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Joanna Gabler, Korfu 3, archival inkjet print, from Artists without Borders, an exhibition on view at the Brill Gallery in the Eclipse Mill, North Adams. (Click image to enlarge.)
Joanna Gabler, Korfu 3
 
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Commentary 25: Changes
Michael Miller
February 16, 2009April 2, 2009

This will most likely be our last mailing in our original format. I have been busy redesigning The Review in a more up-to-date format. The new site will be easier and more fun to browse, and it will be considerably streamlined on our end. Still, I don't think that we'll be attempting to emulate a daily. As of this month, some of our most read pages today were posted a surprising time ago, among them the reviews of the exhibition Pollock Matters, posted 12/7/07, of the Chichester Festival Macbeth with Patrick Stewart, posted 3/28/08, of the John Cage Tribute at Bard, one of our very first posts (10/2/07); and R. C. Sherriff's Journey's End was reviewed in another publication even before The Berkshire Review for the Arts was launched (3/20/07). An online periodical has a temporal depth lacking in print publications—depth as in the bottom of a drawer—as if our format takes care of clipping the article and slipping it into the old copy of War and Peace you thought you might re-read, which ends up forgotten on the side-table, along with the review of this or that Chekhov play, a middle period Le Carré, or one of Oistrakh's New York recitals.

...which reminds me that our Russian element continues to grow, perhaps partially because of what appeals to Mr. Kurilla, Mr. Khodosh, and myself, but also because of the direction of activity in the world at large: Valery Gergiev's musical empire, headquartered in St. Petersburg, the eagerness to produce Chekhov among theatrical companies here and in London, the extensive and vigorous culture of Russian-Americans in New York and all over the country, and not least the splendid talent of young Russian-born musicians, like the soprano Roza Tulyaganova (from Uzbekistan, to be accurate, like Yefim Bronfman) and the pianist Maria Yefimova, whose virtuosity and taste lit up an evening in Weill Recital Hall back in January. We've just finished an epic traversal of Prokofiev's seven symphonies, including two versions of the Fourth; and memories of the Classic Stage Company's very American Uncle Vanya, the Bridge Theater Project's Anglo-American Cherry Orchard, and the Royal Court's very English Seagull are still vivid. Both violated many of the conventions passed on by the Moscow Art Theater and its Anglo-Saxon imitators, and in most ways they were the better for it. The Royal Court Seagull was the most polished and disciplined, the Bridge Project intriguingly experimental, and the CSC visceral and vulgar: conceptually it was as three-dimensional as its set, and so enveloping that I felt a trifle disorientated afterwards, as if I'd been actually living amongst these vividly repellent folk. Erica Schmidt's Vanya at Bard by contrast co-opted the audience by distancing them. None of these productions were flawless, but I valued them all. After seeing the CSC performance I took an aging VHS cassette of the venerable Olivier Vanya from the 1961 Chichester Festival out of the library and marvelled at Michael Redgrave's nobly pathetic Vanya, a heart-wrenching interpretation. Of course this classic production, which I hope will be made available in better quality in current media, doesn't give us any answers for now or for the future. It is important to remember that Vanya is not an entirely a fool or an abject whiner...but times have changed. Much of the poetic indirection of Olivier's Uncle Vanya comes from the exigencies of good manners, which are unheard of in Austin Pendleton's production at the CSC. At Bard, Peter Dinklage's complexity of mood, intelligence, and deep alienation redeemed the character somewhat, while at the CSC Denis O'Hare's neurotic clown was upstaged in whininess by Peter Sarsgaard's brilliant, off-beat, and rather disgusting Astrov. (Sarsgaard derived some of his character's tics from Olivier, who played Astrov in his own production, but intended something entirely different with them.) There will be more. The Review will be publishing further reflections on some of these productions, and we have a Hungarian production of Chekhov's Ivanov to look forward to at the Lincoln Center Festival this summer. And Prokofiev will be back soon, as well, when Mark Morris brings back Mark Morris' Romeo and Juliet.

I imagine the Review will continue to travel in this Eastern European direction. We still have to discuss Opera Boston's brilliant production of Shostakovich's The Nose, after Gogol's short story, and The Nose will come again—to the Met next season.

I'm also to delighted to welcome two new writers to the review, Seth Lachterman, who is well known in the Berkshires for his program annotations and his blog, "Furtive Gestures," and JC Scott, a designer and arts leader in Victoria, British Columbia.

Among our own critically important innovations, we shall adopt the British orthography, "theatre," as our standard on the new site, since so many American companies affect it. Indeed, dictionaries should explain its specialized connotations in American English, not only as legitimate theater, as it has traditionally been understood, but as the particular combination of old and and modern we enjoy here in the Berkshires and in repertory theatres around the country—and it will simplify copy-editing, not least by reducing the odds in favor of random, mindless error.


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Art

Artists Without Borders

Brill Gallery, Eclipse Mill, North Adams, February 1, 2009 - May 31, 2009:

Anita Rydygier from Canada, Rieko Fujinami from Japan, Joanna Gabler from Poland and the U.S. (Click here for a photo gallery of the opening reception.)

JC Scott April 1, 2009
The Brill Gallery is situated on the ground floor at the north end entry of the Eclipse Mill, and the mill is the first major building as one approaches the city from the east.  The recently renovated, enormous, four storey red brick, former textile mill is now full of art galleries, studios and live/work studio residences.  Within the Brill Gallery, with its large north facing small pane industrial windows, the artworks were displayed studio style with paintings and photographs either framed or pinned, some hung, some leaning on walls from the floor, and all numbered, titled, catalogued, and priced.  Natural and track lighting showed the works well and all the artworks themselves were of great quality and variety. Read more.

