Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category

CONCERT REVIEW

The Boston Musical Intelligencer

a virtual journal and essential blog of the classical music scene in greater Boston

ALC and Groupmuse Provide a Brief Respite

by Ian Wiese • APRIL 8, 2020

Aaron Larget-Caplan (file photo)

What else can be said about the current “New Normal?” Social distancing forced the cancellation of nearly all of our concerts, which means that musicians are not performing for audiences in the same room if they’re performing whatsoever. Music has entered uncharted territories. That has not stopped the ever bar-raising concert host Groupmuse, however, which has transferred its concerts over to Zoom for its digital audience. One took place on April 3rd over cyberspace:  guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan played for nearly 70 people across the world through a webcam and sophisticated microphones while the audience sat on couches or in their kitchens at home drinking wine and enjoying one little respite.

Larget-Caplan started the unusual evening a couple of his own transcriptions from J.S. Bach Well-Tempered Klavier. The ubiquitous C major prelude showed his fluidity and deep sense of forward momentum that rivaled many keyboardists. He let the music ebb and flow with a firm hand but a sensible gentle guidance. The second was the B-flat major prelude transposed down to A for the sake of the guitar. Rather than showing his inner musicality, this prelude showed the artist’s expressive virtuosity, making the rather unidiomatic prelude seem easy on the guitar. This reviewer wishes he could have LC’s confidence.

Taking a second to acknowledge the reality of our current world, LC dedicated Augustin Barrios’s Una Limosna por Amor De Dios (roughly translated to “A Donation for the Love of God”) to the victims of COVID-19 prior and coming. Centered on rasgueado playing with a line over it, it gave him a chance to explore the colors of the instrument with great ease. The melody effortlessly sang out over the accompanying rasgueado strumming. This number seemed to be an audience favorite from what this reviewer could see from the other webcameras; the audience members popped up infrequently throughout the stream, as the Groupmuse host muted everyone except LC. During the applause, the other viewers came on the main screen; this reviewer did note that the audience was visible on the all users bar at the top of the screen, so some of the reactions could be seen in real time. It felt like looking out into the audience to gauge reactions but where one could see all the faces at once. Suffice to say, this was a slightly unusual sensation, but not one to scoff at.

LC represented his commissioning series “The New Lullaby Project” with Stephanie Ann Boyd’s Esperanza. Boyd, who was in the digital audience, said that she wrote the piece as though she were writing a lullaby for her little sister (who was also in digital attendance) titled with what she called the most beautiful girls’ name while exploring magical and dreamy sounds from the guitar. Laced with harmonics and initially minimal chord flourishes, LC crooned the soft melody as though he himself were singing it. Gradually, the piece built up intensity until a very strong climax that lead back down into the quiet realm where it all started from with the only difference being a return to harmonics rather than merely restating the melody. It was a beautiful lullaby, though the climax might have awoken the sleeping baby girl.

This reflective atmosphere came abruptly crashing down with España Cañi by Pascual Marquina, arranged by LC for guitar. Originally an orchestral work heralding in the bullfighter to the ring, this transcription had all the hallmarks of a Spanish piece of music that need not be stated, for imagination is enough. LC imbued it with the proper amount of aggression and machismo needed to keep it interesting and the sound bitingly sharp. This piece also let the audience really see LC’s precision and accuracy with his right-hand technique, which occasionally moved so fast it blurred in the otherwise clear webcam feed.

Following in his own transcribing footsteps, LC treated the audience to one of his John Cage transcriptions for guitar, In a Landscape. This choice was a rather bold one, as the guitar both can and cannot have the same resonance as a piano or harp, as Cage originally wrote for. Through some creative manipulation of placing lines on different strings and exceptional left-hand technique, LC pulled it off quite well. The resonance needed to sell the landscape sounded most of the time; there were occasions the mechanics of the instrument did not allow this to happen, which was disappointing but understandable. Deceptively simple and harmonically dream-like, LC really pulled this one through and made what seemed to be a difficult choice for guitar extremely convincing.

This reviewer, who has been to several of LC’s concerts, was not surprised that the traditional ending of The Legend of Hagoromo by Keigo Fujii rounded out the program once again. As one of only a handful of guitarists to be able to play such a complex piece, it is understandable why he has adopted that tradition. Basing the work  on a 13-century Japanese legend of the same name, Fujii crafts a tour-de-force solo-concerto for guitar while maintaining a folk-like wonder to the sound, in no small part due to the resonance of the strange DADGAD string tuning and use of nearly every possible standard technique for guitar. LC burned through this one like thermite through steel, meeting Fujii’s challenge with unprecedented skill. Quick changes in playing style or technique shifted like greased levers with clear musical intent and integrity. Whatever the guitar can do, LC can do 50 times better than other guitarists. When the piece got very quiet, Zoom did seem to filter out some of the music, making an occasionally strange gap of watching him play while hearing nothing, but what can be done with technology in that case?

