Archive for February, 2012

‘Carnage’ is a disappointment. Having seen the play staged in Bucharest last spring I knew what it was about, and I was expecting much more from a film directed by Roman Polanski and adapted to screen by the playwright  herself, Yasmina Reza, one of the most successful theater authors nowadays. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, it is only the cast that did not disappoint, and as much as I love to watch all that Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet do, they do not succeed to break the barrier of the expected.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1692486/

 

I am not sure what or who is to blame. Maybe it starts with the script, which does little beyond transferring the story from France to Manhattan and does not add any element that can be turned into visual language. It goes on with the setting which is probably intentional banal, but seems to constrain permanently the moves of the actors and interfere with their expressions. It ends with the directing which lets the actors do their job (which is good) but adds little to the overall message of the film with the exception of the prologue and epilogue filmed outdoors. I felt no Polanski thrill in this film and I missed it.

 

(video source nogoodflix)

 

Does the message make it? Maybe having seen the play prepared me too much and I was a viewer hard to be impressed. The involution and graduate de-peeling of the layers of civility is there, but less poignant than I expected. The relationship between the bourgeois environment and the violence in the streets, between the violence of the relations between kids and the one experience by one of the characters in Africa are largely lost. Maybe Polanski’s ‘Carnage’ is an example of the differences  between what makes a successful play and a successful screen adaptation and a proof that too much good acting does not necessarily make good cinema.

 

Located on the southeastern shore of Sicily, Syracuse is one of the most famous locations on the island. It offers a variety of objectives, some of them extremely interesting, some other a little bit over-rated, but all together they make of the city a mandatory stop even in a rather short stay. The older and the more interesting part of the city lays on the Ortigia island and the way it is accessed reminded me a little bit the entrance and the access to Venice, although most of the parallels stop here.

 

 

The first objective after crossing the long road and one of the two access bridges to the island is the Temple of Apollo. The ruins may not look extremely impressive today compared to other similar objectives that I have seen in Greece, Rome and even Sicily, but one must take into account that this is the oldest Doric temple in Sicily and some say in the whole world, built in the 6th century BC.

 

 

Our next stop was in Piazza Archimede which bears the name of the most famous character of the Greek antiquity whose death is located by history and legend on the beaches around. In the center of the square we could see the beautiful Fountain of Diana created in 1906 by Giulio Moschetti. The Greek goddess turned the nymph Arethusa into a spring to save her from a malevolent pursuer. More later.

 

 

The Duomo ws for me by far the most impressive monument in the city. The strong impression starts with the baroque facade created in the 18th century by Andrea Palma.

 

 

It is only when you enter inside the Duomo that you feel the power and the uniqueness of the place. The current structure remained largely the same since the 7th century, when it recycled a Temple of Athens. Six columns on one side and fourteen columns on the other side from the previous Doric buildings are incorporated in the walls of the current church.

 

 

There is more beauty inside this church – for example the spiral-shaped decorated columns.

 

 

The patron saint of the city is Santa Lucia, patron of the blinds and many churches and works of art are dedicated to her. Another church in the town hosts a masterpiece of Caravaggio representing her burial, which unfortunately I did not get to see. In the Duomo we can find however several statues of Santa Lucia, some of them are taken out in processions on her day, December 13.

 

 

A series of beautiful (and beautifully conseved) stastues belong to the Gagini brothers, contemporary of Michelangelo. The Madonna of the Snow above, dated 1512 is by Antonello Gagini.

 

 

We exited the Duomo and wondered through the narrow streets typical to Italian cities that kept something close to the historical design to the Jewish Quarter, in search of memories of Jewish life. There has been a Jewish presence in the city since the fall of the Second Temple in AD 70 until the expulsion of Jews in 1492. Rabbi Akiva, “Rosh la-Chachamim” (Head of all the Sages) visited here. As in Spain after the catastrophe of 1492 some Jews chose to stay, convert, and leave a clandestine Jewish life. It is even said that pizza was invented by Jews, it was probably not a peperoni one though :-)   The most famous objective is the Miqveh dating from the Byzantine period but its state and the way it is exposed and presented (fixed and spare hours, unfriendly personal, unprofessional guide, an amateurish museum and no photos allowed) make me not to recommend the place.

