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


Carmel Music Society opens its new season with pianist Olga Kern

Olga Kern

Presented by the Carmel Music Society, Russian-American pianist Olga Kern made a triumphant return yesterday afternoon to Sunset Center in Carmel. Kern was elegantly dressed in a flowing red designer gown for the first half of the recital and in a flowing silver designer gown for the second half. Not only did her appearance make quite an impression, but so did her stage presence. An engaging smile and a charming manner when speaking to the audience won us over before she even played a note.

Peter Thorp, President of the Carmel Music Society had added some new technology to the afternoon’s recital. A video camera suspended over the piano keyboard projected a view from above of the pianist’s hands during the performances onto a screen over the stage. Thus, we could enjoy a side view from the audience plus a video top view of the pianist’s hands.

After a warmup performance of a rarely-heard Beethoven set of Variations on a Theme by Salieri, Kern settled in to perform one of the greatest works Beethoven ever composed for the keyboard, the Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53, known as the “Waldstein.” We heard a masterful performance of the first movement that held our attention throughout Beethoven’s presentation of compelling musical ideas, its powerful development section and satisfying recapitulation and coda. The brief second movement, Adagio Molto, served as an introduction to the concluding Rondo that was capped off by the Prestissimo finale. Kern brought a lot of charm, vitality and easy virtuosity to her performance of this sonata and made it look easy in the process.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Carmel Music Society, Classical Era, Piano


Carmel Music Society presents guitarist Manuel Barrueco

Manuel Barrueco

On May 5, 2019, at Sunset Center in Carmel, classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco sat on his throne, guitar in hand, and positively wowed audiences at the Sunset Center. Playing various selections by Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, and Ignacio Cervantes, his Spanish and Cuban music was like a warm and intimate embrace, each note plucked as if it was loved individually and played explicitly for each member of the audience.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Carmel Music Society, Guitar


Pianist Wu Han performs for Carmel Music Society

Pianist Wu Han is no stranger to Sunset Center, for she has frequently appeared in ensemble with her cellist husband David Finckel, and violinist partner Philip Setzer. However, yesterday afternoon we heard her in all her glory as a piano soloist performing for the Carmel Music Society. Speaking to the audience from the stage, Wu explained that the two extended works she was performing for us in this recital had special significance as pieces to which she has a long and emotional connection.

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Archived in these categories: Carmel Music Society, Romantic Era


Brentano Quartet & Pianist Yekwon Sunwoo at Sunset Center

It was a pleasure to welcome back the Brentano Quartet for a return engagement after its highly acclaimed performance for the Carmel Music Society in 2013. On this occasion, the quartet was joined by 29-year-old pianist Yekwon Sunwoo, Gold Medalist at the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, who had recently appeared on the Carmel Music Society’s series in September 2018.

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Archived in these categories: Carmel Music Society, Chamber music, Classical Era, Piano trio