Music

Lincoln Center Great Performers Presents

Russian Dreams: The Music of Sergei Prokofiev

 

Monday, March 23, 2009 at 8:00

Avery Fisher Hall

London Symphony Orchestra

Valery Gergiev, conductor

Vladimir Feltsman, piano

All-Prokofiev program

                                

Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 (“Classical”)

Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16 

Symphony No. 6 in E-flat minor, Op. 111

 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 8:00

Avery Fisher Hall

Pre-concert lecture, A Tale of Three Cities: Petrograd, Paris, Moscow, by Harlow Robinson at 6:45, Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse

London Symphony Orchestra

Valery Gergiev, conductor

Vadim Repin, violin

All-Prokofiev program

                                

Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40

Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19

Symphony No. 7 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131

Michael Miller March 28, 2009
Now that Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra have completed the first half of their traversal of Prokofiev's symphonies and a selection of his concerti for piano and violin, one can catch one's breath, assimilate some of the rarely-heard music that has been played, and ponder this exciting new partnership of orchestra and conductor. It is, after all, Gergiev's first tour with the LSO as principle conductor, and, since Prokofiev, ever versatile, explored so many different strategies of structure, texture, and orchestration, these concerts are a remarkable opportunity to become familiar with Gergiev's way with the London musicians. Not that "familiar" is quite an appropriate word: Mr. Gergiev has a unique gift for surprising his audiences—for making them gasp in admiration at some unexpected turn or gesture. His concerts are always an adventure. Read more.

Music
A Prokofiev Renaissance
Robert Kurilla, Renée Dumouchel, and Michael Miller updated April 1, 2009

1. 2008, A Prokofiev Year, by Robert Kurilla

2. Sergey Prokofiev and His World, the Bard Music Festival 2008, by Michael Miller

3. Sergey Prokofiev, Romeo & Juliet, On Motifs of Shakespeare, (original version), Bard Summerscape, Mark Morris Dance Group, Leon Botstein, ASO, by Renée Dumouchel

4. An Uneasy Rivalry: Prokofiev and Stravinsky, Bard Music Festival Chamber Concert, October 25, 2008, by Robert Kurilla

5. Prokofiev, Music for Ballet, Valery Gergiev, Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Sunday, November 9, 2008, Avery Fisher Hall, by Robert Kurilla

6. Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 (complete), Valery Gergiev, Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Monday, November 10, 2008, Avery Fisher Hall, by Robert Kurilla

7. Sergey Prokofiev, The Love for Three Oranges, Valery Gergiev, Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Sunday, November 16, 2008, Avery Fisher Hall, by Robert Kurilla

8. Sergey Prokofiev, Film Music, Valery Gergiev, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater, Monday, November 17, 2008, by Robert Kurilla

9. Lincoln Center Great Performers Presents Russian Dreams: The Music of Sergei Prokofiev, by Michael Miller


Music

The Mendelssohn Bicentennial: Crescendo presents rarely heard gems from frère et soeur 

March 21, 2009, First Congregational Church, Great Barrington, MA

S. Lachterman April 1, 2009
It is perfectly fitting that on J. S. Bach’s birthday (March 21) a tribute should be paid to two composers who lived a century later: Felix Mendelssohn (his bicentenary year), and his gifted sister, composer Fanny Hensel. By the early nineteenth century, Bach, who was viewed as an antique keyboard pedagogue, was to await Felix Mendelssohn’s revival of the St. Matthew Passion in 1829 for posthumous acclaim. Yet, both Felix (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) and Fanny (Mendelssohn Hensel) wrote remarkable and beautiful choral works, assimilating an extraordinary palate of antiquarian musical idioms and styles. Their mastery of such Catholic and Lutheran idioms was largely owing to their common tutelage by Carl Friedrich Zelter, who imparted his love of Bach and Palestrina to this gifted musical pair. Read more.

Music - Book Review

Thomas Beecham: An Obsession with Music

by John Lucas 

Boydell Press, Melton, Woodbrige, Suffolk, Rochester, NY, 2008: 384 pages

Huntley Dent March 30, 2009
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 the century Beecham was willing to lose $5 million of his family's fortune, amassed by selling the world's most popular laxative, to personally fund a national opera for England. He bestrode the British musical scene with unflappable autocracy, yet it was also the  country he scandalously abandoned during the worst years of the Blitz. On returning from America, where he observed the war from a coddled distance, Beecham endured the last months of V-2 rocket attacks. His main concern was whether the blackout rules allowed him to smoke his cigar on the street at night. Read more.

Music
John Harbison, Winter's Tale (1974, rev. 1991)
First complete performance of the revised version
[See Michael Miller's review of Bridge Project production of Shakespeare's play.]

Opera in two acts
Based on the play by Wiliam Shakespeare
Libretto by John Harbison

Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose, March 20, 2009
Concert performance in celebration of the composer's 70th birthday featuring

Leontes - David Kravitz, baritone
Hermione - Janna Baty, mezzo-soprano
Paulina - Pamela Dellal, mezzo-soprano
Florizel - Matthew Anderson, tenor
Perdita - Anne Harley, soprano
Time - Dana Whiteside, bass
Antigonus - Christian Figueroa, tenor
Camillo - Paul Guttry, bass
Polixenes - Aaron Engebreth, baritone

Charles Warren March 30, 2009
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. Read more.

Theater

The Winter's Tale

by William Shakespeare

A Bridge Project production at BAM, directed by Sam Mendes

 

Simon Russell Beale - Leontes, King of Sicily

Michael Braun - Dion, Lord of Sicilia/Florizel

Morven Christie - Perdita/Mamillius

Sinéad Cusack - Paulina, wife to Antigonus

Richard Easton - Old Shepherd/Time

Rebecca Hall - Hermione

Josh Hamilton - Polixenes, King of Bohemia

Ethan Hawke - Autolycus

Michael Miller March 16, 2009
I had to wait impatiently until the final day of The Winter's Tale to see it. After my eager anticipation, was it my fantasy that a good part of the audience had seen it once or twice before and were coming to bid this magical, but imperfect production a fond farewell. My imagination was probably only exaggerating, but there were probably enough recidivists there to create the atmosphere I sensed. There was something else, however. Especially before the break, there was a striking amount of laughter in the wrong places—at moments in which some of the best actors in the business under Sam Mendes' supremely imaginative and skilled direction, were most definitely not playing it for laughs. Did this arise from the warmth of prior experience—something akin to the way Brattle Theatre audiences used to shout out Humphrey Bogart's lines in Casablanca? Probably not. It most likely emerged from the inevitable disjuncture between mentalities of 2009 New York and Blackfriars c. 1611. Read more.

