Some previous visitors join forces — or is it some kind of unholy fusion? — in both jazz and classical realms this haunted weekend, which features music and even instruments raised from the dead, or at least reprised from past performances. If you know of more music to frighten or fascinate our readers, please note those shows in the comments section below.
Dave Douglas Meets The Westerlies
October 27, Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute, Eugene, and October 28, The Old Church, Portland.
One of the jazz’s most visionary and admired composers/bandleaders/trumpeters, Dave Douglas, returns to Oregon — but in a different configuration than the many we’ve seen there. This time, he’s playing new music he wrote for The Westerlies, the young Seattle-born, New York based brass quartet who enchanted Portland and Eugene audiences last year and who’ll be joining Douglas and drummer Anwar Marshall. It’s a don’t-dare-miss double treat.
Edgar Meyer and the Dover Quartet
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland.
Chamber Music Northwest brings back two frequent festival guest artists in a combined show. Read my Willamette Week preview.
Mood Area 52, Bijou Art Cinemas, Eugene.
The inventive Eugene ensemble Mood Area 52 disinters its original live score (electric guitar, cello, accordion, bass, horns, toy piano, percussion, tango, jazz) to FW Murnau’s German expressionist classic original Dracula film, preceded by scenes from Haxan, an early 20th century witchcraft documentary that MA52 composer/bandleader Michael Roderick describes as “batshit weird.”
Lincoln Recital Hall, Portland State University
The pianist and lecturer nonpareil, a frequent Portland visitor, returns with a lecture-recital featuring works by Beethoven, Ravel and Liszt.
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, Portland.
The venerable ensemble, founded in 1898, plays traditional Mexican folk music on authentic instruments including vihuelas, guitarróns, violins and harps and more.
Oregon Guitar Quartet
Marylhurst University’s Wiegand Hall
The wide-ranging foursome’s program this time includes music by JS Bach, Isaac Albéniz, Manuel de Falla, a traditional Greek song, and an original by founder and Portland composer Bryan Johanson.
Portland Baroque Orchestra
First Baptist Church, 1110 SW Taylor St. Portland.
This PBO concert is a big deal in many ways, most important being a new piece, Mélena imí, by contemporary Greek composer Calliope Tsoupaki for baroque instruments — something we’re starting to see more of, and a promising sign for early music ensembles that can become mere antiquities museums. Second, it introduces PBO’s new chamber music series (maybe they should henceforth just call themselves Portland Baroque), which could provide opportunities for Oregonians to hear smaller-scale early music, in this case by worthy but not so often heard Italian composers Cazzati, Corradini, Marini, D’India, Sances, Fontana, Merula, Bassani, and Carissimi (plus one you do hear, Scarlatti). Third, it features a quartet of highly regarded performers: Bruce Dickey, the musician most responsible for reviving the once archaic cornetto by showing how gorgeous it can sound in the lips of a real virtuoso; Czech soprano Hana Blažíková; the internationally renowned, Seattle-based lutenist and music director Stephen Stubbs; and of course PBO’s own violin virtuosa and leader Monica Huggett. All in all, it’s PBO’s most fascinating offering in memory.
“Much Ado About Nothing” (“Béatrice et Bénédict”)
October 28 & 30
Soreng Theater, Willamette Street and 7th Ave. Eugene.
Read my ArtsWatch preview of the company’s production of Berlioz’s Shakespearean opera.
Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th, Portland.
What a brilliant idea PCJE’s Douglas Detrick had: take songs by some simpatico Portland songwriters (Catherine Feeny, Tahirah Memory, Johanna Warren, Haley Henderickx, Black Prairie’s Annalisa Tornfelt) and give them to several of the city’s top jazz composers (Noah Bernstein, Clay Giberson, Ryan Meagher, Kathleen Hollingsworth, Lars Campbell and others) to arrange them for big band, and thereby combine the considerable talents of two Oregon musical communities who too seldom cross creative paths. The real winners are likely to be Portland listeners of both pop and jazz inclinations.
Sage Fisher & Friends
Leaven Community Center, 5431 NE 20th Ave, Portland.
The Dolphin Midwives singer/songwriter harpist leads a performance of Invisibility Ritual, a new work for Dröna Choir, in this Creative Music Guild extravaganza that also features a strong supporting lineup: ALTO!, Pulse Emitter, Sea Charms, Dead Death (perfect for Day of the Dead!), Dolphin Midwives and Starchild.
Hope Abbey Mausoleum, Eugene Masonic Cemetery, E. 26th and University, Eugene.
The Eugene early music ensemble’s Day of the Dead concert returns from the grave Oct. 29 at (shudder) the Masonic Cemetery Mausoleum at E. 26th and University. They’ll sing a powerful lament on the fall of the Roman Empire by the great Renaissance composer Dufay, and other suitably spooky Renaissance and Baroque music by Purcell, Josquin, the murderer Gesualdo, Byrd, Lassus and more.
“Rainer Hersch’s Victor Borge”
Nordia House, 8800 SW Oleson Rd. Portland.
The great Danish comedian Victor Borge made a brilliant career spoofing classical music in the second half of the last century. British pianist Rainer Hersch, another classically trained concert pianist, recreates Borge’s hilarious routines and more, in an act that’s received acclaim at fringe festivals and in other performances around the world. Portland’s own queen of classical comedy, Dianne Davies, opens.
October 29, St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1716 NW Davis, and October 30, St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, 1112 SE 41st St. Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the Portland vocal ensemble’s spellbinding program of Byzantine chant from Hagia Sophia.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
An excellent and seasonally appropriate program includes music that rose from the dead: Janáček’s Overture to From the House of the Dead rose, zombie like, from the corpse of a stillborn violin concerto; Leopold Stokowski transmogrified J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue from an organ solo into an orchestral eruption and then a cinematic thriller, as seen in Fantasia; and Prokofiev reincarnated his Symphony No. 3 from his buried opera The Fiery Angel. The non creepy entry stars violinist Joseph Swensen in one of the great American concertos, the one Samuel Barber wrote in 1939 for a commissioner who deemed it unworthy; fortunately, another violinist revived it from near-death experience to immortality.
Fear No Music
Read my Willamette Week preview of the new music ensemble’s family friendly afternoon Halloween show, check out the NPR story behind one of the pieces (born of a hoax, sort of), and don’t forget to wear your costume!
Delgani String Quartet
October 30, Prince of Peace Episcopal Church, 1525 Glen Creek Rd NW, Salem, and Tuesday November 1, at United Lutheran Church, 2230 Washington St, Eugene.
Just starting its second full season, the young foursome plays music by early 20th century composer Anton Webern; one of the 19th century’s most moving quartets, which Felix Mendelssohn wrote shortly after his beloved sister’s death and shortly before his own; and Dmitri Shostakovich’s famous 1960 eighth quartet, the Russian composer’s most personal and powerful. Read Daniel Heila’s ArtsWatch review of last season’s closing concert.
“Beautiful ~ The Carole King Musical”
November 1 – 6
Keller Auditorium, Portland.
The Tony & Grammy Award-winning Broadway hit theatrical biography of one of America’s greatest songwriters (and, though famously born in Brooklyn, later a long time Northwesterner) comes to Portland.