Thursday, May 7, 1998
While the viral cure for AIDS remains elusive, the social cure for the dreaded disease got a major boost in Monterey County last Friday when international opera star Frederica von Stade gave a concert in Carmel to benefit the Monterey County AIDS Project. A sell-out crowd at Sunset Center read like a Who''s Who of county performing arts, social organizations and the private sector.
For that reason, the event was equally political. To have been there was to feel the pulse of the community, from business leaders to educators, from professionals to philanthropists, from ordinary citizens to the significantly wealthy, and from the media which provided widespread support in advance.
Significant by their absence, therefore, were our current political "leaders." Add to them the heads of the county''s major health care institutions, the folks who actually receive money from agencies such as MCAP that raise money to support research and the victims of AIDS.
In the meantime, Frederica--Flicka to her legions of friends--made sure everyone got her personal attention. Indeed, that''s her great talent. Of course she has the voice but even more, she has the charisma, the sense of humor, the physical grace, the irresistible personality. Even when she gets tangled up translating a text, she has you in the palm of her hand. She made performance love to a program of rare, arcane, new and unusual music--exactly what our area''s major classical presenters somehow are so loath to do.
Songs about roses by Rorem, Faur and Ravel probably have not been heard here before. Songs by Ginastera and Schoenberg were sung here before only by Flicka (five years ago). Songs by Bernstein and Heggie are new to the walls of Sunset Theater. Songs by Schubert, Strauss and Kern filled out the program.
Ironically, the two "big" pieces on the I Cantori program last Saturday at Carmel Mission--Cimarosa''s Requiem in G Minor and Jan cek''s Otcen s--turned out to be minor fare among the works of their composers.
For this, as well as technical reasons, the first half of the program made a stronger, more vivid impression, none more so than in Bruckner''s motet Tota pulchra es. After a brace of Renaissance motets and a Mendelssohn setting of Herr, nun lassest du, the organ--as usual, too loud for good balance--gave the singers added confidence (both in rhythm and pitch) in the motets of Bruckner, Bainton, Parry and Daniel Gawthrop.
Cimarosa, most noted for his witty Il matrimonio segreto, wrote the requiem in 1787 at St. Petersburg following the sudden death of the wife of his patron. Dashed off in the moment, the work makes no serious attempt at further significance. Jan cek''s style gained increasing focus--to say nothing of dramatic intensity--as he aged, culminating in the great Glagolitic Mass of 1926. Otcen s of 1900 (scored for solo tenor, chorus, harp and organ) emerged while Jan cek was working on his first major operatic success, Jenufa. Tenor Peter Lewis conveyed an intense, operatic tone although the music seemed more suited to a lyric voice. The organ overwhelmed the more important harp part, and Jan cek''s tricky rhythms more than once put the chorus on edge.
A Saturday afternoon of competitive performances by 10 finalist ensembles during the Chamber Music Society''s 27th annual Concours, led to an awards concert Sunday afternoon at Sunset Center. First place (the $2,500 AT&T National Pro-Am Youth Award) going to the Harid Conservatory String Quartet ("Spectacular...in another league," to quote Society president Amy Anderson), which served up Debussy''s Quartet in G Minor.
TheBillwiller Award (also $2,500) was won by the Elektra Wind Quintet of Yale University, which performed Villa-Lobos'' challenging Quintette en forme de choros. Florida State University''s Sax-Chamber Quartet took the $1,750 Angie Machado Woodwind/Brass Award and played Zdenek Lukas'' Rondo for Saxophone Quartet. the $1,250 Florence Allan Award went to the Reading Winds of the University of Cincinnati who performed Carl Nielsen''s Quintet, Op.43. The finalists ranged in age from 19 to 26. Their judges were Frances Blaisdell, Gary Gray, Phillip Levy, Delores Stevens and Richard Todd. cw
Last Week''s Quiz: What respected American composer wrote what novel which was made into a 1990 movie starring John Malcovich? Answer: Paul Bowles; The Sheltering Sky.
This Week''s Quiz: The first biography of a musician was published in 1760. It was written about whom (named in title), by whom?
Monterey Peninsula Choral Society
Friday, Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. Linda Keill conducts choral excerpts from Carmen, Fiddler on the Roof, La Boheme, Gilbert & Sullivan. Golden Bough Theater, Monte Verde Street between 8th & 9th avenues, Carmel. $12.50/adults, $6.25/children 12 and under. 645-4728.
Cabrillo College Band
Saturday, 8pm. John Anderson conducts Santa Cruz County Ensemble in works by Reed, Goldman, Bernstein and Ticheli. Music Hall, Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. $4/general, $2/students. 646-4200.
Santa Cruz County Symphony
Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. John Larry Granger conducts Verdi''s Manzoni Requiem, with soloists Margo Alexander, Theresa Cardinale, Chris Corley, Hector Vasquez, the Cabrillo College Chorus. Saturday: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz. Sunday: Mello Center, East Beach & Lincoln streets, Watsonville. $17-$30. 429-3444.
Clarinetist Lohn Laughton
Sunday, 3pm. CSUMB faculty/artist and pianist Melinda Coffey perform sonatas by Poulenc and Bernstein, Annette LeSiege''s Serenade in Memory of Rosario Mazzeo, and Weber''s Grand Duo Concertante, Op.48. Music Hall (Bldg. 30), Sixth Street, CSU Monterey Bay. Free admission ($1.50 parking fee). 582-4085.