Archive for March, 2012

The Israeli Opera production of Lucia di Lammermoor was for me a wonderful opportunity to meet again not only with one of my preferred scores in the opera repertory but with the very first opera I have seen on stage.This must have been 46-47 years ago at the opera in Bucharest, I should ask my mother if she remembers the performance, but I certainly did not forget it, as it was the beginning of a life-long love story for the genre, for the music received directly from singers and orchestra, for the passion, emotions, joy and sorrow that can be lived only with the singers and the audience under the same roof. I had seen another performance of the opera in the 90s, and now it’s my third time. It’s wonderful music certainly, but for me it’s much more. You hardly forget a first time!

 

source http://www.israel-opera.co.il/Eng/?CategoryID=423&ArticleID=1301


Gaetano Donizetti was at the pick of his popularity in 1835 when this opera was premiered. He was actually the most popular composer in Italy after the period of Rossini and Bellini and a couple of decades before the appearance of Verdi who will dominate the Italian opera in the second half of the 20th century. The combination of romantic drama (melodrama actually) and patriotic themes that forms the subject of the opera attracted and energized the audiences and made it at success starting with the premiere in Naples and the French version first presented in Paris in 1839. The beauty of the music made it a long term success brought back since the mid of the 20th century by great sopranos on the world stages.

 

(video source ioSonoCallas)

 

We had the chance last night to sit near a lady who had lived in New York City and had seen several versions of this opera and many other performances of the great artists of the genre. We discussed among other about Maria Callas, so I was happy to find the version of the Mad Scene sung by the greatest diva of all times, to be compared with a recent one of Anna Netrebko. This scene is a complex and dramatic area, testing the musical and dramatic qualities of the sopranos, as well as the talent to improvise and add of their own personality.

 

(video source coloraturafan)

 

The performance in Tel Aviv last night was directed by Emilio Sagi originally for the Opera House in Oviedo, Spain. An interesting decision was to cut off the performance completely the first scene in the third act, which added to the fact that the break came after the first two acts let the second part much shorter than the first one and increased the weight of the Mad Scene in the overall dramatic development. It also left the responsibility of the musical impression on the lead soprano singing Lucia which last night was Laura Claycomb – she did fine most of the time, acted very well, and had very few moments of harshness in the high notes that kept her apart a really great performance. She was seconded by the Israeli Ayala Zimbler who seems to have great qualities and I would love to see one day as Lucia. Boaz Daniel as Enrico and Francisco Corujo as Edgardo did the good jobs that I expected, with the orchestra conducted by Yishai Steckler making me regret at some moments that I did not catch one of the evenings when Daniel Oren conducted. Overall a good performance, and for reasons beyond pure nostalgia.

 

The Hot Jazz series at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art continue their exploration in the contemporary international jazz landscape, and the diversity of the artists and sounds brought up to the Israeli scene of jazz is one of the reasons for which it continues to draw interest, and actually I have the feeling that the interest is growing. Ziv Ben, the promoter and soul of the series presented last night the next season highlights, again eight concerts, again most if not all bring up new sounds and interesting musicians.

 

(video source martincongahead)

 

Arguably, the music played last night belongs less to jazz and more to the world music or Latin music genres. Labels however matter too little for me when it comes to professionalism and passion and these were present last night on the stage and in the sound played by Igor Arias Baro, the Cuban percussionist and singer who was the guest star of the evening, and the seven Israeli musicians who gradually filled the stage and played with him. Igor is not a very well known name on the scene of Cuban music (not to me in any case) and the few clips of his I found on youTube caught him playing in a restaurant and on the scene of a festival which is not one of the most famous. He does have however a good technique as a percussionist, a deep and strong voice and a vocalist and the charisma on stage mixed with a sense of humor which helped him raise up until the end of the performance most of the rather geriatric audience in the Tel Aviv hall, to dance and applaud him and the other musicians.

