March 30, 2012 Leave a comment
See for yourself what the St. Louis Symphony is up against. . . .The horror. The horror.
Do your part today to help Save Powell Hall.
by CK Dexter Haven. Living the good life in all of its many forms.
March 26, 2012 Leave a comment
Timothy “Timo” Andres was a busy man about Los Angeles this past week. Thursday night, he played Sorbet, his solo piano palate-cleanser, as part of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s “Westside Connections” series. Friday night and Saturday afternoon, he joined wild Up’s concerts highlighting younger composers and, as the described it, “the music of right now.”
His biggest moments came Saturday and Sunday evening with LACO, performing a pair of his works each night: the world premiere of Old Keys for piano & orchestra, and his re-interpretation of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26. His appearances with LACO this season and the commission itself came from being the subject of this year’s LACO’s “Sound Investment” project: for each of the past eleven seasons, new music enthusiasts are invited to contribute as little as $150 to help commission a new work from an up-and-coming composer; in return for their generosity, they get a chance to meet with the composer as many as three times during his/her composition process, plus some other benefits. Nearly 100 people participated this year.
Based on what I heard Saturday night at Glendale’s Alex Theatre, the money was clearly well spent. Mr. Andres the composer offered up a compelling set of works that showed different aspects of his compositional personality and skill. Mr. Andres the pianist played them with confidence and wit. Jeffrey Kahane and the orchestra gave ample support in the two concertos and additional context with a late Mozart symphony. Taken together, it was a refreshing night of music that makes me want to hear even more from this twenty-something composer.
March 25, 2012 Leave a comment
The folks at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra have no qualms about taking non-standard approaches to building concert programs. Their latest innovation is this year’s version of their “Westside Connections” series: three events trying to find links between music and food. Curated by Margaret Batjer, LACO concertmaster, each concert invites a different member of the culinary world to add their own thoughts and contributions to an otherwise musical get-together.
The second of these events, held Thursday at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, featured food critic Jonathan Gold and an eclectic mix of music that seemed a worthy metaphor for the kind of random, off-the-beaten-path restaurants that he has been known to champion. It proved to be an amusing and entertaining evening. If there were no “a-ha” moments that illuminated a previously unrealized connection between food and music, chalk it up to the presenters wanting to have fun with the premise without over-intellectualizing it.
March 23, 2012 Leave a comment
The St. Louis Symphony implores you: Save Powell Hall. You have until April 14th. Do it now, before it’s too late. . . . If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click HERE.
Has there ever been a better, more clever campaign by any orchestra?
No. No, there hasn’t.
Kudos to the SLSO. I only wish I could fly to Missouri to support them. Since I can’t do that, I’m this close to sending them a $22 check on general principles.
Utter and complete brilliance.
March 22, 2012 Leave a comment
“Every three seconds, someone in the world is cast in the musical, Les Miserables. They believe they will dream the dream, but instead, are living a nightmare. . . .”
March 19, 2012 1 Comment
Many of my esteemed fellow bloggers — including, but not limited to, Lisa at Iron Tongue of Midnight and Brian at Out West Arts, just to name a couple – have taken Spring for Music to task for their little contest. Good for them.
I was going to refrain from any comment whatsoever because I barely have time to write/blog about things I actually care about, let along things that I don’t care about. In addition, a lot of what I was thinking was already mentioned by others.
Well, I broke that intent already by commenting on Brian’s post earlier today, and after some discussion with a non-blogger whose opinion I value, I was gently prodded to offer up my own reactions in a little more detail since they differ slightly from some of the things others have said. So here goes. . . .
March 18, 2012 Leave a comment
It’s been a while since Neeme Jarvi has stood on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s podium.
The last time he led them downtown was at the end of the 1988/89 winter season, when he was tapped to replace Andre Previn who had withdrawn on short notice with an injury after having resigned as Music Director just a few days prior. The concerts went well enough that he was being talked about by some as a potential replacement for Mr. Previn in the permanent post. Of course, the position was given to Esa-Pekka Salonen instead, and after a smattering of Hollywood Bowl concerts later that year and in 1990, Mr. Jarvi took over the Detroit Symphony and he hadn’t been back since. To put that into proper perspective: in the interim, an entire generation of Angelenos was born and can now legally drink.
After Thursday and Saturday night’s concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, I hope we don’t have to wait that long to see him again. Judging by the reaction he received from musicians and audience on Thursday and Saturday night, I may not be the only one.
March 15, 2012 Leave a comment
At first blush, a matinee at Long Beach Opera (LBO) would seem to have little in common with one of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Toyota Symphonies for Youth (TSFY) educational concerts. If you knew that one had programmed a double-bill of surrealist operas by Poulenc (The Breasts of Tiresias) and Martinů (Tears of a Knife), while the other was designed around The Planets by Gustav Holst — well, you may think I was a little whacky (note: I am, but that is beside the point). Before this past weekend, I would have thought the same thing.
As it turns out, both programs ended up having more elements tying them together than one would have predicted. Humor? Check. Violence? Check. Unrequited love? Check. Science wrongly applied and later acknowledged as such? Check and check.
There were certainly differences — the opera chorus’s fully clothed, Kama Sutra-esque demonstration of multiple sexual positions likely being the most graphically obvious — but by Sunday night, I couldn’t help but reflect on the two events being equal halves of an unexpected whole weekend of absurdist comedy.
