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Selection: Hiss Golden Messenger’s “Hallelujah Anyhow,” released on Merge Records.
Review: Sometimes when a musician is too prolific, I worry that it’s a sign they’re running out of good ideas, and just releasing anything they can. That’s not the case with Hiss Golden Messenger, whose latest effort comes out just a year after 2016’s fantastic “Heart Like a Levee.” “Hallelujah Anyhow” is leaner than that album, but it’s also more focused, catchier and wryer. I can’t get enough of the group, and can’t wait to see if he pulls a threepeat next year.
Favorite song: “Jenny of the Roses”
Best song with “domino” in the title since Van Morrison: “ Domino (Time Will Tell) “
The concerts will be held in the Main Stage Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $29 - $34.
Call the Arvada Center box office at 720-898-7200 or go online to: https://arvadacenter.org/on-stage/jeffrey-siegel-keyboard-conversations-2
It seems like everybody took a piano lesson or two in their lives.I did for years, learning how to play some of my favorite Vince Guaraldi “Peanuts” songs, as well as the piano versions of some of my favorite pop songs at the time — stuff like the Dave Matthews Band.As with everything, it all comes down to having a great teacher. I certainly did.And for the past 30 years, Jeffrey Siegel has served as a proxy piano teacher to hundreds who came to his Keyboard Conversations at the Arvada Center. But instead of teaching how to play, he gives audiences a window into classical music and composers.“Thirty years is a milestone in this disposable society,” Siegel said with a laugh. “They haven’t disposed of me yet.”An internationally known pianist, Siegel has been a soloist with many of the world’s top orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Moscow State Symphony, Munich’s Bayerischer Rundfunk, and the Amsterdam, Oslo and Stockholm Philharmonic.Siegel kicks off his 30th season at the center on Oct. 4 with a focus on Leonard Bernstein, and will be hosting programs on music inspired by the night, storytelling through music, and the repertoire of masters like Beethoven, Liszt and Prokofiev during the season.But it’s not only about the performances for Siegel. It’s about the whole picture. He answers audiences’ questions, gives history and context to composers, pieces and musical eras, and shares stories.Think of it as a one-off music education class. I know I always find more in a piece of music, classical or otherwise, if I know what the musician intended, or was experiencing at the time.“Sometimes people have very specific questions, but often they’re happily general,” Siegel said. “So many would like the opportunity to ask a question of the performer on stage, but that opportunity never happens.”Classical music can be particularly intimidating for the uninitiated, which is why this guided approach is so effective for Siegel. And it has led to some of his favorite memories at the Center, like when students, who normally wouldn’t be the interested in classical, came backstage to share how much the music moved them.“I was so touched the music brought them backstage,” Siegel remembers. “Classical music can be like water on the desert. Even if a person isn’t a sophisticated concert goer, the music still gets through to them.”The interaction with his audience is what has kept Siegel coming back for three decades, as is knowing he’s giving people an entry-point to a genre that is all about humanity. And in an age of digitalization when everyone has their eyes on a screen, that matters.“We’re living today in the most robotic society ever. For a thinking, feeling person, there’s a greater need for something that really touches one, moves one, that cannot be gotten off a screen,” he said. “It’s about, as Bernstein called it, the ‘transformative power of music.’ It’s more necessary than ever before.”
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