 

(video source Luisecc)

 

Supporting him on the stage last night were a band of Israeli musicians, some of them with Latin-American roots, all doing a good job (even Shay Zalman took the back row for an evening and played in a well-integrated manner together with the rest of the musicians). It was not a perfect sound, but you do not need it necessarily in Latin music, where rhythm and passion are more important. I must wrote doen however one more name, the pianist last night was Itay Abramovitch who demonstrated in a couple of songs good technique and personality at the piano connecting the music last night with the world of jazz that is the main theme of the ‘Hot Jazz’ series.

 

’1Q84′ - monumentalul (in volum si substanta) recent roman al lui Haruki Murakami incepe cu un motto care a fost enigmatic pentru mine la prima citire:

It’s a Barnum and Bailey world,

just as phony as it can be,

But it wouldn’t be make-believe

if you believed in me.

 

Enciclopediile Internetului mi-au dezvaluit imediat ca Barnum & Bailey era una dintre trupele americane de circ si magie cele mai cunoscute in ultimele decenii ale secolului 19 si si inceputul secolului 20. Cartea este deci plasata de la inceput sub semnut magiei si al imaginarului, dar cine este acest ‘me’ (eu) si cine este cel invitat sa creada ca ‘make-believe’ (aparenta) este realitate acolo unde si daca ‘you believed in me’ (crezi in mine)? Este oare o invitatie adresata de scriitor cititorului? Sau apartine ea mai degraba eroilor frumoasei povesti de dragoste care este una dintre temele principale ale romanului si care vor trebui sa sparga cercul vrajii pentru a-si implini iubirea?

Urmatoarea asociere evidenta, una dintre multele ale acestei carti pline de referinte literare si muzicale este cu Alice a lui Lewis Carroll. Eroina principala a cartii pe nume Aomame – despre care aflam destul de repede ca este o ucigasa seriala care ii pedepseste pe barbatii vinovati de abuzuri si violente impotriva femeilor cu o moarte subita ale carei cauze sunt imposibil de detectat – se afla blocata intr-un imens dop de circulatie pe o autostrada in Tokyo, si pentru a ajunge la timp la destinatie urmeaza sfatul unui sofer de taxi amator de muzica clasica (Simfonietta lui Janacek va juca rol de tema muzicala recurenta in carte) si va cobora o scara de serviciu care o duce … intr-o lume paralela. O lume care doar aparent este aceeasi cu cea din anul 1984 in care se petrece actiunea cartii, mici sau mari diferente incep sa-i fie din ce in ce mai evidente eroinei: uniformele politistilor si armele in dotare par putin diferite, evenimente importante de care nu are habar par a se fi petrecut in anii precedenti, si chiar si cerul noptii este impodobit cu doua luni si nu doar cu una.

 

source http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/murakamih/1Q84.htm

 

Nu este singurul paralelism important al cartii. Primele doua volume din cele trei care compun cartea prezinta in capitole alternate in mod riguros traiectoriile lui Aomame si a lui Tengo, un tanar de aceeasi varsta, profesor de matematica si recenzent si autor de literatura care se implica in rescrierea si publicarea unei povestiri fantastice a unei scriitoare adolescente de 17 ani pe nume Fuka-Eri. Cititorul isi da repede seama ca destinele celor trei personaje sunt strans legate, ele par a rula in paralel cu usoare decalari in timp care sparg linearitatea relatarii si intrebarea daca paralele se vor intalni ramane una dintre enigmele centrale ale cartii pana spre sfarsit. Cele trei volume ale cartii care se intinde in editia engleza pe care am citit-o eu (publicata in Statele Unite de Albert A. Knopf, o divizie a lui Random House, Inc.) pe 925 de pagini acopera fiecare un ciclu de trei luni. Cele noua luni de gestatie intre actul procreatiei si nasterea copilului? Trei sferturi din ciclul anului splendid descris in magistralul film ‘Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring’ al lui Kim Ki-duk?

