Archive for the ‘events’ Category

Gurre-Lieder at the ORG, March 29, 2009

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

“Many people came to the first performance ready to whistle on their house keys (the traditional Viennese method of expressing public displeasure), but the house keys were not used: people wept and cheered, and Schoenberg received an ovation that lasted a quarter of an hour.”

CHARLES ROSEN on the première
of Songs of Gurre, February 23, 1913

M. Theo’s mixed-media presentation of Arnold Schönberg’s Songs of Gurre returns to Berkeley on the last Sunday of March, courtesy of composer Bill Ludtke’s splendid ORG Salon Concerts series. Some consider this immense song cycle (calling for orchestral, choral, and solo resources well beyond those of Mahler’s symphony “of a thousand”) the pinnacle of Romanticism in music. I am one of them. I also consider it the great critique of, and antidote to, Romanticism. Since this work is so rarely performed, I’ve made a practice of presenting it every few years in recorded form, under conditions as close to ideal as I can muster: comfortable hall, excellent sound system, with synchronized German text and updated translation on screen — legibly! — synchronized to the music. I’ll introduce the cycle with plenty of little-known background that will enhance the encounter with the music for first-timer and old hand alike. For further information please contact me by email or phone (see the flyer thumbnailed above). The ORG is at 2601 Durant Avenue, at the corner of Bowditch Street — right across the street from Hotel Durant and Henry’s Publick House. Hope to see you there!

giguere collection at KUSF rock’n’swap

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

As fitfully announced, we will be at the KUSF rock’n’swap Sunday, January 21, from 10 to 4, with a sampling of CDs from the estate of Fr. Robert J. Giguere (1917 – 2003). Fr. Giguere, who taught philosophy for 55 years, had a vast love of music, and his collection — some 1200 CDs and several hundred LPs — ranges from ancient chant through punk rock. The collection has only partially been catalogued, so we’ll have a representative selection available with hopes of a fuller selection next time around (March 11, to be exact).
The donation of this extraordinary collection supports the mission of classics without walls by helping to defray production expenses. and honors a great teacher by enabling the breadth of his love of music to continue to be shared even beyond the grave.
Hope to see you there!

you are invited february 12

Sunday, January 15th, 2006

day into night poster

classics without walls is proud to announce an evening dedicated to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde to be led by our good friend, Phil Raines, of Washington, DC. We convene at the Hayes Street Grill before sunset for Phil’s presentation of Act One, followed by a three-course dinner especially designed for the event by Patricia Unterman. Act Two is followed by dessert, then Act Three will round out the evening and send us on our way around 8:30.

Phil will give us a tour through the opera with his wonderful selection of audiovisuals and his congenial technique of focusing the attention without narrowing it.

The date is Sunday, February 12 — the evening of the full moon for February — with no-host bar open at 4:30 PM, and the presentation beginning at 5:00. The price of $75 includes dinner; space is limited to 50.

Phil is honored to dedicate the evening to the memory of Birgit Nilsson.

To register, email me or call me direct at 415-731-7131.

We hope to see you there!


UPDATE: Register for Day into Night and pay online via PayPal:

day into night poster

Seattle Ring diary — day one

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

Hey, two and a half months — that’s speedy around these parts. With any luck we’ll wrap up our coverage of the Seattle Ring just in time for the 2009 production.

Our Seattle seminar/symposium/get-together/bacchanale got under way Saturday night with a banquet at Ten Mercer, the wonderful Mercer Street institution just a few blocks from McCaw Hall. Both owner Brian Curry and chef Doug Wilson have gone many extra miles for us in the weeks preceding our event; for one thing, construction of the new private dining room upstairs was hastened, and completed (at no small effort!) just in time – so our Vorabend banquet was the first dinner ever held in this lovely room!

Chef Wilson outdid himself with a four-course menu inspired by the four Ring dramas, opening with a Bay Scallop and Golden Apple Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette – Freia’s golden apple was in the form, of course, of a gold ring.

A current Ten Mercer standby followed, the Grilled House Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Apple Horseradish demi glace and Pan Fried Spätzle – but this dish took an unusual form: on our very wide platters, the three components formed the blade, hilt, and handle of a stout sword worthy of representing Nothung. We wasted no time taking our cue to complete the picture by becoming the scabbard.

An Aromatic Duck Confit with Black Mission Fig Jam and Braised Greens, specially created by Chef Wilson, followed. More than a few quizzical looks indicated that though the dish had a wonderful rustic quality that superbly evoked the setting & feel of Siegfried, few of us had quite made the connection yet. All became clear once it was pointed out that we had the Woodbird before us – or rather, a noble stand-in, for said bird still would still be needed for Act Two next Thursday evening, and we did not wish to become responsible for a somber announcement before the curtain.

Ducklings dutifully dispatched, the lights went down for Chef Wilson’s Götterdämmerung course: Flaming Valhalla Tiramisu. These delectable fortresses – for they well depicted the “ewige Burg” – went down in flames for us, providing a piquant Ragnarökish tang for our meal’s conclusion.

Those keeping score at home may wish to note Chef Wilson’s wine choices – a fine & appropriate Sekt to whet the appetite, Pierre Sparr Brut Champagne to start, and a Crosspoint California Pinot Noir with dinner. Thirsty Wagnerians contributed an Eyrie Pinot Gris and an Erath Pinot to honor Washington’s neighbor just to the south.

Breaking bread together always provides a fitting opening for a week of immersion in the vastest drama in the repertoire. But we were greatly blessed, for our banquet was more than fitting: it was a monumental work of art in itself, worthy of the work it celebrated, in that most magical and evanescent of artistic media – convivium. Many, many thanks to Brian and Doug for making it so!