Places
A Tourist at the Opera, A Visitor’s Impression of the Northern Berkshires, March 2009
JC Scott April 1, 2009

The past week has provided one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life for a variety of reasons.  My first trip to the Northern Berkshires centered specifically in North Adams and Williamstown, Massachusetts and began on Canada’s West Coast—on Vancouver Island, where I live .  My purpose was to attend an opening of Artists without Borders at the Brill Gallery, located in the historic Eclipse Mill in North Adams.

 

The gallery exhibition features three international women artists, whose diverse artworks are presented to the art going public in a notably well-balanced, casual studio atmosphere.  The curator Ralph Brill intends to celebrate International Women’s Month with artworks ranging from a European artist working in America, an Oriental artist also working in America and Japan and a UK artist now working in Canada. Read more.


Art & Architecture
Collection Robert Lebel: Old Master and 19th-century Drawings, Sotheby's Paris, Auction, March 25, 2009 (Click here for Illustrations.)
Michael Miller March 27, 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. Read more.

Music
Alice Tully Hall Opening Nights: Coming Home

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center


Tuesday, February 24 at 7:30 PM
Alice Tully Hall

 

Johann Gottlieb Goldberg (formerly attr. Johann Sebastian Bach), Trio Sonata in C major for Flute, Violin and Continuo, BWV 1037
Felix Mendelssohn, Fugue in E-flat major for String Quartet, Op. 81, No. 4
Anton Webern, Six Bagatelles for String Quartet, Op. 9
Hugo Wolf, Italian Serenade for String Quartet
George Tsontakis, AnTHem for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (CMS Commission, World Premiere)
Yan Maresz, Entrelacs for Flute, Clarinet, Cello, Bass, Piano, and Vibraphone
William Bolcom, Shakyamani for Piccolo/Flute, E Flat/B Flat Clarinets, Two Violins, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Piano, and Percussion (CMS Commission, World Premiere)
Ludwig van Beethoven, Septet in E-flat major for Winds and Strings, Op. 20


Charles Wadsworth, Wu Han, pianos; Jaime Laredo, violin; Paul Neubauer, viola; David Finckel (inidsposed), Gary Hoffman, Fred Sherry, cellos; Edgar Meyer, Kurt Muroki, double basses; Orion String Quartet (Daniel Phillips, Todd Phillips, violins; Steven Tenenbom, viola; Timothy Eddy, cello); Tara Helen O’Connor, Paula Robison, flutes; Jose Franch-Ballester, David Shifrin, clarinets; Milan Turkovic, bassoon; Radovan Vlatkovic, horn; Ayano Kataoka, percussion

Michael Miller March 22, 2009
Any one who did not experience the Upper West Side in the late 1960s, when Lincoln Center was nearing completion, or who has forgotten, might read Saul Bellow's Mr. Sammler's Planet. There was an apocalyptic feeling in the air—more palpable than anything the Bush administration tried to conjure up— as one negotiated panhandlers, muggers, hippies, and refuse, as one made one's way up and down Broadway. These public phenomena have not vanished, but New York had reached a peak of dysfunctionality, and western civilization seemed to be self-destructing at a fierce boil: cities were decaying around the country, reading and writing seemed doomed to obsolescence, tv was king, and a lot of people were worried about the cultural partnership of drugs and music. In a few sentences, Bellow conjures up what all this felt like on the street. Exposed glass walls seemed no more than an invitation to vandals, and check points were beginning to appear in the seedy lobbies of public buildings. Read more.

Food & Drink
Going to the Dogs: Notes on The Dogs and the Bramble Bar


The Dogs
110 Hanover Street
Edinburgh EH2 1DR
tel. 0131 220 1208
e-mail: info@thedogsonline.co.uk

Web: http://www.thedogsonline.co.uk

 

Bramble Bar & Lounge
16a Queen Street
Edinburgh
EH2 1JE
tel. 0131 226 6343

e-mail: mike@bramblebar.co.uk

http://www.bramblebar.co.uk

 

Prices: Inexpensive to moderate.

 

Hendrick’s Gin: http://www.hendricksgin.com

Lucas Miller March 13, 2009

Last year, The Dogs opened on Hanover Street. It has since been established in the eating scene here in Edinburgh, sparking ecstatic reviews from most critics and was nominated for the prestigious Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland award for best restaurant. The prices are correct (very affordable at lunch time); the menu is unique; the atmosphere is relaxed. Most importantly, however: the food is delicious.

 

Hanover Street is just off George Street. The location of The Dogs is thus central, within a few minutes walk from most of the major hotels. Its position next to George Street also makes it ideal for a pre-clubbing meal (not that it’s really that kind of place, but perhaps a few short-skirted girls would add something!). Read more.


Art & Architecture

Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective

Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 1 - May 11, 2009

Huntley Dent March 16, 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 so. Early in his career, which began around 1971, Kippenberger coated a Ford Capri in brown paint mixed with straw and oatmeal. We are told that this is a humorous comment on Anselm Kiefer, the prominent German painter who famously coated the surface of his canvases with straw. Okay. Next to the Capri on the museum floor sits a waist-high wooden box, painted the same dun brown with straw and oatmeal, that Kippenberger dubs an orgone box—in reference to Wilhelm Reich's infamous contraption that was supposed to trap free-floating sexual energy. Through the half-open door of the box we glimpse some early, rejected canvases of Kippenberger's, placed there, he tells us, so that they can acquire fresh energy and become acceptable. Not a lot of laughing was going on around me. Read more.