Muzica joaca un rol important in scrierea lui Murakami si melomanii vor regasi aici nu numai citate din lucrari muzicale faimoase sau mai obscure ci si o compozitie in care destinele personajelor se intretes in structuri decalate, teme recurente si o complexitate specifica celor mai sofisticate simfonii. Universul cultural al lui ’1Q84′ nu include insa numai muzica ci si literatura (sunt amintiti, citati, discutati Shakespeare, Proust si Cehov intre altii) sau arta culinara. S-ar putea scrie o carte de bucate sau un eseu culinar despre felurile de mancare pe care personajele le prepara si degusta de-a lungul celor peste 900 de pagini si ceea ce mananca eroii lui Murakami ii defineste in completarea a ceea ce spun si fac. Meniurile culinare si culturale sunt in mare masura universale sau europenizate, atunci cand apar elemente japoneze ele sunt fuzionate intr-o maniera care le-ar face relevante in orice mare oras al lumii sau imprejurimile sale, nu numai la Tokyo. De fapt intregul repertoriu cultural al lui Murakami pare a fi mai mult sincronizat cu spatiul cultural universal, trezindu-mi curiozitatea in ce masura in literatura si cultura japoneza exista confruntari intre curentele traditionaliste si cele modernist-cosmopolite si cat de acute sunt aceste confruntari daca le comparam cu cele din literatura si cultura romana. Daca este sa asociem acest roman complex cu vreun gen el ar fi cel al realismului magic, dar termenii de comparatie sunt in mod evident basmele fratilor Grimm si Alice a lui Lewis Carroll.

 

source http://artsfuse.org/45826/fuse-book-review-haruki-murakami-marathon-storyteller/

 

Al doilea spatiu cu care ’1Q84′ se intersecteaza este cel al sub-culturii trash, echivalentul filmelor lui Tarantino, sau daca vreti ale celor cu gangsteri yakuza. Multe dintre personajele semnificative ale cartii inclusiv cele principale par a fi fascinate de crima sub diferitele sale aspecte. Aceasta relatie cu eroii de serie B poate fi interpretata ca un comentariu social despre Japonia postbelica, in care fiecare din personaje este fie complet ratat, fie ascunde schelete in dulapul biografiei personale, dar si ca un comentariu despre lipsa de orizont a culturii populare compartamentate. Si totusi Murakami pune in fata personajelor sale provocarea depasirii limitelor cel putin in dimensiunea spirituala, si de aici rezulta dialoguri savuroase ca cele in care ucigasa seriala si omul de incredere fost gangster si probabil si el ucigas schimba recomandari si apoi impresii de lectura despre Proust (poate si o auto-ironie la dimensiunile cartii).

Cat de in serios trebuie luata ’1Q84′ in portiunile sale filozofice si in cele care privesc aspectele politice? In definitiv pornind chiar de la titlu este vorba despre o replica, o alternativa la Orwell si al sau ’1984′ – metafora literara suprema a totalitarismului si controlului gandirii, o replica in oglinda desigur (vezi paginatia cartii) si oglinzile desigur deformeaza, dar exista aici multe elemente de real si subiecte arzatoare in 1984 si in 2010-2011: terorismul, cultele religioase, libertatea de a gandi si de a te inregimenta, sacrificiul personal in raport cu binele colectiv. Mai exista in cartea lui Murakami si o dimensiune magic-filozofica nu totdeauna explorata si descrisa pana la capat si cred ca acest efect este intentionat. Constructia migaloasa a misterelor suprapuse dar incomplet elucidate mi-a amintit serialul ‘Lost’ – si acolo explicatia finala (aici intervine ceva mai devreme) este la dimensiuni cosmice, dar fara credibilitate, si cred ca motto-ul lamureste mai clar aceste inconsistente si nefinisari. Magia nu se poate explica in totalitate nici macar atunci cand explicatia apartine tot taramurilor magice.