 

 

We walked along the shore, it was quite windy, and we could only imagine that one of the beaches around was the one where Archimedes defended his circles. The Maniace Castle built in the 13th during the Byzantine rule is another objective that we did not get to visit, and we did not even get closer to the lighthouse!

 

 

A Pascal banner in Romanian and Italian on one of the buildings signalize that some of the estimated one million of Romanian living today in Italy settled and work here. As it was October we could not decide if this was for the previous Easter six months before or for the upcoming Easter six months later :-)

 

 

At the end of the visit that day we reached the spring and Fountain of Arthusa, the very place where Diana exercised the goddess power.

 

 

That day we did not get to see the archeological park which is located on the main island, as we arrived a few minutes after the ticket office closed although the park staid open for almost another hour. So we returned in the last full day of our stay in Sicily on purpose to see this place three-stared by the Michelin guide. Two of the places in the park are remarkable. The Greek Theater started to be carved in the rock of the hill in the 5th century BC and is the largest in Sicily and one of the largest in the Ancient Greek world.

 

 

The Ear of Dyonisios is a fascinating cave part created by stone excavations made in the ancient times. Its shape creates acoustics that are said to have helped the tyrant Denys to spy upon his people. The name of the place was given by no other than Caravaggio.

There are a few more places that we did not get to see. I already mentioned the Santa Lucia church with the painting by Caravaggio and the castle. Add to this the art museum which was closed on the first day we were there (a Monday) and the impressive modern sanctuary of Madonna delle Lacrime (Our Lady of Tears). The Michelin guide was right again recommending two-three days to know and appreciate Syracuse.

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks after coming to Israel as a new immigrant in 1984 I started to borrow books from the public library in Lod. The first book that I ever read after becoming a free man was John Le Carre‘s ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’. Obviously the sophisticated world of Cold War espionage viewed from the perspective of the West was not the kind of theme that would allow books to be published in Communist Romania. I fell under spell from the first pages, and this was the beginning of a log term relationship of adulation and frequent reader mileage between me and Le Carre.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1340800/

 

I missed the very well made (as I hear) BBC series, so the film directed by Tomas Alfredson is the first screen version of the novel that I see. The principal lines of action and the relations between the characters are well kept here, and for most of the duration of the film the deep feeling of incertitude, the Britishness of feelings well concealed under manners, the foggy fights were the concepts of good and bad need to be found deep inside the hearts and minds of the characters receive appropriate translation in the language of cinema. The interior flow of Le Carre prose gets an equivalent in a series of short scenes, some happening in the present, other being flashbacks that get a pace and fluidity of themselves that make of the film a captivating thriller despite the lack of real action scenes. The Byzantine relations between the members of the secret services are translated into dances of characters that move and look to each other, or avoid one another like in sacred rituals. The Cold War atmosphere is put on screen using 70s-like effects, all blurred in smoke of cigarette, fog and frost.

 

(video source trailers)

 

Some nuances get lost, and this is probably inevitable. Some characters get new dimensions or different perspectives. The sentimental aspect of the story (the relation between Smiley and his wife) is told, but loses in the context of the film the emotional importance it has in the book. On the other hand Gary Oldman builds a Smiley perfectly fit for the screen translation of Le Carre’s intention. ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ is one of the best adaptations of  a novel by Le Carre that I have seen to date.

 

The permanent rush and lack of time obliged me to abandon in the middle the writing of the travel notes cycles. I did not have time to continue the notes about my trip as Tourist in Romania made in October 2010, and I also left aside a lot of photos and memories from our trips to Sicily and Taiwan last fall. I will try to pick them one by one, time allowing, and I hope to do it before I forget everything.

