Weekend MusicWatch: Electric Classical

This weekend’s music calendar includes some renowned visitors: a top choir, classical pianist, and Baroque music ensembles and that’s just at one of this weekend’s festivals plus the debut of a new orchestra that plays old music in new settings.

The Tudor Choir performs Saturday in Portland. Photo: William Stickney Photography.

The Tudor Choir performs Saturday in Portland. Photo: William Stickney Photography.

Amplified Repertory Chamber Orchestra of Portland, Saturday, Mississippi Studios, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview of one of the most exciting shows of the summer, the premier performance by a new organization that promises to become yet another of Oregon’s many innovations in bringing classical music into the 21st century.

The Tudor Choir, Saturday, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview of one of the most attractive choral music events of the summer, a great Seattle vocal ensemble presented by Portland’s Cappella Romana.

Abbey Bach Festival, Wednesday-Friday, Mt. Angel Abbey. The 43rd annual summer festival, held in a beautiful monastery just outside Silverton, rebounded smartly from the unfortunate cancellation by one of the headliners, the sublime but ailing singer Julianne Baird by booking an excellent replacement: the Canadian quartet Clavecin en Concert, which on Friday performs a tasty program of vocal and instrumental music by J.S. Bach including a flute sonata and partita, one of the cello suites, a harpsichord concerto, arias from various cantatas and other vocal works. That concert and Thursday night’s recital by multiple prize-winning Montreal pianist Jean Saulnier (playing Bach, Faure, Rameau and Chopin), both in the Damian Center, are both preceded by performances in the Abbey Church by Seattle’s Tudor Choir.

Wednesday’s opening concert, preceded by Russian organist Sergey Kirillov, stars another terrific quintet, Ensemble Caprice, led by the great Baroque flutists Matthias Maute (so impressive in previous Oregon appearances) and Sophie Lariviere, who’ll play music by the era’s Fab Four (J.S. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann) and Sebastian’s son Wilhelm Friedemann.

As always, the major concerts are only part of the festival’s appeal, as each night also features a Vespers service, picnic supper, short church performance, and the abbey’s glorious setting.

Chamber Music Northwest, Wednesday, Alberta Rose Theater; Thursday and Friday, Reed College, Kaul Auditorium; and Saturday, Lincoln Performance Hall, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview of the final week of this summer’s annual celebration of chamber music, which includes one of the stimulating Protege Project club concerts, a Northwest premiere, and some breezy classics.

Oregon Coast Music Festival, Saturday, Marshfield High School Auditorium, Coos Bay. James Paul again returns to his native state to conduct the orchestra in a trio of Russian classics by Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich (Violin Concerto #1, with soloist Steven Moeckel) and Tchaikovsky (Symphony #4).

Portland Festival Symphony, Saturday, Cathedral Park, Portland. Veteran Oregon conductor Lajos Balogh may have retired from the Metropolitan Youth Symphony he led for so many years, but he’s still leading this annual summer series of free, light classical performances in Portland parks.

Some intriguing non classical Portland performances include Wednesday’s two sets by the great Jamaican-born jazz pianist Monty Alexander and his trio at Jimmy Mak’s, Friday’s Balkan brass show by Krebsic Orkestar at Mississippi Pizza, and next Tuesday’s theremin performance at Glyph Café and Arts Space by Oregon Museum of Science and Industry educator Steve Hassett, which celebrates the release of music journalist Sean Michaels’s new novelization of the fascinating story of the early electronic instrument’s inventor and its greatest exponent, Clara Rockmore, which was the subject of a gripping documentary some years back.

You have to arrange to attend in advance, but if you didn’t, you can tune into a recital by pianist Susan McDaniel, who inaugurates Portland’s all classical radio station KQAC’s new live performance program Thursdays@Three, hosted by redoubtable announcer Robert McBride from the station’s spiffy new Roger O. Doyle Performance studio — one of the most anticipated dividends of its recent move to the Portland Opera building.

Finally, ArtsWatch bids farewell to Oregon classical music legend Norman Leyden, who delighted so many Oregonians for so many years. Read Oregon Symphony violist Charles Noble’s lovely 2012  tribute to Leyden.

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Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

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