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Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Leif Ove Andshes@ the NY Phil 12/30/09

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Last concert of the season for me was a winner. Alan Gilbert is committed to bringing “interesting ” works to the big stage at Avery Fischer Hall. He spoke of it before the second, and more difficult Webern Symphony. At only 10 minutes is is shorter that many symphony movements and IS not the easiest piece to listen to or play I agree with Alan that there is something about the piece that makes you want to know it and I’m glad that I heard it beautifully played by the NYP. It dosen’t seem to be recorded any where so this is the last time I’ll hear it. The program opens with a pre-twelve tone Webern; “Im Sommerwind” that had bits of the late romantic and early 20th century piled on, Schoenberg, Wagner etc. And it was a delight.The old ladies leaving the hall were heard saying” Oh I liked that first one better, didn’t you?” Yes we all did dear!
Leif Ove Andsnes played a magical Mozart piano concerto# 488 and kept us grounded in beautiful. The Schumann Symphony# 2 closed the program in grand NYP style. The Germans have to be the strong suit of the orchestra and so it is fitting to send us off into the new decade with Alan Gilbert at the helm confident that we will continue to love our home town band for that and be able to hear new things mixed in.

Last Look @ The Museum Shows

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm

OK the Guggenheim ‘s Kandinsky show is a block buster. It gets more beautiful every time you see it and the non representational art concept of Hela Rebay becomes more clear .
And so a trip to MoMA to see the Bauhaus, more Kandinsky and see how early to mid 20th century art unfolded. Lot’s of politics and utopian world views here, those damn Nazis closing it down, what could have happened. Next door the Oresco exhibit continues the “let’s make the guess” of the later half of the century.He is either very talented , and I don’t get it, or a well financed put together. Got to love the whale in the lobby.The Edward Sissorhands sculpture in he garden is a nice finish to the Tim Burton show that is wildly popular without any real merit as “art”
The Met continues to be the world class everything museum with the Samurai swords, I wonder what everyone is looking at; they are all the same. Robert Frank’s photo’s, on a Guggenheim grant coincidentally, are a striking reflection of mid century,20th, images that take in politics, finances and racial divides to remind us we haven’t come that far. Don’t forget how good the pics are! The American stories show really is an eye opener from the 18th & 19th & a little 20th century. It’s a nice response to the Frank in that the stories are a way of realizing that we are mostly of a pre enlightenment mentality no matter how sophisticated we think we are.
A revisit to The Whitney to see the abstractions of Georgia O’Keefe to see just how good this show is. The paintings and photos tell an early 20th century American story . The colors are bright and the sexual references are obvious, contrary to her denials, and it’ll be a shame when this shuts down. A pass on the Roni Horn, once is enough for that!
The gem that is called The Frick Collection is always quietly brilliant wit the Lugt collection of drawings from Watteau to Degas makes the soft statement that drawing is the basis for what we call art no matter how many video screens are turned on. As an afterthought maybe that’s what the Tim Burton show says too! This beautiful show is won’t get the noise of some of the block busters, but it adds to our city immeasurably

Contact@ Symphony Space12/17Lindberg

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2009 at 5:07 pm

The new director of the NY Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert, has promised to have more newly composed music and the first of these concerts was at Symphony Space. Magnus Lindberg, the composer in residence, conducted and chatted with the composers before each piece . The place was full of enthusiastic listeners for four world premiers by four composers. Arlene Sierra spoke about her interest in game theory and then we heard her aural conception of it in a interesting piece that moved the players into different groups for sounds. Then Lei Liang spoke about his new son Albert and how he assigned notes to Albert’s name and composed within that restriction and came up with a spacey sounding piece called Verge; like on the verge of this and that, great stuff. Marc-Andre Dalbavie said that he was moving towards a more linear type of composing and his piece, Melodia, was odd and charming at the same time. Arthur Kampela spoke of an Amazon legend, MACUNAIMA, and was a percussive holiday with the players moving down the aisles with noise makers and pulling strange sounds from the “real” instruments, pretty wild stuff.
I just hope that the new music isn’t delegated to odd venues, Not that Symphony Space is odd, but some how Mr. Gilbert finds a way to bring it to the Avery Fischer bunch too. I hate to say this, but take a peek at what Solonen did in L.A.

Les Contes D’Hoffman @ THe Met 12/7/09

In Uncategorized on December 11, 2009 at 3:36 pm

This is a must see production. Not only is the singing great, but the blend of modern and new sets bridges the “tosca” gap. Joseph Calleja makes you watch him through the whole opera, he is wonderful, and we’ll hear lots more of him, I’m sure. Kate Lindsey as the Muse is a shadow to Hoffmann, like the mirror image he loses in the third act. Alan Held as all four villains is creepy and sings well and has a terrific presence. It would have been nice to have Anna Netrebko as all four “loves” but it would be a shame not to have Kathleen Kim as Olympia, she stole the show with singing and acting as the doll. Giulietta, Gubanova, was a courtesan to deal with. The setting got applause, maybe for nudity? The real star is the Met Orchestra and chorus and James Levine, what will they do with out him?

From The House Of The Dead Met Opera 12/2/09

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Wish I could have seen this in Aix-en-Provence and then I would be way ahead of the curve. That being said , FTHOTD is a star for the new Met manager , Peter Gelb. A dark minimal set that looks like the walls of a prison, it is, and great lighting, Russian post modern?,and the Met Orchestra, with Esa-Pekka Salonen at last, make for the most depressing story of the season and somehow got to be everyones’ favorite, me included.There is no story, just painful monologues of how the prisoners arrive at the jail. The are quotidian stories that make them all the more frightening. Well sung in Czech by mostly unknown to me singers. The 2 “plays” that the prisoners preform seem to indicate that people retain their souls even in the most desperate places. Janacek wrote the music and the libretto at the very end of his life and one wonders how much his own imminent death figures in the play.The eagle flying off in the end should bring some hope to the prisoners but it is only a blip as their prison life goes on. The “gentleman” is released much as it happens in “real” life. And the the prison life goes on. This is a must see!