 

source http://www.progettopalermo.com/2010/09/duomo-di-monreale.html

 

Mount Etna put aside there are two places which make by themselves worth a journey to Sicily. I already wrote about the Valley of the Temples, time has come to write about the Duomo in Monreale. Located on a hill near Palermo, this is one of the most impressive and original monuments of religious art and architecture in the Mediterranean area. Beware about the ten minutes walk from the cars parking to the top of the hill, via a tourist market.

 

 

The actual church started to be raised in the second half of the 12th century, during the rule of the Norman king William II. The construction lasted only eleven years, but the internal decoration continued for tens of years and the style of the building and the decoration are witness to the crossword location of Sicily during that period, a place where Western Christianity met and fought the political, military and cultural influences of the Arab and Eastern Christianity (byzantine) civilizations. The result is a wonder of fusion between the Normand, Arab and Byzantine styles of a richness and beauty that equals the most significant monuments from the same period in Spain for example.

 

 

 

The huge mosaic portrait of Christ Pantocrator (“Ruler of All”) dominates the apse, and this kind of huge portraits is typical for the Sicilian churches from that period (we were to see it later in the day at the church in Cefalu). Golden yellow is the dominant color, with an amazing brightness, freshness and monumental expressiveness.

 

 

The fine lines of the pillars combine the Greek structure which was probably inspired by the artisans of the time by the remains of the Greek temples on the island and the mosaics on the arches which have a visible imprint of the Islamic art.

 

 

To me however the most striking impression was the one of the mosaics in the whole church, and especially in the nave, where are depicted scenes from the Old Testament. Above are Adam and Eve for example. The mosaics were created by artists from Venice, and their size is second only to the Hagia Sophia.

 

 

Another episode from the Bible above – Sodom and Gomorrah. The composition in registries and the iconography closer to the Eastern Ortodox style remind painted walls of the the monasteries in Bucovina, in Northern Romania.

 

 

The combination of arches and mosaics bring together elements of Western church architecture, Eastern church iconography, and Arab style ornamentation.

 

 

Here is what looks like Magen David (Star of David) motif on the decoration of the walls, not necessarily a Jewish element, as the geometric form is widely used also as an Arabic decoration pattern.

 

 

Here is a photo of the remarkable decoration of the marble floors.

 

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Monreale_Cloitre1.jpg

 

Unfortunately the time we spent in the cathedral was quite short, and the guide did not allow for time to visit the cloisters or admire the view from the terraces which is said to be magnificent. This is certainly a place that a few hours for visiting, but we were under the constraints of a guided tour. As the tour also skipped the most important monument in Palermo itself – the Palatine Chapel, we have a good reason to be back there sometime.

Contributia cea mai recenta a lui Gica Manescu se ocupa de un subiect delicat – Alzheimer. Despre cumplita boala care afecteaza in specia populatia varstnica Gica scrie cu experienta sa de ani indelungati (multi inainte!) si cea de medic.

—————

Un titlu  ingrozitor. N-am avut ce face?

M-au framantat in  ultimul timp cateva cazuri dintre cunoscuti.

Am primit si de la amicul  dr. Iulius Iancu, medic radiolog, pensionar din  Haifa, o carte dedicata Ritei -  “Printesa din  Harduf “,sotia lui, care dupa multi ani, dupa o casatorie fericita s-a imbolnavit, si s-au chinuit pana la sfarsit.

Intamplarea face ca aceasta maladie neurologica incurabila se extinde. Numarul cazurilor cunoscute e in crestere si posibiltatile de tratament paliativ si de ajutor ale societatii nu  sunt accesibile in multe tari.

La un canal TV german am vizionat o discutie in jurul mesei rotunde despre acest subiect. Instructiv si emotionant.

Au luat parte, pe langa prezentator, inca 5 persoane care se ocupa sau au facut-o cu maladia.

 

source http://www.funderstanding.com/v2/brain/right-brain-vs-left-brain/

 

Un profesor universitar care preda la catedra dar se  ocupa  intens in laborator de cercetari ale creerului, a explicat, pe intelegera fiecaruia cele in legatura cu aceste doua stari patologice.

