We find ourselves this week describing a timespan in the arts bookended by Halloween and Election Day – in other words, two days that share the potential to be among the spookiest of the year. Don’t be afraid, though. There are plenty of more genteel undertakings available to lighten your spirit…
By Thomas Consolo
The Mini Microcinema | 1329 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
Sunday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.: “The Candidate”
As Robert Redford’s declared final movie as an actor, filmed largely in Cincinnati, reaches theaters, one of his classics from more than 45 years ago is the perfect complement to election season. Redford plays Bill McKay, an idealistic young lawyer and son of a former governor who agrees to run for the U.S. Senate, on the condition that he can maintain his liberal beliefs and never have to censor what he says. Politics then takes its toll.
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County | 800 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-369-6900
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 6 p.m.: Conversation with Jonathan Bailey Holland
Next week (watch this space!), the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra performs Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 as the keystone of this season’s One City program. Also on the program, though, is “Ode,” a world premiere by Jonathan Bailey Holland, the CSO’s composer-in-residence. In this presentation, the composer talks about his work at the main library’s Popular Library lounge.
College-Conservatory of Music | 290 CCM Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45221; 513-556-6638
Like the cluster of blazing white concussion shells that ends most fireworks shows these days, CCM’s yearlong celebration of the Bernstein centenary goes out with a bang – a whole week of events to mark the would-have-been 100th birthday of America’s most famous composer-performer. A couple of non-music events have already taken place, but here’s what’s in store (all performances in Corbett Auditorium):
- Wednesday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m. – “Bernstein and Friends”: Nothing scary about this program. CCM faculty artist and CSO clarinetist Ronald Aufman joins the Wind Symphony for Bernstein’s “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs,” written for Woody Herman. There’s also a suite from “Mass” as well as works by Copland, whose music Bernstein was famous for interpreting.
- Thursday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m. – “Pianopalooza Celebrates Lenny”: Faculty artists Michael Chertock(who’s having a busy week, see BAMSO below) and James Tocco perform a two-piano arrangement of the Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story” and Bernstein’s arrangement of Copland’s “El Salón México.”
- Friday, Nov. 2, 8 p.m.: The Philharmonia Orchestra under Mark Gibson performs the jazzy ballet score to “Fancy Free” and the little-performed “Songfest,” a song cycle that sets 13 American poems – by poets ranging from Anne Bradstreet to Langston Hughes – for six singers and orchestra.
- Sunday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m.: “West Side Story” inspired a wide range of musicians, including big-band jazz great Stan Kenton, whose take earned him a Grammy nomination. The CCM Jazz Orchestra takes on Kenton’s charts under Kenton scholar Vaughn Wiester. The concert is dedicated to the late, great John Von Ohlen, who died Oct. 3. Von Ohlen taught at CCM, played with Kenton and Woody Herman, and co-founded Cincinnati’s Blue Wisp Big Band.
Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas | 100 Miami Ave., Terrace Park, OH 45174; 513-831-2052
Sunday, Nov. 4, 5 p.m.: Vespers for All Saints’ Day
We should, of course, remember that the hallows All Hallows Eve – aka Halloween – precedes All Saints’ Day, which celebrates the spiritual bond between the living and the dead among Christians. What better spiritual nourishment to mark the day than two Bach cantatas? On tap are “O Jesu Christ, mein Lebens Licht” (“O Jesus Christ, light of my life”) – technically, it’s a motet – and “Selig ist der Mann” (“Blessed is the Man”) – interestingly written for Christmas. The May Festival Youth Chorus also performs.
Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra | 8221 Miami Ave., Madeira, OH 45243; 513-549-2197
Sunday, Nov. 4, 3 p.m.: World War I centenary
World War I is a special interest of mine. It changed the world like almost no conflict before, although many people didn’t realize it at the time. In the United States, where World War II is regarded as “the big one,” the ripple effects of the original Great War is still underappreciated. It’s just a week and half, though, until the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the war – what Americans now call Veterans Day.
BAMSO teams up with the Cincinnati Choral Society for a concert honoring that day. On the front line are Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, Martin Lauridsen’s reflective “Lux aeterna” and Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” motet. Michael Chertock conducts, and the program repeats on Armistice Day proper, 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at St. Francis de Sales Church (1600 Madison Road, Cincinnati OH 45206).
concert:nova | 1243 Elm St., Cincinnati OH 45202; 513-739-6682 (NOVA)
Sunday, Nov. 4, 2 p.m., and Monday, Nov. 5, 7 p.m.: “Black Angels”
Not all Vietnam War protest music was classic rock. George Crumb wrote “Black Angels” in “tempore belli, 1970” – i.e., in time of war. The landmark work for electrified string quartet requires its players to employ what’s politely dubbed “extended technique” and to play various percussion instruments in addition to violin, viola and cello. Crumb called it “a kind of parable on our troubled contemporary world.” You’ll never hear “Death and the Maiden” the same again. Live performances are rare; take advantage of this one. At the Woodward Theater (1404 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202).
Playhouse in the Park | 962 Mount Adams Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-3888
Opens Saturday, Nov. 3: “Cincinnati King”
It doesn’t always seem that Cincinnati was a hotbed of rock music, but it was. Relive that legacy with the Playhouse’s world premiere musical about King Records. In our own little version of TV’s “Empire,” follow the rise of music pioneer Syd Nathan, the artists and music he produced, and the enemies he made. Includes behind-the-scenes stories about such King hits as “The Twist,” “Blues Stay Away From Me,” “Fever” and “Need Your Love So Bad.” In the Shelterhouse Theatre through Dec. 23.
- “1984”: Better hurry and get to this adaptation of the George Orwell classic before the clock strikes 13. Through Saturday, Nov. 3, at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-2273).