Concert Review: San Jose Chamber Orchestra premieres Touchi’s “Kahea”

Posted on: September 1, 2010

In Monday’s (8/30) Mercury News (San Jose, California), Richard Scheinin writes, “The San Jose Chamber Orchestra called on two of the South Bay’s superfine talents over the weekend: composer Michael Touchi and mezzo-soprano Layna Chianakas. The occasion was the start of the orchestra’s 20th season. The vehicle was Touchi’s ‘Kahea (The Call),’ a new setting of traditional Hawaiian religious texts—which must be some kind of a first in classical music. A San Jose native whose parents hail from Hawaii, Touchi has a reputation as a deft and judicious orchestrator. … Commissioned by the orchestra and Barbara Day Turner, its conductor and founder, ‘Kahea’ unfolds in five movements, each devoted to a paraphrase or translation of a traditional chant. The first excerpts the Kumulipo, the Hawaiian creation chant; the last draws on a traditional sunrise chant to the new day. Taken together, the five movements form what Touchi describes as an extended ‘invocation.’ ” The program began with Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, “followed by Steven Mark Kohn’s ‘Hymn for String Orchestra’—which, back in 1995, was the first piece ever premiered by the orchestra. … The program also included Robert Cornejo’s ‘Mestengo,’ Spanish for ‘mustang.’ ”

Posted September 1, 2010