Dementa, sindrom clinic, se ma cheama si “senila “, a fost socotita ca prostia omeneasca sau gresit, caz de schizofrenie. Se  manifesta prin scaderea memoriei, greseli de orientare si de vorbire.

Alzheimer, dupa numele descoperitorului, asemanata cu autismul, este o degenerare lenta a  celulelor creerului.

S-a constatat si s-a putut urmari consumarea  rapida a proteinelor, substanta de baza a vietii normale, din creer.

Un alt participant, un  barbat trecut de 60 ani, caruia in urma cu cativa ani i-a murit sotia cu Alzheimer. A fost o casatorie fericita. Si-a dat sema ca sotia incepuse sa uite si cu incetul vorbirea era mai greoaie. Niciodata n-a fost trista si se bucura cand vedea nepotii sau alti copii, cu greu putea face diferenta si sa aiba o conversatie, ca de obicei. Medicii consultati au pus diagnosticul. El, inginer la pensie, s-a dedicat ingrijirii sotiei si luand asupra lui toate treburile gospodaresti, inclusiv pregatirea mancarurilor, simplificandu-le.

Nu a vrut sa se desparta de ea si s-o interneze intr-un spital sau asezamant de specialitate. Era constient ce-i asteapta  dar a socotit ca mai bine decat acasa, impreuna nu putea fi. Ea isi  dadea seama de mediul inconjurator, dar orientarea si mersul au devenit dificile.

La unii bolnavi se constata si un tremur al mainilor, tip parkinsonian. Prin nervii ca un  cablu, se trimit ordinele. In acest caz, este o deteriorare a lor.

De fapt stim ca spre batranete uitam. Unde sunt cheile? Ce am facut cu ochelarii? Pot fi pe frunte, etc.

Mosteniri posibile. Cam 1% din populatia globului, mai frecventa, tata – fiu.

O ziarista tanara n-a stiut ce e cu bunica, de care era atasata. A fost greu sa inteleaga si dupa 7 ani  de la moartea ei e inca framantata.

Acolo, presedintele  unor Asociatii sportive, un  barbat impozant, spre 60 ani, si-a dat seama de pericolul care s-a abatut asupra lui. E la inceputul bolii. Nu tine secret, vorbeste si povesteste. Da si sfaturi celor in masura sa  pregatesca primirea oamenilor batrani, bolnavi si singuri, care vor avea nevoie de ajutorul cuiva.

 

http://sarahsalway.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html


Sunt deja aranjate locuinte mici, unde 3-4 bolnave in faza incipienta, locuiesc, sunt ingrijite si atrase la diferite activitati usoare. Personalul pentru ingrijire e in permanenta. Costul de 3400 Eruo, plata lunara din partea Statului, pentru o persoana. Dar ce fac nemtii e mai greu pentru altii. Asa a fost si la foarte rau si la foarte bine .

Se recomada sa nu ne facem ca nu observam sau le socotim bagatele,  unele schimbari in comportamentul cuiva din apropiere. Sa se pastreze calmul si echilibrul judecatii si al gandirii.

Coincidenta a facut sa primesc o povestire Ce e dragostea pe care o aveti in continuare.

 

O intrebare frecventa pe Google pare a fi:  ” Ce este dragostea?!” Ei bine, cea mai frumoasa explicatie am auzit-o cu cativa ani in urma de la o prietena,asistenta medicala. Zilele astea ploioase mi-au reamintit povestea pe care astazi m-am gandit sa o impartasesc cu voi:

Era o dimineata aglomerata la cabinet cand, in jurul orei 08:30, intra un domn batran cu un deget bandajat. Imi spune imediat ca este foarte grabit caci are o intalnire fixata pentru ora 09:00 . L-am invitat sa se aseze stiind ca avea sa mai treaca cel putin o jumatate de ora pana sa apara medicul. Il observ cu cata nerabdare isi priveste ceasul la fiecare minut care trece.

