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Festivals & Concerts: March 2008 Archives

Haydn's Creation

Michelangelo's Creation

The quiet master behind the masterpiece

By Dr. David MacKenzie
The Sentinel

Franz Joseph Haydn's great oratorio The Creation is acknowledged as one of the greatest musical achievements of Western Civilization. It is certainly the crowning glory of a composer whose creative output was immense – more than 1,000 works – and who is credited as the creator of the Classical-era symphony and string quartet.

The Creation will be performed at 8 p.m., Friday, April 4 at the Fireman Center for the Performing Arts at Tabor Academy in Marion, and will feature as soloists soprano Rebecca Grimes, tenor Thomas Oesterling, and Baritone, John Murelle. There will be a pre-concert prelude for ticket holders, which will take place one hour prior to each concert. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by calling 508-999-6276, or in person at the Marion General Store, Seaport Village Ice Cream and Coffee, Sail Away Studio, and Bev Loves Books.

Haydn's life spanned a period of enormous changes in the world, in the arts, and especially in music, and most musical trends during the 18th Century were pioneered and perfected by him. Born in 1732, he was 18 years old when J. S. Bach died. He outlived Mozart and was still a revered musical figure in Vienna when Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony, a work considered by many as ushering in the Romantic era, was performed in 1805. Both Mozart and Haydn owed great debts to Haydn. Indeed, Haydn was the only contemporary composer for whom Mozart held any regard, acknowledging that it was from Haydn he had learned how to write string quartets, and commenting at one point "Haydn alone has the secret both of making me smile and of touching my innermost soul."

For all of that, most concert-goers today can more readily name and recognize works by Haydn's older contemporaries Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel, or his much younger colleague and friend W. A. Mozart or his student Ludwig van Beethoven. Why is this?

Read more about this at the The Sentinel website:

Colin Carr

Hear how music history rolled out: Cellist, pianist play Beethoven cycle

By Celia R. Baker
Salt Lake City Tribune

Music history's march from Classicism to Romanticism followed the life story of one man: Ludwig van Beethoven. The whole journey – from innocent exuberance to heroic passion to profound introspection – unfolds in microcosm this week in Salt Lake City: English cellist Colin Carr will perform all of Beethoven's works for cello and piano with American pianist Tom Sauer during two concerts at Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

Carr, 50, is best – known in Utah for his three appearances here with the Golub–Kaplan–Carr trio, with whom he toured and recorded for more than two decades.

After 20 years of playing trios, Carr was ready for new challenges. Performing Beethoven's entire oeuvre for cello and piano, spread over two concerts, has proven to be "simply the best chamber music project that a cellist could ever wish to do," he said.

Amy Leung, director of the Virtuoso Series, studied cello with Carr at New York's Eastman School of Music and remembers him as "a phenomenal musician of the highest order." To Leung, the Beethoven sonatas are the mainstay of classical cello repertoire. She's thrilled that an agreement between her series and the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City is making it possible for Carr to give two concerts here – enough time to play all of them.

Audiences at both concerts will hear every note Beethoven wrote for cello and piano, but could trace the trajectory of Beethoven's musical development by attending either one, Carr said. Each evening includes music from the composer's early, middle and late periods, allowing listeners to make comparisons.

Although Carr has played Beethoven's cello sonatas and themes – and – variations for much of his life, juxtaposing them in this way brought fresh insights.

"When I hear all these pieces together, I see such stark contrasts that I'd never been aware of. It's fascinating," he said.

Read more about this at the Salt Lake City Tribune website:

Kronos Plays Visual Music

Kronos Quartet

The brilliant classical ensemble Kronos Quartet searches the world over for new music and ideas

By Barbara Rose Shuler
Monterey Herald

Kronos! For countless music lovers, this word makes a full declarative sentence, complete with a scintillating noun, a virtuoso verb and a fountain of superlative adjectives. It's a word that means brilliant artistry, revolutionary ideas and fearless exploration of new frontiers in music.

The extraordinary Kronos Quartet has radically altered the perception of the scope of string quartet playing in the world today. Its mythic name is synonymous with the best of the newest in contemporary classical music. Kronos' players have flourished at the creative edge of the art form for more than three decades, reveling in the exploration of unchartered musical territory.

The ensemble has commissioned and inspired hundreds of new works, recorded more than 40 remarkable albums, performed thousands of concerts around the globe, engaged in many imaginative artistic collaborations and received numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance and "Musicians of the Year" from Musical America.

