Monday, August 1, 2016

Menlo, part last

Since last Tuesday I've been back to Menlo three times - it would have been five, had time and car repair permitted - but today's was the last for me, though the festival lasts for the remainder of the week.

Two Prelude concerts, one featuring the Franck Piano Quintet - an old favorite that can be played very well or very badly; this was pretty good - and the other with the Borodin String Quartet No. 2, an unabashed piece of wet Romanticism that I'm pleased someone had the nerve to program.

Today's item was a talk by Stuart Isacoff on Scriabin. Not particularly deep or scintillating, its most interesting points were the semi-technical discussions of Scriabin building harmonies based on the tritone (a term Isacoff conspicuously avoided) to allow either note of that interval to be a pivot point from which he could reach any harmonic base. Illustrations at the piano of how that influenced modern jazz. I don't care for modern jazz, and I'm not that fond of Scriabin either, but it was interesting to learn about.

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