MusicWatch Weekly: Music on screen and in the sunshine

Summer music festivals take music outside and in, while cinemas spotlight music on screen

It’s a sweet time of year to be an Oregon music fan. By day, you can head outside for symphonic sounds, and by night, hear classical and jazz music indoors — including at the movies. Please let ArtsWatch readers know of more summery music in the comments section below.

Oregon Festival of American Music
August 10-13
The Shedd, 868 High Street, Eugene.
At a moment when our country seems more divided than ever, OFAM’s celebration of American World War II-eramusic provides a much-needed reminder of a time when Americans pulled together more than ever before or since. Wednesday night‘s show with singer Shirley Andress and saxophonist Jesse Cloning fronting a crack jazz small combo featuring nationally renowned trumpeter Byron Stripling and guitarist Howard Alden recapturing the birth of bebop by showing the transition from Ellington, Gershwin, and more to Dizzy Gillespie, Yardbird Parker, and Thelonious Monk.

Siri Vik and Shirley Andress sing at Oregon Festival of American Music.

Siri Vik and Shirley Andress sing at Oregon Festival of American Music.

Thursday afternoon’s concert brings the Emerald City Jazz Kings, trumpeter Tim Clarke, and a quintet of veteran Shedd vocalists for standards from the era’s films, including “As Time Goes By” (“Play it, Sam!”), “Blues in the Night,” “Moonlight Serenade” and more. Thursday night’s big band concert (with singers including Siri Vik, Ian Whitcomb, and Shirley Andress) features music from concerts for troops based at home and overseas, sponsored by the United Services Organization, a coalition of religious and secular charities. The biggest USO star, singer/actor/comedian/hoofer Bob Hope, used one of those tunes, “Thanks for the Memory,” as his theme song, and it’s on the bill along with “The Man I Love” and others probably unfamiliar to most listeners who didn’t catch them the first time around.

The Army Hit Kit of Popular Songs (including “A Wing and a Prayer,” “I’ll be Seeing You,” “GI Jive,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “Star Dust,” and rarer gems) will be distributed to anyone who wants to show up at The Shedd for a free, Friday afternoon singalong led by the institute’s Road Scholars. Friday evening’s special theatrical cabaret extravaganza recreates a February 1945 Armed Forces Radio Service Command Performance, a variety show that included a complete radio theatre production, Dick Tracy in B Flat, written by Meredith Willson (of The Music Man), jokes, songs (“The Very Thought of You,” “Sentimental Journey,” “All the Things You Are,” etc.) and more.

Jesse Cloninger and Tim Clarke play at OFAM.

Jesse Cloninger and Tim Clarke play at OFAM.

Saturday afternoon’s jazz concert, with Clarke, guitar ace Howard Alden, and rhythm section joining a quartet of top Shedd singers, spotlights the immortal music (“That Old Black Magic,” “Skylark,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “One for My Baby,” and more) of Johnny Mercer. One of America’s — and the 20th century’s — greatest songwriters, he also headlined a regular radio show broadcast to the troops. Saturday night’s concluding concert presents eight Shedd singers crooning tunes by the era’s biggest hitmakers — Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, including Mercer’s “Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy,“ (of course), “Victory Polka,” Mercer’s “Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive,” and more.

Sunriver Music Festival
August 10-15
Sunriver Resort Great Hall and Summit High School, Bend.
Wednesday’s classical concert stars guitarist Adam del Monte in Rodrigo’s ever-popular Concierto de Aranjuez, and the orchestra plays more classic early 20th century music from Manuel de Falla’s stirring score to the ballet The Three Cornered Hat, plus Respighi’s The Birds. Friday’s classical concert features a pair of warhorses: Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concertos, plus  soaring brass music by Giovanni Gabrieli.

On Sunday and Monday at Summit High, Pink Martini pianist Thomas Lauderdale divides the piano part with festival Young Artists Scholarship alumnus Hunter Noack in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the festival orchestra. Pink Martini plays its own Afro Cuban arrangement of Prokofiev’s fun Peter and the Wolf with former Miss America Katie Harman narrating. The Spanish flavor lingers in Tuesday’s recital with Israeli-American cellist Amit Peled sporting Pablo Casals’s own cello and recreating some of the 20th century Spanish master’s own programs — Faure, Handel, Bach, etc.