Intre timp ma gandesc ca n-ar fi rau sa-i desfac bandajul si sa vad despre ce este vorba. Rana nu pare a fi asa de grava… in asteptarea medicului, ma decid sa-i dezinfectez rana si ma lansez intr-o mica conversatie. Il intreb cat de urgenta este intalnirea pe care o are si daca nu prefera sa astepte sosirea medicului pentru tratarea ranii. Imi raspunde ca trebuie sa mearga neaparat la casa de batrani, asa cum face de ani buni, ca sa ia micul dejun cu sotia.

Politicoasa, il intreb de sanatatea sotiei. Senin, batranul domn imi povesteste ca sotia, bolnava de Alzheimer, sta la casa de batrani de mai bine de 7 ani. Gandindu-ma ca intr-un moment de luciditate sotia putea fi agitata de intarzierea lui, ma grabesc sa-i tratez rana dar batranul imi explica ca ea nu-si mai aduce aminte de 5 ani cine este el… Si-atunci il intreb mirata: “ Si dvs. va duceti zilnic ca sa luati micul dejun impreuna?“ . Cu un suras dulce si o mangaiere pe mana, imi raspunde: “E-adevarat ca ea nu mai stie cine sunt eu, dar eu stiu bine cine este ea“.

 

source http://www.infoniac.com/health-fitness/negative-thoughts-about-ageing-bring-about-health-problems-in-older-age.html

Am ramas fara cuvinte si un fior m-a strabatut in timp ce ma uitam la batranul care se indeparta cu pasi grabiti. Mi-am inghitit lacrimile spunandu-mi in sinea mea: “Asta este dragostea, asta este ceea ce imi doresc de la viata!… Caci, in fond, asa este dragostea adevarata !!!… nu este neaparat fizica si nici romantica in mod ideal. Sa iubesti inseamna sa accepti ceea ce a fost, ceea ce este, ceea ce va fi si ceea ce inca nu s-a intamplat. Persoanele fericite si implinite nu sunt neaparat cele care au tot ce-i mai bun din fiecare lucru, ci acelea care stiu sa faca ce-i mai bun din tot ceea ce au”.

 

———————-

Dr. George Manescu, Februarie 2012

Tradition is tradition and as on all Jewish Holidays, The Catcher in the Sand celebrated Tu B’Shvat – The Jewish New Year of the Trees with a collection of interesting and fun information, songs, clips gathered from the Internet and related to the holiday.

 

source http://joshuaventuregroup.org/2011/press/tu-bshvat-an-ancient-jewish-holy-day-for-modern-environmentalists

 

Some call it an ancient holiday which is a source of inspiration for modern environmentalism. See for example a very interesting article in the Huff Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gabe-crane/tu-bshvat-an-ancient-holi_b_810325.html.

 

(video source Speedy2444)

 

A more traditional view on the holiday and its significance in the clip above.

 

(video source OdysseyNetwork)

 

We can hear more about the holiday in the interfaith ceremony dedicated to the holiday filmed two years ago in a park in New York, ceremony organized by a group trying to bridge between people belonging to different religions and make each faith traditions known to the other.

 

(video source dgtemkin)

 

There is something as a Talking Tu B’shvat blues  and the name of the group performing it is Raytones.

 

(video source AlfredMullerNews)

 

Here are the Tu B’shvat celebrations in Jerusalem, in the Ben Yehuda Street.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AimUmXfOsqU

(video source tabletmag)

 

Here is what a top chef is doing about the holiday which in this season in New York does not enjoy exactly the same weather (and season fruits) as in the Land of Israel.

 

Tu B’Shvat Sameakh – Happy New Year of the Trees!

This is a performance I was not supposed to enjoy. I am not a fan of light and feel-good comedies, moralistic and happy-ending. ‘Harvey’ is a light, feel-good comedy that ends well and tells a few things about morals in our world. Being sold fantasies always rises my suspicion, and this play written by Mary Chase sells one and it’s a big one, one meter and 93.5 centimeters to be exact, with rabbit years as an extra. Broadway successes make me cautions and this was a big hit being represented more than 1700 times on the 48th street between 1944 and 1949. Yet, somehow, the performance at the Gesher Theater works and I am yet to find out why.

