“CONNECTING THE MASTERS” at the CELL REVIEW by VINCENT NAUHEIMER

CONNECTING THE MASTERS

Review written by 

Vinnie Nauheimer

 

In the musical “The Music Man,” professor Harold Hill only promised music. In the sixth installment of the series Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell, co-producer Charles R. Hale promised music…but he and Jiin Yang/violin and Wayne Weng/piano put together a wonderful evening of music and storytelling, an evening that was at once both enchanting and educational.

Co-producers Seunghee (Sunny) Lee and Charles R. Hale with Jiin Yang and Wayne Weng

The evening’s theme centered on classical music, however, the intent was to demonstrate how classical music has influenced and been influenced by different artistic genre, i.e. literature, cinema, poetry, jazz, rock, hip hop and more.  Charles added a special touch, weaving music and history—through spoken word and beautifully timed audio video—and in doing so “Connecting the Masters.”

The show opened with the Toys’ 1966 pop hit “Lover’s Concerto.” The melody, which was originally attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, was written by a Bach student, Christian Petzold.  Jiin and Wayne followed with a delightful performance of Petzold’s Minuet in G Major, leaving no doubt of “Lover’s Concerto’s” roots.

When Charles suggested that Radio Head, Sweet Box and even Leo Tolstoy were connected to classical music, audible sounds of wonder arose from the audience. Expounding on this connection, Jiin and Wayne played Bach’s “Air on G String” followed by Sweetbox’s European hip hop hit, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” It was obvious from the opening that Sweetbox’s background music originated with Bach.  

Continuing with the night’s theme, Charles related that the song “Tonight We Love,” a 1941 hit song by Tony Martin, came directly from Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 and Frank Sinatra’s 1945 hit “Full Moon and Empty Arms,” directly from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 2.  Wayne followed with the very popular main themes from both Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff’s works. Charles presented a recording of another post war song by Perry Como called “Till the End of Time,” which was based on Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise. One of the highlights of the evening was Wayne’s stirring performance of this Chopin work. 

The evening moved from classical music’s influence on pop tunes to the influence of literature on classical music. Perhaps the author whose works have most influenced classical music is William Shakespeare. One of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, “Romeo and Juliet,” has spawned several beautiful musical pieces, including a ballet by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. Jiin and Wayne performed an emotionally  charged work from the ballet, which is commonly referred to as “Montagues and Capulets.”

Charles’ compelling narration continued. He related how one of the members of the band Radio Head wrote the song “Exit Music” for a 1996 film version of “Romeo and Juliet.”  The audience listened to the opening lines of the song, performed by Radio Head, and then Charles read the remaining lines of the song, creating an interesting and compelling  juxtaposition of music and the spoken word.  

How are jazz, pop and classical music connected? Charles suggested that George Gershwin must have been very familiar with Maurice Ravel’s Violin Sonata when he, Gershwin, wrote “Summertime,” a jazz standard. Jiin and Wayne then performed Ravel’s Violin Sonata, an evocative and bluesy piece for violin and piano. It was quickly evident that Gershwin was likely influenced by Ravel’s work.

Jiin Yang/violin, Wayne Weng/piano and Charles R. Hale/narrator

The penultimate section of the evening featured classical music and cinema. Music from two films, Dangerous Moonlight and Schindler’s List were presented…an audio version of “Warsaw Concerto” from Dangerous Moonlight, followed by Jiin and Wayne’s performance of the main theme from Schindler’s list. The classical music/cinema section closed out with Jiin’s magnificent solo of a caprice from John Corigliano’s film “Red Violin.”

All good things must end and after Charles read a segment from Leo Tolstoy’s “Kreutzer Sonata,” a passionate story of lust, marriage and music, Jiin and Wayne presented a bravura performance of the “Presto” from Beethoven’s “Kreutzer Sonata.”

Many thanks to Seunhee Lee (Sunny) and Charles R. Hale for producing this magnificent show and for the entire series. With each performance exceeding the previous one, we can only wait for the next one in the state of anticipation. Next up, Empire Wild, October 18, 7:30pm at The Cell. For tickets and information CLICK HERE 

Photos by Vera Maura.

CONNECTING THE MASTERS: JIIN YANG, WAYNE WENG and CHARLES R. HALE

Connecting the Masters: How are Beethoven, Bach, Chopin and Shakespeare connected to  RadioHead, SweetBox, Perry Como and Tolstoy?  

