MEDIA ARCHIVE

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

REVIEW: Branford Marsalis shows no fear at SummerFest

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 9, 2012

You have to give Branford Marsalis credit: he has absolutely no fear.

It was probably pretty scary when he joined Art Blakey’s famed Jazz Messengers while still a student. And he undoubtedly he had some frightful moments while musical director of the Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show.” Then there were the times he performed with the Grateful Dead.

But that’s nothing compared to the challenge Marsalis set for himself at SummerFest Wednesday at Sherwood Auditorium in four songs by Samuel Barber, but especially in Hindemith’s Trio for Tenor Saxophone, Viola and Piano and Busch’s Quintet in E Major for Strings and Alto Saxophone. The “classical” first half was followed by a second half “jazz” set that seemed by comparison a walk in the park.

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REVIEW: Branford Marsalis shows no fear at SummerFest 2014-01-22T11:48:47+00:00

REVIEW: Gabriel and Jeffrey Kahane intriguing, perplexing, at SummerFest

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 7, 2012

You can only admire SummerFest for taking a risk and presenting an unconventional pairing of singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane and his father, pianist Jeffrey Kahane, as the centerpiece of the first of three Tuesday concerts at Sherwood Auditorium exploring the music of Schubert.

An intriguing program that also included Schubert’s string Quartet in G Major played by the Tokyo String Quartet, the Kahanes alternated between past and present, the younger playing his songs, and the older playing works by Schubert and Schumann (with Gabriel Kahane singing one Schubert song).

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REVIEW: Gabriel and Jeffrey Kahane intriguing, perplexing, at SummerFest 2014-01-22T12:13:58+00:00

REVIEW: Riveting Water Passion at SummerFest

San Diego Story
By Ken Herman
August 6, 2012

With composer Tan Dun on the podium, La Jolla SummerFest’s riveting presentation of his “Water Passion” at the La Jolla Playhouse Saturday (August 4) may be the festival’s finest hour. And not simply of this 2012 SummerFest, but of every SummerFest since the annual event was launched 25 seasons ago.

Over the years, this chamber music festival has staked its reputation on presenting standard reputation on presenting standard repertory at a consistently high level of performance. New music has been treated as an optional side dish, and anything avant garde presented circumspectly as a rara avis.

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REVIEW: Riveting Water Passion at SummerFest 2014-01-22T12:03:25+00:00

REVIEW: Tan Dun’s Water Passion offers a journey into stillness

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 5, 2012

Perhaps it’s inevitable that the most moving portion of Tan Dun’s monumental “Water Passion After St. Matthew” is the very end, when the chorus and soloists have stopped singing, the violinist and cellist have ceased playing, the percussionists are nearly motionless, and the composer (who is also the conductor) has left the front of the stage and joined the musicians at large, illuminated by bowls filled with water.

As the lights dimmed, what you mostly heard was the sound of water. And as is the nature of all things, that sound ultimately faded to silence.

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REVIEW: Tan Dun’s Water Passion offers a journey into stillness 2014-01-22T12:07:58+00:00

PREVIEW: Branford Marsalis – What Can’t He Do?

UT San Diego
By George Varga
August 5, 2012

Saxophone star Branford Marsalis is not the first jazz artist who will perform a classical music repertoire at SummerFest in La Jolla, but he is by far the most celebrated and best known. Credit for this goes to his multiple Grammy Awards in both jazz and pop, his high-profile TV stint in the 1990s as the band leader and musical director on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and his acting in the films “Throw Mama From the Train” and “School Daze.”

But what really makes this Louisiana native stand out is his ability to shine in almost any musical setting.

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PREVIEW: Branford Marsalis – What Can’t He Do? 2014-01-22T11:58:53+00:00

REVIEW: SummerFest opener enlivened by Cho-Liang Lin and Moszkowski

UT San Diego
By James Chute
August 4, 2012

Friday’s La Jolla Music Society SummerFest opener at Sherwood Auditorium had music director Cho-Liang Lin’s fingerprints all over it.

Lin loves nothing more than finding some forgotten masterpiece by an overlooked composer, and the program-opening Suite in G Minor for Two Violins and Piano by Moritz Moszkowski proved to be that always surprising first-rate work by a second-rate composer.

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REVIEW: SummerFest opener enlivened by Cho-Liang Lin and Moszkowski 2014-01-22T12:35:49+00:00

REVIEW: SummerFests Romantic Opening

San Diego Story
By Ken Herman
August 4, 2012

La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest 2012 opened Friday (August 3) with a sumptuous, if slightly exhausting, Romantic music marathon. Wearing his heart on both sleeves-a metaphorical if not a literal possibility-festival Music Director Cho-Liang Lin programmed a nonstop effusion of gorgeous melodies that surfed on waves of opulent harmony.

At the heart of Lin’s program, Soprano Ying Huang gave a striking, passionate account of Rachmaninoff’s familiar “Vocalise,” with Jeffrey Kahane deftly assisting at the piano, and an emotionally charged interpretation of Heitor Vila-Lobos’ “Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 for Soprano and Eight Cellos.” With a radiant voice of considerable power throughout her range, this confident singer from Shanghai balances the drive of a dramatic soprano with the warmth of a spinto.

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REVIEW: SummerFests Romantic Opening 2014-01-22T12:10:38+00:00

SummerFest Unstuffed – Refusing to Stick to the Tried-and-True

UT San Diego
By James Chute
July 25, 2012

First of all, forget everything you know, or think you know, about classical music.

At SummerFest, there won’t be a tuxedo in sight, the musicians will range in age from teenagers to seniors (you may think you’re at a family reunion), the atmosphere is intimate, and the music, well, that’s the best part.

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SummerFest Unstuffed – Refusing to Stick to the Tried-and-True 2014-01-22T12:37:19+00:00