Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Grand Budapest Hotel, Miklos Rozsa, and World Premieres by Garner and Ruehr

Photo by Michael Halberstadt
Here in very occasional blog-land, I'm trying out a new way of going about this, using my trusty old 'droid mini Nexus tab (yes,  I was  a VERY early adopter on that particular trend) and a brand new Logitech keyboard that my kid got me for my birthday present.  (What a great kid!) Although it's for iOS, it seems to play very nicely with the Android OS, with only a few differences from what I'm used to, at least thus far.  Time will tell: perhaps the ease and beauty of use will persuade me to make this blog a regular thing (gasp!), instead of a random and very occasional one.

Speaking of which, everyone's subscriptions for the blog have gotten somewhat...messed up: for example, if you were subscribed here before Google killed off Google Reader a while back, you no longer are--and some subscriptions somehow went with that as well.  So if readers could pretty please resubscribe (it's now much easier, though), that would be a wonderful thing and greatly appreciated.  It took me a looong time to notice (actually I never did: an attentive reader told me she was having trouble with the subscribe feature), and even longer to fix it. Mea maxima culpa.  

Coming up this very weekend (on Saturday, March 29 at 8 p.m. in Berkeley...subtle hint, no?)  is the JMPP's next program of premieres at Trinity Chamber Concerts (2320 Dana St.... yet another even more subtle hint, yes?).  It's a great lineup: David Garner's newest song cycle for the group, to texts by Yala Korwin, Garner's new additions to his cycle Phoenix, Elena Ruehr's new song cycle Winter Solstice Songs, to texts by Berkeley poet Marcia Falk, plus Ruth Lomon's arrangement of her song "The Butterfly" for soprano, cello, and piano, and works by Czech and Hungarian composers Sandor Vandor, Miklos Rozsa, and Vitezslava Kapralova.  All this plus a composer/ poet Q&A at the start wth Garner and Falk.  Elena Ruehr had hoped to come, but in the end wasn't able to do so. Performers are cellist Adaiha MacAdam-Somer, Dale Tsang, and yours truly.

To all those wonderful readers and fans who correctly answered the JMPP's newsletter quiz (about which of this program's composers won 3 Oscars), congratulations!  If you'd like to find out the answer--and incidentally hear about the JMPP's future concerts--you can sign up at info at  Here's a visual hint, as well;).

Before I end this endlessly shameless (or shameful?) plug, in more exciting news, the JMPP is honored and thrilled to have received a grant from the Zellerbach Family Foundation Community Arts Program, in support of our March 29 concert.

Moving on to other topics: The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Yes, a movie!  Without giving away the plot or committing other acts of heinous spoilers, this wonderful Wes Anderson film is a comic, quirky, sweet and sometimes bittersweet paean to a time that has long passed, lost in the chaos of the events of the 20th century.  Highly recommended.

What I'm reading: Jasper Fforde's fabulous "Thursday Next" series. If you like Terry Pratchett and serious lit, too, you'll get a kick out of this smarmily tongue-in-cheek alternate universe series. And, on a far more serious note: Who Shall Live: the Wilhelm Bachner Story by Samuel Oliner and Kathleen Lee.  A chilling look at Eastern Europe in the 1940s under the Nazis, and one brave Jewish soul who saved many.

What I'm listening to: Andrea Chenier (the opera), Lorde, Bach (can one ever get enough of this intellectual master?), Mahler (ditto!), Prokofiev, Gershwin, and Crumb.

Music I'm working on: the pieces for Saturday's concert, natch, plus music for the Vinaccesi Ensemble's program at the Legion of Honor on April 5.  More on this last coming next week, should this occasional blogger manage to blog again soon.