Sad News For Music Lovers

paco de lucia 1

Paco de Lucía, one of the greatest guitarists of all times, died yesterday in Cancún (Mexico). Born in Algeciras in Andalucía in 1947, the musician made his home in Mallorca in 2003 when he bought a place in the countryside between Campos and Es Trenc where he planted olive trees and pressed his own olive oil. Later he moved to the outskirts of Palma to enable his younger children to go to school at the Liceo Francés in Palma. In Spain, Paco de Lucía had been bestowed with the Premio Nacional de Guitarra de Arte Flamenco, the Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes, a Distinción Honorífica de los Premios de la Música and the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes. He was honoured with a Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad de Cádiz and another one by the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). He was given two Latin Grammy awards for best flamenco recording, in 2012 and 2004.

The photo was taken by Montserrat T. Diez and borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of Flickr. Thank you and muchas gracias.

Sad News For Music Lovers

A Night at the Opera, Sa Pobla Style

It was quite unbelievable, extraordinary and praiseworthy. An annual Jazz Festival has been staged for the last 18 years in the deepest province of the island of Mallorca, in Sa Pobla, the heart of the island’s potato growing hinterland. Put two Japanese Jazz musicians of international renown, an Italian voice of considerable talent, an US American drumming hero and a local bass guitar legend together with the screening of a 1925 Classic Silent Movie (The Phantom at the Opera/Rupert Julian), and you will have an unforgettable Night at the Opera, Sa Pobla Style. I call this a cultural milestone of amazing subtlety and vibe. If you missed the night’s performance, last Thursday, you will have to blame yourself. After all, I had marked this as a forthcoming highlight, some twelve days ago, right here on this blog.

There will be one final concert in this year’s Sa Pobla Jazz Festival, with the Noah Preminger & Ben Monder Quartet playing at 22h30 on August 21st in Plaça Major. Admission or rather, donation is 3 € in the inner sanctum, but if you sit in one of the surrounding bars in the square, you’ll have the sound and atmosphere all for free. There will be no movie screening that night, as far as I know. But still, it may be well worth the detour from wherever you are sleeping that night. That’s next Tuesday.

The photos were taken in Sa Pobla, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 16th, 2012. The time was 23:48:01 and 23:22:07, respectively.

A Night at the Opera, Sa Pobla Style

The Sounds of Silence

Every now and then, you will come to understand that there is a handful of people, at most, that have shaped your life. Most often, such people are your parents, or certainly one of the two. Sometimes it is a benefactor, or a friend, or perhaps a lover. Sometimes it is someone who you have never even met in person, but whose ideas have impressed you and shaped you and whose ideas you might have adopted, such as an artist, a writer, a philosopher, a thinker, whatever.

I like to think that my life would have turned out differently without John Cage. He was an American avantgarde composer and artist whose unorthodox ideas and inventive compositions profoundly influenced mid-20th-century music, and art, and myself.

John Milton Cage Jr. was born on September 5th, 1912, in Los Angeles, California. Next September will be the centenary of his birth. He died August 12th, 1992, twenty years ago today.

What’s interesting for us here in Mallorca is that John Cage travelled to Europe in 1930-31, spending some months in Paris and visiting various places in France, Germany and Spain, as well as Capri and, most importantly, Mallorca.

“I left Paris and began both painting and writing music, first in Mallorca. The music I wrote was composed in some mathematical way I no longer recall. It didn’t seem like music to me so that when I left Mallorca I left it behind to lighten the weight of my baggage. In Sevilla on a street corner I noticed the multiplicity of simultaneous visual and audible events all going together in one’s experience and producing enjoyment. It was the beginning for me of theater and circus” (quoted from johncage.org).

For those of you who might wish to know more about the man and his ideas, I would recommend some of his writing, such as Silence, or perhaps his Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse). A 8-CD Box Set is available, recorded with Mr. Cage’s own voice.

If you happen to like some of John Cage’s sound compositions, the Diary will only confirm a suspicion that you probably have entertained already: It takes a great mind to create some great work, be that music, art, writing or indeed, anything.

Cage once stated “until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music”.

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of marcellopedrolo.blogspot.com.es.

Thank you very much.

The Sounds of Silence

Monthly Lunchtime Organ Concerts in Palma’s Cathedral

One of the finest organs in Mallorca can be found in Palma’s Cathedral. Sadly, there are not many opportunities to hear the sound of this instrument. For the last ten or twelve years, a Festival Internacional de Órgano en la Catedral de Mallorca was celebrated during the four Sundays in October. There is a possibility that this Festival may have to be suspended this year. La Crisis.

Tomorrow, however, there will be a chance to listen to the Gothic organ at the occasion of a series of lunchtime concerts performed by Bartomeu Veny Vidal, the Cathedral’s organist. These half-hour concerts will be given every first Tuesday of the month at 12h00, with the exception of December and January. The concerts will be given for free, but there is an admission charge to the Cathedral of 4 €, unless you are a resident with proper documents in which case admission is granted free of charge.

The organ in Palma’s Cathedral was built in 1477, rebuilt in 1795 and restored in 1993; in 2006 it was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural (Cultural Heritage).

The photos were taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 10th, 2012. The time was 12:29:48 and 11:04:23, respectively.

