Arts & Events
Around & About Music: Berkeley Chamber Concerts Presents the Ives String Quartet Playing Haydn, Henry Cowell & Smetana; Grand Finale This Year's Westbrae Free Concerts—& Received! 'Long Old Road,' Smooth Toad's Latest CD
—Berkeley Chamber Concerts presents the Ives String Quartet—Susan Freier, violin; Steven Harrison, cello; Jodi Levitz, viola; & Bettina Mussumeli, violin—playing Haydn's Quartet in F Major, opus 50, no. 5 "The Dream;" Henry Cowell's Quartet no. 4 "United Quartet" & Smetana's Quartet no. 1 "From My Life," 8 p. m. Tuesday, October 9, in the Ballroom of the Berkeley City Club, appropriately for Bay Area composer Cowell in particular, a 1929 Julia Morgan-designed "castle." A complimentary reception with wine & cheese will follow, giving listeners a chance to meet & speak with the musicians. (The Ives Quartet is committed to performing European classic pieces together with those by less-played American composers.) $25; high school students free; students past high school, $12.50. 525-5211; berkeleychamberperformances.com
—Two unusual shows at Piedmont Piano this weekend: Saturday at 8, Bulgarian guitarist-composer Hristo Vitchev (his latest album, 'Heartmony') with sensational Brazilian pianist-Latin Grammy nominee Weber Iago (formerly a Bay Area resident) & vibraphonist-Downbeat awardwinner Christian Tamburr; at 2 on Sunday, longtime Bay Area favorite (& Nicasio, Marin County resident) stride pianist Mike Lipskin, with Gypsy guitarist Paul Mehring & Mike's vocal sidekick, the charming Dinah Lee. $15, either show. Piedmont Piano, 1728 san Pablo Avenue @ 18th Street, Oakland ("Uptown"). 547-8188; piedmontpiano.com
—The Grand Finale of this year's Westbrae Free Concerts this Saturday late morning-early afternoon, produced by Mary Prophet, will feature; Middle Eastern oud player Claude Palmer, 10-10:20; Alan Lipton (Acid Folk, Progressive Rock) 10:25-10:40; Sauce Piquante Duo (Cajun-Creole), 10:45-11; Andrew Page (lyric-driven originals); Backyard Tarzans (Blues, Rock, Operetta), 11:25-11:40; Rebecca Prophet (Jazz, Broadway, Pop), 11:45-12; Betsy Rose & Occupella (Progressive Folk), 12:05-12:20; Rich Kalman (Jazz, Blues, Broadway, Pop), 12:25-12:40; Michael DeWall (Jazz, Calypso, Bossa Nova), 12:45-1 ... All in the Garden at the Bagel shop/Toot Sweet, 1281 Gilman @ Curtis, by the BART elevated tracks.
—Smooth Toad, Berkeley's Dynamic Trio—Blake Street Hawkeyes co-founder Bob Ernst on harmonica & vocals, fiddler-guitarist-harmonica player extraordinaire Hal Hughes & poet G. P. Skratz on vocals & guitar (with a little help from "Toad Emeritus" Andy Dinsmore)—have just issued their latest CD, 'Long Old Road.' On a quick listen, it's something delightful, completely sui generis ... All three Toads write numbers—Hal Hughes' "Magpie Yodel," for one; Bob Ernst's "Pope of the Bay" (Emperor Norton) for another (or his special "Lorca's Lullabye")—& a couple unusual poetic ventures by Skratz, supported by Hughes as composer or arranger: "Kaspar Is Dead," his translation of Dadaist Hans Arp's poem about a favorite sprite, for Jerry Garcia, & "Pound's Brindisi," a piece by the great modern master poet, music'd by Robert Hughes, arranged by Hal ... Lend it your ears—you'll get them back with interest! (A fuller review will follow.) arundosalon.com or myspace.com/smoothtoad!