Dance

Paul Taylor Dance Company

City Center, New York  Feb. 25 - March 15, 2009

Huntley Dent March 16, 2009
Glorious reign.  Every spring through a fortunate conjunction of stars the Paul Taylor Dance Company overlaps with the annual visit of the Vienna Philharmonic to New York.  Carnegie Hall is a far more lustrous venue than dusty, musty City Center. Its Moorish plaster ceiling recalls an earlier life as the Mecca Temple—out in the lobby you can view red Shriners fezzes with the word "fez"  embroidered in sequins.  But I venture that a great dance company is rarer than a great orchestra, and the number of choreographers of genius is a small fraction of great conductors. The vocabulary of music is anchored to scales and harmony, but the raw stuff of choreography is inchoate and invisible. We all move our bodies, yet there is no vocabulary (in modern dance, that is) to fall back on or even begin with. Read more.

Theater

Lloyd George Knew My Father

by William Douglas Home
King's Theatre, Edinburgh, February 16-21, 2009

 

with Edward Fox and Helen Ryan

Lucas Miller March 16, 2009

Lloyd George knew my father,

Father knew Lloyd George!*


It is from these catchy, obviously profound lines (to be repeated continually, or until the singer just gets bored) that William Douglas Home’s Lloyd George Knew My Father (1972) takes its title. The revival of this play, by Theatre Royal Bath Productions, is an interesting one. It allows for the resurfacing of not just a good play, but an important personage – no, not Lloyd George, who is covered enough by tedious school text books and biographers, but rather, William Douglas Home. Indeed, the programme accompanying the performance focuses far more on the playwright than the play. It portrays Home as “quintessentially English,” an aristocrat. Read more.


Art & Architecture

LEWITT III:

 

The ABCDs of Sol Lewitt

at the Williams College Museum of Art
November 14, 2008–May 17, 2009

 

See also:
LEWITT I: Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective

LEWITT II: Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective

Richard Harrington March 13, 2009

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. 


There’s only one artifact that has any color in the exhibition, a systematic gridded display of clouds, the rest of the installations are in black-and-white or achromatic gray. The spare simple constructions in the exhibition which are executed cleanly and in an intimate or intermediately large scale seem to reveal more of the presence of the artist (if not his hand) than the murals and wall drawings at Mass Moca. Read more.


Art
Joanna Gabler, Kreutzer Series: Gallery
Michael Miller

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.


All nine works are currently on view in Joanna Gabler's exhibition, Painting Music and More, in David and Joyce Milne Public Library in Williamstown, which will remain so until March 31. Her digital images from nature  are concurrently on view at the Brill Gallery in North Adams as part of Artists without Borders, an exhibition of three woman artists in which Anita Rydygier from Canada is also showing her gouache and ink drawings and Rieko Fujinami from Japan is showing her Film Drawings and Fresco Seccos.


Music: Book Review

Paul Griffiths, The Substance of Things Heard - Writings about Music 

Eastman Studies in Music, no. 31, University of Rochester Press, Rochester; Boydell & Brewer, Suffolk, UK, 2005, $65.00

Michael Miller March 7, 2009
There is nothing more transitory than music. James Levine—ironically at his press conference launching the Boston Symphony Orchestra's new recording series—made an intriguing observation which reminded me most poignantly of that. A significant impulse in the recording project arose from their amazing performance of Brahms' German Requiem on Saturday, September 27, 2008, which, as he observed, arose from "A live excitement arising partly from the feeling everybody had had about the first one, which was good, but we knew we could make it better."  He also referred to the Daphnis and Chloé release as "a real, sophisticated souvenir of what you heard in the concert." A souvenir... I unfortunately was not on hand for the Ravel, but I retain a living memory of the Brahms as one of the truly great performances I have heard. Mr. Levine has made it clear that pains were taken over the recording, and I'm thrilled that a recording is available at all, but I ask will it live up to my memory? For that matter, which is more potent: a memory of an aural experience or a digital recording? Years ago I heard Sr Adrian Boult conduct the BBC Symphony in a performance of Schubert's "Great" C Major Symphony, and it impressed me as one of those rare pinnacles. A year or so later I managed to get hold of a well-made open-reel recording of the concert, and I could hear very little of what had thrilled me so much in the Albert Hall. Ever since listenable broadcast and recordings have been available, the music-lover has been conflicted between the evanescent revelations of the musical event and the desire to capture it for repeated listening—to possess it forever. Isn't the sensual experience of listening to a technological artifact a more reliable form of recollection than our emotion-laden memory? Or is it simply a distraction from our human recollection? Read more.

Food & Drink

Picholine

35 West 64th Street (at Lincoln Center)

New York, New York 

10023

tel. 212.724.8585

Email: info@picholinenyc.com


Hours:

Times indicate when guests are seated; kitchen stays open later

Tuesday - Thursday 5:00pm - 10:00pm 

Friday-Saturday 5:00pm - 11:45pm 

Sunday - Monday:  Closed


Dress:

Business Casual. 

Jackets are recommended in the main dining room. 

No sneakers or shorts.


Price:

moderately expensive to expensive

Michael Miller March 9, 2009
It didn't take long for Picholine, after it opened in October 1993, to acquire the reputation and aura of an institution. Its original decor included old master paintings and tapestries or reasonable facsimiles of them, chandeliers, and heavy moldings—which made it look as if it had been there forever. While this interior may have conjured up some idea of a Provençal estate, the region is now present primarily in the subtle color scheme of the fabric-covered walls, which recall the variegated tints of the picholine olive: purple, grey, boysenberry and so forth. Chef/proprietor Terrence Brennan had the rooms entirely redecorated in 2006, producing a quieter, simpler, darker interior, which also looks as if it had been there forever, but also looks thoroughly fresh and up-to-date. The current menus are also up-to-date, offering the fresh, light, and healthy foods people like today. However, certain things haven't changed, above all Chef Brennan's absolute insistence that the basics of French cuisine are of the highest quality—not only the ingredients, which are local and organic whenever possible, but the cellar and the cheeses, which revolutionized New Yorkers' awareness of cheese back in the early 90's and remain legendary today. For years regulars have been dropping in for a plate of cheese in the bar, when they weren't up for the full menu. Read more.

