Classical Music, Opera, Theatre, Photography, Art, Books, Travel, Food & Drink – the View from Western New England

Archive for March, 2009

Thomas Beecham: An Obsession with Music by John Lucas

Thomas Beecham: An Obsession with Music by John Lucas Boydell Press, Melton, Woodbrige, Suffolk, Rochester, NY, 2008: 384 pages The inimitable Beecham. A London impresario who competed with him called him ‘the bold bad baronet.’ Toscanini was more pithy and called him ‘pagliaccio,’ a clown. In return Beecham dubbed him ‘Toscaninny.’  At the turn of […]

John Harbison, Composer

John Harbison, Winter’s Tale (1974, rev. 1991)

John Harbison is a composer of international importance and deserves, and gets, performances and honors everywhere. But it is especially appropriate that Boston honor him, on this the occasion of his seventieth birthday, because he has given so much to the city as teacher, founder and leader of musical groups, promoter of music’s importance, encourager of young musicians, and, yes, composer. Boston’s many musical organizations, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, have turned to Harbison over the years for new pieces and been supplied with plenty that have meant a great deal to audiences here—chamber ensemble works, vocal works, symphonies. In the concert of March 20th, the formidable Boston Modern Orchestra Project, led by Gil Rose, presented in concert version Harbison’s early opera Winter’s Tale, based on the Shakespeare play. And though at the end the audience reception was very warm for all concerned, the greatest applause went to the composer.






Francesco Mazzola, il Parmigianino, Madonna And Child With St John The Baptist And St Jerome, red chalk heightened with white, with traces of black chalk, over underdrawing in stylus, Sotheby's Paris, Lot no. 11

Collection Robert Lebel: Old Master and 19th-century Drawings , Sotheby’s Paris, Auction, March 25, 2009

Whenever a work of art changes hands there is always a story behind it. When a collection appears on the market an entire lifetime emerges, or, in the case of figures like Robert Lebel (1901-1986), a chapter in history. In the catalogue to the sale of his old master drawings, Sotheby’s manages to condense Lebel’s extraordinary range of interests and experience into a single paragraph. To say that he “defied classification” is not an exaggeration. An art historian and collector, he wrote essays, novels, as well as the first biography of Marcel Duchamp. He was a friend of André Breton, Max Ernst, and Jacques Lacan. During the Second World War the circle went into exile in New York, where Matta, Tanguy, and Claude Lévi-Strauss joined them. At this time Lebel acquired as special interest in American Indian art, especially Eskimo art. His pioneering collection of Eskimo masks was sold at the Hôtel Drouot in 2006. Now Sotheby’s has dispersed his important collection of old master and 19th-century drawings.






Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective – Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 1 – May 11, 2009

Pretty funny guy, for a German. The curators who put together the current large retrospective of Martin Kippenberger, knowing that his name will be new to almost every visitor, have emphasized that he’s funny. Or, to use their choice of words, hilarious, absurd, all over the map. Without prompting, I doubt that many viewers would think […]

William Douglas Home’s Lloyd George Knew My Father

Lucas Miller reviews this revival of William Douglas Home’s 1972 play at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh.






Sol LeWitt III: The ABCDs of Sol Lewitt

This exhibition at Williams College Museum of Art is supplemental to the immense retrospective installation at MassMoca in North Adams. In some surprising ways it reveals more of the evidentiary by-products of the thought process of the seminal conceptual artist than the spectacular realizations at MassMoca.






Kreutzer Series no. 1 by Joanna Gabler

Joanna Gabler, Kreutzer Series: Gallery

After hearing Ani Kavafian and Mihae Lee’s recital of September 25, 2008 in Chapin Hall (reviewed here), Joanna Gabler felt inspired, especially by their playing of Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata. She went to her studio after the concert and began a series of  mixed media drawings which recreate the impression the Ms Kavafian and Ms Lee’s playing of the sonata made on her that evening. The works, which involve a complex monoprint-like process  created with water-soluble oils enriched by pen, pencil, and pastel overdrawings on layers of a very thin, semi-transparent paper and superimposed on a white background with an archival matte acrylic medium, took some time to complete, but they capture the immediacy of her experience in the concert hall.






Uncle Vanya, Classic Stage Company, NYC

Uncle Vanya Maggie Gyllenhaal and Denis O’Hare in Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov Translated by Carol Rocamora Directed by Austin Pendleton Classic Stage Company, New York, January 17, 2009—March 8, 2009 Cast Marina – Cyrilla Baer Astrov – Peter Sarsgaard Vanya – Denis O’Hare Serebryakov – George Morfogen Telegin – Louis Zorich Sonya – Mamie […]