“The General”
August 12 & 19, Hollywood Theatre, Portland; August 13, Bohemia Park (outdoor screening), Cottage Grove; August 14, Egyptian Theatre, Coos Bay; August 16 Tower Theatre, Bend; August 17, Ross Ragland Theater, Klamath Falls.
This special revival of the first great movie filmed in Oregon (Cottage Grove) features a new live score composed by renowned Portland film composer Mark Orton, a mainstay of the fab Tin Hat, which he’ll perform live with Tin Hat violinist Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, Mousai Remix String Trio, and Todd Sickafoose.

Kai & Kelly Talim
August 12
TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont St. Portland.
The young former Portland pianist (and Portland Youth Philharmonic prizewinner) and violinist return from studies at Northwestern University and Juilliard School, bringing violist and Juilliard grad Bryony Gibson-Cornish, a member of London’s acclaimed Philharmonia Orchestra, to help them play Brahms’s first sonata for viola (originally clarinet), Bartok’s great second violin sonata, and more.

Chico Freeman blows his horn at Jimmy Mak's. Photo: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune.

Chico Freeman blows his horn at Jimmy Mak’s. Photo: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune.

Chico Freeman
August 12
Jimmy Mak’s, Portland.
The sweet-toned Chicago saxophonist, a longtime Euro expat who’s worked with Henry Threadgill, Bobby Hutcherson, Kenny Barron, Wynton Marsalis, and other masters, returns home with a quartet (pianist Luke Carlos O’Reilly, bassist Kenny Davis, drummer Michael Baker for two sets of some of the summer’s hottest jazz.

Beloved Festival
August 12-15
Tidewater Falls, Tidewater
The forest fest of sacred sounds is also one of the state’s major world music gatherings, including King Sunny Ade, Dakhabrakha, Fanna fi Allah and more.

William Byrd Festival
August 13-15
St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1623 NW 19th Ave.; Episcopal Parish of St. John the Baptist, 6300 SW Nicol Road; Holy Rosary Church, 37 NE Clackamas St. Portland.
Every August, some of Oregon’s finest choral singers convene to perform the stirring music of England’s greatest Renaissance composer, Shakespeare’s contemporary William Byrd. Dr. Dana Marsh delivers Saturday morning’s public lecture: ‘The Volatile Church of Byrd’s Childhood,’ at Holy Rosary Church, before Cantores in Ecclesia, directed by Blake Applegate, sings that evening’s Mass featuring Byrd’s magisterial Mass for Five Voices. At the same church, the choir sings Sunday morning’s Pontifical High Mass features Byrd’s Mass for Three Voices. That afternoon at St. John the Baptist, Festival director Mark Williams plays organ music by 16th- and 17th-century British composers just before Cantores return to perform Byrd’s Great Service at Evensong. Monday at noon Mass, the festival’s instrumental consort plays chamber music from Byrd’s great Gradualia collection at Holy Rosary.

Cantores in Ecclesia performs at the William Byrd Festival.

Cantores in Ecclesia performs at the William Byrd Festival.

Britt Orchestra
August 13-14
Britt Pavilion, Jacksonville.
Teddy Abrams leads Saturday’s performance of Mahler’s massive Resurrection symphony, while Oregon’s own impressive jazz chanteuse Halie Loren fronts Sunday’s pops concert.

“Concerto: A Beethoven Journey”
August 13-14
Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave. Portland.
New documentary tracks renowned Norwegian concert pianist Leif Ove Andsnes’s exploration, onstage and off, of Beethoven’s mighty quintet of piano concertos.

 Al Andalus Ensemble
August 14
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral 147 NW 19th Ave. Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the Portland world music band’s first hometown concert in three years, part of Trinity’s ongoing exhibition of cross cultural/religious art and music.

Portland Festival Symphony
August 14
Washington Park, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the final installment in this summer’s long running classical music in the parks series.

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Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

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