Theater

Uncle Vanya

by Anton Chekhov

Translated by Carol Rocamora

 

Directed by Austin Pendleton

Classic Stage Company, New York, January 17, 2009—March 8, 2009

 

Marina – Cyrilla Baer

Astrov – Peter Sarsgaard

Vanya – Denis O’Hare

Serebryakov – George Morfogen

Telegin – Louis Zorich

Sonya – Mamie Gummer

Yelena – Maggie Gyllenhaal

Voynitskaya – Delphi Harrington

Watchman – Andrew Garman

Ilya Khodosh March 8, 2009
Uncle Vanya is the most intimate of the Chekhov plays, and it has always been my favorite. It is a character study of great power and fragility. I often hear it referred to as a philosophical play thematically about the “superfluous man” or the “wasted life.” But at its essence, Uncle Vanya is very simply about passionate, banal, stubborn, miserable people reaching out, drinking, whispering to one another in the dark, coping with the vagaries and indignities of their feral loneliness, thrashing against their limitations and always coming up short. The current production at Classic Stage Company—directed by Austin Pendleton, who must have played the eponymous character in past productions more often than any other American actor—brushes the surface of this play’s potential to move, devastate, and engage. It’s a refined production, but one that keeps the characters’ emotions at arm’s length and only suggests their capacity for suffering and self-destruction. It offers some stirring moments and a comfortable, unforced contemporary feel, but it never reaches the fully agonizing intensity and humanity of these emotions. Read more.

Music

Tristan und Isolde

Richard Wagner

Libretto by the composer

Lyric Opera of Chicago,  January 27, 2009

Lyric Opera Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis conductor


Tristan --  Clifton Forbis

Isolde – Deborah Voigt

Brangäne – Petra Lang

Kurwenal – Jason Stearns

King Mark – Stephen Milling


Production designer – David Hockney

Lighting designer – Duane Schuler

Chorus Master – Donald Nally

Stage Director – José Maria Condemi

David Kubiak February 25, 2009
The history of opera in Chicago is old, and like that of the city itself varied and colorful. Performances are attested as early as 1850, and no less than six companies mounted productions in the first part of the twentieth century, in different venues, most notably Louis Sullivan’s great Auditorium Theater, now given over to musicals and university commencements, but the place where Tamagno and Sembrich, de Reszke and Fremstad, Caruso and Tettrazini once sang.  Women have always been important in Chicago operatic management.  Mary Garden was director of the resident company in 1910-11, when the French repertoire had pride of place; in 1954 socialite and amateur singer Carol Fox founded with Lawrence Kelly and conductor Nicola Rescigno what is now the Lyric Opera of Chicago, which gives its season in the massive Civic Opera House on Wacker Drive, built by utilities magnate Samuel Insull and opened on the eve of the Great Depression.  It was meant to be an egalitarian midwestern theater, where all the boxes are at the back.  Visitors are warned to opt for seats in the front portion of the orchestra or risk feeling that they are watching the stage from another planet. William Mason expertly heads the company today; his association with the Lyric began in the 1950’s when he sang the shepherd boy in Tosca. Read more.

Art & Architecture

Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave

 

Museum of Modern Art, New York
December 14, 2008–February 16, 2009

Huntley Dent March 13, 2009
Atrociously hip? I defy anyone to take in the works of Dutch painter Marlene Dumas at one go. We are decades past Ezra Pound's "Make it new" and Diaghilev's “Étonne moi,"  but there's no escaping both injunctions, to the point that an artist may invite cynicism when turning to corpses with slit throats and little girls hanging from nooses as her subjects. Dumas doesn't dare to repel. It's her whole shtick. Painting after painting, almost all portraits and figures, dwells on the horrific and spiritually numb. There's a series of blobby alien babies with hydrocephalic heads and bowed legs. These look uniformly anguished and perhaps mentally defective. There are prostitutes and suicides and the afore-mentioned corpses painted on slabs in the morgue. By the time you arrive at her "Homage to Rembrandt's Woman Pissing," an ink drawing depicting a squatting peasant spraying a black jet of urine like a faucet, it's hard not to become inured to so much ghastliness. Read more.

Music
Simon Boccanegra

by Giuseppe Verdi

 

Boston Symphony Orchestra
James Levine conducting

Thursday, January 29, 8 pm, Saturday, January 31, 8 pm, Tuesday, February 3, 8 pm

 

José Van Dam, bass-baritone (Simon Boccanegra)

Barbara Frittoli, soprano (Amelia Grimaldi)

Marcello Giordani, tenor (Gabriele Adorno)

James Morris, bass-baritone (Jacopo Fiesco)

Nicola Alaimo, baritone (Paolo Albiani)

Raymond Aceto, bass (Pietro)

Garrett Sorenson, tenor (a Captain)

Diane Droste, mezzo-soprano (Amelia’s Maidservant)

Tanglewood Festival Chorus, John Oliver, conductor

Huntley Dent February 16, 2009
Strained relations. Wagner's Ring cycle was once famously described (by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, I believe) as a family quarrel. At least it's more than that, which might not be true of the plot to Verdi's troubled, vexing, and beautiful Simon Boccanegra.  Like several other operas in the Verdi canon, it comes to us as a late revision of a failed early work. Yet even though the revision called upon the considerable talents of Arrigo Boito, who coaxed the aged composer to write Falstaff and Otello by supplying him with irresistible words, Boccanegra is indecipherable. If your child can solve Rubik's cube, give him this story to  untwist.  More of that anon. Read more.

