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Allegro Tuesday, Nov. 12, The Met David Dutton stood on The Met's stage Tuesday night and lamented the lack of solo oboe literature from the Romantic period. He mentioned that, although there was much beautiful writing for the oboe in the orchestral repertoire in the same period, composers of this era put their solo emotional efforts into songs. Thus deprived, Dutton said, "It is with not much shame that I steal these songs." Dutton, who with Beverly Biggs, directs Allegro's period music concert series, has plumbed the depths of the Baroque and Classical catalogs for double-reed music and occasionally wanders as far as the 20th century. Tuesday's program roamed through Romantic territory, taking the path illuminated by song cycles.
Allegro Tuesday, Oct. 15, The Met Allegro added some pizazz to music of the Baroque era in the form of dancers on Tuesday night. The program was repeated Wednesday at The Met, and I will have to assume the pizazz level was the same, plus or minus the standard scientific margin of error. Music of Handel, Rameau and Telemann was variously accompanied by ten dancers from Theatre Ballet of Spokane with choreography by Margaret Goodner.
Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Monday, Sept. 2, Comstock Park Monday night was the starting gun for a new season for the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. The 11th Labor Day Concert in Comstock Park signaled the end of the season of playing outdoors in tents and the time to get in shape. Maintaining that concert-ready edge through Sandpoint and the summer season was challenging enough with the canoe and bicycle beckoning, but everyone in the orchestra seemed to manage. The last weeks of August, though, proved too much for most of us. I will admit to not having practiced much in the car on my driving vacation, and I heard several others singing laments over summer chops and comparing which instruments would be easiest to play after some time off.
Mariah Carey's latest CD, called "Daydream," is still flying off the shelves in music stores everywhere and no doubt will continue to for some time. She continues to be a favorite among listeners. This fantastic CD begins with the award-winning "Fantasy," which won best R&B; song of 1995. Mariah also captured another award with "One Sweet Day," which combines Bozy II Men with Carey's natural ability. The talent displayed on this release is something I hope to hear against in the future from both of these artists. "Underneath the Stars" shows off Mariah's smooth, constant voice like no other song in years. I didn't care for her soft and sappy song "Open Arms," because it reminded me of the kind of slow music my parents used to listen to.
Allegro's "Roses and Lace" Wednesday, Feb. 14, The Met Allegro's Valentine's Day concert, "Roses and Lace," provided the musical equivalent of flowers and chocolate for a Met full of lovers. Music mostly from the 19th century, and centered on song, was the mainstay of Wednesday's performance. Love songs and melodramatic moments pilfered from opera kept the sweetness and light levels appropriately high. Classic love songs without Schubert? Not possible. Soprano Ann Fennessy nailed down five of these with able expression and sensitivity. Her "road map to German songs" introductions served as a humorous Michelin Guide to persons both familiar and unfamiliar with the territory.
Northwest Bach Festival, Wednesday, Jan. 10, The Met The Bach Festival audience was treated to an evening of chamber music-making at its peak Wednesday at The Met. Flutist Michael Faust and harpsichordist Ilton Wjuniski proved consummate musical partners in a program that listed works by J.S. Bach and two of his sons. For encores, the duo played two pieces by the very young W.A. Mozart.
The Spokane Falls Brass Band Thursday, Dec. 19, The Met The Spokane Falls Brass Band and friends put on the warmest and fuzziest of this season's Christmas concerts. "Christmas in Old Spokane" ran for four shows, last Thursday through Saturday at The Met. I attended Thursday's nearly sold-out program. The band included several unusual songs in the program which offered a new slant on the season. New this year, and welcome for their honesty and freshness, were settings by horn player Roger Logan of four Appalachian folk songs, preserved by John Jacob Niles in the 1930s.
Spokane String Quartet Tuesday, Dec. 5, The Met The Spokane String Quartet played a polished performance Tuesday night at The Met. Included on its program were three heavyweights: Mozart, Dvorak and Bartok. Audiences can count on the SSQ to eschew the lightweights in their concerts. They do not program merely warhorses or fluff. Along with the simple and pretty Mozart, they always throw on something more challenging. In this case it was Bartok's Quartet No. 4.
'Classical Concert in a Classical Setting,' Monday, Nov. 13, Isabella Ballroom of the Davenport Hotel Good food and chamber music make a tasty combination. The faculty of Holy Names Music Center and guest artists served up an ear-pleasing concert at the Davenport Hotel Monday that complemented a gourmet buffet prepared by Chef Jerry Schafer of the Cannon Street Grill.
"Viva Mozart" by Allegro Tuesday, Nov. 14, The Met No knowledgeable person would ever claim Mozart's music is easy. But fine performances of Mozart must always sound easy. "Difficult passages should flow like oil," Mozart wrote. Allegro's "Viva Mozart" program at The Met Tuesday presented intelligently selected examples of some of the composer's finest chamber music. It was performed by three respected local musicians - oboist David Dutton, fortepianist Beverly Biggs (Allegro's co-directors) and cellist Wayne Smith - and two highly regarded guest artists - violinist Ingrid Matthews and violist Margriet Tindemanns. And the audience came close to being a full house, an impressive crowd for an evening devoted to 18th-century chamber music.
The Rolling Stones new album, "Stripped," contains rearranged songs mostly from their early days. Photo by Associated Press
The first LP record I ever bought some 35 years ago, plucked from a bin at a Radio Shack for $2.95 - was "The Music From Peter Gunn." Never mind that the sole phonograph in our home was a frail RCA number that played only 45s. The neighbors upstairs, Lennie and Sally, had a tabletop record player that would accommodate a 12-inch platter of vinyl, and they usually relented to my daily pleas to "borrow" it.
Allegro Tuesday, Oct. 10, The Met For the opening concert of its tenth season, Allegro sailed to Spain. Rather than sticking to music from a particular period, it wandered from the Baroque to the modern, selecting music by Spanish composers, or music with a Spanish theme. As national styles go, Spain's music is very cohesive, its defining elements having been consistent over the centuries. With all the similarities on Tuesday's program, there was the danger of becoming bored with the redundancy. Not so. It was 10 o'clock all too soon.
All-4-One played to a small crowd at the Opera House Wednesday night.
Critic-at-large The Spokane British Brass Band Sunday, Sept. 24, The Met The Spokane British Brass Band gave its inaugural concert to a packed house on Sunday afternoon. Led by Michael Warner and sponsored by Windermere Real Estate, the ensemble is dedicated to raising money for the Windermere Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides funds for homeless assistance programs.
Schweitzer Institute Chamber Concert Wednesday, Aug. 16, Schweitzer Mountain Resort The Festival at Sandpoint showed what it really does best Wednesday. It was an evening of excellent chamber music given an intimate setting at the Schweitzer Mountain Resort Green Gables Lodge.
Summer Jam '95 Monday, Aug. 14, The Gorge They might as well have called it the KUBE Summer Jam NaughtyFive. Despite nearly a dozen acts appearing on stage for more than seven hours, the KUBE Summer Jam '95 was all about Naughty By Nature. Naughty members - Treach, Vin-Rock and Kay-Gee - with their no-fail party anthems, "O.P.P.," "Hip Hop Hooray" and "Feel Me Flow," were the perfect group to finish off the all-day party Monday at The Gorge.
Buddy Guy Saturday, Aug. 12, Masonic Temple Buddy Guy promised to do a "triple-good" show Saturday at the Masonic Temple. Maybe he tried too hard.