by Daniel Hathaway
Depending on which tradition you follow, today is either Candlemas (the end of Christmas celebrations for many Christians), or Groundhog Day. (More winter? Probably.)
On Friday at 12:15 Noon, University Circle’s McGaffin Carillon will ring in Black History Month with a special program played by Sheryl Modlin (pictured).
On Friday evening at 7 the string quartet Wit’s Folly will play a program titled Passing the Baton: Joseph Haydn and his Musical Successors at the Bath Church (repeated elsewhere this weekend).
Ready for something strange — like snake handling? On Friday at 8 at the Kleist Center in Berea, Baldwin Wallace Opera stages the first of four performances of Taking Up Serpents, with an eclectic score by Kamala Sankaram and an original story inspired by playwright Jerre Dye’s roots in the Deep South.
Visit our Concert Listings for details.
Yesterday, Van Magazine reported the latest development in a continuing situation at the Cleveland Institute of Music. “After a Title IX investigation into his conduct became public last year, conductor Carlos Kalmar is suing the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he served as director of orchestral studies before “enter[ing] into a leave of absence” in September, for between $5 and $260 million in damages.” Read the story by Hannah Edgar here.
Tuesday Musical has extended the deadline for applications for its 2024 Scholarship Competition to February 5 (except in the piano category, which is full). Details here.
The James Stroud National Classical Guitar Youth Competition will accept applications for its 5th annual competition through midnight, Pacific Standard Time, Saturday, February 17. Click here for application information, entry fee, and YouTube video links.
On this date in 1594, Italian polyphonic master Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina died in Rome and was buried in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican where he had served in various important positions, most notably as maestro di cappella of the Cappella Giulia. The quality of his counterpoint marked the culmination of Italian Renaissance church music.
Cleveland choirs have regularly programmed Palestrina’s masses and motets, including Quire Cleveland (who sing Sicut cervus under guest conductor Jameson Marvin here), and Contrapunctus Cleveland (watch them sing Super flumina Babylonis here, led by David Acres).
Other Palestrina works, not so expressive as those two, can seem a bit cold in their perfection. I personally enjoy some of his later pieces that tend toward the freer Baroque style. Like O magnum mysterium, performed here by The Sixteen with a follow-along score.
Just a birthday nod today to two celebrated violinists who need no introduction — Fritz Kreisler, born in Vienna in 1975, and Jascha Heifetz, born in Vilnius, Lithuania (then part of Russia) in 1901.
And then on to celebrate the birth of American pianist Ursula Oppens in New York in 1944, and the departure of American composer Lou Harrison in 2003.
Oppens (featured this week in The New York Times in an article by Zachary Woolfe about her 80th birthday recital) has an affinity for contemporary music, as she demonstrates in her performance of Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated.
Lou Harrison was the subject of an interview by John Cage and Virgil Thomson, and his music was featured in a centennial concert at the Cleveland Museum of Art in October of 2017. Read two articles in ClevelandClassical.com about that event — a preview by Jarrett Hoffman, and a review by the late Timothy Robson.
A similar tribute took place that year at New York’s Trinity Church, Wall Street. Click here to watch organist Chelsea Chen and the Rutgers Percussion Ensemble perform Harrison’s thrilling Concerto for Organ, Percussion. and Strings.