Tuesday, August 13, 2013

concert review: Cabrillo Festival

For the final concert, chronologically, of the flood that's kept me occupied for the last three weeks - I have one more review coming later, of a slightly earlier event - my editor sent me to the Cabrillo Festival finale, at Mission San Juan Bautista, pretty much because I'm the furthest south reviewer, the only one for whom driving to SJB isn't much of a burden. It's about an hour from here if there's no traffic, but there was.

My first thought was, "Ugh, the Mission's hard benches." But they weren't much of a problem this time. My second thought was, "Ugh, Magnus Lindberg's clarinet concerto," but that turned out not to be much of a problem either.

The concert was at 4 p.m. (there's an evening repeat, but I had to be back by then) and I arrived about 1:30, figuring to have a leisurely late lunch in one of the tiny backwater town's 3 or 4 peaceful backwater restaurants. Not a chance. Sometime since the last time I've done a concert at the Mission, they've set up a street fair in SJB on Cabrillo Sunday. Not like one of the art festivals we get further north, this was table after table, block after block, of junk from people's attics. Not antiques or anything like that, just junk. Nevertheless it was hugely popular, and the town was packed. So were the restaurants. It was after 2 before I'd parked, surveyed the scene, and determined that there was no booth food worth having, so I had to run back to Gilroy for a quick snack instead.

Short version of the review: I didn't exactly like any of the music, but it all impressed the heck out of me.

On the long walk back to the car, I overheard a man behind me note to his partner that he'd attended an organ recital from the Carmel Bach Festival at the Carmel Mission just a couple weeks before, so that was two mission concerts in short order. I turned around and said, "Have you ever been to a concert at Mission Santa Clara?" He said no, but I have, and I've been to concerts at Mission San Jose, too. He, in turn, reminded me of Holy Cross in Santa Cruz (ta da, same name), which might count as it's the successor church of a mission. So we've been to concerts in five of them, and I've been to a wedding in a sixth. That puts us in a good missionary position. Only 15 to go.

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