The music of Cole Porter has the power to hypnotize with its delectable words and rhythms, and it did so Saturday, Oct. 22, at the San Fernando Valley Master Chorale’s Jewish Composer Series concert. While Porter wasn’t Jewish, the Golden State Klezmers wonderfully fit the bill.
The chorale, led by conductor Terry Danne, performed revue style, with soloists intermittently singing solos between individual songs and medleys by the choir. The group featured songs from shows Anything Goes and Kiss Me, Kate, along with some of Porter’s greatest hits, in a show that entertained the audience.
There were several outstanding solos. Publicist Annette Markell added an ironic, playful touch to “I Sleep Easier Now,” a comic look at happily being older, the hit of the show. Karen Matranga gave a passionate performance in her sexy, belting voice for “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.” Don Caldwell displayed some light comic chops and pleasing tenor in “Brush up Your Shakespeare” and other skits. Joane Franks and Tom Munsell enjoyed themselves with bouncy choreography and expressive performances for “Friendship.” A few soloists, however, seemed tentative or overdid the vibrato.
The Golden State Klezmers brought an element of festive, passionate abandon to the evening with their energetic playing. Performing a wide variety of klezmer music—Eastern European, Russian, wedding, tango, waltz—the group demonstrated spontaneous exuberance and excellent playing. The four men work well together, trading off solos and riffs.
At the enjoyable concert, Cole Porter’s elegant lyrics and polished melodies reveal why his music is wunderbar.
The San Fernando Valley Master Chorale performed “An Evening of Cole Porter” on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. in the Plaza del Sol Performance Hall at CSUN in Northridge.