Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

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It doesn’t get any better than this!

Eight musicians from the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields appeared in concert last night at Sunset Center in Carmel under the auspices of the Carmel Music Society and proved to us once again that chamber music at its best can achieve spectacular results with modest means.

Rather than a large symphony orchestra or a blazing super virtuoso like Yuja Wang or Lang Lang, these eight players beguiled and charmed us with stylish elegance, refinement and superb, pure musicianship. A sophisticated member of the audience (and himself a musician) asked me at intermission, “Have you ever heard ensemble playing like this?”

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Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Strings, Woodwinds


St. Lawrence String Quartet opens CMMB Season with Guest Clarinetist

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The most substantial work on the program the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) performed last night at Sunset Center for Chamber Music Monterey Bay was “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind” composed in 1994 by Osvaldo Golijov. This 33-minute work in five movements featured guest clarinetist Todd Palmer, who came out on stage after intermission like a tennis player at Wimbledon, but instead of four tennis racquets under his arm, he was carrying four clarinets  — from bass to piccolo. From these instruments we subsequently heard every sound possible (and some nearly impossible) that these instruments can produce. This is not to imply that it was only novelty that was driving the performance, for this work by Golijov has serious substance and infectious charm as it explored elements of rabbinical prayer music as well as generous amounts of traditional Yiddish and klezmer styles.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber Music Monterey Bay, Classical Era, Romantic Era, Woodwinds


Carmel Bach Festival 2016 Grand Finale — Best of the Fest

Paul Goodwin July 2016

The program of the final concert of the Carmel Bach Festival is always a surprise. Members of the audience entering Sunset Center have no idea what works will be performed, for there is no printed program. However, our Emcee for the evening, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Carmel Bach Festival, Paul Goodwin, is constantly onstage to inform us of his choices of works that have been heard durning the previous two weeks at various venues around Carmel. Except possibly for Dramaturge David Gordon, there could be no more endearing host at a concert than Paul Goodwin. He is charming with his intelligent and witty comments that enhance and enlighten us at every step along the way.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Chamber music, Choral, Classical Era, Harpsichord, Oboe, Opera, Orchestral, Romantic Era, Strings, Violin, Vocal ensemble, Woodwinds


Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano Evening at Hidden Valley

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Returning to its usual Monday evening schedule on June 27, 2016, the Hidden Valley Music Seminars continued its Master Festival with a concert by New York Philharmonic principal players Mark Nuccio (clarinet) and Judith LeClair (bassoon), together with pianist Zsolt Balogh.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber music, Classical Era, Hidden Valley Music Seminars, Woodwinds


Santa Cruz Chorale at Holy Cross Church

  Christian Grube - June 2016               

Music Director Christian Grube

It has been said since time immemorial that the voice is the greatest musical instrument. Remembering the artistry of great singers like Pavarotti and Callas, the adage gains momentum. And the beautiful tradition continues with 10-year-old Dutch “Wunderkind” Amira Willighagen, who has set the operatic world on fire with her magnificent soprano voice –- a voice like that of a mature operatic diva of the past. As for choral groups, the concert we heard from the Santa Cruz Chorale last weekend reminded us at times of the great European choral tradition we have come to expect from magnificent German choirs.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Choral, Oboe, Vocal, Woodwinds