Food & Drink
Bomarzo Olive Oil - Click here for photo gallery.
Lucy Vivante February 16, 2009
In Bomarzo, a town of 1700 people in Northern Lazio, the first thing people tell me about olive oil is that it's what makes Italian cooking good. And Bomarzo’s olive oil is very good. The local agriculture cooperative runs a frantoio, or olive oil mill, that operates for about two months a year, and at peak time it runs continuously, day and night, for three weeks. Read more.

Theater

Tons of Money
by Will Evans, Valentine Evans, and Will Valentine, adapted by Alan Ayckbourn

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
directed by Joe Harmston
designed by Simon Scullion

Cast:
Louise - Caroline Langrishe
Mark Curry - Aubrey
Sprules - Christopher Timothy
Simpson - Finty Williams
“Henery” - Eric Carte
Giles - Keith Clifford
Miss Mullet - Janet Henfrey
Jean - Lysette Anthony

Lucas Miller February 25, 2009

Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre have kicked off their season with Alan Ayckbourn’s adaptation of Will Evans' and Valentine’s farce, Tons of Money. It is frivolous, witty and fantastical—hilarious—a welcome contrast to the dour weather and folk of February.


The play, first performed 1922, is in its design reflective of the hedonism we associate with the Jazz Age, a decade, Fitzgerald writes, when all people wanted was to be entertained. It has the wit and general ring of a Noel Coward play, but without the sophisticated melodrama. It is entirely a farce, catering in its time exactly to what war-weary theatre-goers wanted. This much is confirmed by the 733 performances it ran. W. Buchanan Taylor, an important publicist of the time, the programme informs us, said to Nora Heald of The Daily Mail: “Do you realise that this is the first successful farce since the end of the war and it’s British from stem to stern?” He was not, at least, exaggerating about the Britishness. Read more.


Dance

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo: Men in Tights (and toe shoes)

Renée Dumouchel February 16, 2009

Men in tights, dancing on point, corsets squeezing not-so-tiny waists, savoring their moments as heroes, and yes, heroines—an oxymoron, a cross-dressing incarnation of Robin Hood, a Chelsea nightclub dream-come-true, or simply a fantasy? Would you buy all four?


Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a troupe of burly male dancers more affectionately known as the Trocks, bounded into The Joyce for an evening of hilarity and surprising grace. Read more.


Music
Music of the Other Germany
American Symphony Orchestra, Leon Botstein conductor

Sunday, January 25 at 3 pm, Avery Fisher Hall
Marjorie Owens, soprano


Hanns Eisler (1898-1962): Auferstanden aus Ruinen, Hymne der DDR (1949)


Rudolf Wagner-Régeny (1903-69): Mythological Figures (1951) – US premiere
I. Ceres

II. Amphitrite

III. Diana


Paul Dessau (1894-1979): In memoriam Bertolt Brecht (1957) – US premiere

I. Lamento

II. Marcia: "der Krieg soll verfluchtet sein."

III. Epitaph


Udo Zimmermann (born 1943): Sinfonia come un grande lamento, in memory of F. García Lorca (1977) – US premiere
I. Antiphon I

II. Psalm

III. Antiphon II


Hanns Eisler: Goethe Rhapsody (1949) – US premiere

Siegfried Matthus (b. 1934): Responso: Konzert für Orchester (1977) – NY premiere

I. Ostinato

II. Notturno

III. Ciacona

Michael Miller February 15, 2009

Leon Botstein attracted an impressive crowd to Avery Fisher Hall on the afternoon of Sunday, January 25, to hear him conducted the ASO in a program of extremely obscure music: orchestral works from "the other Germany," that is the German Democratic Republic (1949-1990), or East Germany. It is most unjust that this music is as neglected as it is today, since every work on the program was soundly constructed and interesting, even astonishing at times. All were worth a second or a third hearing, or even more. Fortunately most of the works on the program are available on CD.

 

You can stay in a chic Berlin hotel in which every detail of domestic design from the Communist era is faithfully reproduced, even as far as portraits of long-departed leaders of state. In the Ostel you can immerse yourself in the objects and the atmosphere of the GDR. You can even buy East German products in the Ostel's online shop to bring a bit of the GDR home with you. To support such an enterprise there must be considerable popular interest, certainly more than in East German high culture, the spirit of which is vividly represented by the music on Dr. Botstein's program. Read more.


Music

Eugene Onegin

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Libretto by Tchaikovsky/Shilovsky

Metropolitan Opera, January 30, 2009
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Jirí Belohlávek conductor


Eugene Onegin - Thomas Hampson
Tatiana - Karita Mattila
Lensky - Piotr Beczala
Olga - Ekaterina Semenchuk
Prince Gremin - Sergei Aleksashkin
Larina - Wendy White
Filippyevna - Jane Shaulis
Triquet - Tony Stevenson
Captain - David Crawford
Zaretsky - Richard Bernstein
Dancer - Sam Meredith
Dancer - Linda Gelinas

Production - Robert Carsen
Designer - Michael Levine
Lighting Designer - Jean Kalman
Choreographer - Serge Bennathan
Stage Director - Peter McClintock

Michael Miller February 15, 2009
Robert Carsen and Michael Levine's Eugene Onegin is twelve years old, but one couldn't say that it is dated, exactly. On the other hand, some aspects of it go against the grain of Tchaikovsky's Pushkin adaptation, or at least raise a few questions. Tchaikovsky and his collaborator, using Pushkin's words, created one of the most successful libretti in all opera. The language is a joy to hear, and, while Tchaikovsky the composer repeats many phrases for musical and expressive reasons, the libretto remains a marvel of concision, especially for the nineteenth century. It compellingly romanticizes its original for Russian opera audiences of the last quarter of the nineteenth century, who saw both love and peasants differently from Pushkin's generation. Tchaikovsky had more sympathy for Tatiana's pure, naive infatuation, and for him Onegin was not so much a Byronic hero as a heartless cad. Read more.

