Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kim Jong Il on the Art of Opera: Talk to Creative Workers in the Field of Art and Literature September 4-6, 1974

Yours, or mine, for 'only' $25 at Only one copy available, although more are reported to be on the way.

Kim Jong II [Il]

1972 North Korea Sea of Blood Revolution Opera Book on e-Bay. [See photos.]

Opera as Drama: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition By Joseph Kerman [Extensive, on-line book preview.]

Image credit: (c)


[Aide-memoire: September 4-6, 1974

Returned in mid-August from ten-weeks touring Central and Western Europe via Montreal [$800 total cost]. Began Chaucer-Dante Honors Seminar under Derek Traversi; Types of Eastern Religious Philosophy Honors Seminar under Donald K. Swearer; Third-Year Music Theory and Composition (Schenkerism-Combinatoriality) under David H. Steinbrook; Figured-Bass and Score-Reading Tutorial under Robert M. Smart; and Astronomy under Wulff D. Heinz. Did not have time to enroll in student orchestra or chamber music programs.]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Please Write or Call WETA/WGMS-FM Today And Request That They Program Living Classical Music Including Chen Yi's Si Ji (Four Seasons)

Not coming soon to the racist, anti-living classical music public radio station, WETA/WGMS-FM, in the increasingly culturally isolated Nation's Capital:

"CHEN YI was born in Guangzhou, one of the largest cities in southern China, on April 4, 1953. She now lives in New York City and Kansas City (where she is on the faculty of the University of Missouri School of Music). ... Franz Welser-Möst led the Cleveland Orchestra in the world premiere of Si Ji in Lucerne on August 26, 2005. The work was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in music. These performances mark the San Francisco Symphony/West Coast premiere. Si Ji is scored for three flutes and piccolo, three oboes and English horn, three clarinets and bass clarinet, three bassoons and contrabassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (divided among four players, the first playing vibraphone, Beijing Opera gong, and bongo; the second playing marimba and tam-tam; the third playing xylophone and bass drum; the fourth playing snare drum, triangle, and suspended cymbal), harp, and strings. Chen dedicates the score to her mentor Chou Wen-chung." ...

Thomas May's Full San Francisco Symphony Program Note to West Coast Premiere of Cheni Yi's SI JI (Four Seasons).


Write or Call:

Sharon Percy Rockefeller
2775 South Quincy St.
Arlington, VA 22206
tel 703.998.2600
fax 703.998.3401


Si Ji (Four Seasons)

1. The West Lake, the Beauty (Su Shi)

The brimming waves delight the eye on sunny days;
The dimming hills give a rare view in rainy haze,
The West Lake looks like the fair lady at her best
Whether she is richly adorned or plainly dressed.

2. The Landscape in Contrast (Su Shi)

Like spilt ink dark clouds spread o’er the hills as a pall;
Like bouncing pearls the raindrops in the boat run riot.
A sudden rolling gale comes and dispels them all,
Below Lake View Pavilion sky-mirrored water’s quiet.

3. The True Face of Mount Lu (Su Shi)

A row of peaks from the front; a deep line from the side;
Near, far, high, low—a new shape wherever the mists part.
We cannot recognize the true face of Mount Lu.
Because we are always in it.

4. The Thunderstorm (Zeng Gong)

As clouds rack waves urge waves,
With severe wind a long roll of thunder.
In house curtains on four walls,
In bed looking into thousand mountains under a gust of rain.


American composer Chen-Yi.

Unwanted on anti-living classical music public station, WETA/WGMS-FM, in the Nation's Capital.

Photo credit: (c) Theodore Presser Company. 2005. All rights reserved.

Charles Amirkhanian Reaches Cerebrally Across The Continent To Promote, In D.C., The Young Del Sol String Quartet And A Living Classical Music Culture

Posted to Charles T. Downey's ionarts, Washington, D.C.'s leading critical Website on the classical performing (and visual) arts:

Hi D.C. Friends,

I have produced several concerts with the Del Sol [String Quartet] and timed my annual visit to your city to meet with NEA and LOC staff around this concert. It was, for me, the highlight of the concert year so far and one of the best string quartet concerts I've ever attended.