If this New Normal has led to this reviewer hearing such a fantastic guitarist from the comfort of my bedroom on a computer with (sub-par) speakers, for the time, I will take it. I would listen to LC live or on livestream any day.

As for Groupmuse and their new attempt to keep the music going, this first Boston-based concert was definitely an admirable effort. The platform, Zoom, was never built for concerts, so the fact that this one worked as well as it did is a testament to the software and its functionality. Perhaps they can fine tune this system for our uses, but to them, concerts are completely ancillary functions to the business meeting. Groupmuse kept a charge of $3 to attend the livestream, which is completely understandable. So long as the organization and the performer work together and utilize moderately professional equipment as a base line (LC used some studio-quality gear for this concert, and rightfully so), the fee is negligible. Perhaps to warm people up to this new idea they should offer one concert booking free to their base, but that would only be to drum up support if needed. I think it definitely worked, and so long as this New Normal persists, this style of concert-going experience serves to be a good band-aid to the situation.

Ian Wiese is a doctoral student composer at New England Conservatory studying under John Heiss.

California Solo Tour 2020

Starting March 26, 2020 I will be performing, lecturing, and giving classes in California, traveling a 1000+ miles over 10-days. I will be visiting universities & colleges, homes, museums, churches, guitar and new music venues. This is the third time I have done such a solo tour and though it is a lot of work to organize and fulfill, it is an exhilarating adventure!

March-April 2020 Tour Map

California Tour:
March 26 – Class, UCLA, host Peter Yates
March 28 – Encinitas Concert at the home of Robert & Kathy Bender
March 29 – Concert Pomona College, Claremont
March 30 – Pomona classes
April 2 – RADIO – The Global Village, John Schneider KPFK
April 2 – Class at CSU Bakersfield, host Jim Scully
April 3 – Concert at the Museum of Northern California Art, Chico
April 4 – Concert for the South Bay Guitar Society, San Jose
April 5 – Masterclass for SBGS, San Jose
April 5 – Concert at the Presidio Interfaith Chapel, San Francisco
April 6 – Concert at the Center For New Music, San Francisco

The programs vary depending on the venue and concert length, but include:

• Pictures from an Exhibition by Mussorgsky
• Preludes from the WTC by Bach
Carnatic Preludes by Vineet Shende
In a Landscape by John Cage
Legend of Hagoromo by Keigo Fujii
Ed è Subito Sera by Ken Ueno
• Steps & Leaps by Tom Flaherty (West coast premiere)
• Being & Becoming by Lou Bunk (West coast premiere)
Bacchanale by Cage, 2 prepared guitars (West coast premiere)
• Some Albéniz too

*For Bacchanale I’ll be joined by Peter Yates in Southern California (3/29 & 4/2) and Michael Goldberg in San Francisco (4/6).

Now Musique: Who is Michael Hall?

For the second year of concerts for Now Musique, I’m very excited to be returning to the concert stage with Chicago-base violist and passionate new music advocate Michael Hall. We will be performing in Dorchester, New York City, Boston, and Providence from March 19-24. We will also be performing on MIT Radio’s WMBR ‘Not Brahms and Liszt’ with Alley Stoughton on Monday March 16 and an interview for ‘Conducting Conversations’ with Mike Maino on WCRI will air March 22. The Boston and Providence programs are produced by my Now Musique. A complete tour schedule is below.

Q: Who is Michael Hall?
A: Simply, Michael Hall is a fantastic violist who lives in Chicago.
• More complex, Michael Hall is fantastic violist who lives in Chicago, loves contemporary, taught at Vandercook College, has a DMA from UNC Greensboro.
• Complex Truth, Michael Hall is fantastic violist who lives in Chicago, loves contemporary, taught at Vandercook College, has a DMA from UNC Greensboro, premiered over 50 works written for him, editor of contemporary music for viola, co-founded the Bandung Philharmonic – the first professional orchestra of Indonesia. A dad and husband.

Q: How do I find out more about him?
A: http://michaelhallviola.com/

Q: How did you two meet?
A: We met over new music on Twitter and then in person at the Boston “New Music Gathering”

Q: What are you performing?
A: ‘America’ – Contemporary duos & solos for viola and guitar by living composers. Each concert will have a slight variation due to program length.

