Winners All Around
Guest conductor Bernard Rubenstein makes winning debut with MoSy; trivia contest answers.
Thursday, January 28, 1999
Once again, a guest conductor got surpassing quality from the Monterey Symphony based on only four rehearsals. Bernard Rubenstein, the oldest and most experienced of this season''s music director candidates, set the bar two notches higher by, first, scheduling two daunting, large-scale works which were, second, premieres for this orchestra. (The previous candidate, Kate Tamarkin, conducted a challenging Prokofiev piano concerto and a relatively "safe" Dvorak symphony, both already in the orchestra''s repertoire.)
The two toughies were Shostakovich''s Symphony 9 and Rachmaninoff''s Symphonic Dances. Both works trip a light as well as dark fantastic, often careening helter-skelter through funhouse grotesqueries and carnival vertigoes.
The Shostakovich was described in advance material as "Haydnesque." A goodly listen to the piece disclosed little of Haydn, save a jocularity in the quicker movements and classical forms common to the Shostakovich technique. Indeed, like nearly all Shostakovich, a sardonic humor and even moments of sadness, qualities not found in Haydn, run tangibly through the piece. Most impressive of the various solos, in magnitude and execution, was that of bassoonist Jane Orzel.
The biggest of the solos in the Rachmaninoff was played with similar quality by saxophonist William Trimble, who previously appeared with this orchestra in Milhaud''s Creation du monde. Rubenstein obviously made excellent use of his rehearsals; the readings were confident and polished, lacking only the full projection of power which this orchestra has at times displayed.
Trumpeter Wolfgang Basch was engaged to play two concertos, one each by Haydn and Torelli, that charmed the ear but shed little additional light on the conductor''s capabilities.
From the announcement in its program book, the Monterey Symphony has apparently convinced the Monterey County Herald to cash in its objectivity. Now, the Herald is a "media partner" of the Monterey Symphony. Full as it is with critical opinion, the Herald, by this linkage, has thrown its critical credibility into question. Ever in search of sycophants, the Symphony got the best of this deal.
A significant number of music students from Monterey County were chosen, by audition, to participate in the annual all-state fall honors concerts produced by the California Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) and other music education groups, Dec. 4 and 5 at U.C. Santa Cruz. Nicole Paiement conducted the Honors Symphony in works of Saint-Sans and Hovhaness. Violinist Doug Liou and hornist Maxwell Pritt attend Salinas High School. R.L. Stevenson School was represented by violinists Christina Buonaccorsi, Stephen Dunsford, Tiffanie Gallo and Morgan Sellers, and violist Phillip Dunsford. Contrabassist Tuan Nguyen attends Monterey High.
The Festival String Orchestra was led by Richard Meyer who conducted music by Telemann and Holst, and a work of his own, Mantras. Carmel High was represented by violinist Noah Barish. Monterey High musicians included violinist Laurel Thomsen, violists Erin Cirimele and Tam Tran, cellists Priscilla Jang, Hannah Kang and Ryan May. North Salinas High was represented by violinist Hilary Orzel and violist Helen Orzel. From Pacific Grove High were violinists Alexandra Hileman and Susanna Olsen. Violinists from Seaside High were Whitney Shiau and James Kwak. R.L. Stevenson School sent violinists Stephanie Cho, Joseph Kim, Karen Wang and Nicholas West. Jill Falor played for Santa Catalina School. The York School presence included violinists Paula Jossan, Anicia Timberlake and Gabriel Cappelli, and cellist Zoe Irvine.
Eighteen of those selected also participate in the Youth and Honors orchestras of Youth Music Monterey.
Annual Quiz Answers See CW of Jan. 7, p. 25, for questions.
1. Sylvia McNair
2. Friedrich Wilhelm von Schelling and/or Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
3. Paul Hindemith >(Cardillac)
4. John Philip Sousa
5. Glenn Gould
6. Choreographer Jerome Robbins
7. Fryderyk Chopin
8. Cellist Jacqueline du Pre
10. The pace, or number of notes per measure, of the added voice.
11. Ralph Vaughan Williams
12. Engelbert Humperdinck
13. James Galway
14. The song Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu
15. Northern Australia''s Kakadu region and national park
16. Janitscharenmusik (Janissary music)
17. Michael Daugherty
18. Dmitri Shostakovich
19. A hybrid bellows-blown bagpipe invented c. 1520 by Canon Afranio of Ferrara
20. Christopher Rouse''s Trombone Concerto
First prize (five CDs from Do Re Mi Music, Carmel): Anne Canright. Second prize (three CDs): Phyllis Rosenblum. Third prize (two CDs): Mike Gilfillan.
Ebo Okokan Dance Ensemble Saturday, 8pm. Afro-Cuban company appears in Distinguished Artists series. Cabrillo College Theater, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos. $14/general, $10/seniors & students. 479-6444.
Violinist Cho-Liang Lin Monday, 8pm. Acclaimed concert/recording artist appears for Carmel Music Society. Sunset Center, San Carlos Street at 9th Avenue, Carmel.