CBF 2019: Signs and 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

Gallery Showings by Lucas Blok and Mel Prest

It was all about color yesterday afternoon at the Carl Cherry Foundation as friends and fans attended a joint gallery display by artists Lucas Blok and Mel Prest. Both artists employ acrylic in their creations of large canvases, but their individual artistic outlook has led them in different, yet complimentary directions. Blok specializes in bold rectilinear designs imposed on large areas of vivid colors that tease the mind and envelop us in vibrant strong colors enclosed in both hard and soft edged rectangles. Although many of Blok’s paintings are in a gigantic scale with linear lengths approaching 16 to 20 feet wide, his paintings on display yesterday were smaller in scale — partly because the Carl Cherry Gallery has smaller wall spaces lending itself to smaller paintings.

San Francisco artist Mel Prest also employs acrylic in her very personal use of color, line and perspective to create muted and subtle images on large panels that can draw you into each one in an hypnotic way that compels your eye to roam in each direction to interact with the more intimate details of movement of lines — sometimes linear, and sometimes diagonal — while always retaining more distant overall effect. This is my first acquaintance with Mel Prest’s artistry, and I found that her warm personality is a complimentary aspect that graces and enhances her artistic aura.

We hope there will be future showings by these artists, individually and jointly. They both have found compelling ways to engage the minds and moods of those exposed to their artistry.


Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Piano

Pianist Stephen Hough

Stephen Hough

Stephen Hough appeared in a piano recital at Temple Beth Am in Miami on
Sunday March 31, 2019. Hough is a fascinating intellectual who not only has an extraordinarily vast piano repertoire but is also a composer and published novelist.

The program he chose for his recital in Miami was most interesting in several respects. For many years it has not been fashionable to play transcriptions in recitals. However, since in recent years transcriptions have come back into fashion, we were not surprised that Hough chose to begin with Busoni’s great transcription of the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita in D minor for solo violin. Unlike the Brahms transcription of the Chaconne, which is for left hand alone, Busoni’s is for both hands and in its complexity presents even more formidable technical and musical difficulties for the performer. Hough’s performance exhibited extraordinary technical mastery and made us enjoy the amazing sonorities created in the transcription of this work from solo violin to solo piano.

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

Third Coast Percussion at Herbst Theater

What an imaginative and extraordinary way to spend Wednesday night, April 3, in San Francisco. I had the privilege of attending a performance by Third Coast Percussion at Herbst Theater presented by San Francisco Performances.

Having recently released its newest album, ‘Perputulum’, Third Coast Percussion is, if they haven’t already, becoming a force to be reckoned with. ‘Perpetulum’ is a joint venture with Philip Glass, its latest commissioned composer. Glass has never before written for percussion alone, and TCP thought it was time. They premiered the West Coast performance of the piece written last year (2018) last Wednesday at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco to a very receptive, but not sold out crowd. In the spirit of musical convergence, Glass leaves the cadenza between the second and third movement mostly up to the performers. 

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Archived in these categories: 21st Century