Time to register for Choreo-cubator© and Winter Full Day of Dance©. It’s simple: send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, let us know what programs you want to do, Choreo-cubator©, the Winter Full Day of Dance©, BOTH of them or one. Give us your name, email address, phone #, the name and contact information of someone we would contact if we cannot reach you or if there is an emergency. For Winter Full Day of Dance© also let us know which classes you want to take. Here’s a hint: it is only $10 per class if you take all five. An exceptional deal!!!!! Take all five: more fun, more dance, less money. Check out the listing below for more details of the classes. PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU WANT TO DO THE CHOREO-CUBATOR© BUT THINK YOU WILL MISS THE FIRST SESSION, YOU CAN STILL ATTEND. DON’T MISS THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY.
Join the dance! The second Wonderful Winter Workshop (www.2.0) offers you opportunities to dance. Learn something new, dance styles that you love, make your own dance. Shake El Nino out of your spine and remember that dance can be fun! There are TWO parts to www.2.0; participate in one or both. Bring your dancer buddies and friends who never dance. It’s time to dance!
The Choreo-cubator© Invites You to Make a Dance & Dance It! Polish a work in progress or start something new. Then, perform it. ALL styles welcome. Explore. Experiment. Exchange supportive feedback with other explorers. There are four working sessions: 6-7:15 p.m., Feb. 4, Feb. 11, Feb. 23, Feb. 25. Your Showcase performance is 6:-7:15 p.m., Feb. 28. All working sessions & the Showcase performance will be at the Mountain View Masonic Center, 890 Church Street, downtown Mountain View. Fee includes working sessions and performance: $60.00.
Winter Full Day of Dance© Sunday, Feb. 28, five wonderful classes. The first one starts at 11:30 a.m. The last one ends at 5:30 p.m. Take one, all, or any number in between. There is a 15 minute break between each class. Classes include: Contemporary, Leslie Friedman; Tap, Audreyanne Covarrubias; Pilates mat, Amity Johnson; Etta’s Line Dances, Etta Walton; Improvisation, Leslie Friedman. All classes are mixed levels. That means they all will welcome pros & beginners. Ages mid-teens to any adult age. Location: Mountain View Masonic Center, 890 Church Street, downtown Mountain View, 94041. Cost per class reduces with each added class: $20 for a single class – $50 for all five.
The Choreo-cubator© and Winter Full Day of Dance© are parts of the Wonderful Winter Workshop, www.2.0, presented by the International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley, a project of the not-for-profit organization, The Lively Foundation. FOR MORE INFORMATION & TO REGISTER: CONTACT email@example.com Photos: top, L to Rt: Audreyanne Covarrubias will teach Tap, 2/28; Leslie Friedman (L) and Amity Johnson work on a new dance, IDF@SV; middle: Etta Walton will teach Etta’s Line Dances set to great Country/Western music; bottom: Amity Johnson will teach Pilates mat.
Emanuel Ax, piano, and Itzhak Perlman, violin, performing together at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, Jan. 18, 2016, was exactly what one would expect: superlative beyond the same old superlatives. These are two of the greatest musicians currently on our planet. We are lucky to be in the world at the same time as they are. Although the quality of the performance was so great as one might expect, their program was far from anything “usual.” They performed Sonata in C major, K. 296, by Mozart; Sonata No. 1 in A major, Opus 13, by Faure; and Sonata in E-flat major, Opus 18 by Richard Strauss. These are not familiar selections. The listener was rewarded with new expressions, colors, and musical emotions.There was also a touching, dramatic presence to the musicians’ partnership. When they entered the Davies stage, Mr. Ax seemed to hold back to defer to Mr. Perlman, but once they were positioned to play, their own personalities were not on show. It was all about great music.
The Mozart selection, Sonata in C maj., K.296, was brilliant with bright, jewel-like colors and a perfection of partnership between piano and violin. It has Mozart’s brilliance in the sense of fantastic, playful wit, as well. The surprise was the satisfying expressiveness that came with Mozart’s brilliance and the musicians’ embodiment of the quick, starry music.