Monthly Lunchtime Organ Concerts in Palma’s Cathedral

Sa Pobla Jazz

The Festival Internacional de Jazz in Sa Pobla has been going successfully and with plenty of attendance for seventeen years now. But, with the financial cut-backs and a lack of sponsorship or goodwill from the official political institutions it seemed doubtful that this year’s 18th edition could go ahead. Well, here’s the good news: The 18th Festival Mallorca Jazz de Sa Pobla 2012 will go ahead, starting on Tuesday, August 7th (22h30), with a concert in Sa Pobla’s Plaça Major (with Dani Wilde, guitar and vocals, Stuart Dixon, guitar, Will Wilde, harmonica and vocals, Victoria Smith, bass, and Richard Newman, drums).

A second concert will be held on Friday, August 10th (22h30) at Sala Rex, with Krissy Matthews, guitar and vocals, Keith Matthews, bass and vocals and Chris Shirley, drums. Advance booking will be necessary for this indoor-event by telephone: 639.432.550. An English and German service is said to be available under that number, plus a Spanish one, one would hope.

A third concert will be given on Tuesday, August 14th (22h30) at Plaça Major, with Fèlix Rossy, trumpet, Toni Vaquer, piano, Ernesto Aurignac, alto sax, DJ Foster, double bass, Jaume Llompart, guitar, Enrique Oliver, tenor sax, and Santi Colomer, drums.

The festival highlight, in my mind, will be the fourth concert on Thursday, August 16th (22h30), again in Plaça Major, with the Satoko Fujii Ensemble (Japanese Satoko Fujii, piano, Natsuki Tamura, trumpet, Lilli Santon, vocals, Toni Miranda, guitar, and Jimmy Weinstein, drums), performing an interpretation of the film music for “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925). [The same formation will also play the following night, August 17th, as the Jimmy Weinstein Group, at the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró in Palma (21h00) with variations of themes by John Cage, Erik Satie and Karlheinz Stockhausen.]

The last concert will be performed on Tuesday, August 21st (22h30) in Plaça Major, with Noah Preminger, tenor sax, Ben Monder, guitar, Masa Kamaguchi, double bass, Colin Stranahan, drums.

The Jimmy Weinstein’s Travelling School will once again hold a one week international jazz seminary, from Tuesday, August 7th, to Saturday, August 11th. The final concert of all Travelling School participants will be given on Saturday, August 11th (22h00) in Plaça Major (see photo [centre] of last year’s event). Information is available, and signing up can be done by telephone under the numbers 687.434.795 or 656.770.985.

The photo (top) was taken in Sa Pobla, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 17th, 2011. The time was 23:58:16. The photo (centre) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of jazzistics.blogspot.com.es.

Thank you very much.

Sa Pobla Jazz

The Festival de Música Castell de Bellver

Every year in July, the Festival de Música Castell de Bellver is held at Palma’s Bellver Castle. Tomorrow, July 19th, the third concert of this year’s event will be given in open air conditions in the courtyard of the castle.

The concert will be performed by the Orquestra Simfònica de Balears (Balearic Islands Symphonic Orchestra). Tomorrow’s programme will include a first performance of Orión (12 mins.) by Miguel Ángel Roig-Francolí. Señor Roig-Francolí (Ibiza, 1953) is a resident in Pittsburgh (Cincinnati, USA) where he teaches Music Theory and Composition at the University of Cincinnati. It is not very often that we are treated to symphonic works by contemporary composers here in Mallorca, and even less though by composers born in the Illes Balears.

Other works performed tomorrow will be better known, including Andante in D Major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Concert for Oboe by Benedetto Giacomo Marcello, Romance in F minor for violin and orchestra by Antonín Leopold Dvořák and Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World”, also by Dvořák.

The concert starts at 21h30. Tickets are available at 30 € (Patio), 20 € (Arcades) and 10 € (First floor) from the Conservatorio de Música de Mallorca and on the night at Castell de Bellver. The last concert in the series will be held next week, July 26th, also at 21h30, with music by Richard Wagner and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Details can be found on the OSIB website.

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es and Manu Mielniezuk.

Muchas gracias.

The Festival de Música Castell de Bellver

The Festival Internacional de Música de Deià

The annual Festival Internacional de Música de Deià is in its 34th edition this year. Owing to its two main venues, the parish church in Deià and the nearby Possessió de Son Marroig, the festival is mainly dedicated to chamber music of the classical kind, but there are some exceptions every now and then. The 2012 festival started in April and seven concerts have already been performed. There will be another concert tonight at 21h00, at the venue of Son Marroig (see photo top), with American pianist Suzanne Bradbury and German clarinettist Sabine Grossmeier performing works by Bernstein, Bax, Weber, Ravel, Milhaud, Fromm-Michaels and Winding. There will  be eight more concerts between July 19th and September 27th. You can check the programme here. Tickets are still available at 20 €.

Son Marroig is a fabulous country estate. It was one of the many old Mallorcan manor houses that the Austrian Archduke Luis Salvador acquired during the late 1800s. He actually resided in this particular mansion for long periods, considering it the best location in all of Mallorca. The estate houses a museum dedicated to the Arxiduc, well worth a visit. Admission has gone up to 4 €. The gardens alone (photo bottom), the sea views from there and the lovely pavilion made in marble from Carrara are worth the entry fee.

If you are a music lover, you will be pleased to hear that the Festival de Pollença will start tomorrow, July 6th.There were rumours earlier this year that the festival may not be held this year at all due to, you know, La Crisis. But no, ten concerts have been confirmed between tomorrow and August 25th. I may report about the Festival de Pollença a bit later in the year. We are lucky, really, concerning music here in Mallorca.

The photos were taken near Deià, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The dates: July 4th, 2012. The time was 17:44:33 and 18:13:03, respectively.

The Festival Internacional de Música de Deià