What did you think of our last program?

Good morning Camerata friends!

It’s the, rather grey, Monday morning following the most recent set of 5 Camerata performances. I’m sipping my morning coffee, reflecting on what was a particularly intense series of concert experiences. Our musicians have scattered to the four corners of the globe, and I’m sitting here feeling a bit drained but very satisfied and rewarded by the performances from my amazing colleagues and the reception by our wonderful audiences.

I’m wondering what you thought of the concerts.

When I conceived the program, 18 – 24 months ago, I intended it to be intense concert experience — a program that would take us to a more challenging realm of performance and listening. And it was a program designed to reward different kinds of listening — in addition to the standard narrative format with which we are all most familiar.

I expected the audiences to be split between those who reveled in the experience, those who would be somewhat bewildered and those who hated it. Thankfully, over the years, the last group has become ever smaller, but what has been most rewarding to observe is the first group now represents the overwhelming majority. This is a wonderful testament to YOU, our listeners J. Without fear of contradiction I’m absolutely sure Camerata Pacifica’s audience represents the best, most attentive, open-minded and intellectually curious audience I know. I can tell you, the musicians who perform for you are well aware of this and are most appreciative.

As am I. The first half of this most recent program required close to an hour of non-stop attention, journeying from the sensual implications of Debussy, to the visceral and explosive Xenakis to the ephemeral Takemitsu, linked by the imaginative Richard Rodney Bennett — all of this music required committed listening — and in every venue you were right there with us. Then, following intermission, wasn’t the richness of that Shostakovitch piano quintet sound, along with the narrative delivery, such an amazing contrast?

So this morning I’m really very interested to hear what your takeaway was. I’ll be happy to post any comments, answer any questions and encourage any dialogue.

What did you think of the pieces? The performances? The method of presentation? I am, and the musicians are, interested to hear anything you have to say.





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  • 3/12/2012 9:21 AM Karin Nelson wrote:
    I loved this concert and so did my husband and sister, who also attended. The format of the first half, built around, Syrinx, was creative and gorgeous. The musicianship was superb and memorable.

    The Shostakovich was delicious. the evening couldn't have been better.
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  • 3/12/2012 9:52 AM Sam Losh wrote:
    Adrian, your introductory remarks greatly enriched my understanding of the program. I wasn't familiar with the story of Pan and Syrinx. I thought that the marimba was perfect for expressing Pan's frustration, as the oboe expressed his grief. Without your comments I wouldn't have noticed that the oboe player was blowing and inhaling simultaneously.

    The Schostakvitch piano quinted was a good way to finish the concert.
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 9:59 AM Dave Whittaker wrote:
    Two words: simply awesome.
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  • 3/12/2012 10:43 AM Olin wrote:
    Adrian, A good blend of new and more or less traditional. I would have been glad to have heard, in addition to the two works for oboe, Mr. Daniels doing something a little more mainstream. It's all good! Olin
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 10:44 AM Gray wrote:
    Thanks for asking. Happy, as always, to give you my thoughts!

    First and foremost, my God what a superlative group of artists you have assembled in Camerata Pacifica.
    Every single one. Really not just world class but top world class.
    And your string players, now, have really melded into one magnificent instrument.

    The first half: a lot of music so difficult to play that I don’t see how they all come out at the end at once.
    And received by standing ovation, so you don’t have to worry about your audience.

    For me, lifelong classical musician that I am (I bill myself as the oldest living Music Academy alumna, but
    can’t be sure) wild stuff is often (not by any means) puzzling.

    There’s an interesting piece in this morning’s New York Times about a concert by a group called the
    Talea Ensemble. You probably know them. The reviewer, Steve Smith, writes about the value of
    “befuddlement” to a listener.