Ji in Yang and Wayne Weng

Come listen to Ji in Yang/violin, Wayne Weng/piano and Charles R. Hale/narrator illustrate how classical music has influenced and been influenced by the arts including cinema, poetry, literature, jazz, pop music and hip hop.  You might be surprised by the connections!

Charles R. Hale

Grand entertainment, mixed with a dose of history…a recipe for a most enjoyable experience.

For TICKETS, which are $20, and additional information CLICK HERE

Nancy Manocherian’s the cell presents a Charles R. Hale Productions/Musica Solis Series

“CLASSICALLY EXPOSED:  FROM CARNEGIE HALL TO THE CELL”

September 27:  Ji in Yang and Wayne Weng, “Connecting the Masters.”

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

CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: FROM OPERA to POP…NICOLE ZURAITIS & CLARE MALONEY by VINNIE NAUHEIMER

“From Opera to Pop”

by

Vinnie Nauheimer

Could Charles R. Hale and Seunghee Lee (Sunny), the producers of the series “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell,”  have imagined that they would create an event as mesmerizing as Thursday’s, when they booked Clare Maloney and Nicole Zuraitis to perform “Classically Exposed: From Opera to Pop” at The Cell.  The dictionary defines mesmerizing as: “holding the attention of (someone) to the exclusion of all else or so as to transfix them” and to mesmerize, you need just the right ingredients….these two performers provided that perfect mix.

Matt Baker, Nicole Zuraitis and Clare Maloney

Both Nicole and Clare were classically trained in opera, but each has found her niche in other musical fields: Clare’s focus is on pop, rock and folk music, while Nicole’s is jazz, for which she was nominated for a Grammy earlier this year. Their singing, humor and interaction with the audience–and each other–made for a magnificent evening.

Both women describe themselves as “recovering opera singers” so it was no surprise that they opened the program with an operatic burst, “O Sole Mio,” accompanied by pianist Matt Baker with Clare adding a unique touch…an electric guitar.  (As a side note, Clare mentioned she would prefer singing opera while playing the guitar. Interesting choice and consistent with Clare’s musical direction.)  “O Sole Mio” was an interesting way to open the show, since it had all the qualities of a “show-stopping-tune.”  There was, however, no stopping these two fabulous singers. The pace only picked up.

Matt Baker

In keeping with one of the show’s underlying themes–opera’s influence on pop music–Clare sang “It’s Now or Never,” a song popularized by Elvis Presley in 1960 and taken directly from “O Sole Mio.” Clare was followed by Nicole, who performed a splendored rendition of a 1930’s Larry Clinton song, “My Reverie.” Clinton wrote the lyrics, but the music is based on an 1890 piano piece composed by Claude Debussy. After Pianist Matt Baker was introduced he performed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” which was enhanced by Nicole’s vocalizations. A musical masterpiece.

Enrico Caruso was arguably the greatest tenor—Pavarotti’s fans might think differently—but certainly one of the greatest. Clare honored this great singer with the song “Caruso,” written by Lucio Dalla in 1986. The song has been covered by many including Lara Fabian, who inspired Clare’s stirring interpretation of the tune.  

Clare and Nicole then introduced singer Elizabeth Tasch who sang a clever rendition of “Summertime” from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Singing the song in full operatic voice, complete with amusing theatrical expressions, she created a humorous montage, switching effortlessly between “Summertime” and a number of popular songs.

Matt Baker, Nicole Zuraitis and Clare Maloney

Nicole and Clare followed with one of the most famous duets in the operatic repertoire and one of the evening’s many highlights, the “Flower Duet” from Leo Delibes’ “Lakme.”  The evening was moving into high gear.

Clare then chose to honor two women who had a great influence on her and for whom opera was an inspiration early in their careers, Joan Baez and Linda Ronstadt. Clare began the tribute with a song that Baez sang at Woodstock, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” beautifully sweeping into Ronstadt’s “Blue Bayou.”

Returning to the theme of opera’s influence on popular song, Nicole, with Matt’s accompaniament, performed “Stranger in Paradise,” from the 1953 show Kismet. The melody is taken directly from Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor and known as “Polovtsian Dances.”

The program closed in grand fashion with Clare, Nicole, Matt and Elizabeth reprising “Summertime.”

It was an exceptional night of song, musical innovation and interaction between the performers and the audience. Thank you, Charles and Sunny for producing the series “Classically Exposed From Carnegie Hall to the Cell.” Last night created a new bar for this series.

Matt Baker, Nicole Zuraitis, Charles R. Hale, Clare Maloney, Elizabeth Tasch and Seunghee Lee (Sunny)

Photos by Vera Maura and Tom Myles. 