Sunt dimensiunile cartii justificate? Intrebarea trebuie desigur pusa, cand numarul de pagini al unui roman atinge dimensiunile altor trei sau patru carti. Nu orice carte in jur de o mie de pagini este ‘Razboi si pace’. Din perspectiva cititorului avid dar fara prea mult timp la dispozitie voi indrazni a raspunde ‘da’. Lectura este tot timpul pasionanta, am trecut prin zero momente de scadere a interesului si repetitiile cand au fost mi s-au parut justificate. Cele cateva zeci de pagini finale m-au prins intr-o lectura pasionata, implicat in destinul personajelor, emotionat si rezonand impreuna cu ele, si deplin lamurit in legatura cu mesajul principal al cartii. Adevarat, traiectoriile unora dintre personaje sunt taiate brusc dar sa nu uitam ca este vorba de treceri intre universuri alternative. Ceea ce a contat pana la urma pentru mine ca cititor a fost insa destinul eroilor principali si a povestii lor de dragoste care prin dimensiunile si intensitatea ei genereaza povesti de dragoste intre cititori si personaje.

 

 

Some of my finest and dearest memories are of having seen live a few of the jazz giants I had the chance to be contemporary with. Among them Thelonius Monk, Lionel Hampton, Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Chick Correa.  I was looking forward to hear and see playing live pianist McCoy Tyner who gave one concert last night in Petakh-Tikvah.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTrb4iOiDpo

(video source mariobq)

 

McCoy Tyner’s first meeting with fame took place in 1960 when at the age of 22 he joined the famous John Coltrane Quartet led by Coltrane (tenor sax), with Jimmy Garrison (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums). It was the time when Coltrane recorded his first great album ‘My Favorite Things’ and continued to play and make records for the next five years with one of the greatest bands in the history of jazz. By 1965 when Coltrane continued to experiment and invent, entering the free jazz universe Tyner who was more conservative and tied to the melodic school of classic American jazz left Coltrane to start an independent career.

 

(video source jazzster123)

 

Most of his great successes in concerts and records belong to the trio formula – typically with bass and drums joining Tyner’s piano which carries most of the melodic line (when he is not joined by guitar or saxophone musicians). Here he is in 1989, together with Avery Sharpe – bass and Aaron Scott – drums, playing Monk’s Dream.

 

(video source peterw99)

 

A more recent recording dates from 2002 in Marciac, with Avery Sharpe again at bass and Al Foster on drums. The formula is pretty simple, a strong melodic introduction in many cases with a classic music ambiance, followed by generous opportunities for the bass and drums in developing, reinterpreting, and improvising on the theme, with a crescendo reunion dominated by the sound universe created by the piano towards the end. Round, balanced, beautiful!

 

 

The concert last night was not part of the Hot Jazz series I am usually attending and I frankly missed this. I will not comment on the price of the tickets, yes it was more than double of the one for a concert in the series, but I and the other fans would probably have paid even more to see and hear Tyner. However, at any price I would have expected the Zappa Club who organized the concert to print at least a basic leaflet introducing the artists playing together as part of the trio. Acoustics were mediocre, a little better after the break. Tyner himself was great, he has a sound that fills the air and envelops everything around in music. He looked however frail, tired or maybe just the age puts a tag, and the end of the concert seemed abrupt, with the musicians never returning to the stage even to thank and acknowledge the fans who stayed and applauded for minutes. This was a little strange and disappointing.

 

The traditional holiday posting for this Purim gathers music and filmed images, all fun I hope, related to this fun holiday.It’s probably the easiest Jewish holiday to cover :-)

 

(video source rogatkaproductions)

 

The first clip shows a Western version of the Purim story.

 

(video source CantorStephanieShore)

 

PurimShpiels are staged all over the world, here is one filmed in Boca Raton, Florida.

 

(video source bluesdance)

 

… and a tenor’s version with songs from Livorno and Tunis.

 

(video source CafeComTorah)

 

The Maccabeats music seldom misses such happy occasions.

 

(video source goddessbuzz)

 

The Hamantaschen Song is sang by a group named Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad (is there such a thing? :-) )

 

source http://www.areyvut.org/resources/holidays_observances/purim/

 

So go out, put a mask or at least a smile on your face, sing or listen to a Purim song, forget diets and eat some Hamantaschen, it’s Purim!