    My problem: a lot of the first half, for me, went beyond a possibly salubrious befuddlement and into
    just “when will this ever stop?” I understand your asking us to hold applause until the end of the
    50 minutes, but for me that was an awfully long dose. On first hearing, at least, I just couldn’t make
    any reason for the musicians to be doing what they were doing, in a lot of the music. I had trouble
    letting long (long!!!) oboe bitones, alternated with sudden wild drum-bashings, and then back, and then
    more of the same, give me anything beyond the sense that monkeys could have composed that music.
    (Sorry.) I suppose you have heard the African elephant orchestra, banging on pots.

    But not to worry. Many if not most of us white-haired oldsters in your audience rose and hooted
    with delight, so I am just out of the modern mainstream, and wandering in the old-time wilderness.

    I do understand what you’re doing, and will defend to the death, etc. etc. etc.

    and P.S. OhmyGod the Shostakovich. I will never forget that performance. Thank you.
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 10:46 AM John wrote:
    Since you asked:

    1. I think that throughout the year, the heavy emphasis in programming on 20th Century music reflects the taste of the musicians, rather than the taste of the audience. If you are concerned about increasing or maintaining ticket sales, I recommend that you give this some thought.

    2. I have been a long time subscriber to the Alice Coleman Concerts series at Caltech, which annually features six concerts by elite quartets from around the world. In comparison to these elite quartets, I am impressed that Camerata Pacifica seems to feel that the louder they play, the better it is. Often, it seems that piano starts this process, and the other voices increase in volume, as if in order to be heard - like in an escalating conversation where the participants. in turn. each talk louder and louder. Camerata Pacifica on stage seems painfully like an un-conducted, leaderless group without nuance and modulation and restraint. By way of contrast, listen to a recording by the Guarneri Quartet or the Takacs Quartet.


    John Goldenberg
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    1. 3/12/2012 4:13 PM Adrian Spence wrote:
      Dear John,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I welcome everyone's comments and, providing there's no rudeness, post without editing. I particularly value differing opinions, especially when they are well-informed and well written.

      In this instance though, I must disagree with you quite completely and suggest that perhaps your comparison suffers because of the widely disparate nature of the venues. A particular goal of mine is to present chamber music in venues appropriate to chamber music. With the greatest respect to presenters who place this most intimate of musical forms in large halls ... it is just wrong and it does a disservice to the music and to the listener. From your note, you are used to listening to chamber music in the (freely acknowledged) acoustically challenged, massive (1,150 seat) Beckman auditorium. It's not really surprising you're not used to hearing a string quartet play at full volume.

      At our venue at the Huntington Library you won't be more than 20 or 30 feet away from the musicians, and what you're experiencing is not sheer volume — for the Camerata ensemble plays also with a translucence and blend that will rival the Guarneri or the Takacs or any other ensemble you care to name — what you're experiencing is not sheer volume, but the immediacy and the viscerally compelling nature of chamber music performed in a chamber venue. Certainly when, as commanded by Shostakovitch, a string quartet and a 9 foot concert grand Steinway play a sustained fortissimo you will feel it in your bones. But that is as it should be. Chamber music is not written to be played in 1,000 & 2,000 seat caverns — you are meant to breathe with the artists, and hear the grit of the bow as it engages the string.

      Through the latter half of the 20th century audiences have been mislead and conditioned to listen to music in these far-too-large venues. More and more these days, however, you will come across the true and truly dynamic experience in which the real pianissimo is almost impossible to separate from a silence and a real fortissimo will challenge the very pounding of your heart.

      That's chamber music, and that's what we do.


