Ventura Music Festival – Ventura CA

Christopher Parkening & Jubilant Sykes

July 13th, 8pm

Christopher Parkening & Jubilant Sykes

Sublime guitarist joins renowned baritone in a recital ranging from classical and jazz to American spirituals

Saturday, July 13th at 8 pm
Ventura College Performing Arts Center
4700 Loma Vista Road, Ventura

Christopher Parkening       | guitar
Jubilant Sykes                   | baritone
Mark Rice                         | piano

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
Traditional | Patrick Russ
O Caçador | Laurindo Almeida
Boi bumba | Traditional
Pámpano verde | Francisco de la Torre
Granadinas | Traditional | Barrera | Calleja
Ching-a-Ring Chaw | Aaron Copland | Patrick Russ
America | Traditional | Philip Lester
Koyunbaba, Op. 19 | Carlo Domeniconi

~ Intermission ~

Lamento | Rique Pantoja
La rosa y el sauce | Carlos Gustavino
The Cage | Charles Ives
But Not for Me | George Gershwin
Cry Me a River | Arthur Hamilton
Witness | Traditional | Jubilant Sykes
He’s Got the Whole World
Traditional | Margaret Bonds-Patrick Russ

Christopher Parkening—”America’s reigning classical guitarist”—is celebrated for his rare combination of dramatic prowess, eloquent musicianship and uniquely beautiful sound that has captivated audiences around the world for over 40 years. Heir to the legacy of the great Spanish guitarist Andrés Segovia, he has performed at the White House, Live from Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall’s 100th anniversary celebration; and appeared in innumerable recitals and as guest soloist with the globe’s finest orchestras. His extensive discography includes Grammy-nominated Parkening and the Guitar and The Pleasures of Their Company; Christopher Parkening Celebrates Segovia; Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez; and the performer’s silver anniversary 2-CD collection The Great Recordings. Parkening is Distinguished Professor of Music at Pepperdine University in Malibu, where the annual Parkening International Guitar Competition for young artists is held. The devoted educator is author of many pedagogy books and music folios for players plus an autobiography Grace Like A River.

Jubilant Sykes “is authentically passionate and vocally enthralling, masterfully fusing his classical, jazz and gospel backgrounds,” says Opera News. “Perhaps no vocalist of our time possesses a more exquisitely versatile instrument than this American baritone,” says The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Mr. Sykes has performed with such leading artists, ensembles and stages as Reneé Fleming, Julie Andrews, and Carlos Santana; l’Orchestre de Paris, New York Philharmonic, London Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic; and the Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl and New Orleans Jazz Festival. His albums include Jubilant Sykes Sings Copland and Spirituals (2010); Jubilant with jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard; and a classic songs collection Wait for Me. Jubilation (2007) features some favorites of the many pieces that Christopher Parkening and Jubilant Sykes have performed together over the last fifteen years.

Mark Rice is in demand as both an accompanist and instrumental arranger for such major orchestras as the London Symphony, the Boston Pops, and the Dallas Symphony; and for the album Jubilant Sykes Sings Copland and Spirituals.

Afro-American spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child is the intensely emotional lament of a “true believer” orphaned from “my heavenly land” to express his deep hurts and hopes—a slave’s plea that his trials will find favor and ultimate justice in God.

O Caçador (The Hunter) exhibits the lively blend of Brazilian rhythms, folk music forms and highly appealing melodies that Brazilian guitarist and composer Laurindo Almeida (1917-1995) called samba-jazz, part of the larger “climate” of bossa nova.

Boi bumba (Bull, charge!) cry the crowds at the Amazonia Folklore Festival, a Carnival-like musical play about the life, death and resurrection of a magical ox.

Pámpano verde (Tendril green) young vines entwine with maidens “walking at such an hour” in this delicate song by a sacred and secular Spanish composer Francisco de la Torre (14??-1507) who served at the court of the Kingdom of Naples in Italy.

Granadinas is a traditional farewell adapted by composers Tomás Barrera and Rafael Calleja (both 1870-1938) as Adiós, Granada for their zarzuela Emigrantes, a Spanish theater form blending verismo opera, operetta and Iberian folkloric idioms.

For his Old American Songs, Aaron Copland (1900-1990) adapted the Minstrel song Ching-a-Ring Chaw by revising its dialect lyrics but retaining its exuberant tempo and vision of a bright future in the Promised Land.

America, or My Country, ‘Tis of Thee by Samuel Francis Smith was the de facto U.S. national anthem before The Star-Spangled Banner was officially adopted in 1931, sharing its anonymous melody with the UK’s national anthem God Save the Queen.

Koyunbaba or “sheep father” is a suite pastorale by Italian guitarist and composer Carlo Domeniconi (b.1947) who  says it describes “the natural beauty of a little bay” overlooking the Aegean Sea where the Turkish saint Koyunbaba or Seyit Ali lived centuries ago.

The ethereal vocalise Lamento by Brazilian pianist, composer and arranger Rique Pantoja (b. 1955) shows his love for his bossa nova roots and the soft, smooth vibrato-less voice of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker with whom he toured for many years.

La rosa y el sauce (The rose and the willow) is the most beloved art song by Argentine composer Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000): The rose opened/entwined with the willow/How the tree loved her/but a vain girl stole the flower/and now the willow weeps inconsolably.

The Cage is one of American composer Charles Ives’ (1874-1954) most poignantly witty art songs: A leopard went around his cage/from one side back to the other;/he stopped only when the keeper came around with meat;/A boy who had been there 3 hours began to wonder, “Is life anything like that?”

George Gershwin (1898-1937) and  brother Ira (1896-1983) originally wrote But Not for Me for their musical Girl Crazy (1930) sung by Ginger Rogers: They’re writing songs of love, but not for me/A lucky star’s above, but not for me/With love to lead the way/I found more skies of gray/Than any Russian play could guarantee.

Cry Me a River is the best known tune by American songwriter Arthur Hamilton (b. 1926): You told me you love me/Why did you leave me all alone/Now you tell me you need me/When you call me on the phone/Girl, I refuse…/ The bridges were burned/Now it’s your turn, to cry…

My soul is a Witness for my Lord is an upbeat Afro-American spiritual full of Bible stories—Methuselah, Samson and Delilah, and Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands was first published in 1927 but ironically became one of the most popular spirituals ever recorded only after English singer Laurie London made it a pop hit in 1957.

Sponsors:  John Hammer & Hammer-Hewson Associates
                Rosalind C. Warner M.D. & Michael Hogan M.D.
                E.J. Harrison & Sons
                Community Memorial Health System
                Susan Van Abel & Eric J. Oltmann