Del Sol indeed is one of the most exciting of the younger chamber ensembles going in the U.S. Their programming follows nobody else's formula but regularly delivers amazing combinations and revelations. And their extraordinary playing and dedication was evident to the 3/4ths house that attended, with apparently no publicity in the local press. Hearing this music on Strads was exceptionally rewarding and the hall, as you know, is acoustically one of the best in the U.S. for this type of ensemble.

The highlight for me was the incredibly artful presentation of Peter Sculthorpe's Quartet No. 16 in five movements, four with didjeridu in this version made especially for Del Sol by the composer. It was premiered last March at the Other Minds Festival that I produce in San Francisco annually. Stephen Kent is, in every sense, a match for the best string quartet players anywhere....

The works of Gabriela Frank and Kui Dong, two extraordinarily talented women, were transcendent. Chinary Ung's new work, commissioned by the LOC, was a triumph of the imagination--he called on the players to sing and whistle precisely notated pitches and rhythms while they played something completely different on their instruments. And the result I found electrifying.

I commend the producer of the series for bringing something a bit more West Coast than the usual fare to this hallowed venue ... .

Warm regards,
Charles Amirkhanian
Artistic Director
Other Minds, San Francisco


Ignored by the Washington Post and ionarts?

The Del Sol String Quartet, a leading force advancing the classical music tradition

Winner, First Prize for Adventurous Programming (Mixed Repertory), January 2006, Chamber Music America/ASCAP

Photo credit: (c) Jim Block. 2007. All rights reserved. Via the Del Sol Website. With thanks.


Not a substitute for the San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet, but New York City-based Alarm Will Sound performs, for free, tonight, October 30, at the Library of Congress:

Conlon Nancarrow, Player Piano Study No. 2A arr. Gavin Chuck
György Ligeti, Chamber Concerto third movement
Josquin des Prez, Agnus Dei II from Missa L'homme armé super voces musicales arr. Payton MacDonald
Aphex Twin, Gwely Mernans arr. Ken Thomson
The Shaggs, Philosophy of the World arr. Gavin Chuck
Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum
Conlon Nancarrow, Player Piano Study No. 6 arr. Yvar Mikhashoff
Johannes Ciconia, Le ray au soleyl arr. Gavin Chuck
Mochipet, Dessert Search for Techno Baklava arr. Stefan Freund
Michael Gordon, Yo Shakespeare
Conlon Nancarrow, Player Piano Study No. 3A arr. Derek Bermel

Monday, October 29, 2007

Briefly Noted: Music Writer And Critic Alex Ross On Young Composers, Beethoven, And Philip Glass's Late-Period Renaissance

... "Has [Philip] Glass entered the late-period renaissance that his admirers have long awaited? Maybe so, although no one should discount all that other work in his catalogue, even those middling pieces which seem to fade away immediately after they have been heard. Glass is really a composer in the spirit of the Baroque, producing music on demand, tailoring each piece to the occasion. He is the determined antithesis of the Romantic artist, the one who writes in suffering secret for a posthumous public. This is perhaps the most significant message that Glass delivers to the young composers whom he assists behind the scenes: stop dreaming of Beethoven and get your music played."

Alex Ross "The Endless Scroll: New Works by Philip Glass" New Yorker November 5, 2007

A portrait of Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820.

Photo credit: Public Domaine. Wikimedia Commons. Source: Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Germany, European Union.


Das Digitale Beethoven-Haus

'New Hands On Deck! New Hands On Deck!' [Of The Administrative Staff Of The Washington National Opera]

"Pittsburgh Opera General Director and Vice President Mark Weinstein is leaving to become executive director of the Washington National Opera....

Weinstein came to Pittsburgh after 13 years at the New York City Opera where he held several positions, culminating in executive director. ...

Weinstein's new post in Washington, D.C., begins on Feb. 1 [2008]."