      Reply to this
    2. 3/13/2012 8:51 AM Karin Nelson wrote:
      I am also a long-time subscriber to the Coleman. Our tickets in the Beckman Auditorium are second-row center. Our tickets for Camerata are also second-row, close to the center. The volume for me is similar in both halls. Most of the Coleman groups have played regularly or exclusively together for many years; the Camerata musicians do not have that advantage. I love the Coleman and the Camerata. The groups in both organizations are a treat to hear and provide different experiences. I think the Camerata musicians do wonderful work.
      Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 10:48 AM Peggy wrote:
    I thoroughly enjoyed last week's concert, Adrian. Thanks for all the work that benefits us, your audience!
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 11:20 AM Jean wrote:
    Syrinx was long but interesting, at times enthralling. Shostakovich was fabulous, especially the piano. All artists, as usual, fabulous. I still cannot understand Adrian's talk. Voice to the opposite corner or to the floor, the accent, makes we look at my watch to wonder how much longer.
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  • 3/12/2012 11:29 AM Tim wrote:
    The March program is an example of one of the reasons I value my Camerata Pacifica subscription so highly. The exploration of sound is what I want to hear, along with all the rich heritage of our chamber music tradition. I can get the full range. I was also pleased that the program was "balanced off" with a 20th century composer.
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 12:22 PM Elisabeth Leader wrote:
    My husband and I came along to Friday night's performance as guests of Luci and Rich Janssen. It was our first introduction to Camerata Pacifica as well. I must say, this has been the most delightful treasure we've found since arriving in Santa Barbara (January 2012). The performance was exquisitely rich, mesmerizing and had us enthralled. We liked very much the Hahn Hall experience - not too big; not too small. So we've been won over, and will look into membership as we certainly don't want to miss any further extraordinary evenings. Thank you very, very much!
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  • 3/12/2012 1:46 PM christy wrote:
    Loved the encouragement to listen to textures in the first half. A marvelous journey to another world! thanks, Christy
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 2:07 PM Mike Crawford wrote:
    The idea to program the Debussey and the Bennett pieces was very interesting. The marimba piece was too long for me. I hated the Zenakis. The Shostakovich was excellent. I feel that the programming reflects the taste of the music director rather than that of the audience with the exception that you finish each concert with something more traditional.
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 2:19 PM Doris wrote:
    I do so appreciate Camerata Pacifica' guts to expose their audience to music way out of the mainstream. I find most of it exiting if not always easy on the ears. The last concert was no exception. The musicians outdid themselves, especially N. Daniel's Dmaathen. He virtually tortured the oboe, transforming it's usually mellow and pleasing voice into a shrieking, angry harangue. My only reservation: the first half was a bit too long. Two thirds would have been perfect.
    And please give us more Shostakovitch.
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  • 3/12/2012 3:01 PM Robert Farley wrote:
    Despite your caution that the first part of the concert would be difficult to appreciate if one approached it as a preconceived whole, like the Shostakovich piece was, I felt that it was wonderfully accessible to me as a single unit. I completely enjoyed the arrangement of the pieces for the concert, and, as usual, the quality of the musicianship was outstanding. Thank you for the opening remarks which focused my attention on the arrangement, and I would very much like to see more performances by these musicians in the future.
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 3:45 PM Nancy wrote:
    Dear Adrian,

    I'm sorry to report that I personally did not enjoy the first half. I admired the musicians' skill, it was all very interesting, I particularly liked watching the percussionist (like a ballerina!), but I cannot say I appreciated the music. The Shostakovich was quite nice, though.

    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 3:47 PM Marie-Paule wrote:
    I reveled in the experience. I am in Group 1 for sure. The Takemitsu was almost too sedate after the intense expressive music making that preceded it.

    The Shostakovich was very beautiful. The piece was unfamiliar to me - I am happy to have made its acquaintance.

    As always, the performance was excellent. Viva Camerata Pacifica.

    Best, Marie-Paule Hajdu
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 3:48 PM Phyllis wrote:
    All of the programs this year have been wonderful, and an education! It is a pleasure to hear the beautifully performed classical music, but it is also exciting to be exposed to newer, less familiar works. I look forward to each concert with great anticipation.
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 3:50 PM Hope wrote:
    I reveled! It was absolutely an amazing concert. Top Notch and we in Ventura were hearing it for the first time right? You know how to plan and execute.

    I am not split, I loved the entire presentation. I know a few who preferred the second half, but we all have to open our ears and our minds to music that to many of us is not familiar. Of course the Shostakovitch piano quintet was the final sounding grace. Contrast is always good.

