I KNOW IT’S A MUSIC COLUMN, BUT –
Sometimes you just have to mix life forces. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr did it, Tuesday night before the game. in an emotional three-minute table-pounding rant, no questions taken –
I’m going to add only this. I still believe in our Constitutional government. I still believe elections can fix things. But only if people get informed and get off their keisters and vote, no matter what it takes. Millions of people. Dem or GOP, there should be only three things you apply to your vote:
Women’s rights… Voting rights (democracy)… Gun control.
That’s it. Three issues. No compromise, no BS accepted. Everything else will have to wait.
OK, now go hear some great live music.
TONIGHT! LA PHIL, DUDAMEL, “BEETHOVEN’S 9TH” – By most accounts, Beethoven was a pretty cranky guy. By the time he composed his final symphony he was completely deaf – they had to turn him around in his seat at the premier so he could SEE what a thunderous ovation his new piece got. (He died three years later.) .I can only imagine. I can hear purty good and look how cranky I am.
He had this final symphony in the works for years, bits and pieces, and by the time he put it to paper it reflected the upheavals of his time. The French and American Revolutions, Mexico and a slew of Central and South American colonies breaking away from Spain. But while the 9th begins in chaos, it ends in an intellectual and emotional crescendo that has thrilled and uplifted audiences for two centuries. I’ve always preached, in any form of music, a big finish goes a long way. This big finish will no doubt be kicked to the heavens by the angelic voices of the LA Master Chorale, probably some 100 of them, sounding like 1000.
Most consider this his greatest work, and many consider Beethoven the greatest composer (though he thought that was Handel). The great Gustav Mahler would not name a symphony his “9th” for many years (“Song of the Earth”). He died after completing his 9th, as did Schubert, Dvorák, Bruckner and Vaughan Williams. You may want to kill yourself if you pass on seeing this all star performance of a master work for the ages. Thurs, Sat 8 p.m., Fri 11 a.m., Sun 2 p.m. Walt Disney Concert Hall, $20-289.
LA OPERA, VERDI’S “AIDA” – I don’t pretend to be an opera aficionado (enthusiasm yes, not so much knowledge), but between the Santa Fe and LA Operas I’ve got a few under my belt now, and this “Aida” is among the best. Oh, I know, if you look up experts’ opinions on The Best Operas Ever, Verdi shows up a lot but not “Aida.” Feh. So much depends on the singers and the staging. With arresting, often bright red-against-black tall columns of “modern hieroglyphics” by LA graffiti artist RETNA, and at least four stunning principal vocalists, this production knocked it out of the park. Give credit to international star director Francesca Zambello for her vision, and to conductor James Conlon. The orchestra, sometimes the least noticeable element, was the best I’ve ever heard them, precisely executing what I would consider a great piece of music by Verdi that not only mirrored but drove the action on stage, and avoided cliches. The story line was great: ancient Egypt, a war against Ethiopia, and prominent figures on both sides falling in love. What a finish! The plot made sense to real life, something often lacking in operas. I’ve seen a few Verdis, and if this is one of his lesser works, you couldn’t prove it by this LA Opera production. It is a mesmerizing three hours of entertainment from at least five directions, and you may be able to snag a ticket for 34 bucks. You’re welcome. Sun 2 p.m., next Thurs 7:30 p.m., The Music Center, LA, $34-399.
EM the MASTER – She’s still amazing, she’s still here. Nothing good lasts forever, you know. Every Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.
CELSO SALIM & DARRYL CARRIERE – Would you like to see two LA dudes whomp the hell out of the blues with the best of them? I thought so. Salim plays a mean bottleneck guitar and sings, and Darryl blows the walls down with his harp and does the same with his dangerous scream and growl vocals. Next Thurs, 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.
DAVID BINNEY QUARTETS featuring GERALD CLAYTON – I’ve got some trepidation about this recommendation. I know I’ve said I will go anywhere to see the brilliant pianist Gerald Clayton, in any setting. But I’ve never seen saxophonist David Binney, and when the PR describes an artist as “adventurous… highly individual… creating an alternative jazz-scene…” – I take a deep breath. I actually usually love those kinds of artists (Jacaranda classical music series in SM has usually thrilled me), but as for sending everyone on my recommendation, I’m cautious. So I listened to parts of some of his recordings, and I like them. He does range from the avant garde, shall we say, to more straight ahead jazz. I have no idea where he’ll go at Sam First (a great jazz club), but I’m uncertain if it ill feature the Gerald Clauyton I love most. Oh… just go. And let me know what you thought. Fri, Sat 7:30, 9 p.m., Sam First, LAX, $25.
TOLEDO DIAMOND — Every time the thought pops up, what shall I do with my weekend, you should remember you can blow the top off it by ending it in front of Toledo Diamond and his superb and unquestionably unique show at Harvelle’s. Every Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: LA OPERA performs VERDI’S “AIDA,” Music Center, 6/4 (also live simulcast at SM Pier), 9, 12; “GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 6/3-7/17; , SONNY GREEN, LA JUKE JOINT BLUES FESTIVAL, Maui Sugar Mill Saloon, 6/4; DR. ANGELA DAVIS, Disney Hall, 6/5; “THE POINT,” Theatricum Botanicum, 6/5; EMMYLOU HARRIS, Disney Hall, 6/11; “THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR,” 6/11-10/2, “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM,” Theatricum Botanicum, 6/12-10/1; LIBRARY GIRL, Ruskin Group Theatre, 6/12; JON MAYER TRIO, Sam First, 6/15; 33rd Annual MARIACHI USA FESTIVAL, Hollywood Bowl, 6/18; MARY GAUTHIER, McCabe’s, 6/18; TOM PAXTON, McCabe’s, 6/24; STVE POSTLL’S NIGHT TRAIN MUSIC CLUB, McCabe’s, 6/26.
Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 3,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 36 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org