 

THE VERONA QUARTET at THE CELL: DAZZLING PERFORMANCE

A wonderful performance in a most “New York setting” last night–The Cell Theatre at dusk–featuring the Verona Quartet, with from left Jonathan Ong, Abby Rojansky, Jonathan Dormand and Dorothy Ro with a special guest appearance by Seunghee Lee, Clarinet/Sunny Kang. A Charles R Hale/Musica Solis presentation. Photo by Tom Myles

The Verona Quartet/Jonathan Ong, Abigail Rojansky, Jonathan Dormand and Dorothy Ro.

VERONA QUARTET: “CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: FROM CARNEGIE HALL to THE CELL”

Join us on Friday, May 10, 7:30pm for the third edition of “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie to the Cell” featuring the Verona Quartet: Dorothy Ro​/Violin, Abby Rojansky​/Viola, Jonathan Ong​/ Violin, Jonathan Dormand​, Cello and special guest Seunghee Lee/clarinet. Another evening of classical music as you haven’t heard it before.

Hailed by The New York Times as an “outstanding ensemble,” the Verona Quartet is dedicated to showcasing the art form of the string quartet and to elevating their music making to convey the poetic narrative of storytelling.

For tickets and info CLICK HERE. The Cell Theatre is located at 338 West 23rd St. Doors and bar at 7:00pm, 

For tickets and additional info click here

Nancy Manocherian​’s “the cell​” presents Charles R Hale Productions/Musica Solis Series, “Classically Exposed.” With artistic director Seunghee Lee, Clarinet​ (Sunny Kang​)

“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. 

 

ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS’ SHOWCASE at THE CELL, TUES FEB 26, 7:30pm

Join Artists Without Walls for its February Showcase, February 26th at The Cell Theatre, 338 West 23rd St.  The evening’s presentations will feature Jamie Lee Kearns, Eliana Gonzalez, Mike DeLucia, Erin Magurie, Dan Brown and Shihori. Niamh Hyland and Charles R. Hale hosts and emcees.

The Cell is located at 338 West 23rd Street in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. The doors and bar open at 6:45 and the presentations begin at 7:30. Hope to see you there. 

 

“CLASSICALLY EXPOSED” PREVIEW at THE CELL, FRIDAY, FEB 22nd

Seunghee Lee, Clarinet “Sunny”and I have assembled an outstanding group of musicians for our 2019 series “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to The Cell.”

This Friday night, Feb 22nd, 7:30pm, you can get a sampling of four of the shows when Sunny, Empire Wild, Renato Diz, Yuri Juárez, Nicole Zuraitis and Clare Maloney will be performing at The Cell, located at 338 West 23rd St in the Chelsea section of Manhattan.

This is a free event but you must reserve a seat by emailing me at charles@crhproductions.com

emailing me at charles@crhproductions.com

Hope to see you there.

EMPIRE WILD — “CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: FROM CARNEGIE HALL to THE CELL”

Join Seunghee Lee and me this Friday night, February 22nd, 7:30pm at The Cell when you’ll hear music from four of the seven events, including Empire Wild, which will comprise “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell.”

Later in the year, October 18th, Charles R. Hale Productions and Musica Solis will present Empire Wild, which features multi-instrumentalist Brandon Ilaw and cellists Mitch Lyon and Ken Kubota. The three Juilliard graduates teamed up in 2018 up after discovering a shared interest in musical styles far afield from their classical training. Through original songwriting and imaginative covers they bring virtuosic technique to far reaching genres as well as a passion for musical exploration. Empire Wild are classical trained musicians who are changing the way we experience music in the modern digital age.

This is a free event but you must reserve a seat by contacting me at chashale1@yahoo.com

Empire Wild: Brandon Ilaw, Mitch Lyon and Ken Kubota

RENATO DIZ and YURI JUAREZ at THE CELL, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd.

On April 28th Charles R. Hale Productions and Musical Solis will present guitarist Yuri Juárez and pianist Renato Diz performing timeless works from the classical repertoire and rearranging them for piano and guitar with improvisation sections (Jazz!), as was popular during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Want to get a preview? Join us this Friday night, February 22nd, 7:30pm at The Cell when you’ll hear music from four of the seven events that will comprise “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell.”

This is a free event but you must reserve a seat by sending an email to charles@charlesrhaleproductions.com

Hope to see you Friday.

Renato Diz and Yuri Juarez