PROGRAM (not order)
• Francine Trester: Borrowed Blue (2019)
• John Anthony Lennon: Infinite Arrow (2004)
• Darleen Mitchell: Images
• Thomas L. Read: Traveller’s Frolic* (2019)
• Antonio Celso Rebeiro: Melancholy Dressed in Yellow (2019)
• David Liptak: Freight – Guitar Solo
• Tom Flaherty: Steps and Leaps* – Guitar + Electronics (2019)
• Alice Shields: Sri Mata – Viola solo
• David Froom: Shades of Red – Viola solo
• Matthew Davidson: Magyar Rondo – Viola solo

Q: How Can I hear you two?
A: Youtube! Music & Interview

Vintage Portrait Mov. 3 by Antonio Celso Ribeiro (world premiere)
Borrowed Blue by Francine Trester (world premiere)
2019 Interview with Boston News Network

TOUR INFORMATION
Monday 3/16 – MIT Radio WMBR – 4pm, Live performance & interview
Thursday 3/19 – Dorchester, MA – 5:30-6:30, Upham’s Corner Library
Saturday 3/21 – New York City – 7:30pm, National Opera Center
Sunday 3/22 – WCRI – Conducting Conversation with Mike Maino
Sunday 3/22 – Boston, MA – 7:30pm, Arlington Street Church
Monday 3/23 – Providence, RI, – 6:30, The Music Mansion
Tuesday 3/24 – Boston, MA – 12:30-1pm, King’s Chapel
Complete information at Aaron’s Calendar

Aaron’s Fall Concert Schedule

See Aaron’s Fall Newsletter!

http://createsend.com/t/y-B9ACD42E1FA6369B

Taiwan 2018!

Exploring Videos:
Wow, Food, Squid

John. Cage. Guitar ? – Review

 

 

“To this writer’s knowledge, John Cage had never written any music for guitar. So, for Larget-Caplan to imagine this project, and write all of the arrangements, was quite daring. The capacity audience responded most favorably.”

Read the complete review: https://www.classical-scene.com/2018/12/03/john-cage-guitar/

“John Cage Arranged for Guitar” gave us cause to celebrate.

“Larget-Caplan gave honor to the music, blending the guitar with violin, as though this was the intention of Cage himself.”

‘The two-guitar arrangement of this composition is so well considered, it is hard to remember that this is not the original format! Both guitarists focused intently and clearly. An excellent arrangement, and even stronger performance, created universal excitement throughout the room.”

 

18 Musical Amazings for 2018!

18. Celebrated after many concerts and classes!

17. Classes and lectures at Temple University, Sacramento State, Tainan University (Taiwan), Bowdoin College, Berklee College of Music, Miko Academy (Taiwan), University of Massachusetts Boston

16. Premiered arrangements of Castelnouvo-Tedesco, J.S. Bach, Reynaldo Hahn, and John Cage.

15. Two performances in Madrid, Spain, and two performances for F13 Concerts in Mainz, Germany: Numbers 4 & 5!!

14. Performed with Radius Ensemble, South Coast Chamber Music Series, Music Street, In A Landscape, and Astoria Music Festival.

13. Multiple concert, publication, and CD reviews by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, Mu Phi Epsilon ‘Triangle’, This is Classical Guitar, and Classical Guitar Magazine.

12. Arranged music by John Cage, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Franz Schubert, and J.S. Bach.

11. Touring in Oregon and Washington with Hiroya Tsukamoto.

10. Spring West Coast Solo and Chamber Music Tour of 13 events in 15 days beginning in Southern California moving to the Bay Area and Sacramento and finishing in Oregon!

9. Collaborations with cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer, baritones Richard Zeller & Ian Pomerantz, violinists Sharan Leventhal & Danny Koo, pianist Dian Braun, guitarists Tim Pence and Adam Levin, flamenco dancer/singer La Conja.

8. All New Lullaby Concert ‘Night Songs’ at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas and Salem State University (Arts Residency).

7. Premieres of New Lullabies by Stephanie Ann Boyd, Koji Nakano, Milad Yousufi and  Roger Eon (#52-55).

6. 1st All-Bach Concert

5. John. Cage. Guitar. CD Release Concert!

4. Paris Debut

3. Asian debut in Taiwan!

2. Release of John. Cage. Guitar. on Stone Records!

1. BBQ with friends, coffee with colleagues, celebrations with family.

Wishing everyone many more good years of music, adventure, great food and heartfelt relationships.

