Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mountambrin Piano Recital - Mikhail Johnson

Nestled in the cool, rain-blessed hills of Westmoreland is Mountambrin, the home of Dr. Russell Gruhlke -  optometrist/farmer, Canute Gruhlke - manager of the property, and Lesbert Lee - wood-carver. It consists of the original house where Alex Haley wrote "Roots", a number of individual cottages in unusual architectural styles, the Mountambrin Tower, with views of the Westmoreland Plains,  and the Theatre Gallery, all surrounded by luxuriant vegetation in lovingly tended gardens.
If you are a lover of Classical Piano Music, be sure not to miss the recital there by Mikhail Johnson on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 from 2-4 p.m.

To reach Mountambrin, on the road from Montego Bay to Sav-la-Mar, take a left turn at Whithorn and drive a little over a mile up the road to Darliston. Turn left along Toad Road, signed to Mountambrin.  If you doubt you are on the right track, don't worry. After a mile you will reach your destination. Admire the views and vegetation along the way.
After parking, take the opportunity to stroll around the gardens and admire the sculptures before the concert begins.
Garden with Westmoreland Plains in the distance

Mikhail will be playing:
Bach Partita No.1 in G major (Praeambulum)
Beethoven Sonata No.6 in F major (1st and 2nd movements)
Debussy Prelude (from Suite Bergamasque)
in addition to works by  Rachmaninov, Teleman and an Original Composition by Mikhail himself.

Admission JA$1800.00, All Tickets will be Available at the Gate
Sudents with Id. JA$500.00
Music Student with Id; Free
Meals and Drinks will be Available for Purchase - dinner US$14.00

On Saturday, March 22, Dr. Russell Gruhlke had an informal get-together  to show appreciation to  Gayle Rich, the person behind the Music at Mountambrin. For over ten years, she has been bringing musicians from the US to play at Mountambrin. (See 'The Boston Piano Quartet'.) 
Patrons and musicians and their families enjoyed an appetizing meal of chicken, both curried and baked, with fried breadfruit, yam and green beans grown on the property. Dessert was a delectable mix of star apple and jackfruit (a Mountambrin speciality) with ice-cream. The diners generated lively conversation and much laughter. 

Jose, Canute, Elaine & Dr Rus  enthralled (Gayle's photo)
Among those present were Dr. Russell Gruhlke, Canute Gruhlke, Lesbert Lee, Gayle Rich, Steven Woodham, Elaine and Jose Oxamendi Vicet, Helen and Winston Williams, Bunny Rose, Mikhail Johnson, Maria Jose Parker, her husband Geoff and their two young children.

After dinner, we were treated to a wonderful concert. First, Steve Woodham on violin, accompanied by Maria Jose on the pano played:

From Porgy and Bess By Gershwin:
     My Man's Gone Now
     A Woman is a Somtime Thing
     It ain't Necessarily So
Theme from Schindler's List by John Williams
Liebesleid by Kreisler
Nigun by Bloch 
In the Style of Albeniz  by Shchedrin
Nocturne by Chopin
Mazurka by Wienawski
Danza Espanola by Manuel de Falla, and, 
Milonga sin palabras by Astor Piazzola, dedicated to Bunny Rose, 

 The lovely music of these world-class performers was enhanced by the acoustics of the Theatre Gallery.
Dr. Rus and Gayle Rich

Then Mikhail Johson took to the stage. He played some of the same pieces which he will play on Easter Sunday, together with pieces he played at his debut recital. Mikhail, in addition to
being exceptionally talented, practices consistently to strive for perfection.  
For the finale, Bunny Rose, famous for his cabaret performances, sang a variety of favourite songs, accompanying himself on the piano.

Bunny Rose and Steven Woodham  (Nov 2012)

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