Celebration Choir – August 13, 2017

For the 21st year, and 17th for Director Connie Fortunato, the musical magic of the Celebration Choir again set toes tapping and hands clapping. This community group comes together for six weeks of rehearsal in July and August with August performances at Mt. Herman and the First Presbyterian Church Monterey. During opening announcements, a moment of silence was observed for the recent tragedies of violence as a reminder not to become complacent but to continue to work for peaceful solutions. With music as a universal language, the infectious tone of the program is set with the surround sound of the group’s signature entrance singing the Moses Hogan arrangement of “Music Down In My Soul.” This year’s theme was Down By The Riverside: Finding Peace in our Fractured World. A rare audience member would have a hard time sitting still! Read full story

Archived in these categories: Choral

CBF Chamber Concert – Bach Cantatas


  Gonzalo X. Ruiz, Marika Holmqvist, Margaret Jordan-Gay, Patricia Ahern, Karina Schmitz, Dongsok Shin

On Monday July 24, 2017 2:30 pm, at All Saints Church in Carmel, we heard the Carmel Bach Festival Chamber Concert, “Bach Cantatas.” This beautifully programmed concert opened with J.S. Bach’s entire sacred cantata BWV 199, Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut, scored for soprano solo, strings, continuo, and oboe, while the second part of the program consisted of tenor solo arias, and tenor and soprano duet selections from Cantatas 5, 110, 85, 43, and 145. Soprano Mhairi Lawson and tenor Tomas Cooley, formidable soloists in their own right, were a matched duet pair, happy and comfortable together, their duet sound was smiling and sparkling. The instrumental ensemble was in top form: Gonzalo X. Ruiz, oboe; Patricia Ahern, Marika Holmqvist, violin; Karina Schmitz, viola; Margaret Jordan-Gay, cello; Dongsok Shin, harpsichord. Read full story

Archived in these categories: All Saints' Church, Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Choral

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony Ends CBF First Week

The first week of Carmel Bach Festival 2017 ended not with a whimper, but with a bang, and quite a big bang at that. With three masterpieces on the program and seemingly a cast of thousands on stage, we were hearing the Carmel Bach Festival at its best.

In the pre-concert lecture David Gordon described the circumstances of the premier of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on May 7, 1824. It was by any standard a near disaster — hastily thrown together, under rehearsed and a bitter experience for Beethoven, not only because of his deafness, but also as a drain on his finances at a time in his life when he was most vulnerable. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival, Choral, Classical Era, Orchestral

Carmel Bach Festival – “Spiritual Sunday”

The major work on the “Spiritual Sunday” program was Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, K. 427. In the pre-concert lecture, David Gordon asked for a show of hands of people who had previously heard a performance of this work. Very few hands went up. Gordon explained why. This Mass is unfinished, although we don’t know the reason why. Various editors in the past have tried to finish sections in what they thought was an appropriate”Mozartian” style, but not always with great success. What we were hearing on this occasion is the Mass in its original, unfinished condition, all 55 minutes of it. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Carmel Bach Festival, Choral, Orchestral

Opening Night at Carmel Bach Festival 2017 – 80th Anniversary

Paul Goodwin, Artistic Director & Principal Conductor

In the words of Mr. Goodwin: “As we celebrate our 80th birthday I have endeavored to expand the breadth of the Festival, incorporating as many musical tastes as possible under the ever inspiring umbrella of Johann Sebastian Bach.” Thus it is that we are witnessing this season the Carmel Bach Festival continuing to evolve and bringing us works as distant from the Baroque as Philip Glass, Gustav Mahler, Frank Martins, Richard Rodney Bennett, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein, John Corigliano, Jerome Kern, Keenan Boswell and Leonard Bernstein.

It was an auspicious day for the opening night: the weather was sunny and mild, the opening night concert was nearly sold out, there was an art sale benefit going on in the Chapman Gallery, the Tower Music ensemble was as impressive as ever, and, as usual, there was the inimitable David Gordon delivering another one of his impressive lectures preceding the opening night concert. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Carmel Bach Festival, Choral, Orchestral