Pittsburgh Business Times " Pittsburgh Opera director leaving for national post" October 29, 2007

"Puccini, Dialogues of the Carmelites (2001)" [sic]!!

"The Opera School of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music enjoys an outstanding reputation for the consistent production of excellent quality singers.

In Australia, a large percentage of these singers are employed as full time artists by our national company, Opera Australia, in State Opera Companies, on the concert platform in oratorio, recital, and broadcasts by the ABC. Internationally, many graduates are in Young Artist programs in opera companies.

Currently, these include Zurich, Cologne, Vienna and Rome." ...

Photo and caption credit: © 2002 - 2007 The University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia. Phone +61 2 9351 2222.
Authorised by: Dean, Sydney Conservatorium of Music.


Actually, Francis Poulenc, and not Giacomo Puccini, wrote Dialogues of the Carmelites.

Percussion As The Last "Instrumental Frontier" - The Most Varied And Least-Codified Resource For Acoustic Music (Not Coming To Public Radio WETA/WGMS)

"Roger Reynold's Sanctuary is in three movements, an evening length performance of about 1 hour:

I. Chatter/Clatter - for solo percussionists Steve Schick
II. Oracle – for red fish blue fish percussion quartet
III. Song – for red fish blue fish percussion quartet

The concert, on November 18, 2007, will be preceded by a lecture by Roger at 6:30 PM in the National Gallery of Art auditorium on the concourse level of the East Wing. Late entry or reentry of the building after 6:30 p.m. is not permitted.

• Reynolds' work utilizes the collaging and computer transformation of musical sounds as well as those from the natural world. His work often features choreographic sound distribution. Reynolds has frequently been involved in collaborative interactions as composer and sounddesigner for theater, video, and dance events.

• In the Atrium of the East Wing we will have unique seating arrangements on all floors of the Gallery. As a component of the non-traditional viewpoints into the performance, we will add an aspect of audience migration during the piece so that listeners will observe the performance from differing perspectives, creating varying aural and visual perceptions.

• Reynolds’ work utilizes the computer’s technological capacity through the digitization of information, to bring about novel combinations, distributions and transformations of sound materials. Roger has been working with an exceptional team of programmers from UCSD and McGill University for four years to develop the software for Sanctuary.

• Percussion is the last "instrumental frontier", the newest, most varied, and least-codified resource for acoustic music. Sanctuary speaks to the codification of this new medium by summoning the image and the standards of the string quartet: music with a high level of scale and aspiration. Steve Schick is recognized world-wide as one of the leading proponents of new music for percussion."

Steve Antosca and Roger Reynolds introducing The Sanctuary Project October 2007

Alexander Calder, one of whose beloved sculptures is pictured above, was lucky that he was an American visual artist whose works are prized by the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C.; as opposed to an American composer, whose works are largely banned from the airwaves of WETA/WGMS, public radio, in the Nation's Capital.

Photo credit: (c) National Gallery of Art. 2007. All rights reserved. Via the NGA Press Office. With thanks.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Autumnal Thoughts On Brahms And New Music As Washington, Under Grey Rainy Skies, Offers Wealth Of Musical Listening Opportunities This Coming Weekend

... "Brahms had a curious relation with the piano. As a young man, he made his reputation as a virtuoso pianist and in those early years composed huge works in classical forms: of his first five published works, three are massive piano sonatas, all written before he was 21, and there are sets of variations from this period that rank among the most difficult piano music ever written. The composer, described in these years by a friend as “the young, heaven-storming Johannes,” seemed on the verge of creating a vast (and heroic) literature for solo piano. But then an unexpected thing happened: at age 32 Brahms simply stopped writing music for solo piano. Over the final three decades of his life, he returned to the genre only twice: in 1878-9 (when he composed 10 brief pieces) and at the very end of his life" ...

From Eric Bromberger's superb program notes to this Sunday's [October 28] Murray Perahia 4 PM piano recital of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Brahms, hosted by the Washington Performing Arts Society, at The Music Center at Strathmore, Maryland.

(c) Washington Performing Arts Society 2007. All rights reserved.


Friday, October 26, 2007 at 8 PM

University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra Celebrates 20th Century Master Composers and Poets

James Ross, music director
Yevgeny Yevtushenko, guest poet
Men of UM Choirs
David Brundage, bass

The University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra's second concert of 2007-8 opens with Jean Sibelius's one-movement masterpiece, Symphony No. 7 in C Major, op 105. Then the UMSO is joined by acclaimed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko for a performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's politically charged Symphony No. 13, op. 113 “Babi Yar,” inspired by Yevtushenko's famous poem about the 1941 Soviet-concealed Nazi massacre in Kyiv, Ukraine, the Soviet Union. Yevtushenko will read the poem as an introduction to the performance.


Friday, October 26, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Fred Hersch Celebrates American Creativity: The Composer-Performer

“a rare and disarming combination of oddball ideas and dizzying beauty”

Fred Hersch, piano / Blair McMillen, piano / The Gramercy Trio
First in a series of composer portraits of major jazz figures.
Part of The MacDowell Colony Centennial Celebration

6:15 pm – Whittall Pavilion (no tickets required)
Pre-concert presentation - Larry Appelbaum, Music Division/Host of the WPFW radio’s Sound of Surprise, talks to Fred Hersch about his experience at The MacDowell Colony.


Saturday, October 27, 2007 at 3:30 PM

Persian National Music Ensemble Celebrates Rumi

Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art

This five-member ensemble from Baltimore recites Rumi's poetry in English, tells famous stories about the mystic-poet, and then performs his poems in Persian, accompanied by santur (hammered dulcimer), tar (lute), violin, and percussion. Director and composer Ahman Borhani taught music at Ferdowsi University in Iran and is a specialist on the life and poetry of Rumi.


Sat., Oct. 27, at 5:00 PM

The 21st Century Consort Celebrates Captivating Landscapes

Inspired by SAAM’s exhibitions Earl Cunningham’s America and Over the Top: American Posters from World War I, the Consort performs music by Charles Ives, Jessica Krash, David Behrman, Shulamit Ran, John Cage, and Daniel Kellogg. With William Sharp, baritone.


Sun., Oct. 28, 2007, at 6:30 PM

National Gallery of Art Celebrates Outstanding Classical and Contemporary Music in Service To The Community

Jon Manasse, clarinetist
Jon Nakamatsu, pianist
Music by Brahms, Novacek, Weber, Mendelssohn, Kovacs, and Ravel
West Building, West Garden Court

Concert Notes

Program includes:

Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)

Sonata in F Minor for Clarinet and Piano, op. 120, no. 1 (1894)

Allegro appassionato
Andante un poco adagio
Allegretto grazioso


Sunday, October 28, 2007 7:30pm

Choral Arts Society of Washington Celebrates a Pre-Post Modernist Musical Heritage: An Evening of Russian Music

Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Antony Walker, guest conductor
Artistic Director, Washington
Concert Opera

Norman Scribner, conductor
Alessandra Marc, soprano
Laura Zuiderveen, mezzo-soprano
Paul Austin Kelly, tenor
Robert Pomakov, bass

Sergei Rachmaninoff
The Bells

Masterpieces from the Golden Age
of Russian Opera:

Coronation Scene (Boris Godunov)

Ballroom Scene (Eugene Onegin)

Final Scene (Alexander Nevsky/film); and more

Study Guide For Adults and Students

The Adams Memorial in Section E of Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Erected in 1891 by Henry Adams as memorial to his wife "Clover" Adams. Bronze allegory of "the Peace of God or The Mystery of the Hereafter...beyond pain and beyond joy" (often called Grief) sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, in a setting designed by Stanford White. Image is cropped from an Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS DC,WASH,384-4) photo by Jack E. Boucher, circa 1974.

Photo credit: This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of 17 U.S.C. § 105.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Non-Thought For The Day

"On Oct. 19, 1940, snow and ice felled electric wires and disrupted traffic "as the coldest mid-October weather in 10 years gripped the Washington area.""

