Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Always pressing forward

The La Jolla Symphony concluded its season with Janacek, Haydn, and Ratcliff.

Composer Cary Ratcliff
Composer Cary Ratcliff

The final concert of the La Jolla Symphony season was a good one. The program included Janacek, Haydn, and a new piece for chorus orchestra, soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and guitar by Cary Ratcliff set to the poetry of Pablo Neruda.

Janacek was up first with Zarlivost which is pretty much the overture to his opera Jenufa. Whenever Janacek is included in a concert, it is a good thing.

Janacek sits in an interesting spot in early-20th Century music. He is not avant garde, yet he is not Wagnerian, nor is he nationalistic like composers such as Dvorak and Smetana. Janacek is his own dude.

The La Jolla Symphony performed the work well, with Steven Schick and his electric baton conducting. From my perspective, the orchestra and Schick have a tight relationship and they put the music out with confidence and style. When I say style I mean they didn’t just play the notes, they made the music exciting and it kept moving forward.

This is one element of Schick’s conducting that I enjoy. The music is always pressing forward. There is no slogging through the piece.

Haydn, the father of the symphony, had his 104th Symphony performed right before intermission. Stephen Schick conducted again and kept the energy, tempo, and rhythms tight and the performance hung together well.

After intermission, David Chase took over to conduct Cary Ratcliff’s Ode to Common Things. I enjoyed the poetry of Chilean Pablo Neruda and that was the main thing I took away from the composition.

Ratcliff has composed some fine and lyrical choral music but I found this particular composition to be outside my appreciation.

The performance was good enough, but the music never really got going. The female soloists had beautiful voices but Ratcliff didn’t give them anything to sing. They did a lot of vocal gymnastics but there was never a phrase of music for them to get their voices into.

I was disappointed because both the soprano, Monica Abrego, and the mezzo-soprano, Guadalupe Paz, had voices that sounded as if they could be exciting and dramatic if given a chance.

The tenor soloist was John Russell. Russell is the new music director of the San Diego Master Chorale. His bio started with his choral conducting positions, which is always a frightening thing for me — it usually means the tenor is more of a musician than a singer.

Russell’s voice was pleasant and pretty but once again, it was impossible to tell what he could do given the sample of music we heard.

I’m not sure why so many contemporary composers do this. For whatever reason, they are averse to writing a solo that the human voice would want to sing.

There were some beautiful moments in the music, but they were short-lived and few and far between. The poetry was about everyday objects such as scissors, a guitar, and bread, but it pointed to the unobserved beauty and profound nature of these everyday objects.

We might expect the composition to be everyday type music that became more beautiful and profound as it progressed with the poetry. Maybe that did happen but if it did, I missed it.

There was an insert in the program for the next La Jolla Symphony Season and — holy cow! — it is a huge season.

Mahler’s Fifth, the Berlioz Requiem, and Beethoven’s Ninth are all enormous pieces of music. It’s going to be a great season.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Two poems by Julia Wehner

A reminder of how richly good it is to feel, and to live
Next Article

Luna Bay Booch's San Diego origin story

Woman owned hard kombucha brand brewed elsewhere, now sold locally
Composer Cary Ratcliff
Composer Cary Ratcliff

The final concert of the La Jolla Symphony season was a good one. The program included Janacek, Haydn, and a new piece for chorus orchestra, soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and guitar by Cary Ratcliff set to the poetry of Pablo Neruda.

Janacek was up first with Zarlivost which is pretty much the overture to his opera Jenufa. Whenever Janacek is included in a concert, it is a good thing.

Janacek sits in an interesting spot in early-20th Century music. He is not avant garde, yet he is not Wagnerian, nor is he nationalistic like composers such as Dvorak and Smetana. Janacek is his own dude.

The La Jolla Symphony performed the work well, with Steven Schick and his electric baton conducting. From my perspective, the orchestra and Schick have a tight relationship and they put the music out with confidence and style. When I say style I mean they didn’t just play the notes, they made the music exciting and it kept moving forward.

This is one element of Schick’s conducting that I enjoy. The music is always pressing forward. There is no slogging through the piece.

Haydn, the father of the symphony, had his 104th Symphony performed right before intermission. Stephen Schick conducted again and kept the energy, tempo, and rhythms tight and the performance hung together well.

After intermission, David Chase took over to conduct Cary Ratcliff’s Ode to Common Things. I enjoyed the poetry of Chilean Pablo Neruda and that was the main thing I took away from the composition.

Ratcliff has composed some fine and lyrical choral music but I found this particular composition to be outside my appreciation.

The performance was good enough, but the music never really got going. The female soloists had beautiful voices but Ratcliff didn’t give them anything to sing. They did a lot of vocal gymnastics but there was never a phrase of music for them to get their voices into.

I was disappointed because both the soprano, Monica Abrego, and the mezzo-soprano, Guadalupe Paz, had voices that sounded as if they could be exciting and dramatic if given a chance.

The tenor soloist was John Russell. Russell is the new music director of the San Diego Master Chorale. His bio started with his choral conducting positions, which is always a frightening thing for me — it usually means the tenor is more of a musician than a singer.

Russell’s voice was pleasant and pretty but once again, it was impossible to tell what he could do given the sample of music we heard.

I’m not sure why so many contemporary composers do this. For whatever reason, they are averse to writing a solo that the human voice would want to sing.

There were some beautiful moments in the music, but they were short-lived and few and far between. The poetry was about everyday objects such as scissors, a guitar, and bread, but it pointed to the unobserved beauty and profound nature of these everyday objects.

We might expect the composition to be everyday type music that became more beautiful and profound as it progressed with the poetry. Maybe that did happen but if it did, I missed it.

There was an insert in the program for the next La Jolla Symphony Season and — holy cow! — it is a huge season.

Mahler’s Fifth, the Berlioz Requiem, and Beethoven’s Ninth are all enormous pieces of music. It’s going to be a great season.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

“I Come From the Andromeda Galaxy”

Alfred Howard, James Brady, Me, Myself and Eye, Orchid Mantis, Puttin’ on the Fritz
Next Article

Jazz the Night Away, Reopening Celebration at the Aquarium

Events July 11-July 15, 2020
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close