March 8, 2012 Leave a comment
Thanks to the iPod touch game, “N.O.V.A. 2″ by Gameloft, CKDH Jr. has a new favorite piece of classical music:
The “Dies Irae” from Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem.
We have a recording of the Requiem by Fritz Reiner conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, and the “Dies Irae” is now on constant repeat. Nothing like hearing it cranked up to 40 in the car . . . as long as CKDH Jr. lets me know it’s coming, because it can be a little less than safe to be driving on public roads when the very punchy opening hits without me knowing.
Here is the “N.O.V.A. 2″ video trailer with Verdi as it’s soundtrack . . .
March 6, 2012 1 Comment
The fact that the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) is excellent should not be news. They’ve had many opportunities to impress when performing with the likes of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, most recently as part of the massive choir for Mahler’s Eighth Symphony. That said, they don’t usually get a chance to show off on their own terms. Sunday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall, show off they did, and then some.
In conjunction with the American Youth Symphony (AYS), they performed a Shakespeare-themed program as part of the LA Phil’s “Sounds About Town” series. The highlight of the night proved to be Daníel Bjarnason’s The isle is full of noises, a three-movement work based on The Tempest co-commissioned by the LACC and AYS. James Conlon was on hand to conduct the new work, adding an even greater sense of importance to the night.
March 2, 2012 Leave a comment
I cannot eat often enough at Manhattan Beach Post. In less than a year, it has gone from South Bay newcomer to So Cal institution. The most recent of their many noteworthy accolades was the announcement that Chef David LeFevre and his very popular “social house” are up for two 2012 James Beard Awards (“Best Chef, Pacific” and “Best New Restaurant”). Unlike at one of their newer neighbors with an ocean view, the food at MB Post is the center of attention, and rightfully so.
That said, the drinks are a a worthy compliment to chef David’s consistently kick-ass cuisine. GM Jerry Garbus has put together a lengthy, eclectic wine list, with an extra 30 labels available by the glass as 3- or 6-oz pours. There’s a strong beer selection too. In addition, the folks behind the bar (Beau du Bois, Greg Westcott, and Sais Roses have been the mixologists) offer a constantly changing array of “hand-crafted cocktails” (their description) that invariably involve them putting their own spin on classic drinks. For example, there is “Virgil’s ascent:” negroni w/ hendricks, aperol, pomegranate seed, clove (it was good, not great).
For the most part, I’ve found their cocktails to be somewhere between pretty good and very good, though none of them have depth of flavor that the best ones can have. I will give them credit for going well with the food, and if the objective was specifically to create drinks that would pair with Chef David’s food without overpowering it, then mission accomplished. The one cocktail I’ve had there that could stand on its own was the “Manhattan Avenue” — a Manhattan w/ Sazerac rye, vanilla, caramel, and bacon dust — now that was good stuff.
The first time I ever ordered a drink at Milk & Honey in NY, I asked for something scotch-based and they brought me a Blood and Sand. I’ve had a soft spot in my heart (and liver) for it ever since, so last night, I decided to try the “Sun Also Rises” — a riff on a Blood and Sand with Compass Box “Oak Cross” scotch, rhubarb, and blood orange. Compass Box seemed like an extravagant, if tasty, choice as the base. In the end, the whole concoction was enjoyable, if a bit one-note. The rhubarb and blood orange matched up together nicely, but I would have preferred a little more scotch flavor coming through.
I’ve also tried having them make a Penicillin for me once, but it wasn’t quite right. I wondered whether or not they had actually used any Islay scotch because there was no hint of peat or smoke whatsoever. Moreover, the honey and ginger flavors were a bit cloying and out of balance.
Next time I’m there, I’ll probably go back to drinking wine or beer — at least until they change the cocktail menu again.
Photo credit: CK Dexter Haven
March 1, 2012 Leave a comment
A smattering of musical stuff to check out over the next 31 days . . .
Margaret Batjer, LACO’s Concertmaster, curates this novel combination of food-themed music and discussion about gastronamy and the culinary arts. The first of three presentations is tonight and features LACO musicians being joined by noted writer and blogger (not to mention favorite of Mrs. CKDH), Michael Ruhlman, whose many credits include co-writing The French Laundry Cookbook with Thomas Keller. Jonathan Gold (Pulitzer prize-winning food critic who is in the process of moving from LA Weekly to the Los Angeles Times) and Susan Feniger (chef and founder of many L.A. restaurants) will be participating in the coming weeks
All of the performances will be at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
“Good food and good music are a natural pairing,” says Batjer. “LACO is delighted to present these stellar culinary celebrities as we explore in these whimsical and informative programs the many ways music influences and enriches society and our lives.” To hear Ms. Batjer talk more about these concerts with KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen, click HERE (both stream and MP3 download available).
As part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “Sounds About Town” series, the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus and American Youth Symphony present a joint concert conducted by Anne Tomlinson and Alex Treger, featuring a number of Shakespeare-themed works by the likes of Vaughan Williams, Britten, and others. James Conlon conducts the concert’s finale: the world premiere of Daníel Bjarnason’s The isle is full of noises, a three-movement work based on The Tempes. The Icelandic composer has two works being featured in the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s upcoming 2012/2013 season, so here’s a chance to get an earlier taste of his music.
(Four more events after the jump)