Theater

The Cherry Orchard

by Anton Chekhov

A new version of the play by Tom Stoppard

 

Directed by Sam Mendes

The Bridge Project, a Co-production of BAM, The Old Vic, and Neal Street Productions

Harvey Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, January 2, 2009—March 8, 2009

 

Ranevskaya – Sinéad Cusack

Anya – Morven Christie

Varya – Rebecca Hall

Gayev – Paul Jesson

Lopakhin – Simon Russell Beale

Trofimov – Ethan Hawke

Simeonov-Pishchik – Dakin Matthews

Charlotta Ivanovna – Selina Cadell

Yepikhodov – Tobias Segal

Dunyasha – Charlotte Parry

Firs – Richard Easton

Yasha – Josh Hamilton

Ilya Khodosh February 10, 2009
I'm not quite sure why I went to the new production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard at BAM expecting to mourn and sympathize with passionate, anxiety-ridden, suffering ordinary people whose every disappointment reminds them of their personal failures and limitations. Instead, in this production with a distinguished British and American cast directed by Sam Mendes, I found an absurdly dysfunctional bunch of freaks and imbeciles who operate under so many layers of delusion that empathy becomes near-impossible. Their emotional lives teeter in some nether-world between melodrama and farce, and their relationship with actual reality is so long-distance that one can't help but react with more contempt than pity. At the same time, they inhabit a play about class, the transfer of power, historical forces of change, and the housing market. This Cherry Orchard is so stunningly, breathtakingly topical that to see it develop towards its dramatic climax is to lose oneself in Chekhov, making this production an essential revival. Read more.

Theater

Speed-the-Plow

by David Mamet

Ethel Barrymore Theater, New York

directed by Neil Pepe


Cast:

Raúl Esparza - Charlie Fox

Elizabeth Moss - Karen

William H. Macy - Bobby Gould

Huntley Dent February 10, 2009
Speaking in tongues. I don't know who Jeremy Piven is, but when he pulled out of the current Broadway revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow (1988), he gave the most amusing excuse, perhaps, in theater history. He claimed to be suffering from mercury poisoning that had accumulated after years of eating sushi.  No doubt he actually withdrew in a fit of pique, but wit counts for something. That could be the motto of the play, in fact. Speed-the-Plow is a witty skewering of Hollywood mores, exposing the rancid combination of greed, angst, thick-skinned betrayal, and mealy-mouthed self-congratulation that is the movie business. Read more.

Theater
The Man Who Had All the Luck

by Arthur Miller


Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Directed by John Dove

 

Cast:

David Beeves - Philip Cumbus
Shory - Matthew Pidgeon
JB Feller - Andrew Vincent
Andrew Falk and Augie Belfast - Peter Harding
Patterson Beeves - Ron Donachie
Amos Beeves - Perri Snowdon
Hester Falk - Kim Gerard
Dan Dibble - Richard Addison
Gustav Eberson - Greg Powrie
Aunt Belle - Isabella Jarrett

Lucas Miller February 10, 2009
Arthur Miller’s earliest play to run on the Broadway stage, The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944), began in the form of a novel – his student, friend and biographer Christopher Bigsby tells us in his pre-show talk on January 20. Over the course of four years, Miller wrote several drafts, unsure how best to present his themes; through which medium? through which plot? should there be an enlightened redemption or a tragic fall for his hero? From 1941 he began working the “fable” into a play. In late 1944 it arrived at the Forrest Theater, where it ran for three days and four performances before being called off the stage, a failure, though recognized by many critics as a promising indication of good work to come. Read more.

Music

Vivica Genaux, Mezzo-Soprano 

Members of the Venice Baroque Orchestra

Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 7:30 PM

 

Luca Mares,violin; Giuseppe Cabrio, violin; Alessandra di Vincenzo, viola; Francesco Galligioni, cello; Alessandro Sbrogiò, double bass; Ivano Zanenghi, lute

music by Vivaldi, Broschi, Hasse, and Handel

Michael Miller February 11, 2009
The Alaska-born mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux has made Venice her home for some years now, and she is deeply involved in the baroque music world in Europe. For this reason her American appearances are all too rare, although we can look forward to hearing her sing Isabella in Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri with the Pittsburgh Opera in April and May and Arsace in Rossini's Semiramide at the Caramoor Festival in the second half of July. She came to Carnegie Hall fresh from a recording engagement in Florence: Vivaldi's Ercole sul Termodonte with David Daniels and other distinguished baroque singers with Europa Galante under the great Fabio Biondi. This past summer, Christian Steiner brought her to the Tannery Pond Concerts in New Lebanon, New York, where I first had the opportunity to hear this remarkable singer, scholar, and musician. Read more.

Music

Orfeo ed Euridice (Vienna version, 1762)
C. W. Gluck (1714-1787)

Libretto by Ranieri de' Calzabigi

Metropolitan Opera
January 24, 2009

Orfeo - Stephanie Blythe
Euridice - Danielle de Niese
Amore - Heidi Grant Murphy

Joshua Greene - Harpsichord

Conductor - James Levine

Production - Mark Morris
Set Designer - Allen Moyer
Costume Designer - Isaac Mizrahi
Lighting Designer - James F. Ingalls
Choreographer - Mark Morris

Michael Miller February 11, 2009
This production first appeared in May of 2007 with the American countertenor David Daniels singing the part of Orpheus (which was originally sung by a castrato alto), consistent with the choice of Gluck's original 1762 version by James Levine and Mark Morris. They also decided to exclude any interpolations from the 1774 Paris version, like the popular "Dance of the Furies." In this year's revival  the mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe sang Orpheus, compromising "authenticity" to take advantage of what this versatile Met regular could bring to the role. (Since castrati are no longer available today, authenticity to Viennese operatic conventions of the 1760's can be only relative. The mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux, who recently sang some castrato repertoire at Carnegie Hall—and whose 2003 Orpheus at the LA Opera has been warmly praised—has possible gone farther than anyone in recreating their style and spirit.) However, whatever purism there may be in this production lies mainly in the concentration and flow of the 1762 score. Maestro Levine, of course, appreciates this keenly and makes the most of it. What's more, his affection for its dramaturgical honesty and his delight the clean lines of its scoring were always apparent. This was Levine at his enthusiastic best, and the Met Orchestra played with exceptional precision and agility. Read more.