    See you next month. Can't wait.
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  • 3/12/2012 3:53 PM Carol wrote:
    Lucien and I attended the Ventura program and were totally intrigued with the first half. Weaving those songs about the Syrinx into the matrix of the four instrumentalists was great programming. Sometimes it was a bit hard to keep from clapping, but I understood the rationale for that.

    I think we would have preferred a more relaxing second half. After concentrating so hard on the first, the Shostokovich was a bit harsh for our tastes. We were exhausted.

    We thank you for being adventurous in your programming. Don't hesitate to keep us on our toes. And speaking of toes, one of the highlights was watching the pianist use his left toes to punch his iPad remote to turn the music's pages! Such a perk one gets for attending live performances.

    Thanks for asking . . . ,
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 4:24 PM Louise Lorden wrote:
    I've come to Camerata for many seasons and am gradually warming to atonal and dissonant music which I had little patience for many years ago . I try to maintain an open mind (and ears) when a piece is "challenging listening" and have enjoyed a wide range of composers you have introduced me to. I enjoyed some of the music in the 1st half of the last concert, particularly the marimba solo. The Xenakis however, was too much for me to take. When the sounds coming out of a musical instrument make you want to clap your hands over your ears and go running from the room, the line between music and noise has been crossed. That was my reaction to the oboe part - brilliantly played, but painful to listen to. The sounds of the Shostakovich in the 2nd half were so wonderful and such a relief it was palpable!
    Reply to this
    1. 3/12/2012 8:19 PM Adrian Spence wrote:

      Thanks for this note. All of the musicians who play for you are so appreciative of our audience. On our behalf I truly meant what I wrote in the introductory post. We're aware that we expect a lot of you, but we also think that you're up for it. From the beginning an axiom for the Camerata has been, "treat intelligent people intelligently."

      I understand that different people have different levels of listening experience and so not everything is going to work for everyone all of the time. To repeat myself, we are all so appreciative that this audience put itself out there to listen again and again. It's so important, and it's the difference between a vital, dynamic arts community and a passive, reproductive one. And I'm so happy that our audience feels comfortable to speak their mind too.

      We are discovering an interesting phenomenon. The generations that represent the majority of the Camerata audience grew up firmly rooted in the tonality of the classical and romantic masters. The younger generations, including the iPod generation, that are beginning to come to our concerts did not. We demonstrated and played the Xenakis and Takemitsu for high school students the other day and there wasn't a hint of resistance. Indeed the question and answer session revealed a reception and interpretative experiences that would not have entered my mind.

      I'm convinced we're at the beginning of a 2nd renaissance for this artform. It's a new and exciting time we're all part of. Be aware of what's happening around you!


      Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 4:58 PM Sharon wrote:
    We loved it. First half was a little hard work for me. But it's new- exciting, extremely well performed.
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  • 3/12/2012 5:23 PM Nancy wrote:
    My guest said of the first half "Interesting, but I wouldn't buy the CD". But she liked the Shostakovich.