John Cage Interview – BNN News

Aaron went to BNN News to speak with news anchor Chris Lovett for an interview on Aaron’s latest release: John. Cage. Guitar. 

Watch as Chris and Aaron discuss the Apostle of provocation.

Brilliant “Solace” Radiates

Boston Musical Intelligencer
Review by  • OCTOBER 1, 2018

“Larget-Caplan stretched the limits of the sound of the guitar, experimenting with playing positions most others do not tend to use: sul tasto, sul ponticello, finger vs. nail, etc. It’s refreshing to hear and very rewarding.”

Osvaldo Golijov (file photo)

FULL REVIEW:
Introspection and catharsis abided on the Pickman Hall stage Saturday with Radius Ensemble’s “Solace,” an eclectic set of comforting pieces highlighting composers who suffered within or escaped from totalitarian regimes along with a pairing of two living composers, an underplayed oddity, and a titan of the repertoire. Eugene Kim on cello, Aaron Larget-Caplan on guitar, Megumi Stohs Lewis on violin, and Randall Zigler on bass, joined the core ensemble.

Osvaldo Golijov compiled the majority of Lullaby & Doina from the score he wrote for the 2000 movie The Man Who Cried, taking much from “Entendre Encore” (I still believe I hear) from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers (the two different worlds met in the movie itself). Extracting score cues under the melody of “Entendre Encore,” Golijov constructed a decent hybrid of both composers’ styles, though he seemingly emphasized Bizet’s melody over his own material. Sarah Brady on flute and Eran Egozy on clarinet sounded like one instrument. The strings of Lewis, Noriko Futagami on viola, Kim, and Zigler supported the winds admirably and functioned well in the solos, especially Futagami, whose throaty C string playing complemented the clarinet well. The main star of the show, however, was Egozy. When he played, this reviewer paid full attention; his phrasing of the decidedly more folk-like and klezmer-like passages spoke to a deep understanding laid bare for everyone.

Eclogues, Op. 206 of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco sets an odd combination: flute, English horn, and guitar. Brady and Radius founder Jennifer Montbach on English horn joined Larget-Caplan in trotting out this underplayed set of bagatelles. Through the lynchpin of the flute, the strange combination of voices functioned pretty well. There were some cracks in the orchestration between the guitar and English horn, but that is not the performers’ faults. Brady and Montbach once again became a single voice, responding to one another lyrically and smoothly when in imitation and united as a single complex voice when in harmony. Larget-Caplan stretched the limits of the sound of the guitar, experimenting with other playing positions most others do not tend to use: sul tasto, sul ponticello, finger vs. nail, etc. It’s refreshing to hear and very rewarding. The piece itself, though, left a lot to be desired. Castelnuovo-Tedesco, despite having excellent melodies and a highly exploitable palette of timbres, instead crafted formulas to use over and over again: English horn states a phrase, flute responds, guitar plays like a piano and accompanies on chords. Rinse and repeat. The fourth movement broke the trend by reversing it, with much-needed freshness after stifling loops of the same ideas over and over.

Responding to the shooting of noted Islamic women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai, Elena Ruehr (in attendance that evening) wrote Liftfor solo cello. It clearly had moved Miriam Bolkosky of the core ensemble. Before she set he bow on the strings, she discussed what the work meant to her, a visual sensation that reminded her of Yousafzai’s home she had to flee for speaking out. Though perhaps that sensation did not translate to the audience as well as she hoped, Bolkosky did an admirable job with the solo. The lower register material at times mirrored that of an organ or a choir, multiple voices resonating with the help of the cello to expand the instrument far beyond any perceived limitations. At times, it sounded as though there was more than one instrument playing in the lower registers, thanks to the power of the overtone resonance. The upper register, however, did not fair as well. What was intended to be lyrical sometimes came across as choppy, bow strokes cutting the smoothness of attack that the low register basked in. Some notes also took a moment to settle, Bolkosky needing a noticeable moment to lock them in. Despite these issues, Bolkosky delivered.

Elena Ruehr (file photo)

A firework of a piano trio rounded out the evening. Shostakovich’s incredibly personal and introspective Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67 resonated with pianist Sarah Bob when she too became grief stricken (this reviewer cannot recall why), mirroring what Shostakovich felt upon the death of close friend Ivan Ivanovich Sollertinsky. Grief begetting grief. How appropriate. Lewis and Bolkosky, and Bob truly thundered, especially through the third and fourth movements, which became the brain and bite of the evening, as personal anxiety and anger mixed with the pervasive and unwanted hand of Papa Stalin through Soviet Realism. Bob and Lewis ruled here, as though they went through the composer’s tragic loss with him, filling the notes with angst in the third movement and biting grit in the fourth. It should be released on CD for the world to hear.

