“By comparison with other less hectic days, the city is uncomfortable and inconvenient; but New Yorkers temperamentally do not crave comfort and convenience—if they did they would live elsewhere.” From “Here Is New York” by E.B. White.
Central Park Reservoir photo by Charles R. Hale
“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” — Nora Ephron on New York City
Charles R. Hale Productions and Musical Solis present guitarist Yuri Juarez and pianist Renato Diz performing “From Classical to Jazz,” timeless works from the classical repertoire, rearranged for piano and guitar with improvisation sections (Jazz!), as was popular during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
Nancy Manocherian’s the cell presents a Charles R. Hale Productions/Musical Solis Series”
“CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: FROM CARNEGIE HALL TO THE CELL”
April 26: Yuri Juarez and Renato Diz: “From Classical to Jazz”
“The cell” is located at 338 West 23rd St in the Chelsea section of Manhattan
For over two years, the David Raleigh Quartet and Charles R. Hale have taken their audiences on a journey…a musical journey, incorporating story and song called “Jazz in the City.” The show has been performed at the Duplex Piano Bar, The Cell, Lehman College, The American Irish Historical Society and the Triad.
The show has featured the stories and songs of the artists and composers who for the past 375 years have paid homage to city they call home. Many of their songs were popularized in New York’s venues like the Village Vanguard where Miles, Mingus and Monk performed and venues that are long gone, such as Cafe Society where Billy Holiday debuted “Strange Fruit.” And then there were the stories and songs that Charles associates with New York through ancestral, familial and personal recollections.
Now the show, including its great jazz quartet, will include Grammy nominated singer Nicole Zuraitis.
The first performance with Nicole will be performed at Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre on Thursday, April 4, 12:30 pm. This is a free event sponsored by the City and Humanities Program and Joseph McElligott.
For directions to Lehman College click here.
Vera Maura’s photos, “Classically Exposed: Carnegie Hall to The Cell.” A Charles R Hale Productions/Musica Solis presentation.
“Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell”
by Vinnie Nauheimer
Photos by Vera Maura
“Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell” opened at The Cell this past Wednesday. There could be no greater example of synergy—the interaction or cooperation of one or more elements that produces an outcome greater than its individual components. Who cannot imagine the difference between an unaccompanied operatic aria or piano solo, as opposed to the richness of the same works performed with a full orchestra? When Charles R. Hale and Seunghee Lee (Sunny) got together to collaborate on and produce “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell” you knew the outcome would be synergetic magic. These two share a number of traits: a love of music, storytelling and a strong desire to help young artists achieve their goals. The results of their collaboration were evident throughout the evening.
The program was a rich mixture of classical and contemporary music. In the first half of the program, Lee, accompanied by the Manhattan Chamber Players, beautifully presented three works for clarinet and string quartet. The first work performed was the first movement of Mozart’s “Quintet for Clarinet and Strings,” a historically significant work—it was Mozart’s first quintet for clarinet and string quartet. The piece debuted in 1789 and set the bar for composers to follow. The quintet played the piece with a vibrancy and vitality that I believe would have been worthy of the composer’s praise. Judging by the reaction of the SRO audience, they too would agree.
The next work was Brahms’ “Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet,” yet another classic. Luke Fleming, the artistic director of the Manhattan Chamber Players, gave a brief history of the piece noting that Brahms was so taken with Richard Mühlfeld’s clarinet performances, that Brahms, who was in a compositional slump at the time, was once again able to compose music. He began to focus on works for clarinet and strings. Fleming quipped that most great composers had only written chamber music for string quartets…until they heard a virtuoso clarinetist. The melodious sounds of the first movement were masterfully interlaced throughout the work by this very fine ensemble.
The final piece of the first segment was the fourth movement of Weber’s “Clarinet Quintet.” Weber, known as the father of romantic opera, like Brahms, befriended a magnificent clarinet virtuoso, Heinrich Baermann and, as they say, the rest is history. The main difference between Weber’s quintet and the above pieces is that the clarinet has center stage in Weber’s work with the quintet supplying the accompaniment rather than equal roles for each. Sunny was certainly up to the task, brilliantly taking the lead required by this piece, exhibiting the full range of her abilities.
All three pieces ended in a burst of spontaneous applause both, I believe, for the musicians’ virtuosic performances and the composers’ compositions.
The second half of the show focused on contemporary sounds, which were performed by the Manhattan Chamber Players and Lee, as well as two additional performers, bandoneonist JP Jofre and pianist Pablo Cafici.
Jofre composed the first piece “Tangodromo” with a definitive tango sound, while merging traditional classical instrumentation with a Latin beat. Although adding a piano to a clarinet may not be unusual, Jofre’s new and fresh music allowed the musicians an opportunity to showcase their varied talents in a piece that was “spicy” and full of Latin flavor. Kudos to all the artists for stepping out of what might be a classical musician’s comfort zone to help create a new and exciting piece of music.
The second piece, another example of musical synergy, was the first and second movements of JP’s “Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bandoneon.” Jofre and Lee stated that the work has an additional movement that they are currently writing. If the third movement is as good as the first and second, this piece is a short way from a classic. Marvelous work and a wonderful performance.
The evening ended with another work composed by Jofre, “Primavera.” The work showcased modern rhythm and sounds with classical undertones. A brilliant performance.
As an audience participant, I say, “Hat’s off to all for providing a wonderful, joyous evening of music.” If the opening night of “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell,” is an indication of the shows to come, last evening’s performance portends well for the series’ subscribers as well as those who can land a ticket.
All photos by Vera Maura
Looking forward to my talk “Transitions” at the Irish Business Organization of New York, this Tuesday morning, March 26, Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel in New York City.
How can you attend? Click Here.
Glad to see that the “Los Angeles Review of Books” has given a very favorable review of “The Writing Irish of New York.” (Click here to see the review) And I’m doubly pleased that I received a nice mention.
Why do I love New York? One of the reasons is I can go to Carnegie Hall two times in a week and hear world class violinist Anne Sophie Mutter and a few days later, a world class choral group, The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin.