Requiem for a Clarinetist--Homage to Rosario Mazzeo conjures memories.
Thursday, May 14, 1998
For Mother''s Day, clarinetist John Laughton and pianist Melinda Coffey served up a short program of music that falls sweetly on their instruments. It began with a new piece by New York composer Annette LeSiege (formerly active in Monterey). Called Serenade in Memory of Rosario Mazzeo, the 10-minute portrait recalls the influential clarinetist/inventor/teacher/author in a discursive, and almost narrative fashion. Meditative and full of feeling, it paints a thoughtful, tender picture. The animated central section suggests memories of the bright, enthusiastic, humorful man whom many of us were fortunate to have known. LeSiege successfully keeps her subject in focus, and has created a work which will be held closely to the heart by the countless students who were affected by Mazzeo.
The late sonata by Poulenc and the early sonata by Bernstein came next, the former (from 1962) a kind of style summary of a career in music, the latter (from 1942) reflecting the influence of Copland in its first two-thirds, and finally exhibiting the familiar Bernstein style of melody and syncopation. Together, these two 15-minute works gave the program its literary substance. For display--and often virtuosic at that--Laughton and Coffey took on the Grand Duo Concertante by Weber, an early 19th-century Viennese confection featuring a long, wagging coda. The encore, a swinging samba by Milhaud, from his years in Brazil, added the perfect closing touch.
When this column recently decried the careless scheduling of classical concerts at exactly the same time as concerts previously announced ("Bad Manners," CW, April 16), we heard positive feedback from many within the classical community.
On its surface, this problem appears to be political rather than artistic. Each spring, CW publishes a Calendar of Seasons (look for it next week) that is intended not only to alert classical audiences but to help eliminate scheduling conflicts by apprising presenters who--precisely out of respect for others--announced their dates much earlier.
The scheduling of competing concerts, however, is not the only gun the classical community is aiming at its own feet. For example, the directors of instrumental and choral music at area high schools have, for years--make that decades--extended no discernible personal effort to make sure the local media are informed as to their performance activities. This is true of Carmel High, Monterey High (which sent the only Central Coast students to the annual National High School Honors Orchestra in Phoenix last month), Pacific Grove High, Seaside High, and the high schools of Robert Louis Stevenson and York.
Moreover, the local chapter of the California Music Educators Association did absolutely nothing--zero, zip, nada--to inform the local media of a CMEA-sponsored honors concert by area teens in Pacific Grove on April 4.
We are not pretending that such exposure will attract legions of new fans. But neither have we ever seen a teenager less than thrilled to see his or her name--or organization--appear in print. Tempting as it is, naming the names of miscreant music educators and the schools they represent is like shooting fish in a barrel and would take up more column inches than they deserve. Instead, by acknowledging those who consistently make the effort to promote the accomplishments of their kids, the others--those who consistently fail to do so--will become obvious. Therefore, this column salutes violin teacher Mildred Kline, piano teachers Lyn and Renee Bronson, Carl Christensen of Hartnell College, Karen Wiskoff of Santa Catalina School and Youth Music Monterey.
So what shall we conclude? That the local high school music teachers think the work of their students is not important enough to notify the public; or that promoting their students'' public performances is someone else''s responsibility?
Kudos to our school and private music educators for their hard work in raising standards among upcoming generations of professional musicians and concert subscribers. But so long as music remains a performing art, I believe it is also the music teacher''s job to make the community aware of our music students'' achievements.
From my perspective, that''s front page news. cw
Last Week''s Quiz: The first biography of a musician was published in 1760. It was written about whom (name and title), by whom? Answer: Memoirs of the Life of the late George Friderick Handel; John Mainwaring.
This Week''s Quiz: What major 19th-century composer wrote in correspondence, "Joking apart, Prince Albert asked me to go to him on Saturday at two o''clock so that I may try his organ"?
Hartnell Community Chorus
Sunday, 3pm. Linda Keill conducts "An American Showcase" of Gershwin, Cohen, Berlin, more. Performing Arts Main Stage, Hartnell College, 156 Homestead Ave., Salinas. Free admission. 659-7029.
Youth Music Monterey
Sunday, 3pm. John Larry Granger conducts Youth/Honors Orchestras, and Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony, in works of Dvorak, Liszt, Sibelius, Berlioz, others. Mello Center, East Beach & Lincoln streets, Watsonville. $5/general, $3/seniors & students. 375-1992.
Monterey County Symphony
Sunday, 3pm; Monday, 8pm. Clark Suttle conducts his last MCS concert in Milhaud''s Creation du monde, Mozart''s Piano Concerto 21 in C (featuring John O''Conor), Schumann''s Symphony 3 in E flat "Rhenish". Sunday/Monday: Sunset Center, San Carlos Street at 9th Avenue, Carmel. Tuesday: Sherwood Hall, 940 North Main St., Salinas. Ticket prices/reservations, 624-8511.
Monday, 8pm. David Dally conducts semi-professional ensemble in Schubert''s Symphony 9 in C, Grieg''s Piano Concerto in A Minor (with soloist Lyn Bronson). Music Hall, Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. $5 suggested donation. 646-4200.