by Jarrett Hoffman
IN THIS EDITION:
•Tonight: Singers’ Club of Cleveland, jazz violinist Luca Ciarla (pictured)
•Local news: Cleveland Arts Prize winners, Downtown Cleveland Busker Program
•Almanac: listening to the first day of autumn with Vivaldi, tributes to Irving Berlin and Isaac Stern, and God Bless America performed by vocal quartet Kings Return
The Singers’ Club of Cleveland makes its way to the Maltz Performing Arts Center tonight at 7:30 pm to present “The Kensington Songbook.” A program of Club favorites that “convey the ensemble’s convivial spirit,” these songs have apparently been known to erupt spontaneously anytime the musicians gather — including during visits to Kensington Pub to unwind after rehearsals. The concert is part of the Silver Hall Concert Series. It’s free, but tickets are required whether you’re attending in person or watching the livestream.
Another event that recently popped onto our radar: in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago, Luca Ciarla makes his Bop Stop debut tonight at 7:00, bringing with him a program titled “Jazz Violin 2.0.” Using his voice, a loop pedal, and other electronics — and sometimes playing the violin like a guitar, cello, or percussion instrument — Ciarla amasses the sound of a band, in solo. The program includes original works and unusual arrangements of jazz standards. Tickets are $20. In person only.
Cleveland Arts Prize winners were announced late last week, and two musicians were on the list of recipients.
The Mid-Career Artist Awards went to Debra Nagy (Baroque oboist, and founder and artistic director of Les Délices) and Dominick Farinacci (jazz trumpeter and composer, and director of the Tri-C JazzFest Academy). And in the music-related category, one of the recipients of the Emerging Artists Awards was Amber D. Kempthorn (creator of a recent animation project set to and inspired by Britten’s Four Sea Interludes).
Here’s an interesting quote from Debra Nagy in a press release. “Music is an ephemeral art form and applause is a fleeting form of recognition, so it’s incredibly meaningful to receive this sort of recognition from the Cleveland community…”
An awards ceremony will be at the Cleveland Museum of Art on November 2 at 7:15 pm. See the full list of recipients here from Cleveland.com.
And the Downtown Cleveland Alliance has begun a Downtown Cleveland Busker Program. “Clevelanders want to be able to walk down the street at any time of day and come upon experiences that make them feel excited about their city, and buskers bring a level of vibrancy and life to our streets that other amenities cannot,” Alliance president and CEO Michael Deemer said in a statement. Read more in an article by Jeff Niesel for Cleveland Scene, where you can also find application materials.
Today is the 22nd of September, which marks the fall equinox. What better time to listen to autumn?
Here’s that third concerto from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in a 2015 live performance by Apollo’s Fire, with Olivier Brault (pictured) as soloist. Watch the first, second, and third movements on YouTube.
Today’s classical music anniversaries include two passings in New York City. Russian-American composer Irving Berlin died on this date in 1989 at the age of 101, while Polish-American violinist Isaac Stern followed suit on September 22, 2001 at the age of 81.
Among the estimated 1,500 songs that Berlin wrote over the course of his career are a few handfuls of tunes that are undeniably part of the Great American Songbook. You might’ve heard of God Bless America?
Even excellent renditions of that song can begin to blend together since it’s often performed in stylistically similar ways. So here’s an excellent and unique take on it by the vocal quartet Kings Return (above) — who almost visited ChamberFest Cleveland this past summer, until one of the singers tested positive for COVID. Hopefully we’ll see them another time soon.
Stern’s success can be measured in many ways. Groundbreaking tours of China and the Soviet Union. A long list of recordings. More Grammys than you can count on one hand. Helping to save Carnegie Hall from demolition in the ‘60s — his name lives on through that venue’s Stern Auditorium.
He also provided mentorship and guidance to musicians such as Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Midori, Emanuel Ax, and Yo-Yo Ma. On that note, listen to Stern, Ax, and Ma join forces in Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 in e, the first movement here.
And in the solo realm, click here to enjoy his live performance of the Sibelius Concerto with André Prévin and the London Symphony in 1971. (One great comment on that YouTube video: “Isaac is like a ‘little bull’ — very powerful, doesn’t hold back.”)