel Bach Festival focused on the Christmas Oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach, there were two programs that focused on The Creation by Franz Joseph Haydn. We heard the entire 18thcentury work during the Saturday concert titled “In the Beginning.”  On Thursday, July 25, 2019 we heard a collection of 25 works chosen by Associate Conductor Andrew Megill. The Festival Chorale performed compositions about the creation story in Genesis, especially the markers of time. The music celebrated the Sun, Moon, and Stars; Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. As I settled into my seat, I knew I was going to be captivated.

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Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Carmel Bach Festival, Choral, Classical Era, Romantic Era


CBF 2019: Christmas at the Mission

            The magic of Christmas filled the Carmel Mission Basilica on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. That’s right – in July. And it was wonderful! We enjoyed two parts of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Andrew Megill conducted the Chorale and members of the Festival Orchestra. These Mission concerts typically sell out, and have become an annual tradition. The magic we heard was the final installment to the set of Bach Cantatas featured during the 82ndCarmel Bach Festival. 

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Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Carmel Bach Festival, Choral