Gabriel Faure (1845-1924)wrote Sonata No. 1 in A major, Opus 13, in 1876. He was well on his way to his long and great career yet still in early days. The Sonata has a seductive beauty which captures the listener like the course of a river carrying a boat along. There is passion and also hesitation; the Sonata has a character all its own. It is certainly a work that called upon the virtuoso musicians to unleash their own powers which they did magnificently both in partnering the two instruments and allowing the instruments to follow their own ways.
Richard Strauss (1864-1949)was dedicated to creating chamber music early in his work. This sonata, written when he was twenty-three, took up the second half of the Perlman-Ax program. It is grand in its size and in beauty. The listener could take time out to think, oh, yes, later Romanticism; Strauss must have revered Brahms. There is no time out available for such observations. The music is sometimes introspective and also projects a feeling of improvisation, as though it were being created by the musicians as they played. Improvisation: Andante cantabile is the title of the second movement. Strauss’s Sonata has the force and energy to pull the listener into a gorgeous world, intense and full of power.
The audience, standing and vigorously applauding was most reluctant to let Perlman and Ax leave. Mr. Perlman has a history of giving encores and introducing them with humorous commentary. The full house demanded extra treats. On this night, the audience was treated to four encores. Each time, the duo exited to applause and, after a bit, returned. They bowed and then, seeming to confer about what they might play, went back to perform. Mr. Perlman is the spokesman. The first selection, by Dvorak, he said, had intimations of Americana, Dvorak’s own Americana. One could hear suggestions of what might have African-American music, forerunner of blues. Kreisler’s, Schon Rosmarin, came next, after another exit and return; then, Kreisler’s Love’s Sorrow. A young woman and her daughter who had made their way down to the edge of the stage presented them with a bouquet and a teddy bear. Mr. Perlman made a point of giving the bouquet to Mr. Ax, embracing the teddy bear for himself. They reappeared one more time, this time Mr. Ax was allowed the bear, to play Kreisler’s Love’s Joy. Mr. Perlman assured the audience he would not leave them with Love’s Sorrow. The interplay between the musicians was delightful. The warmth of their stage presence never stepped over the line to interfere with the seriousness of their performance. Hear Itzhak Perlman and Emanuel Ax on their Deutsche Grammophon album of sonatas by Faure and Strauss. They perform together on tour throughout the US this season. For other Hedgehog Highlights about these musicians please see entry of January 11, 2015, on recital by Emanuel Ax and entry of January 18, 2015, on recital by Itzhak Perlman.
Sangam Arts and the Cultural Commission of the City of Santa Clara are presenting a program of five types of classical Indian dance at the Triton Museum, 1505 Warburton, 7:30 p.m., January 8, 2016. This is a wonderful opportunity to see the beauty and variety of Indian cultures as embodied in the dances. If you have seen or studied Kathak, for example, here is your opportunity to enjoy Kuchipudi. Already know about Bharatanatyam? Come watch Manipuri! Admission is FREE to see outstanding exponents of these powerful and beautiful dances. The artists and their arts are Antara Bhardwaj, Kathak; Chandreyee Mukherjee, Manipuri; Guru Shradha, Odissi; Madhuri Kishore School, Kuchipudi; Navia Dance Academy, Bharatanatyam. Contact timelesstraditions.eventbrite.com to reserve your tickets. These tickets will go quickly; reserve soon. Congratulations to Sangam Arts for organizing this production. It is a great introduction to Indian classical dances and also an opportunity for those who study or perform one of the art forms to expand their appreciation of other forms.
Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas led the San Francisco Symphony in a great, very great performance of the Violin Concerto in D minor, Opus 47, by Jean Sibelius, and Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Opus 97, Rhenish, by Robert Schumann, November 13-15, at Davies Hall. If by any chance you missed hearing one of these concerts, you have a chance for more Sibelius tonight, Nov. 18, when pianist Leif Ove Andsnes performs works of Sibelius, Beethoven, Debussy, and Chopin. And, another chance for a grand Schumann symphony, Nov. 19-21, when MTT and the SFS perform Schumann’s symphony, No. 1, Spring.
