By Daniel Hathaway
. Weekend performances feature clarinetist Daniel Gilbert (pictured) & Bernstein’s score to West Side Story
. Piano Cleveland announces “Dynamic Duos,: CIM to honor Anne Midgette at Commencement
. Almanac: a varied list of people & performances to commemorate, including George Crumb’s Voice of the Whale
HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND:
Multiple performances: Dan Gilbert is featured with CityMusic Cleveland in “The Visionary Clarinet” (Fri. in Lakewood, Sat. at St. Stanislaus, Sun. in Willoughby Hills) & led by Brett Mitchell, The Cleveland Orchestra plays Leonard Bernstein’s score along with screenings of West Side Story (complete film, Fri., Sat. & Sun.)
On Saturday, the Theron Brown Jazz Trio plays in Wooster.
On Sunday, Tri-C Classical Piano Series presents Daniel Gortler at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Chagrin Arts hosts the Callisto Quartet with pianist Andrew Le in Solon, pianist Gerardo Teissonnière solos with the Suburban Symphony at the Maltz, the Akron Youth Philharmonic & Youth Symphony play a side-by-side at E.J. Thomas, Baldwin Wallace throws a retirement recital for flutist George Pope, soprano Amanda Powell joins Matthew Salvaggio & Cleveland Repertory Orchestra at Disciples Church, and The Music Settlement celebrates Latin American composers in “Comienzos” (Beginnings).
Details in our Concert Listings.
IN THE NEWS:
Piano Cleveland has announced that tickets are on sale now for Dynamic Duos: The 2023 Listening Series! “Piano Cleveland will once again take you from the couch to the concert hall with these three fantastic musical duos. It’s a String Thing on Wednesday, April 19 with Christine Lamprea, cello and Yaron Kohlberg, piano. It Takes a Village on Wednesday, May 10, Angela Cheng and Alvin Chow, Oberlin piano faculty. and It’s all Relative on Wednesday, May 31 with Olga Kern and Vladislav Kern, piano.”
The Cleveland Institute of Music has announced that acclaimed music journalist Anne Midgette will speak at this year’s Commencement and receive an honorary doctorate.
The Canton Symphony has announced that its Thursday, April 13th Divergent Sounds Series concert with The Modern Electric will now be held at The Auricle – Venue & Bar in downtown Canton.
THIS WEEKEND’S ALMANAC:
Friday the 17th
March 17 is the traditional death date for the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, who departed this life c461.
Other events on this date in history include the birth of German organist and composer Josef Rheinberger in Vaduz, Liechtenstein in 1839, and the birth in 1938 of Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who defected to U.S. in 1961 and danced with Dame Margot Fonteyn, the Martha Graham Dance Company and became artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet.
This date in 1972 witnessed the first performance of George Crumb’s famous Vox Balaenae (“Voice of the Whale”) for Electric Flute, Electric Cello and Amplified Piano. Click here to watch a June 21, 2018 Chamberfest Cleveland performance by cellist Clive Greensmith, flutist Lorna McGhee, and pianist Roman Rabinovich in Mixon Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Saturday the 18th
On March 18, 1927, legendary musical theater composer John Kander was born in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kander studied at the Oberlin Conservatory and later at Columbia University, where his teachers included Douglas Moore, Jack Beeson, and Otto Luening.
Early in his career he served as rehearsal pianist and then dance arranger for the original productions of Gypsy and Irma la Douce. He composed his first Broadway score, A Family Affair, with lyricists and book writers (and brothers) James and William Goldman.
Kander began his nearly four-decade-long career with lyricist Fred Ebb with the 1965 musical Flora, The Red Menace, starring the young Liza Minnelli. The song-writing duo (photo: Kander on the left) went on to write such classic musicals as Cabaret, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spiderwoman, along with many other shows.
Since the passing of Fred Ebb in 2004, Kander has continued to write musicals with other lyricists. He composed an eloquent art song, The Ballad of Sullivan Ballou, for soprano Renée Fleming.
Some of this information came in an email from music critic Donald Rosenberg, who has a special interest in American musical theater and has written about Kander. “He’s really nice. I interviewed him in Oberlin a bunch of years back when the college did a production of Flora, The Red Menace.”
Summarizing his music, Rosenberg noted that Kander “exemplifies a Broadway composer steeped in classical traditions while also being fully versed in popular musical forms (jazz, Latin, folk) that have long been woven into musical theater. He can be effortlessly hip, as in the vamps that run through many of his scores (think All That Jazz) or lyrical (the waltzing “You” from The Visit is particularly haunting).”
During his prolific career, Kander has amassed numerous awards including three Tonys, two Emmys, and two Grammys. In 1991 he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1991 and along with his long-time collaborator Fred Ebb, was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors award for Lifetime Achievement.
Click here to watch a video interview with Kander produced by the Dramatists Guild Foundation as part of the organization’s Legacy Project.
Sunday the 19th
Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev was born on March 19, 1873 in Novgorod, followed exactly one year later by German composer Max Reger in Brand, Bavaria.
The history of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes from 1909-1929 is featured in a documentary film from the National Gallery of Art. “He persuaded, cajoled, and charmed the greatest talents of the early twentieth century to join his company. Artists (Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse), composers (Igor Stravinsky and Erik Satie), choreographers (Michel Fokine and George Balanchine), and dancers (Vaslav Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova) all collaborated to realize Diaghilev’s dream of a seamless fusion of the arts.”
Until his death in 1916, Max Reger enjoyed a distinguished career as composer, pianist, organist, conductor, and teacher. Among his students were Rudolf Serkin and George Szell.
Reger’s organ works combine classical forms with Romantic rhetoric, and his complex scores can be thick with notes.
Follow along with the score to his Variationen und Fuge über ein Originalthema, Op. 73, played by Dutch organist Willem Tanke. The performer describes the work as “A forty minute battle with immense technical difficulties and emotions.” Tanke describes his approach to performing such works on his website.
“From when I was a student I based my ideal of playing the organ on a passage from Forkel’s biography on Bach (1802), in which he points out that the great man achieved a maximum of expression with a minimum of movements of hands and feet only. Achieving more by doing less became a guideline for my daily practice and I recorded Messiaen’s complete organ works and monumental compositions of Max Reger in this spirit. I call this way of making music “The art of playing with relaxed precision” or — on a spiritual level, as a way of submitting the ego — ”The Art of Doing Nothing”.
For another Reger performance, watch Ken Cowan navigate the Phantasie über Wie schön leucht’ uns der Morgenstern, Op. 40 on the Fisk-Rosales organ in Edythe Bates Old Recital Hall at Rice University in Houston. (Cowan will play a recital on the E.M. Skinner organ at Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown on April 16 at 4 pm).