Hag Purim Sameah!

O noua secventa din amintirile doctorului Gica Manescu este legata de data aceasta de muzica si muzicieni.

———-

Am cunoscut direct pe unii dintre muzicieni sau le-am cunoscut exercitarea profesiunii, in domeniul artei.

 

(video source professorgheorghe)

 

Pe Theodor Rogalski, mai mult compozitor, dar pe sotia lui ca un oaspete la castelul Pelisor, transformat in Casa de creatie si odihna penru artisti, scriitori si ziaristi. Prin sotia mea, ziarista la “Agerpres “, am obtinut aprobarile. De vreo doua ori, am intalnit-o pe doamna  Rogalsky cu care facusem cunostinta. Langa camera noastra de la etajul I, era o use ingusta si o scarita in spirala, care ducea la o bisericuta si o camera de locuit. Era locul ei de cazare. Nu am vazut-o intre altii, tacuta si retrasa. O seriozitate pe figura ei. Am luat-o ca atare, fara importanta.

(video source c0gnate)
Cand s-a deschis Sala de concerte a Radiodifuziunii am fost si acolo printre amatorii de muzica si am admirat talentul dirijorului Iosif Conta. In fragmentul de mai sus Conta dirijeaza Poema Romana a lui George Enescu cu orchestra Radioteleviziunii romane.

Pe compozitorul Anatol Vieru, l-am cunoscut din timpul studentiei mele iesene si a adolescentei lui. Elev silitor si muncitor, scolit si in URRS de unde a revenit nu numai cu  diploma, dar si sotia.
source http://reddoorbythebeach.wordpress.com/category/choral-music/
Am plecat  in Germania nu “ democrata “-  comunista, ci “ federala “- capitalista, in anul 1971. Nu pot cere nici un ban inapoi, ca n-am platit noi. Mama socrului meu, evreica de origine germana, decedata, avea familie revenita acolo, la Dusseldorf , capitala districtului – Land- de multi ani si care a vrut reunficarea si ne-a adus. Eu am fost “atasat “  sotiei mele. Am locuit si profesat intr-un oras de 20 mii locuitori, la 20 Km. de capitala. Intr-un spital, in sectia de chirurgie generala si apoi, medic privat, al unei Case de Asigurari  medicale, pentru cei are ii apartineau. Stimat de colegi, vecini, pacienti si autoritati, am avut viata cu munca de raspundere si greutatile limbii. Nu m-am plans, am muncit, invatat si am reusit.

Seful sectiei culturale al Primariei, neamt din Timisoara, s-a imprietenit cu noi. Ne-a anuntat ca in curand soseste in turneu, Filarmonica din Cluj avand ca solist pe renumitul viorist, Stefan Ruha. Am cumparat doua bilete. Sala de festivitati a orasului era plina si am dat si de cativa imigranti (fugiti, ramasi), din Romania. Concertul pentru vioara de Beethoven a fost executat si acompaniat cu maestrie.  Aplauzele au fost meritate. In pauza, am putut intra in camera de odihna, din dosul scenei cu amicul, si am invitat ca dupa concert, la noi acasa, sa ciocnim un  pahar cu solistul, dirijorul, si 2-3 din ansamblu. Ruha a intors capul catre un tovaras -mi-am dat seama ca e securistul insotitor – si a refuzat invitatia cu un motiv neserios. Aveau a doua zi, concert in alt oras din apropiere. Un autobuz pentru ei si camere de hotel,rezervate. Ne-am despartit cu strangeri de maini, am ascultat partea a doua si ne-am intors singuri.

(video source vonMelas)
Relativ la Ionel Perlea, am aflat ca a dirijat ani multi, Orchestra Sinfonica din Bamberg. E una renumita, dintre cele germane. Am fost acolo, dar fara sa ma interesez de muzica. Asezare foarte pitoreasca. Un rau, strabate centrul.
Aici se termina povestirea.