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January 23, 2007 > A night of music and the spoken word

A night of music and the spoken word

By Janet Grant

What does Mother Goose, Count Dracula, the Headless Horseman, and Italian cooking have in common? They are all part of Music at the Mission's eclectic night of music and narration presented in the old Mission San Jose. On Saturday, January 27, the third program of Music at the Mission's exciting 2007 season "enters with a drum roll of colonial fish and raw meat torn by trumpet blasts!" Well, perhaps not exactly, but it still promises to be a night of captivating and brain-tingling wit and melody.

Music at the Mission once again presents its popular Music and the Spoken Word series featuring the highly accomplished actor of TV, movie, and stage, David Ogden Stiers. Best known for his TV roles in MASH and The Dead Zone, he has also been the voice of many characters in films such as Lilo and Stitch, Beauty and the Beast, and Pocahontas. Though well-known as an actor, Mr. Stiers has turned his lifelong passion of classical music into a second career. He has served as a guest conductor for over 70 major US orchestras and is currently the Resident Conductor of Oregon's Newport Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Stiers will be joined by musicians from the Symphony of Silicon Valley including Principal Bassist, Bill Everett, Concert Mistress, Robin Mayforth, and Violist, Eleanor Angel. Also performing are Solo pianist, Aileen Chanco, Cellist, Michael Graham, and Associate Concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony, Ertan Torgul.

Featured in the evenings' program is "The Four Seasons of Futurist Cooking (Le Quattro Stagioni della Cucina Futurismo) by American composer, Aaron Jay Kernis, for Violin, Cello, Piano, and Narrator. Based on F.T. Marinetti's "The Futurist Cookbook," Kernis wanted to recreate what he imagined music accompanying an early modernist text would sound like.

The Italian Futurist movement was used to describe a wide variety of aggressively modern styles in art and literature of the 1920s and 1930s. It quickly spread throughout Europe and the Americas appealing to all who shunned romanticism and sentimentality in favor of something more robust. To the Futurist, this was the Machine Age where speed, noise, communication, information, and transportation reigned. Known as the art wise guys, Futurist followers liked to shock and provoke the public. Strangely enough, Futurism of the early 20th century echoes today's age of information and technology.

Completely opposite of Futurist Cooking is the tender and more traditional "Mother Goose Suite" by Maurice Ravel and arranged by bay area composer, Mark Fish, for Cello, Piano, and Narrator. Having no children of his own, Ravel befriended the children of Cipa and Ida Godesbsky. He wrote a short duet for the children to play and his music publisher liked it so much, he added more pieces, which were based on the Mother Goose fairy tales. Included in the movements are arrangements of such well-known stories as Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb, and Beauty and the Beast, and the lesser known Laideronnette, and The Fairy's Garden. In the original, Ravel only quoted text from Tom Thumb, Laideronnette, and Beauty and the Beast. David Ogden Stiers has translated his own excerpts from these stories, and written new text for Sleeping Beauty and the Fairy's Garden.

Between the technological sanitized and gentle traditional lies New York composer Jon Deak. Deak's original pieces have a visual and theatrical quality that goes beyond just pitch and rhythm. In Deak's musical tales actors begin by narrating the story then gradually becoming the characters they had been describing. Two of Deak's compositions will be performed in the old Mission - "Lucy and the Count, Love Dreams From Transylvania" (based on Bram Stoker's Dracula), for 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, and Narrator, and "The Quilting Frolic" based on "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," by Washington Irving, adapted by Deak, with Scott Garlick.

Join Music at the Mission for a night of martial food, fairy tales, fangs, and Ichabod Crane. A more diverse and artful evening by incredibly gifted talent would be difficult to find. Just remember to watch your heads!

An informative, half-hour concert talk by musician Bill Everett will precede the concert at 7:15 p.m. with the concert beginning at 8:00 p.m. A complimentary dessert and champagne reception will immediately follow the concert where you will be able to meet the artists.

For more information, call (510) 656-2364 or visit

Music at the Mission presents Music and the Spoken Word
Saturday, January 27
7:15 p.m.
Old Mission San Jose
43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont
General Admission, $25, Students and seniors, $20

Tickets by mail (checks only):
Music at the Mission San Jose
P. O. Box 3276
Fremont, CA 94539
E-mail (checks only):
Online (credit card):

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