    Different chamber groups have different personalities, and I enjoy Camerata because it takes us out of the tempting complacency of past centuries as well as also giving us those beautiful classics. All with superb musicians who put their enthusiasm into their performance.
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  • 3/12/2012 5:40 PM Carolyn Kincaid Henderson wrote:
    If I hadn't been felled by a cold right after the concert, you would have heard from me before this. I especially loved the first part of the program, especially Xenakis' Dmaathen. Nicholas Daniel and Ji Hye Jung brought us Venturans just about the most immediate and exciting musical experience this longtime classical music buff can remember. I even got an extra kick out of realizing that we were indeed the first Camerata fans to enjoy that debut performance. (Ventura comes in ahead of Santa Barbara, San Marino and L.A. How often does that happen?) Seriously, it was a truly fabulous concert!
    Adrian, Nicholas, Adam, Ji Hye, Catherine, Richard, Ani (and newcomer Ara) you've done it again! Bravos and thank you.
    Reply to this
  • 3/12/2012 6:05 PM Rick wrote:
    I would like to say that I thought it was wonderful! It was innovative, substantial, enjoyable, and virtuosic. Cameratta is a real treasure and we thank you for it.
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  • 3/12/2012 7:17 PM Stephen & Suzie wrote:
    We've really enjoyed the programming and have been very impressed with the performances of all the musicians. We feel the combination of mixing up old and new music makes for an interesting program. That said, we found what was lacking in this particular concert was "variety." We've really enjoyed the marimba player but found it to be too much of a good thing. We couldn't connect with the 3 Bennett compositions but liked the other 3 pieces in the first half. The Shostakovich was a nice change, although with 3 slow movements, we preferred the faster tempos in the piece. So far our favorite concert has been the first one, in September - that was fabulous!
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  • 3/12/2012 7:19 PM Judy Richards wrote:
    I totally loved the concert. It was commanding, moving, and thrilling. Thank you for it all and thanks to the astounding virtuosity of the players. It made me happy. Onward to the future.
    Judy Richards
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  • 3/12/2012 8:49 PM Steve S wrote:
    I have wanted to experience new music since I was young. I think Camarata is brave to stray from the 3 Bs. I enjoyed the entire program and actually can't recall hearing the Shostakovich previously. I am looking forward to more new compositions.
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  • 3/12/2012 8:54 PM Harvey Harris wrote:
    C.P. continues to be a tremendous education in music of great variety and depth, solemn to comic, harsh to sweet, atonal to repetitive standard scales, wierdly asymmetric and unpredictable to totally familiar and hummable. Having teachers, not just Adrian but also some of the other musicians, commenting just before performing heightens the expectations and delivers more of the promise each musical piece offers. In fact, even the most familiar of pieces has complexity that always can be better understood and appreciated due to musicians' commentaries. Critics who object need to recall their needs and desires from their pre-professional days and years! Did they not have explanations, readings, and repeated opportunities to hear these pieces of art before being hired to write columns? If the only people invited to listen to these great works are the critics and professionals, then it seems ticket prices should become astronomical for those fortunate few skilled listeners, and then even fewer outsiders would give a d... about what they write and think! Snobbery from those who write about "classical music" has helped deter many from learning to appreciate it. Having experienced all types of music for 65 years, and played in a band and an orchestra and sang in choirs, I very much appreciate hearing from the performers before all concerts! Adrian and compatriots.....talk to your hearts' content, but then play your hearts out!! HMH
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  • 3/12/2012 9:24 PM Mary Walsh wrote:
    I attended the Lunchtime concert in Santa Barbara, where we are privileged to hear Camerata Pacifica in the Music Academy's Hahn Hall with its near acoustical perfection. I was particularly moved by Adrian's performance of the Debussy--short as it was. I don't recall any better performance by Adrian in the 21 years I've attended Camerata's concerts. I thoroughly enjoyed the Takemitsu with Adrian joining Hi Hye Jung on the marimba. Somehow Bennett's "Tango After Syrinx" which followed broke the spell and was a bit too jarring for me. As for the Shostakovich (one of my favorite composers) what a fabulous piece, and it was performed to perfection by Camerata's fabulous musicians. Thank you Adrian for your always interesting, challenging and satisfying programs.
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  • 3/12/2012 11:53 PM Caroline Bordinaro wrote:
    I loved all the works on the program, probably because they were all so different. Debussy - hauntingly beautiful and a perfect opening. RRB 1, fun, amazing, a wonderful study on the Syrinx. Xenakis - what a romp! North Africa all the way! How does Nick do that?? RRB 2 was probably my favorite, because Ji Hye is mesmerizing when she plays. She undulates and dances around the marimba, and the audience is transfixed (I hope somebody caught this on video) RRB 3 was a lot of fun, a sinewy take on the Debussy.
    And the Shostakovich - as Adrian says, throw standard repertoire at the Camerata and they make magic with it.
    Bravo everybody!! I'm really looking forward to April and May, and next season too!
    Reply to this
  • 3/13/2012 4:30 PM Alejandro wrote:
    Dear Adrian:
    I was really very happy to see a “mainstream” concert organization present a program of 20th century music (was any of the pieces written after 2000?), and I was pleased to see how the audience took it.
    The performances, qua performances, were uniformly great. This is something one takes for granted with the Camerata these days, but it is always worth stressing out. Besides Nicholas and Richard none of the players are what one would call “new music specialists” in the sense that people like the Kontarsky brothers, Gloria Chang, and Vicky Ray are, but none of them scares easily (the Carter quartet last year demonstrated this).
