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Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Lorin Maazel@ The NY Philharmonic

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Lorin Maazel is leaving the NY Philharmonic in great shape for Alan Gilbert . His farewell is long and the part I saw on Thursday night was a great coda to his tenure. Starting out with two rarely heard Maazel compositions and finishing, no pun intended? with Sibelius’  Symphony No. 2 is great programming. Morocco Fanfares was a short piece that is almost melodic and 20 years old. Followed by Farewells, a noisy 20 minutes from 10 years ago that I was in a minority by liking. Maazel has not played his own compositions much so this was a treat. To appease the audience the Symphony No. 2 was as good as it gets. The sound in the much maligned Avery Fisher Hall was sublime. The waves of sound and the horn accents that make this piece were perfect and the audience responed with a great ovation for Maazel and the individuals that he recognized and our wonderful NY Philharmonic. Bon Voyage Maestro!

Afghanistan@ The Met

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2009 at 3:09 pm

New civilizations, no, old ones that we know nothing about are a part of history that we spend very little time exploring. Generally there is no written language, so we have to find them where they are buried for centuries. The French and Russians were digging in Afghanistan until 1979. They unearthed four sites spanning the years of the Silk Road trade route from the Greek and Roman Empires across unnamed nomadic tribes and the cities that evolved along the route to India and China to accommodate and profit from the trading.  They travelled by pack animals so  the treasures had to be light and precious, spices and gold and metals. Tepe Fullol from the Bronze Age,the Hellenistic city of Ai Khanum,first century Begram, and Tillya Tepe are the names given to the sites that were discovered. The artifacts are arranged by site with a must see film that really makes sense of the project for this unschooled visitor. The Afghans that risked their lives to save these treasures are the stars of the show. Contemporary Afghans can look back and realize that they have been an integral part of history.

The intermingling of western and eastern technique makes for beautiful artifacts unlike what we are used to. The folding crown , so it can be stored easily and moved, might not only be the most beautiful in the show, but the most telling. Gold vessels from the bronze Age and Greek sculptures and architectural elements and Indian style ivories and Roman glass are the broad categories of the artifacts. These ancient people had complex societies and interaction with all the other cultures that traded along the route influenced them and brought new ideas and techniques and materials  that they made their own.

I went to this show with no preconception and left with a better understanding of the region and what the world needs to consider to move forward in our “trade route” with Afghanistan

Yankees & Mets @ The Stadium

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2009 at 1:29 pm

A real pitchers duel,  Santana & Burnett. As I settled into my seat after a long wait on the will call line, not fun, the balls started flying all over the park 2 in the second 9 in the fourth 2 in the seventh and a couple more in the 8th to make it a batting practice for the Yanks. I felt bad for the 2 Santana fans, came from Venezuela just to see their countryman, who snuck out in the 6th inning. It turned into a sunny day just for this romp. All was right for the Yankee nation. The new park is great! Easy to get in and out cushioned seats and the food is much better; I had a pulled pork sandwich(& a beer, after all it is a baseball game)There is not a bad seat in the house, of course we miss the old park and the ghosts that go with it but this might be the charm to break the world series drought.

Jesse Colin Young @ B.B. King’s

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Jesse in a Hawaiian shirt and playing ukelele, ending with a interesting arrangement of Get Together? The second set was fun. The first set though was real JCY, a couple of classics( That’s The Way She Feels About You makes me cry) and a couple of new tunes with a tight band of acoustic guitar, drums, bass, and violin.He didn’t play up the nostalgia; just good playing and good songs. It was a real kick to be there .

August: Osage County @The Music Box

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm

This show is not the must see that it portends to be. It might be more interesting if my family wasn’t just as disfunctional. The acting was good and the set too. The play just didn’t reach me some how. I want to like things so it’s hard for me to say that I didn’t like it. There were few surprises and the audience laughed at sad things. Maybe that was the issue . The seriousness didn’t come across. Suicide isn’t really funny and the loss that each person feels is raw, the abandonment and blame, and all the rest in a big crazy family should be plenty to explore. Instead they seemed like cartoons not real people, hence the laughing at the wrong times? Violet,Phylicia Rashed, moved in and out of being lucid, drugs and all and in the end she was left alone; kind of the point in dysfunction. This play got many awards and praise so I am in a minority, but much ado about nothing.

The Washington Square Music Festival@ St. Joseph’s Church

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2009 at 2:11 pm

This was the first of the summer festivals and one can only hope the rest are as good. Starting traditionally with a Beethoven clarinet trio with Lutz Rath, on cello and David Oei on piano and Steven Hartman on clarinet. Then moving to a difficult Stravinsky concerto for piano and winds and finishing with an impossing new work for bass trombone and voice and winds, from David Taylor written just for the festival. Usually the concerts are in Washington Square, but this one benefitted from being in St. Josephs’ Church on 6th Ave. The Clarinet trio was beautifully played and sounded like a long time together group; they are not, bravo. The Concerto for Piano and Winds  is a daunting piece that Stravinsky wouldn’t let any one else conduct; what with changing time signatures a difficult sonic changes , but Lutz Rath tackled it with gusto and got a fine proformance . The David Taylor “Too Suite” was a show piece for his bass trombone,like a trombone only prettier, according to David. This was a roller coaster of sound from very soft to wild back and forth between the orchestra and the bass trombone and very effective. A real Washington Square show stopper to end a very entertaining and provocative concert.

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone@ The Belasco

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I’m glad I saw this the night before the Obama’s went , because it was long without all the hoopla that went on “date night” for Bo & Mo; hope they had as good a time as I did. August Wilson’s 10 play cycle of the 20th century from a black perspective is a tour de force in American theater.  This is the 1910’s

This play has a memory of slavery in the not so distant past and the move to get opportunity and find a place in America. The aptly named Hereld  Loomis, Chad L Coleman, looking for his wife Martha Pentecost, Danai Gurira, after being held captive by Joe Turner is the plot line and all the poetry that each character adds to the ensemble seems to sing of the plight of these folks that aren’t sure where to go or how to get there until Hereld meets his wife and they confront the issues that seperated them in a rousing duet until Hereld  hands over his daughter to her mother so she can be whole and he becomes a “shining man” that Bynum, Roger Robinson,  has been looking for. Whew and that’s not the whole story, you have to add in Seth Holly & Berta Holly, and Rutherford and Jeremy, and Zonia, and Rueben and Molly to be the aware of the balance for this band of lost souls. By the time all this yelling and crying and moaning is over you have a real feel for the plight of the early 20th Century for people of color. The fine cast brings every moment to light and the sparse sets let you see all the action , because this is a very physical play. Some how August Wilson transcends the stereotypes and puts real life into the characters so that we can all relate to them!