This is the 150th anniversary of Jean Sibelius’s birth, Dec. 8, 1865. Thanks to the milestone quality of that event, the SFS and others are performing more of his extraordinary music. One may hear Finlandia on the radio from time to time, and its stirring beauty is ample reason for Finland to celebrate Sibelius as a national hero, but he did write more. This program opened with his tone poem, The Swan of Tuonela, Opus, 22, no. 2. Written in 1896, it is one of a group of works based on Finnish legends, Four Legends from the Kalevala. Its beauty is misty, ethereal, and even a bit eerie. Tuonela was the “land of death” in Finnish myths. The Swan of Tuonela floats on a large river which circles Tuonela and sings. The images of the tale evaporate into the music or the music calls the mythic characters into being. From which ever direction one experiences it, The Swan of Tuonela, as performed by the SFS is beautiful and chilling.
Leonidas Kavakos performed the Violin Concerto (1904) with stunning virtuosity. This is not stunning in the sense of “looking good.” This was stunning in the sense of shivers up the back bone and eye popping brilliance. Mr. Kavakos made the first recording of the original version of this Violin Concerto, in 1991. That version is said to be even more demanding than the one more often performed. The winner of major international violin competitions, he is far more than a majestic technician; he is a magical musician. The concerto moves from very delicate, dream-like music into deeply passionate music with the full orchestra. As a moody, pessimistic sound takes over, the solo violin emerges to play an astonishing cadenza. Sibelius uses the voices of the orchestra and of the soloist in opposition and also brilliant unity. As a composer, Sibelius can only be described as Sibelius-esque. The music finds enchanting melody and also heart pounding syncopated rhythms. This SFS performance with Leonidas Kavakos took one’s breath away.
Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was a pianist, conductor, music critic, journalist in addition to being a great composer. We are all lucky that MTT and the SFS are launching a project to record Schumann’s four symphonies. The performance, Nov. 15, was the first of the performance recordings. It was glorious. Maestro Tilson Thomas captured the energy and motion of the music. One could almost feel the rolling power of the water in the waves of sound. The SFS played as though their hearts were unleashed. The symphony opens with lively music; we are there on the Rhine, that ever present symbol of Europe. The second movement has the rhythms of dances. The minuet and a German folk dance combine. Schumann had called it “Morning on the Rhine.” He and his wife, Clara, had taken a trip to the Rhineland together and remembered it as a tranquil, happy time. Schumann had seen the cathedral at Cologne and the installation of a Cardinal there. The solemnity of the fourth movement is his representation of the grandeur of the place and event. In the end, wisps of the early themes reappear; the timing slows as the great river swells and travels toward the sea. The the symphony has an internal effect on the listeners. The audience was buoyant, energized, smiling as though the movement of the music had infused them all with the spirit of the natural force of the river.
Three cheers for MTT’s Schumann project with the San Francisco Symphony. This great, Romantic composer has not been given his due in recent decades. Music lovers should not miss this experience. The time has come to rediscover his music.
Pictures, from top: Jean Sibelius; Leonidas Kavakos, courtesy of San Francisco Symphony; Robert Schumann, photograph from 1850; Michael Tilson Thomas, courtesy of San Francisco Symphony.
The Israel Philharmonic, Zubin Metha conducting, performed at Davies Symphony Hall, November 8. The concert presented challenging music with excellent results: A Journey to the End of the Millenium, by Josef Bardanashvili; La Valse, by Maurice Ravel; Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 55, Eroica, by Ludwig van Beethoven.
This writer confesses to trying to like music by contemporary composers and mostly not succeeding. A Journey to the End of the Millenium is an exception. The composer calls it a symphonic poem; it was inspired by Bardanashivli’s opera of the same name , but is not a suite from the opera. The music has a dramatic path which captures the listener’s emotions and attention. The opera asked, “What are the mores of society at the opening of the 21st century?” The symphonic poem takes a journey with a woman. About to die, she looks back to her wedding day in a marriage in which she will be the second wife. Bardanashvili draws from deep sources: Moroccan music, ancient Jewish music, classically beautiful music, abrupt sounds. It has a three dimensional texture, like a rich wall hanging made in ikat colors of rubies and lapis; it is sometimes knotty and sometimes silky smooth. Most of all it was interesting, original, full of musical ideas which reached into the imagination and plucked at one’s nerves. Josef Bardanashvili was born in Georgia and moved to Israel in 1995. He is the composer of operas, ballets, and symphonies, music for theater and film.
Ravel’s La Valse changed its character from 1906 to 1919. Ravel intended to write a piece titled Wien (Vienna) in appreciation of Johann Strauss. When World War I began, the composer had not finished it, and his world was not the same. Diaghilev, the ballet impresario, commissioned the composer to complete La Valse. They had had success with Daphnis et Chloe for the Ballets Russes, but Diaghilev rejected La Valse, ending the partnership. The music is violent. One can visualize waltzing couples circling the dance floor, the brilliant chandeliers, the colors of the gowns becoming a blur as they spin faster. Ravel wrote a note for the music which suggests the scene at “An imperial court, about 1855.” Perhaps 1855 signifies a time of the old order, the time before civilization spun out of control and stopped looking like “civilization.” La Valse premiered in 1920. It sounds modern. It is recognizable as a waltz, but it is turbulent and frightening, a refusal of all the grace, ease, and pleasure that a waltz could incorporate. This may have been the best performance of La Valse that The Hedgehog has heard.
And then, the Eroica. Beethoven conducted the first public performance in 1805. On his own, Beethoven over turned the music world’s old order. Symphony No. 3 announced that music could not be the same as before Beethoven. It is bigger than previous symphonies both in its length and the universe it encompasses. It is grander, more powerful and accomplishes more revolutions than those enforced by Napoleon Bonaparte to whom Beethoven had originally meant to dedicate the work. Napoleon declared himself Emperor. Beethoven, yearning for a leader who would make the rights of man the basis of government, was furious at the betrayal. Beethoven changed his mind back and forth on the dedication to Napoleon, but left the name off the final manuscript. This article is being written on Veterans Day. The second movement, Marcia funebre: Adagio assai/Funeral March, is not to celebrate one Great Man. It commemorates each individual whose life was diminished or finished by war. It was played at Mendelssohn’s funeral, another great life lost. Beethoven introduces the lively boldness of heroes, the painful waste of their loss. The rights of man belong to every one; the Eroica is for every individual. Through the individual, Beethoven knows he reaches all humanity. The Eroica ends with a “YES,” Finale: Allegro molto. Having fought his way through loss and pain, the human is still himself and that is the human victory. The Israel Philharmonic and Maestro Mehta presented the Eroica with the musical integrity and passion it requires.
Zubin Mehta, much honored conductor and music director of orchestras around the world, has been with the Israel Philharmonic since 1969. Since 1981 he has had the title, Music Director for Life. The very good news is that he is as handsome and charismatic as ever.
Shilpa Torvi presented her choreography in the IDF@SV Festival Concert, Aug. 16, 2015, and also in the Showcase performance for the IDF Choreo-cubator© artists. Now it is only a week until the world premiere of her major new work, La Bayadere. There are two performances, both at 4 p.m., at the Jackson Theater, Ohlone College, Fremont, CA. Ms Torvi found an exciting, creative approach to combining elements of Western classical ballet and Indian classical Bharatanatyam dance. She bases her work on La Bayadere, a French ballet which is about an Indian temple dancer. In her choreographic experiments this summer, she also explored using the stage space in ways more associated with Western classical dance. Bharatanatyam can be very linear. Its positions derive from sculptures on the walls of ancient temples. Western classical dance makes more use of the depth of the stage space. Ms Torvi has experimented with space. It’s an exciting way to open up the visualization of a story that is jumping through space across continents and through time from ancient India to Nineteenth Century Europe to the present. The flyer pictured below has ticket information for what promises to be a wonderful dance experience.
Chamber music at the Palace of the Legion of Honor is always a high point of San Francisco’s musical season. Remarkable musicians playing some of classical music’s finest selections in a theater that looks like the inside of magical music box: it’s great. Sunday, November 1, opened the season with Beethoven’s Trio in G major, Opus 1, no. 2; Chopin’s Scherzo No. 4 in E major, Opus 54; and Shostakovich’s Quintet in G minor, Opus 57. Each one was a gem. The character of each was entirely different from the others. I mention that for readers who may think narrow thoughts about chamber music. You have been misled; these are peak musical experiences. Alexander Barantschik, the Concert Master of the SF Symphony, violin; Anton Nel, piano; and Peter Wyrick, Associate Principal Cello of the SFS formed the trio for Beethoven. Michael Grebanier, SFS Principal Cello was scheduled to perform but replaced by Wyrick. The music was delightful. Beethoven plays with bright emotions, letting his lyricism and great heart carry the listener into an ideal natural world. The Scherzo movement offers syncopation and suggests a folk dance. The Finale: Presto sweeps aside any constraint, calling upon the pianist for virtuosic performance and yet keeping all three in an exciting ensemble. It was thrilling to watch and to hear these artists.
Extraordinary pianist Anton Nel heads the Division of Keyboard Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has performed frequently with the San Francisco Symphony as well as the Cleveland, Chicago, London orchestras, and in partnership with Alexander Barantschik in the Chamber Music series. His performance of Chopin’s Scherzo No. 4 was a gift. Although a life long Chopin devotee, the Scherzo was not familiar to this Hedgehog. It was performed with exquisite style and taste. Nel gave Chopin the leading role and by doing so showed his own brilliance. It is a big piece, not at all a piece of another, grander work. The listeners were given much to embrace and absolutely stellar musicianship.
In the Shostakovich Quintet, SF Symphony musicians Florin Parvulescu, SFS violin, and Jonathan Vinocour, SFS Principal Viola, joined Barantschik, Nel, and Wyrick. Concert goers who feel they know Beethoven and Chopin could have been quite surprised by the selections by those composers on this program. They were both fresh and profound. They may have been most impressed and surprised by the Shostakovich. His music is not played so often, was shut out of programming for decades, and when presented now opens the mind and heart with forceful, beautiful, sometimes soul wrenching music. While Shostakovich suffered greatly when out of favor with Stalin and his henchmen, this Quintet was written and premiered during a brief interlude of acceptance. It is glorious. Its premiere was 1940, but it sounds new and full of life. Its performance by this quintet of champion musicians provided music that could send the entire audience aloft. The persistence of the Russian dances in the last movements whirled us along while a thoughtful, musical spirit appears as if to whisper a reminder of a quiet secret. The audience called the quintet back for multiple bows. Each of the performers deserved whole hearted cheers.
Pictures from top: Beethoven, photo of Chopin by Bisson, 1849; Shostakovich.
Ann Woo, Director of the International Performing Arts Center, 6148 Bollinger Road, San Jose, invites the public to a unique arts event, October 17, 9:30 a.m. Madam Pei Yu Wang of Beijing will lead a seminar/demonstration of Beijing Opera. She will bring a troupe of seven to demonstrate the elaborate make up, singing, and acting of this 400 year old art form. Ms Woo explains that the Beijing Opera was actually created from diverse regional theatrical traditions and includes choruses, recitatives, martial arts, acrobatics and magic. It made “a very entertaining performance to the common folks as well as to the royal families.” In earlier centuries, the performers toured distant cities. As they could not afford to carry sets, props and costumes, they had to develop ways to convey their stories through expressive movements, singing and facial expressions. Developed long before electricity, the art required that the performers learned how to be heard without any amplification except their own voices. The program will be bilingual, English/Chinese and is free of charge. There is parking available near the International Arts Center’s entrance.
INTERNATIONAL DANCE FESTIVAL@SILICON VALLEY, 2015 began just two months ago. It was a whirlwind of dance, energy, creativity. Comments keep coming in from participants about how much they loved their experiences. The word most often, and most appropriately, used is AWESOME, awesome teachers, awesome dancers, awesome new friends. Here are just two sent to Dr. Leslie Friedman, founder and director of IDF@SV.
“Boy, did I have fun taking those classes! I am glad you offered Pilates because I have always wanted to try it, and I just loved it—and Amity is awesome! What a wonderful, fun experience and I just adore all the people I’ve met at the festival this year and last…Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making all this possible. Love & admire you to pieces!” C
“Leslie, Thank you so much for the wonderful forum to present dance to the Silicon Valley! Loved the teachers, classes – (yours was awesome!) and beautiful environment you created! Great to see Ann Woo again too! Much appreciated, Leianne
COME DANCE WITH US! it really is that wonderful.
Pictures: top to bottom: Artist/teachers Leslie Friedman, Contemporary Dance & Choreo-cubator©; Amity Johnson, Pilates; Ann Woo, Classical Chinese Dance.