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


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.

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Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Piano