Local classical presenters scramble to mount the first shows of their new seasons.
Thursday, October 11, 2001
The first casualty was the Carmel Music Society''s season opener--the Moscow Chamber Orchestra performance scheduled for Sept. 12 at the Naval Postgraduate School''s King Hall. Even if performing at a military installation on the highest state of alert were possible, the society''s board felt a concert that night would be appropriate. Reschedule a group constantly booked a year or two in advance? Highly unlikely. The Moscow musicians planned to end their West Coast tour with a recording session in Los Angeles on Oct. 13 and 14 and return to Russia the following day.
Then Carmel Music Society board member Sam Trust got on the phone and actually persuaded the ensemble to stay in the U.S. a few more days. Thanks to his persistence, they will perform Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Steinbeck Forum, located in the Monterey Conference Center. He even prevailed upon them to open the concert with our national anthem--not, until now, an item in their repertory. Among their other offerings are Tchaikovsky''s sonorous Serenade for Strings and Bizet''s Fantasy on Themes from Carmen--a sure cure for melancholy. The second concert in the CMS series takes place at the Carmel Mission the following night, Wednesday, Oct. 17, when pianist Louis Lortie performs Chopin''s Op. 25 Etudes and two late Beethoven sonatas, Op. 109 and Op. 110. Written when the sounds of the outer world had ceased to ring in his ears, these two sonatas count among Beethoven''s most profound musical statements.
Thanks to the double whammy of the Sunset Center closure and heightened security at the Naval Postgraduate School, the Monterey Symphony is the hardest hit of our local classical music presenters. There aren''t that many places with a large enough stage, adequate seating, and proper acoustics for a symphony concert. Consequently, the Symphony will present each of its October concerts--on the 14th, 15th, and 16th--at Sherwood Hall in Salinas. The obvious question is: will Carmel and Monterey music lovers actually travel to Salinas for a concert?
Sherwood Hall, after all, has its advantages. The acoustics are superior to those of Sunset Center and King Hall, sightlines are better, and parking is plentiful. Recognizing that the drive to Salinas may prove daunting for some patrons, the Symphony is chartering buses that will leave Sunset Center on Sunday at 1:15pm (for those who wish to attend the pre-concert talk) and 1:45pm. On Monday the departure times are 6:15pm and 6:45pm. The cost of the round trip is $15.
As usual, the Symphony''s season opener begins with "The Star Spangled Banner," followed this time by Irving Berlin''s "God Bless America." The major offering, Mahler''s Fifth Symphony, could hardly be more appropriate, given the events of the last few weeks. Composed between 1901 and 1902, Mahler''s Fifth presents intriguing parallels between turn-of-the-century Vienna and post-turn-of-the-millennium America--starting with nostalgia for the security of the recent past and dread of what could lie ahead. The certainties of Mahler''s world, like ours, seemed to be crumbling. The receptive listener, caught up in the epic sweep of a work that runs a little over an hour, is sure to experience the full range of human emotions. The despair of the opening funeral march and anguish of the second movement give way to the "Scherzo"''s celebratory dance of life. Then comes the blissful tranquillity of the famous "Adagietto." The finale is a glorious affirmation of the power of love, tempered by adversity and unbowed by the blows of fate.
The Mozart Society has the good fortune of beginning the 2001-2002 season without the dislocations experienced by other local presenters. Scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11, at Carmel Presbyterian Church, the Society''s opening concert features the Kipnis-Kushner Piano Duo performing works by Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart and Johann Christian Bach (the "London Bach" who played piano four-hands with 8-year-old Wolfgang sitting on his lap). Particularly interesting is Liszt''s transcription of the chorale sung by the armored men in The Magic Flute. Igor Kipnis, best known for his interpretations of Baroque music for the harpsichord, joined forces with Karen Kushner in 1995 to perform rarely heard music for piano four-hands.