    The first half of the program was a bit long, but its heart was in the right place. It is not being snide to note that Syrinx, slight as it might be, was the best piece in that half. By now we are so used to having Debussy around that we forget what a giant he was as an all-around musician and as a composer. I found Bennett’s After Syrinx I also quite beautiful, the oboe writing was both lovely and expressive, but I was quite taken by how good the piano writing was. The relatively “free” atonality he uses can be miserably difficult to bring off on the piano, the tendency is to produce a series of “gray” sonorities with little sense of where things are going, and I was happy to hear so many really beautiful and colorful sounds. This is almost as hard as the immensely subtle and detailed writing one finds in the string music of Ravel and Debussy, even with a phenomenal ear and intuition it takes enormous work and patience to do it right so consistently (people had *no idea* of the kinds of patience and hard-work behind Stravinsky’s seemingly “easy” textures).
    Damathen was, I think, surprisingly tame for Xenakis, I expected a bit more of a “dust storm” from him. In this case I think that he got obsessed with the multiphonics and some of the effects of the oboe, and the oboe part became too simple and uni-dimensional. This, I think, has been a problem of a great deal of music using extended techniques, the composer gets mentally sidetracked by the extended techniques and the “music” gets a bit lost. The percussion part was much more conventional and much more like the best of Xenakis, and it did not hurt that Ji Hye played like a goddess.
    Bennett’s After Syrinx II was much too long and episodic as music, his inspiration appeared to run thin. I enjoyed it immensely, however, because I quickly shifted from “hearing” the piece to “watching” the performance, this was rhythmic choreography of the highest order.
    Takemitsu’s piece was Takemitsu. Like Crumb, he has written one piece over and over, but it is such a beautiful and graceful piece in both cases! So you know what is going to happen, but are happy to see it happen, like a visit with a lovely and dear friend.
    Reply to this
    1. 3/13/2012 4:32 PM Alejandro wrote:
      contd ...
      The Tango was a tango. I belong to the minority that actively dislikes Piazolla’s music, although I like the traditional tangos, just as I like the Caribbean boleros, so I suspect that Piazolla has spoiled most “concert” tangos for me (the one of The Soldier’s Tale appears to be immune). Nonetheless, here again the harmonic sense in the piano writing that was so lovely in After Syrinx I was also in evidence, and the rhetoric of the piece was consistent with its length, so in the end I was quite happy.
      About 15 years ago I began to get over my intense dislike for the music of Shostakovich, mostly after hearing the first cello concerto. Pieces like the Leningrad Symphony still give me the creeps, and I still don’t quite see what the Fifth Symphony is all about. But the Sixth Symphony is a magnificently ugly piece, the preludes and fugues and wonderful, and some of the string quartets also get to me. Given the date of the Quintet (which I did not know) I approached it with trepidation, but I was quite taken with it. It sounds a great deal like the kind of music that he wrote “for the drawer” and I suspect that six years later it would have landed him in really hot water with the Komissars. The surface of the piece has less of the “square” writing (e.g. his favorite “dum-deedee-dum” tick) he uses everywhere, and approaches the writing of Prokofiev. The piece’s long meditative prelude and fugue were quite lyrical, and the fast movements had none of the Soviet chest thumping that sometimes one finds in him and Prokofiev. The “stormy” parts in the fast movements had the kinds of intensity and “seriousness” one finds in Bartok’s middle string quartets, which remain the best chamber music from that era. The performance was really extraordinary.
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  • 3/13/2012 4:54 PM Caroline B wrote:
    If you like the Shosty 6th, try his 9th. Written in 1945, you'd think it would be sad and tragic (like the 8th) or heroic (like the 7th). It's not! It's evil clowns dancing, thumbing their noses at the Soviet war machine. Here's Solti and the Bavarian Radio Symphony. http://youtu.be/0OT8S6FNqh0
    Hope you like it!
    Reply to this
  • 3/13/2012 7:34 PM Nicholas Daniel wrote:
    Speaking as one of the Artists involved and as someone that is Artistic Director of a very successful festival of my own, (see wwwmusicfestival.co.uk) I must say that I am genuinely in deep admiration of Adrian's programming, particularly of this set. The first half had an unspoken narrative that was alchemically successful, and for me hearing each first half complete every time, it got better with every performance. It's really excellent that the concert was filmed because it will bear repeated listening.
    I'm absolutely sure that half of the success is having an audience that is open to it, and who are prepared to go with us no matter what we are playing.
    I am genuinely grateful to be a part of this group and to play to this audience.
    Reply to this
  • 3/14/2012 11:45 AM Grant Barnes wrote:
    The program was imaginatively conceived. Originally I had only wanted to hear the very moving piano quintet of Shostakovich but when the arc of the first half was clear, I thought this is an experience I wouldn't have wanted to miss. Adrian Spence's vision of both programming and venues as well as the high standard of passion and virtuosity in the performances makes me very glad he and the Camerata are in the life of Southern California.
    Reply to this
  • 3/14/2012 8:22 PM Roger Davidson wrote:
    The first half was a stretch for us--but it was an engaging combination of modern works. Adrian, don't compromise in your programming of modern versus traditional works: it's what makes Camerata unique!
    Who would have thought the Shostakovitch would be a balm for the listener? It was a revelation--and a fine way to conclude this varied program.
    Reply to this
  • 3/18/2012 5:43 PM John Politowski wrote:
    The program consisted of seven pieces, each worth mentioning (in order):
    1. Very nice, melodic - good start to program;
    2. Not enjoyable;
    3. Hated this one (This was the "featured" piece?);
    5. Not as loud - but did not seem to relate to the featured piece;
    6. At least the tango was short.
    7. Engaging & wonderful piece! - ALMOST made up for the first half of the program.