Theater

Bad Dates

by Theresa Rebeck

Shakespeare & Company

 

directed by Adrianne Krstansky

with Elizabeth Aspenlieder

January 9 - March 8, 2009, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

Michael Miller January 30, 2009
Theresa Rebeck's solo play, Bad Dates, is Shakespeare & Company's first offering in its first winter season. There's a lot to be grateful in this, and it goes beyond having an alternative to traveling to New York City or Boston in the winter weather for decent theatrical entertainment. Not that theater in the Berkshires disappears at the end of summer. In fact Williams' Dialogue One Theatre Festival gave us a feast of solo theater back in November, but it is still a great thing to have activity at Shakespeare & Co. in the blasts of January, especially of this piquant and entertaining sort. Read more.

Theater

Women Beware Women

by Thomas Middleton

Adapted and Directed by Jesse Berger

Red Bull Theater

Theater at St. Clement’s, New York

January 18th 2009

Heidi Holder January 30, 2009
Thomas Middleton’s 1623 tragedy Women Beware Women begins, teasingly, with a scene of domestic felicity. Young Leontio returns home to Florence after a lengthy absence and is greeted joyously by his mother with the words “thy sight was never yet more precious to me.” He brings along a new wife, Bianca, whom he describes, at considerable length, as a treasure, a blessing, “the most unvaluedst purchase / That youth of man had ever knowledge of.” The mother is less sure of this new addition to the family; her hesitation, her doubts about her new daughter-in-law, whet our appetite for the undoing of virtue and family bonds that follows. The scene also points up a fatal divide between the generations. Read more.

Art
Old Master Week, New York, January 2009, Part I
Michael Miller January 21, 2009
As the world economy began to unravel in September and October, the art market continued to prosper for a week or two before entering a volatile phase which has generally been hard on the major auction houses and dealers. However, the most important and desirable objects continued to sell at prices one would have expected before the collapse. "Suprematist Composition" by Kazimir Malevich sold at Sotheby's New York on Nov. 3 for $60 million. A superb Degas dancer fetched $37 million—a record for a work on paper; and The blue Wittelsbach diamond sold for over $24 million at Christie's London on December 10th. Souren Melikian, writing in the International Herald Tribune, explained the phenomenon well.Buyers were driven by the awareness that these works are unique. Moreover, these areas of the market were not much affected by the consumerist bubble which characterized the contemporary art market, as nouveaux riches fell over one another acquiring bigger, gaudier, and nastier trophies for their oversized homes. As Melikian said, connoisseurs had an opportunity to "take back control of the art market." Read more.

Art

Old Master Week, New York, January 2009, Part II

 

Sotheby's New York

Jan. 28, Old Master Drawings [N08515]

Jan. 29 - 30, Important Old Master Paintings, Including European Works of Art [N08516]

Jan. 31, Old Master and 19th Century European Art [N08517]


Christie's New York

Jan. 27, The Scholar's Eye: Property from the Julius Held Collection Part I [2237]

Jan. 28, Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture [2135]

Jan, 29, Old Master and 19th Century Drawings [2134]

Jan. 30, The Scholar's Eye: Property from the Julius Held Collection Part II [2249]

 

For more background on master drawings, see The Drawing Site.

Michael Miller January 27, 2009
Although, as I pointed out in my preview of the dealer shows, the old master market was less affected by the notorious bubble than contemporary art, there is no question that here too a period is coming to an end, which means of course that a new one will begin at some point. We don't know when or what it will be like. Why not now? There are certainly splendid opportunities both with dealers and with the auction houses. In general prices are moderate, and the quality is very high. What's more there is an abundance which he have not seen for some years, nothing like pre-1995, and certainly not a glut, but enough to be exciting. Ultimately this is an excellent time to buy art, whether a collector is progressing in a direction he or she has already begun, is expanding into new areas, or is at the very beginning of the glorious enterprise. Read more.

Places
Aboard the Queen Mary 2: a Reminiscence with Photographs (Click here to see gallery.)
Kate Hagerman January 16, 2009
The Queen Mary 2 is a floating retirement home, but if you need a break from your frenzied life ashore the Isle of Manhattan, retiring for a week isn’t such a bad idea. The QM2 is no ordinary cruise ship. Cunard, the same company that built the Titanic, constantly makes the distinction that the QM2 is a voyager, a cruise ship is something else entirely. She is not only the greenest, most technologically savvy ship on the sea, she is also the sexiest ship ever built. Read more.

Music

Remembering Ormandy – In Case You Were There, Too

The Original Jacket Collection: Eugene Ormandy (Sony Classics)

Huntley Dent January 28, 2009
Even before this 10-CD commemorative set was issued, I noticed a wash of nostalgia for Eugene Ormandy among baby boomers. He was inescapable for that generation, the progenitor of hundreds of LPs, only a sampling of which are contained here. Ormandy became Leopold Stokowski’s associate conductor at the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1936 and succeeded him two years later, beginning an unparalleled run of 44 years as music director before retiring in 1980, a reign no one will ever duplicate, or would want to. During that time Ormandy led the orchestra between 100 and 180 times a year. That, too, is a staggering statistic given that modern music directors, in their eagerness to spread themselves globally, are essentially long-term guests who drop in to visit their home orchestras for as little as a quarter of the regular season. Read more.

Photography
Meeting Charis
Kate Hagerman December 29, 2008

I met Charis Wilson last summer at her friend Don’s house in Northern California. Charis, 94, wore black pants and a purple sweater and sat sprightly in a wheelchair. Her short hair was straight, smart, and delicate. She wore a purple headband and two bright blue hair combs. I immediately recognized her luminous face from Edward Weston’s photographs, taken over 70 years ago. 


Charis invited me to watch Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston & Charis Wilson. It had premiered at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art the week before. Read more.


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