VERA MAURA’S PHOTOS: “CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: CARNEGIE HALL to THE CELL”

Vera Maura’s photos, “Classically Exposed: Carnegie Hall to The Cell.”  A Charles R Hale Productions/Musica Solis presentation. 

Michael Katz and Luke Fleming

 

Michael Katz and Seunghee Lee

 

JP Jofre and Michael Katz

 

Emily Daggett Smith

Brendan Speltz

Pablo Cafici, Emily Daggett Smith, Brendan Speltz, JP Jofre, Michael Katz, Luke Fleming and Seunghee Lee

 

Emily Daggett Smith, Brendan Speltz, Seunghee Lee, Michael Katz and Luke Fleming

CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: FROM CARNEGIE HALL to THE CELL by VINCENT NAUHEIMER

“Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell” 

Opening Night 

by Vinnie Nauheimer

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Photos by Vera Maura 

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 “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.

Manhattan Chamber Players with Clarinetist Seunghee Lee

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.

Michael Katz and Luke Fleming

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.

JP Jofre

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.

Brendan Speltz and Emily Daggett Smith

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.

Seunghee Lee, JP Jofre, Charles R. Hale and Luke Fleming

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

“CLASSICALLY EXPOSED”: SEUNGHEE LEE, MANHATTAN CHAMBER PLAYERS with SPECIAL GUEST, JP JOFRE

On March 27, 7:30pm, at The Cell Theatre, The Manhattan Chamber Players and Seunghee Lee (Sunny) will be presenting a sampling of a number of the masterworks written for clarinet by Mozart, Brahms, and Weber. The first half of the program will feature the first movement of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet, a movement from Brahms Clarinet Quintet and the the last movement of the virtuosic Weber Clarinet Quintet.

The second half of the program will feature tango music, including the works of Piazzolla and JP Jofre. JP and Sunny will perform JP’s Double Concerto, a work that was  written for clarinet and bandoneon and demonstrates the evolution of clarinet music and the instrument’s versatility. The Double Concerto was premiered last  year by JP and Sunny during Sunny’s Carnegie Hall recital.  

For tickets, which are $20, and additional info click here

The cell is located at 338 West 23rd St in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. 

 

To PURCHASE TICKETS for: “CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: FROM CARNEGIE HALL to THE CELL”

“Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to The Cell,” beginning on March 27. Tickets for each of the series’ shows will be $20. You can click on the link of an individual event for tickets:  

March 27:  Season Opener…Seunghee Lee and the Manhattan Chamber Players with special guest, JP Jofre. Works by Mozart, Weber, Brahms and Jofre 

April 26:  Yuri Juarez and Renato Diz: “From Classical to Jazz”

May 10:  Verona Quartet “An Outstanding Ensemble…” New York Times

June 28:  Clare Maloney and Nicole Zuraitis: “From Opera to Pop”

September 27:  Ji in and Wayne Weng, “From Classical to Pop to Hip Hop.”

October 18:  Empire Wild “From Bows to Beats

December 6:  “From Carnegie to ‘the cell with narration by Charles R. Hale and live music, featuring historical Carnegie Hall performances 

ARTIST SERIES

Charles R. Hale and “M_Unit”

Artist Shows produced and sponsored by Charles R. Hale:

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Click link for info:

Luba Mason and Triangle at the Cell

Yuri Juarez and his Afroperuano Band

Miho Hazama and the m_unit

Artistry and Artist: Seunghee Lee at The Cell Theatre…Review by V. Nauheimer

Nicole Zuraitis: Generations of Her…Women Songwriters and Lyricists

Annette Homann and Friends: A Memorable Evening

Niamh Hyland and Band Raise the Roof at The Cell

Piano Virtuoso Harriet Stubbs at The Cell: Review by V. Nauheimer

Mesmerizing JP Jofre and Miho Hazama at The Cell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A GREAT FIRST YEAR: THANK YOU TO ALL THE PERFORMERS, PRODUCERS and FRIENDS

Charles R. Hale Productions’ first year has been a very rewarding one. In addition to performing my show “Jazz in the City: The New York Connection” fifteen times in a number of locations including The Cell, Lehman College, the American Irish Historical Society,  Triad and The Duplex, the series “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song,” headlined by Niamh Hyland, Miho Hazama and JP Jofre, Harriet Stubbs, Yuri Juarez, Annette Homann, Miho Hazama and M Unit, and Luba Mason was also a great success. Each of seven shows filled The Cell theatre and consistently offered superior performances to appreciative audiences.

Thank you’s abound: Thank you to the producers: Michael Fletcher, Joseph McElligott, John Moran, Tom Myles and Lisa Sullivan. Thank you to the subscribers who purchased tickets to all the shows. Thank you to Mitch Traphagen for graphics, photos and website assistance. Thank you to Alexander Wu for his special performance with Annette Homann and research assistance. Thank you to bassist Danny Weller who appeared  in both Niamh Hyland and Annette Homann’s show. (Danny is also the bass player in “Jazz in the City: The New York Connection.) Thank you to Vera Maura for her photos and never-ending support. Thank you to The Cell, particularly Sulei, Macenzie and Brian for all you do. And thank you to all the performers and their music-making friends. 

We’re looking forward to great 2018.