 

source http://www.gesher-theatre.co.il/he/

 

It may be that the need for goodness is so big that one almost automatically sympathizes with people who radiate goodness even if they happen to bring their oddities and the lack of fitting with the world around to their help. Elwood, the character that carries the play may be considered the a-normal but the norm and normality melt quickly under the charm of the text and of the lead actor Avi Greinich, whose performance is so convincing that we almost end by looking aside for a pooka or maybe puca (look into the Wikipedia explanation if you are curious) to keep us company after we step out of the Noga Theater in Jaffo. It’s even more remarkable to mention Greinich’s act as the lead role he entered in was played by James Stewart in the film version premiered in 1950.

 

(video source generic11281)

 

If the magic works this is certainly due also to the rest of the team of actors who all support the lead character. The performance cannot keep the pace for the whole duration of the show, and some repetitions and too much melodrama are visible in the second part. Maybe also the theater hall and stage are too big, I would have imagined the play better in a smaller theater, but then the hall was full on Saturday night, and this is good news for a theater that fought in the last few years with adverse economic conditions. Director of this version is Moshe Ivgy at his first run as a stage director. Actually I am not sure about this either, as his name is not mentioned for some reasons in the leaflet and program for the coming months, so there may have been some problems of a kind or another. Sets are very effective (again, no name mentioned in the program), and the overall impression is that feel-good theater does not necessarily mean bad theater.

 

If ‘Footnote’ will win the Oscar for the Best Foreign language film it will certainly by more than a footnote in the history of Israeli cinema, it will be a big event, the first time an Israeli film gets the Oscar. It’s just that I do not believe that this will happen (and of course I wish to be wrong), and I also believe that out of the four Israeli films that made it in the final selection of the category in the last five years Footnore is maybe the one that deserves less, as it is simply not as good as the previous three, including director Joseph Cedar‘s own Beaufort.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1445520/

 

Just to make clear, Footnote is not a bad film and it has its moments of real beauty. Many of these turn around the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the words and their meanings, the buildings block of the language and of the Jewish wisdom, and of the sacred text of the Bible. This is probably one of the elements that fascinated the jury of the Academia and made them decide to shortlist the film and include it in the prestigious final selection for the Oscar prize. The film is before all the story of the dramatic relationship between a father and a son who are unable to communicate in and within the terms of real life, but they do communicate and understand each other in codes of words. As with the famous (or infamous) Bible codes stories, the letters and words of the Hebrew language hide a story hidden beyond the first layer of perception available to us, the other mortals. But even if we set aside the element of exoticism that is not that striking for the Israeli or Hebrew knowledgeable viewer we are still left with the exquisite acting of the two lead characters (Shlomo Bar-Aba and Lior Ashkenazi), with strong supporting roles from Aliza Rosen and Micah Lewensohn, and with a mix of styles which is sometimes daring like the description of the career of the son using techniques of ‘professional’ publicity juxtaposed to the restrained way of presenting the work of the father in the style of commentaries on text. It is in the conflict between the world of ideas and the material world, in the lack of acceptance and integration of the character of the father with the universe dominated by the obsession of the security, showing respect not for the essence but to the superficial ceremonies, it is here that lies much of the ideology that motivates the story in the film.

 

(video source UKJewishFilmFestival)

 

Yet at the end I also felt a feeling of dis-satisfaction. Part resulted maybe not directly from the film itself but my own experience of living in Israel, where religious studies are not and exotic element but one of the key pillars at the foundation of the social and cultural life. There is much to be told about this world which is full of wonders and miracles but also of cheating and demagogy. Cedar’s film left me with the feeling that while trying to approach the problematic aspects of this field of life, refused to take any position or insert a critical comment beyond the sin face. Then the openness and the life-like ambiguity which in many other films works wonderfully is taken here in my opinion one or several steps too far. We never know whether the research of the father had any real value, we are left in the dark with the roots of the conflict between the father and the head of the prize Israel jury, and a character like the wife and mother could have been better developed. The strong story of the relation between the son and the father and the son’s sacrifice which here goes in different direction than usual remains suspended. ‘Footnote’ looks well polished but unfinished.

I spent last night an evening with the Brubecks. The host was the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the art film festival Epos now at its third edition. Unfortunately I knew too little about the event in the past years and this year I learned about it too late, but this is something to follow in the years to come. The evening program started with the excellent documentary In His Own Sweet Way directed by Bruce Ricker and produced by Clint Eastwood about and with Dave Brubeck and continued with a concert by Darius Brubeck, mostly dedicated to his father’s works.

 

(video source improvisedsolo)

 

The title of the film is inspired by one of the most famous pieces composed by Dave Brubeck (here is on a recording in 1964, with his quartet including preferred saxophonist partner and friend Paul Desmond). It is also a defining story line which is followed with off-voice commentaries in a rather conventional and chronological manner, but gets enriched at each stop by a rich and significant melt of interviews made by the musician during his long career with media figures like Walter Cronkite, and commentaries on the music of Brubeck by experts and artists like Yo-Yo Ma or Sting, and most than all the music itself.  Archived clips take us from the music of the debut years to the 2007 Newport festival concert, and then some music played specially for this film.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwNrmYRiX_o

(video source sixsix)

 

This is the story of a fabulous life, which started in California, continued on the European second world war theaters where his talent is quickly discovered and put to the service on entertaining and raising the moral of the troops and the formal musical studies with Darius Milhaud. The 50s brought him the recognition, the formation of the famous Dave Brubeck Quartet which would accompany him for almost two decades and fame, as jazz was entering mainstream and Brubeck was the first musician in the genre who made the cover of TIME Magazine in 1954. He was also a breakthrough artist in what concerns the penetration of jazz in the popular music attention and hit parades. Take Five above (which also gave the name of the concert last night) was recorded in 1961 and made it to the top in many countries around the world.

 

(video source HAaatUPacific)

 

Brubeck was also part of the first generation of ‘Jazz Ambassadors’ program initiated in 1958 by the State Department, which took the best American jazz musicians in tours world-wide making them known one of the most original forms of art brought to the world by America. This was how American jazz music and some of its bigger musicians reached Romania in the late 60s and start of the 70s. These tours also were a great opportunity for the musicians to be exposed to the music played in other countries and continents. From that period he drew inspiration for pieces like Blue Rondo a la Turk recorded in 1962, this was fusion before the word was applied at all in the musical field.

 

(video source faridb2000)

 

Here he is at an award ceremony at the Kennedy Center in 2009, honored by some of the finest musicians that America has, including his sons. This comes by the end of one of the best music documentaries that I have seen lately, the portrait of an artist whose whole life is music, who loves music and makes people who see and listen to him love it.

 

 

The concert that followed had Darius Brubeck as main performer at piano, with the excellent British saxophonist Dave O’Higgins, and local drummer Shay Zalman and contra-bassist Tal Ronen in the band. Darius is an experimented and articulate pianist, whose luck was to be born in such a family of gifted musicians but this may also have been his handicap because of the comparison everyone immediately draws to his father. His own Web site can be accessed at http://dariusbrubeck.com/. O’Higgins is an excellent saxophonist who would deserve being invited here as separate guest in one of the international jazz series. Both played mostly from the repertoire of the Brubeck Plays Brubeck group they are part of (it is also the name of Dave’s first solo album recorded in 1956). The success and the enthusiastic response of the audience was immediate. A great jazz evening.

A Web site worth being visited is Brubeck Music dedicated to the music of Dave Brubeck and of the members of the whole clan.

As an interesting trivia for my Romanian friends, Darius spent some time in Romania in the last few years playing music and teaching, and his most record To and Fro’ was recorded in concert in May 2010 at the Hungarian Theatre, in Cluj-Napoca.