The radians began their 20th anniversary season with a bang rather than the soothing whispers the concert’s theme suggested. The group’s been all about dichotomy whether intentionally or. Pay attention when a performance of theirs comes up. It really can be life changing.

Ian Wiese is a doctoral candidate composer at the New England Conservatory of Music. He studies with Mr. Michael Gandolfi. Several of his friends and colleagues performed on this evening’s concert.

C4NM April 7 Concert Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         March 4, 2018

BACH FROM MUMBAI & CAGE ON GUITAR

American guitar virtuoso Aaron Larget-Caplan returns to San Francisco for a one-night-only performance of ReImaginationS at the Center For New Music on Saturday April 7 at 7pm, 55 Taylor Street in San Francisco, Tenderloin neighborhood.

ReImaginationS explores keyboard works arranged for solo guitar by J.S. Bach and John Cage. The Cage compositions are from his early and mid-career, that vary from simple contrapuntal forms (Round, Canon) to dance works influenced by composer Erik Satie and Japanese music and aesthetics: spacious, modal and lyrical. Larget-Caplan’s arrangements were recently published by Edition Peters, and seek to explore the timbre qualities of the guitar and the spirit of the 20th century American icon. They are the first sanctioned arrangements for guitar.

Indian-American composer Vineet Shende (Bowdoin College) reimagined J.S. Bach through the prism of him being born in Mumbai, India in his Preludes from the Well-Tempered Clavier. Shende’s ‘Carnatic Preludes, After J.S. Bach’ rewrite them in South Indian Carnatic musical language using ragas (modes/scales), as well as tala (shifts in rhythmic groupings and metric modulations), which often play an analogous role to what harmonic tension/release does in Western music. The three Carnatic Preludes on the program are paired with Larget-Caplan’s artistic transcriptions of the original keyboard preludes for guitar. The musical collaboration is a true fusion of musical cultures between India & European classical music, and the musical epochs of the 18th and 21st centuries. All of the compositions featured are California premieres!

Larget-Caplan is on a solo 2-week 10-concert tour on the west coast that takes him from Los Angeles and Bakersfield through the Bay Area and Sacramento, before he heads to Oregon. “I am very excited to be returning to C4NM and the Bay Area. The Bay Area is a perfect metaphor for my artistic imagination of various cultures positively influencing each other, living side-by-side and sharing in their arts. The Center for New Music is a gem and an important part of sharing in the cultural fabric that classical music often forgets to do or keeps in academia. I look forward to premiering these works with the SF community!”

ABOUT THE ARTIST & ARRANGER
Noted for his “astounding technical proficiency and artistic delicacy” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, Aaron Larget-Caplan is an international recording and touring guitarist, as well as an outlier in the classical music community. He often performs new music in rural and non-academic venues for people of all-ages, he has premiered over 75 compositions with many being written for him, and regularly highlights composers of non-western backgrounds in his concerts. Aaron’s arrangements of the music of John Cage are published by Edition Peters, and a recording dedicated to John Cage on guitar will be released in 2018 on Stone Records (UK). Stone, Albany, and Parma Records issue his solo and chamber recordings. He is on faculty at University of Massachusetts Boston and formerly Boston Conservatory.

Video Introduction of the John Cage Collection (2’): https://youtu.be/vJdTXTcxJfE
Center For New Music: www.CenterForNewMusic.com
Artist info: www.ALCGuitar.com • info@ALCGuitar.com
C4NM Contact: Kurt Rohde, kurtrohde@dslextreme.com
C4NM Event Page: http://centerfornewmusic.com/calendar/reimaginations-cage-shende-bach-on-guitar-aaron-larget-caplan/
Audio of Carnatic Prelude N. 1: https://soundcloud.com/aaronlcguitar/shende-carnatic-prelude-1

CALENDAR LISTING

Saturday April 7 at 7pm • San Francisco, CA
ReImaginationS – Cage, Shende & Bach on Guitar
Aaron Larget-Caplan, guitar
Admission: $10 Members • $15 General • Door or Online
Where: Center for New Music, 55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Info: (415) 275-C4NM (2466)
Info: www.centerfornewmusic.com/?p=4126
FBevent: www.facebook.com/events/141279946502125/