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.

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


Carmel Bach Festival 2019: Guitar Hero

Jason Vieaux

            During a Festival, you immerse yourself. While you would expect Bach compositions to dominate at the Carmel Bach Festival, we actually get to enjoy so much more. The music offered for our listening is always in some way connected to Bach. Often, the best way to figure out the connection is by attending the pre-concert talk and reading the program notes. Musicologists who offer these viewpoints are often as entertaining and enlightening as the music itself. In the case of “Guitar Hero,” the main concert for Friday, July 19, 2019, the program selections initially seemed distant from Bach, but the pre-concert talk and program notes pulled it together for me and I felt more prepared as I settled into my seat. 

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Carmel Bach Festival, Classical Era, Orchestral, Romantic Era


Something New: The San Francisco Symphony — Under the Stars

Frost Amphitheatre
photo by Brandon Patoc

New Zealand conductor Gemma New appeared in an all-Tchaikovsky program with the San Francisco Symphony Wednesday, July 10, at the refurbished Frost Amphitheater in Palo Alto. The well attended outdoor concert drew an appreciative, if unsophisticated, crowd of admirers, some of whom decided to ignore protocol and crunch cellophane in the quieter moments of the evening’s scores. As for Ms. New, she sports an athletic demeanor on the podium, graceful and demonstrative, even conducting the solo passages that make the Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony its colorful, fateful self. 

Read full story
Archived in these categories: Concerto, Romantic Era


Pianist Sofya Gulyak’s Triumphant Return

Sofya Gulyak

Yesterday afternoon, by popular demand, the brilliant Russian-trained pianist Sofya Gulyak returned for a triumphant fifth recital appearance in central California. The event was jointly sponsored by Joseph Sekon’s Aptos Keyboard Series and the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist at 125 Canterbury Drive in Aptos.

Gulyak has won many prestigious piano competitions — among them first prize and the Princess Mary Gold Medal at the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition — the first woman to achieve this in the history of the competition. She has also won first prizes at the William Kapell International Piano Competition (USA), the Helsinki Maj Lind International Piano Competition, Tivoli Piano Competition (Copenhagen), Gyeongnam International Piano Competition (South Korea) and the Allegro vivo International Piano Competition (SanMarino).

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Piano, Romantic Era


Music of Jubilation: Symphony Silicon Valley Finale

Tatsuya Shimono

Conductor Tatsuya Shimono led the 2018-19 season finale of Symphony Silicon Valley on Saturday, June 1, at the California Theatre. The program featured choral music by Dvorak and Beethoven, featuring guest soloists and the gifted Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, whose Music Director is Elena Sharkova. Besides the rarely performed 1891Te Deum of Antonin Dvorak, the powerful draw came in the form of Beethoven’s mighty 1824 Ninth Symphony, the “Choral.” Among the pedestals of Western Music, this last symphony of Beethoven casts a perpetual spell over performers and auditors alike, compelling us to examine the very foundations of the musical art.

Read full story
Archived in these categories: Choral, Classical Era, Orchestral, Romantic Era