Kronos, in short, ranks among the most influential groups of our time. Happily for us, Kronos resides in San Francisco and tours regularly to our region. Several years ago, audiences here enjoyed two especially dramatic and memorable multi-media spectacles produced by Kronos. One of these inventive masterpieces, "Visual Music," premiered at CSU-Monterey Bay's World Theater. The other, "Sun Rings" – performed early on in its run at Sunset Theater in Carmel – wove actual sounds of space as recorded by scientist Donald Gurnett with a score by Terry Riley accompanied by visual images.

Read more about this at the Monterey Herald website:

Performing All of Mozart's Operas

Warsaw Chamber Opera

Classical music: Focusing on genius

The only Mozart Festival in the world which presents all the composer's operas has launched ticket sales

by Anna Kalembasiak
Warsaw Business Journal

While summer remains a long way off, some entertainments require seriously advanced booking, and the 18th Mozart Festival in Warsaw is one of them. Tickets for the event, which will take place between June 15-July 26 at the Warsaw Chamber Opera, have just gone on sale.

During the festival, concerts and operas will be performed by the best musicians from Poland and abroad. Concerts will take place on the premises of the Warsaw Chamber Opera as well as at the Palace on the Water in the Royal Lazienki Park, in the Royal Castle and in Warsaw's churches.

"Our Mozart Festival is the only one in the world which presents all 20-plus operatic works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Even the festival in Austria, the homeland of Mozart, does not present all his works [at one time]," said Jan Bokszczanin, the spokesperson for the Warsaw Chamber Opera. "There has never been another festival which fully covers the stage operas of this genius composer," said musicologist Janusz Ekiert.

Read more about this at the Warsaw Business Journal website:

A Vote for Modern Music


The energetic Berg Orchestra gets into the spirit

Berg Chamber Orchestra

By Frank Kuznik
Prague Post

The Berg Orchestra is opening its spring season with a great musical marketing gimmick: a contest to decide the best new work that the group premiered last year. Seven pieces by young Czech composers were chosen for the competition, which was decided by popular public vote and a professional jury of eight foreign composers.

The contest attracted more than 250 voters – a good number for any modern music event in Prague – and was close, according to Berg artistic director and conductor Peter Vrábel. "There was no single runaway winner," he says. "With the jury alone, there were three first-place winners."

No matter. Through a complicated vote weighting system that was a bit difficult to sort out in translation from Czech to English, a clear winner was determined, and will be performed at the group's concert Thursday night, along with modern music works by Glass, Martinů and Honegger.

This is not the way an orchestra usually operates. But there's little that's typical about Berg, from the music it plays to the venues that it plays in, which have included the Svetozor cinema, Museum Kampa and the city's old sewage treatment plant (now the Ekotechnické museum). "We always try to discover something new for the audience," Vrábel says in a classic bit of understatement.

Read more about this at the Prague Post website:

Spring Festival will Clean out the Cobwebs

Budapest Spring Festival 2008

200 performances in the main event from rap to romantics; 360 shows at Fringe Festival

by Julia Brühne
Budapest Times

Even if the weather is not yet cooperative, the Budapest Spring Festival is set to lighten your step from Friday. The festival between 14 and 30 March is in its 28th year and is one of Europe's largest and most celebrated cultural festivals. The 200-or-so theatre performances, exhibitions, classical concerts, jazz shows and other events are expected to attract 200,000 guests.

The classics

The festival will open with the Bavarian State Orchestra led by the internationally renowned Kent Nagano.

On Thursday 20 March, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, under well-known Hungarian conductor Ádám Fischer, will perform Haydn, Mozart and Dvorák adaptations at the Palace of Arts.

The beautiful Hungarian State Opera will not go unused: Wagner's Parsifal, Puccini's La Bohème and Bizet's Carmen should light up the evenings of fans of romanticism.

Not-so classics

In the lighter entertainment genre, the gospel choir Blind Boys of Alabama, some of whose members are now in their 70s, is sure to make an impression.

Those who are interested in contemporary dance should watch out for the performance of the American dance group Philadanco. The group performs major works of modern American dance with individual use of form and technical perfection.

Scheduled at the last minute, but no less worth watching, is a concert by the "enfant terrible" of classical music, Nigel Kennedy who replaces Maxim Vengerov.

Read more about this at the Budapest Times website: