MEDIA ARCHIVE

REVIEW: Lin and Brahms are an inspiration at SummerFest

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 22, 2012

Is there a more remarkable piece of music than Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major? It’s a work he wrote when he was 20, and then rewrote when he was nearly 60. Listening to violinist Cho-Liang Lin, cellist Gary Hoffman and pianist Jon Kimura Parker’s inspired performance Wednesday in a SummerFest program at Sherwood Auditorium that also included the ensemble’s exceptional performances of Brahms other two piano trios, it was as if you could hear Brahms growing up, maturing right before your ears.

Whereas the other two trios in C Major and C Minor, written when he was in his 50s, begin with a dense, dark thicket of notes, the B Major starts in the sunlight, with the cello soon stating a theme that is not so far removed from Schubert in its lyrical nature.

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REVIEW: Lin and Brahms are an inspiration at SummerFest 2014-01-27T10:58:09+00:00

REVIEW: Pianist Pablo Ziegler Goes All In At La Jolla’s SummerFest

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 20, 2012

Pablo Ziegler isn’t someone who goes halfway. If you engage the “New Tango” legend for “An Evening with Pablo Ziegler,” as SummerFest did Saturday at Sherwood Auditorium, you get “An Evening with Pablo Ziegler.”

The 68-year-old pianist and composer played on every piece Saturday, a total of 16 plus an encore. In each instance, whether performing with SummerFest musicians or his own excellent quartet, he energetically led the charge, at times seeming to fight for every note, just as through much of his early career he fought the tango traditionalists, the jazz traditionalists, even the classical traditionalists, some whom still consider works by him and his mentor, Ástor Piazzolla, little more than pops fare.

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REVIEW: Pianist Pablo Ziegler Goes All In At La Jolla’s SummerFest 2014-01-27T10:56:26+00:00

REVIEW: Hoffman family visits SummerFest Sunday

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 19, 2012

If SummerFest truly wanted to maker Sunday’s concert a Hoffman “Family Affair,” it could have had cellist Gary, violist Toby, and their baby sister, harpist Deborah, perform music by their oldest brother, composer Joel Hoffman.

But the three younger Hoffmans, and a few friends and new acquaintances, made do with Mozart, Bruch, Lutoslawski, Caplet, Saint-Saëns and Fauré.

Every piece on the easy-on-the-ears program at Sherwood Auditorium had at least one Hoffman, most had two, and the opening Adagio and Rondo in C Minor by Mozart had three. The entire program, but especially the Mozart, was a study in chemistry and musical relationships.

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REVIEW: Hoffman family visits SummerFest Sunday 2014-01-27T10:57:27+00:00

REVIEW: Ralske-Jaber team shines at SummerFest

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 17, 2012

Erik Ralske and Benjamin Jaber are used to working without a net. As principal French horns of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony, respectively, they routinely perform the seemingly impossible high-wire antics symphonic composers demand of this challenging instrument.

But at SummerFest Friday, Ralske, the old hand, and Jaber, the young gun, were particularly at risk in Beethoven’s Sextet in E-flat Major for Two Horns and String Quartet.

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REVIEW: Ralske-Jaber team shines at SummerFest 2014-01-22T11:38:15+00:00

REVIEW: Tan Duns Water Passion wows SummerFest audience

La Jolla Light
By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt
August 17, 2012

On Saturday night, Aug. 4, a crowd of SummerFest music-lovers gathered at the La Jolla Playhouse to experience a multimedia oratorio written by Chinese composer Tan Dun to commemorate the 250th anniversary of J.S. Bach’s death.

Both aurally and visually stunning, “Water Passion After St. Matthew” began with soft, otherworldly sounds and lighting, and ended with the whispered word “silence,” a slow parade of performers dipping into a cascade of gold-lit, amplified water bowls, and then – silence, a rare minute of total silence in the theater before the roar of applause.

Tan Dun, based in New York, was raised in a village in Hunan, trained in the theatrical traditions of Chinese opera, and is best-known for his Oscar-winning score for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Since childhood, he has been fascinated by water and the natural music it makes.

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REVIEW: Tan Duns Water Passion wows SummerFest audience 2014-01-27T10:56:47+00:00

REVIEW: Igudesman & Joo offer A Little Nightmare Music at SummerFest

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 16, 2012

As Igudesman & Joo demonstrated Wednesday night at SummerFest, spoofing classical music is hard work – an arduous, demanding task not for the faint hearted.

It requires nerves of steel, an ability to memorize a substantial array of musical excerpts, split-second timing, a complete lack of self-consciousness (some might say shame), and loose limbs, helpful for when your hips start to wiggle while playing the violin or your hands start to ache when playing the piano (while flat on your back).

La Jolla Music Society SummerFest music director Cho-Liang Lin apparently believed this year’s festival needed a little relief from serious classical fare.

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REVIEW: Igudesman & Joo offer A Little Nightmare Music at SummerFest 2014-01-27T10:56:05+00:00

REVIEW: SummerFest concert a study in the joy of chamber music

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 15, 2012

Good things happen when clarinetist John Bruce Yeh is on stage, with the Calder Quartet was at the center of last weekend’s illuminating performance of Aaron Jay Kernis’ new “Perpetual Chaconne” at SummerFest. Tuesday, he was back at SummerFest in the second of three Schubert programs at Sherwood Auditorium.

This time, Yeh’s assignment was something written nearly 200 years earlier, Schubert’s “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen,” the “Shepherd on the Rock,” Schubert’s last and one of his best known songs.

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REVIEW: SummerFest concert a study in the joy of chamber music 2014-01-27T10:57:07+00:00

REVIEW: Elgar energizes Tokyo String Quartet at SummerFest

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 12, 2012

Throughout the Tokyo String Quartet’s performances of Schubert last Tuesday and Haydn and Beethoven on Sunday, violist Kazuhide Isomura was all but invisible. The ensemble’s only founding member sat nearly motionless, his sound indistinguishable from the sound of the ensemble.

But on the second half of Sunday’s La Jolla Music Society SummerFest program at Sherwood Auditorium, Elgar’s Piano Quintet in A Minor suddenly prompted Kazuhide’s full engagement. Elgar is not about to let the violist off the hook, and in melody after melody, particularly in the second movement, Kazuhide’s distinctive sound and lyrical playing was a revelation.

Given that this fabled ensemble is disbanding next year, and this is its final appearance in San Diego, Isomura’s emergence came just in time.

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REVIEW: Elgar energizes Tokyo String Quartet at SummerFest 2014-01-27T10:55:33+00:00

REVIEW: A good day for Aaron Jay Kernis at SummerFest

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 10, 2012

As Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis explained from the Sherwood Auditorium stage Friday, he was having a very good month.

His newest piece, “Perpetual Chaconne,” had been premiered at Chamber Music Northwest two weeks earlier. Now it was about to be played at the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest and was scheduled for another performance this week at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

But after clarinetist John Bruce Yeh and the Calder Quartet finished with Kernis’ 18-minute piece Friday, you had to believe that Kernis’ month got even better.

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REVIEW: A good day for Aaron Jay Kernis at SummerFest 2014-01-22T11:40:43+00:00

REVIEW: Jazz Duo Wins Olympic Gold

San Diego Story
By Ken Herman
August 9, 2012

If you were searching for a convincing demonstration of that overused adage “less is more,” I would suggest a jazz performance by the exquisite duo of Branford Marsalis and Eric Revis. SummerFest 2012 presented the renowned saxophonist and bassist Wednesday (Aug. 8) on the second half of a program that opened with three pleasant but inconsequential chamber music pieces that featured saxophone.

Of course, Marsalis’ classical technique is so refined and fluent that any serious listener is charmed, perhaps even mesmerized, by his sinuous melodic turns. Indeed, he graced the tunes of four short pieces by Samuel Barber arranged for piano and soprano saxophone with gentle undulations that gave off an iridescent sheen.

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REVIEW: Jazz Duo Wins Olympic Gold 2014-01-22T11:55:09+00:00