Massive Mid-Century Masterpieces Link Two Modern Composers:
John Cage & Olivier Messiaen Shared Their Piano Cycles in Paris
Dedicated Proponents, Pianists Adam Tendler & Christopher Taylor Will Reveal
the Intricacies of These Linked Works in a Pair of Linked Concerts at
Jacaranda Music’s February 22nd Mid-Century Modern Program
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 4, 2013 — Jacaranda’s 10th anniversary season continues on Saturday, February 22, 2014 with a dinner break — a break that separates the performances of two 20-movement mid-twentieth-century masterworks by John Cage and Olivier Messiaen. Each cycle is played by an American pianist with whom the music has become synonymous: Adam Tendler and Christopher Taylor, respectively. The consecutive concerts (Tendler at 5:00 p.m. and Taylor at 7:30 p.m.) will take place at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, 1220 Second Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Jacaranda’s first decade gave extensive attention to the centenaries of Messiaen (1908-92) and Cage (1912-89). As a nod to that legacy, artistic director Patrick Scott chose for the 10th anniversary two works for solo piano that link the composers after World War II: Cage’s “Sonatas & Interludes” (1946-48) for prepared piano, and Messiaen’s “Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus” (1944). Both works were influenced in very different ways by the philosophy and music of India. Cage performed his cycle for Messiaen in Paris in 1949, and Messiaen reciprocated with a performance of his cycle by Yvonne Loriod, the work’s extravagantly talented dedicatee, who would eventually become Messiaen’s wife.
Tendler, described as “an exuberantly expressive pianist” who “vividly displayed his enthusiasm for every phrase” by Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed, will perform the 60-minute Cage work at 5 p.m. without pause and from memory. Recognized by the American Pianists Association, Tendler has performed modern American piano music in all of the United States.
After a dinner break, Taylor, bronze medalist at the 1993 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and called “one of the most impressive young pianists on the horizon today” by the Washington Post, will perform the two-hour Messiaen work from memory at 7:30 p.m. with an intermission. Taylor’s “…blazing performance of Messiaen’s [”Twenty Ways of Looking at the Infant Jesus”]… is likely to stand as a point of reference for many seasons to come,” wrote the Boston Globe.
The massive piano masterpiece has additional significance for Jacaranda. Messiaen’s work was the centerpiece of a one-off, three-concert celebration organized in 2002 by series founders Scott and Mark Alan Hilt to observe the 10th anniversary of the composer’s death. The mini-festival’s location was First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, where Hilt would soon be appointed Music Director. The enterprise grabbed the attention of the Los Angeles Times’ Swed, who noted that, while there had been an abundance of Messiaen tributes in the world’s major cities, only the enterprising duo ventured a Southern California tribute. Nine months later, Jacaranda was born.
General admission tickets for either of the February 22 Cage/Tendler or Messiaen/Taylor concerts alone are $35; $20 for students. Admission to both concerts is $60; $30 for students. For tickets and a restaurant guide, as well as special Jacaranda food and beverage discounts, go to jacarandamusic.org. Tickets are sold online or at the door. Information: (213) 483-0216.
March 8, 2014: “Continental Harmony” at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall:
Jacaranda’s next concert, on March 8, will be held at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall, which is waiving admission to honor Jacaranda’s 10th anniversary. This “Continental Harmony” concert will be entirely devoted to the 20th-century American string quartet repertoire, to be played by the Lyris Quartet. Lyris will open with Quartet No. 2 by Charles Ives followed by a Jacaranda signature work, Quartet No. 4, “Amazing Grace,” by Ben Johnston. Quartet No. 5 by Philip Glass, a Lyris specialty, will be followed with Quartet No. 3 by Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
The UCLA Music Library will host this free concert, underwritten by the UCLA Music Library’s Hugo Davise Fund for Contemporary Music, at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall, 445 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90024.
About Jacaranda: Jacaranda, with the motto of “music at the edge,” is a series of intimate concert adventures into the realm of new and rarely heard classical music designed to awaken curiosity, passion and discovery in diverse audiences. Founded in 2003 by arts impresario Patrick Scott and conductor/organist Mark Alan Hilt, Jacaranda produces a series (eight concerts this season) that features current and rising stars in the world of classical music performance. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Jacaranda’s full 2013-14 season information is available at jacarandamusic.org. Most concerts are at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, 1220 Second Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. For information or to purchase tickets go to jacarandamusic.org.