You-review-it Monday

April 16, 2012
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For me, the weekend included a whirlwind run to New York that included the Broadway shows "One Man, Two Guvnors," "Seminar," "Other Desert Cities," "Peter and the Starcatcher," and "Magic/Bird." (See my thoughts on the latter here and stay tuned for more on the rest.)

I also visited Feinstein's for the first time and saw cabaret performances by the legendary Barbara Cook and a gang of lesser-known Broadway performers.

On the way back, I stopped in Philadelphia for the Walnut Street Theatre's take on "God of Carnage."

So what did I miss in Indy while I was gone?

Your thoughts?

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  • Cosby
    We saw Bill Cosby at the Palladium Sunday night and laughed for over 90 minutes. Still a premier story-teller. What fun.
  • You missed so much!
    Well - not really. Les Mis at Clowes. I guess they had a power issue on Saturday and had to close the show before intermission. We went Sunday and found the show so-so. PBR was at Conseco and it was a good show if you are into some bull riding fun!
  • Fun weekend of music
    On Friday evening the City of Carmel celebrated the 175th anniversary of its founding in 1837. A very nice dinner event was held at the Ritz-Charles to benefit the Carmel-Clay Historical Society. Kevin Rader of Channel 13 served as emcee and the guest speaker was NPR Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep, who is a Carmel High School graduate. Inskeep, who played trumpet in the Carmel band by the way, is a terrific speaker who can blend folksiness with erudition quite comfortably. He went from tales of his childhood in Carmel to the harsh realities of life in Karachi and Afghanistan with equal insight.
    Saturday morning Franz Mohr was a guest speaker at Meridian Music. The 84 year old was a longtime Head Concert Technician for Steinway Pianos, and he was the man who tuned and regulated Steinways for many of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. He toured with Vladimir Horowitz, attending all of his recitals and concerts from 1962 until Horowitz death in 1989. He also worked with such luminaries as Glen Gould, Arthur Rubinstein and Rudolf Serkin. It was fascinating to hear the many stories: Gould’s recording sessions in Toronto, Horowitz return to Moscow after decades away, etc. I look forward to reading his book My Life with the Great Pianists. Many thanks to Craig Gigax and Meridian Music for arranging this wonderful session.
    On Saturday afternoon I heard a recorder orchestra for the first time. It was the Recorder Orchestra of the Midwest at Zionsville Christian Church. Music Director Clea Galhano put together an interesting and innovative program that ranged from Bach, Scarlatti and Handel from the baroque era to Piazzolla and other lesser know twentieth century composers. The instruments ranged from the small sopranino and sopranos that we all played in elementary school, though never like this, to huge contrabass instruments taller than their players. Some of my favorites were the Capriol Suite of early twentieth century English composer Peter Warlock, which uses renaissance dances as its basis, and the Ave Maria of Astor Piazzolla, played as a solo by Galhano with piano accompaniment. It was beautiful and moving, and her vibrato and tonal variety on the soprano recorder were just wonderful. The ROMW is an ensemble of 26 representing seven states.
    Saturday night was the final Carmel Symphony Orchestra subscription concert of the season at the Palladium, and the big work was the Enigma Variations of Elgar. The concert opened with The Silken Ladder of Rossini, a brilliant and festive piece not heard often because of the extremely difficult oboe part. This was wonderfully played by Annie Corrigan, who will be featured as a soloist with the ensemble next season. Guest soloist for the concert was organist Cameron Carpenter, a brilliant performer who has appeared with the CSO several times. As is often the case, Conductor David Bowden did an excellent job with explanations of the pieces from the stage, and this was especially true of the Poulenc Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani. This work is so dark and tortured, so unlike most of the other works of Poulenc, and the illumination given by the explanation was most helpful. The first encore was an organ version of the Concord Piano Sonata of Charles Ives. Since Ives quotes several tunes and sound effects, the organ works extremely well in bring the attention of the audience to these. Carpenter played it brilliantly, but the best was yet to come. Four interesting songs of Irving Berlin were arranged by composer Daniel Powers, who was in attendance. This was not just a restatement of the tunes, and each was expertly orchestrated and became more than I expected. The orchestra played very well in this varied and difficult accompaniment. The organ ranged from sounding like the mighty Wurlitzer of the east side Paramount Pizza Palace to a sound reminiscent of the little old lady playing softly before a funeral to the memorable concerts of Virgil Fox. Carpenter wowed the audience with a masterful performance of a Bach Prelude and then brought the house down with his final encore. It was the familiar Bach Cello Suite theme with the cello part played only on the pedals in a real tour de force of incredible technique. He then improvised a fully formed accompaniment in the manuals that fit the style beautifully. This was a truly great moment for those of us who love to hear the organ played magnificently.
  • Yeah, Yeah, Red, Black, and 76 Trombones
    Our week was packed. We made a quick day trip to Chicago for Fela! Then we caught the opening night performances of both Les Miz and The Music Man.

    I am torn on the changes made to Les Miz. The use of the Victor Hugo art in the scenery was great, but losing the turn table stage did detract from the show. Musically, it seemed the show was rushed.

    The surprising highlight for the week (and the only one to not make me cry) was Music Man at Beef and Boards. I absolutely loved the opening number with the human train and the use of audience children to form the band at the end.

    Looking forward to reading about your NYC reviews. I've got tickets for Porgy & Bess and Harvey but there are still two openings in my schedule and I am trying to decide what else to see.
  • Derby
    You missed Indianapolis Junior Roller Derby (JRD)! All the entertainment one could want for five bucks. IJRD's Midwest Mafia took on the Cincinnati team and IJRD's Allstars took on the Nashville "Nashvillains." The next home bout is May 26th - a double header with Fort Wayne.
  • Baroque/Classical Guitar Concert
    You also missed a superb classical guitar performance by Duo Amaral, the well-reviewed husband-wife duo from Israel and Mexico.
    It was presented by Indianapolis Early Music whose 46th Early Music Festival is coming up in June. The attendance, at 260-275, was the highest IEM's annual spring concert has ever had. More rewarding was the well-deserved standing ovation. I emphasize, "well-deserved." While classical guitar normally does not fall under the definition of Early Music, the program presented was a wonderful set of Baroque pieces.

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