    I have mixed feelings about the no-applause format. a) I was very pleased NOT to have applaud until the end (the end of the Shostakovich,that is); b) during your lengthy preconcert lecture, I understood you to say that silence was critical to the cohesiveness of the program's first six pieces, yet several of them were quite loud; seemed contradictory.

    Determining the level of performance of the musicians is quite difficult when hearing a piece of music for the first time. If one enjoys the work, then it is easy to say that the musicians were superb. But if one dislikes the work, then the question becomes one of deciding whether the performance was what the composer actually intended or were the musicians having a bad day.
    The young woman playing the marimba was certainly athletic and energetic. Her coordination seemed excellent in that she struck the instrument when she wanted to; but from the sounds generated, it wasn't always clear that she was striking it where she wanted to. On the other hand, the volume she produced was outstanding.
    Nick was working hard, and there were several instances of a hoped for melody developing; but, alas, they were too fleeting for the pieces to be enjoyable for me. Particularly troubling was that one long, sustained note he played - a quite superior technical effort on Nick's part, I would imagine - it sounded raucous and annoying, somewhat like the whistle of a steam kettle. But if that's what the composer intended, then congratulations to Nick.
    The flute and piano performances were superb in the pieces I enjoyed and unappreciated in those I did not like. Finally, and best of all, the strings were magnificent in the Shostakovich work (even the new guy). It was precisely the kind of outstanding performance that keeps us coming back to the Camerata.
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  • 3/26/2012 8:51 AM Bill Ramsay wrote:
    I was fascinated by the Xenakis, liked the Takemitsu, found the Bennett lacking in good ideas. Jane particularly liked the idea of the thematic continuity between the "Syrinx" pieces.
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