By Robert D. Thomas
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
A shorter version of
this article was first published today in the above papers. The revisions are the additions of the two stories in the “Where the Wild Things Are” section.
One of the real joys of chamber music is the myriad variety
of numbers and types of performers that can be found in any particular concert.
Consider, for example, the Coleman Chamber Music Association, which opens its 109th season of
concerts this afternoon at 3:30 in Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium. The Emerson
String Quartet will play music by Mozart, Dovrak and English composer Thomas
Three of the six groups in the series will be string
quartets, arguably the most-familiar chamber-music ensemble. However, the
series will also include the Imani Wind Quintet with pianist Anne-Marie
McDermott on Nov. 4; the Schubert Ensemble of London, which can number up to
five players but for its Caltech performance on Feb. 17 will play three piano
quartets: and the Kavafian-Schub-Shifrin Trio, which will conclude the season
on April 7.
One of the most-traveled groups in Southern California is Camerata Pacifica, which this season
has moved into a new venue: the Pasadena Civic Auditorium’s Gold Room, one of
four locales for each concert. For their October performances, pianist Warren
Jones and cellist Ani Aznavoorian will play music by Brahms, Chopin and George
Crumb on Oct. 16 in the Gold Room and Oct. 18 at The Colburn School’s Zipper
Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The group also performs with combinations ranging
from three to eight instrumentalists in Santa Barbara and Ventura. Information: 805/884-8410;
The Los Angeles
Philharmonic sponsors three different chamber-music series, including its
“Green Umbrella” contemporary music programs that begin Oct. 16 at Walt Disney
Concert Hall. John Adams, the Phil’s Creative Chair, will conduct an evening
that, interestingly enough, contains none of his music. Instead, the program
includes the world premiere of Over Light
Earth by Icelandic composer Daniel Bjarnason, along with the U.S. premiere
of Bjarnason’s Bow to String. Also on
the agenda are the West Coast premiere of Nico Muhly’s Seeing is Believing (an electric violin concerto) and Muhly’s
arrangement of two motets by English Renaissance composer William Byrd. Information: www.laphil.com
Speaking of the Phil and English music, this week’s LAPO subscription
concerts feature performances of Oliver Knussen’s fantasy opera based on
Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, Where
the Wild Things Are. Gustavo
Dudamel conducts the orchestra and a large group of performers in an evening
that the Phil’s publicity folks describe as “Cutting edge video technology
meets classic hand-drawn illustration.” Video will also be used in the
performance of Ravel’s complete Mother
Concert information: www.laphil.com
Musica Angelica, one of the nation's premiere period-instrument ensembles, opens its 20th season on October 28 at the AT&T Center in downtown Los Angeles and October 28 at First Presbyterian Church, Santa Monica. The program features the ensemble's string players joining harpsichordists Jeremy Joseph, Ian Pritchard, Davide Mariano and Patricia Mabee. They will play concerti by J.S. Bach for two, three, and four harpsichords. Information: www.musicaangelica.org
Speaking of First Pres., Santa Monica, that's where the splendid contemporary music group Jacaranda will open its season on Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. American composer Tobias Picker will narrate the West Coast premiere of his The Encantadas, as part of a concert, entitled "Different Islands." The evening will juxtapose Picker's evocation of the unspoiled Galapagos Islands with Steve Reich's City Life, a gritty depiction of urban Manhattan (to quote the publicity blurb).
Also on the program are Joan Tower's Island Prelude, a depiction of the Bahamas, and Esa-Pekka Salonen's Dichotomie, a solo piano work written by Esa-Pekka Salonen for Gloria Cheng, who will perform it. How does this latter work fit the theme? Best I can think of is that a solo performer is always on a metaphorical island.
(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.