Joe Holley "Coming Rain Showers Typify Unpredictable October Weather" Washington Post October 24, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Avoiding 'Free For All', Mr Cogito Works With Washington Post To Affirm National Symphony's Leading Role In American Classical Music History

October 17, 2007

'Music critic Robert Battey was incorrect in describing the Cleveland Orchestra’s performance of American composer John Adams’s “Guide to Strange Places” as a U.S. premiere ["Cleveland Orchestra Lives Up To Its Rep at Kennedy Center," Style, Oct. 17].

The work has had numerous performances in the United States since its world premiere by the Netherlands Radio Orchestra, conducted by the composer, on Oct. 6, 2001.

In fact, the work was given its U.S. premiere by Washington’s own National Symphony Orchestra, under Leonard Slatkin, in three concerts at the Kennedy Center in December 2002.'

— Garth Trinkl


"The Washington Post is considering publishing your letter [above, slightly edited] on the Oct. 20 Free For All page. I need to know the following information:

* Did you write the letter yourself and under your own name?

* Did you send the letter to any other publications or post it on a blog?

* Do you have any connection to the subject matter?

We ask all letter writers these questions, but I was curious about one other thing: How did that word "premiere" jump out at you? I quickly pinned down the facts of the matter via Google, but I gather you could recall those details off the top of your head.

Also, I'd say chances are 50-50 that the Style section will opt for a correction on the matter, in which we wouldn't use the letter."

Mr. _


Mr. __,

Thank you for your consideration of my brief letter.

1. I affirm that I wrote the letter myself and under my own name.

2. I affirm that I did not send the letter to any other publication or post it on a blog.

3. I affirm that I have no connection to the subject matter.

Yes, I recalled the U.S. premiere by the National Symphony, in 2002, off the top of my head, since I attended that U.S. premiere here in Washington (as well as Monday's Cleveland Orchestra performance). As you probably know, John Adams is widely considered America's leading composer of classical music. (He composed the 'official' 9/11 memorial work for the New York Philharmonic -- "On the Transmigration of Souls" -- which won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2003).

More than simply a correction of an error by your new classical music critic, my note was meant to shed favorable light on Washington's own National Symphony Orchestra, its musicians, and its outgoing director Leonard Slatkin

If the paper goes with a correction, I would simply hope that notice would be made that the work received its U.S. premiere under Leonard Slatkin and the NSO in December 2002.

Thank you.




Saturday, October 20, 2007; Page A02

¿ "An Oct. 17 Style review incorrectly said that the Cleveland Orchestra's performance of John Adams's "Guide to Strange Places" was a U.S. premiere. The work's U.S. premiere was in 2002 by the National Symphony Orchestra".

Source: (c) Washington Post, October 20, 2007. All rights reserved.


In 1943, William Schuman won the first Pulitzer Prize for Music with his "Secular Cantata No. 2. A Free Song". The work was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and published by G. Schirmer, Inc., New York.

William Hogarth
Deutsch: Der Maler und sein Mops, Selbstporträt
English: The Painter and his Pug, self portrait
Öl auf Leinwand
90 × 70 cm
Tate Gallery, London, United Kingdom

"William Hogarth (November 10, 1697 – October 26, 1764) was a major English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, and editorial cartoonist who has been credited as a pioneer in western sequential art. His work ranged from excellent realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called “modern moral subjects.”"


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project. The compilation copyright is held by The Yorck Project and licensed under the the GNU Free Documentation License.

With thanks to Vlado and DirectMedia, Berlin, Germany, European Union; the publisher that releases the German Wikipedia CD/DVD.

'There is a good and productive relationship between Wikipedians and Directmedia.'

Friday, October 19, 2007

Old New Classical Music And Current New Classical Music In The Nation's Capital -- A Quick Glimpse At The Facts On The Ground

The National Symphony Orchestra, last night, offered beautiful performances of William Schuman's Prayer in Time of War, and Ralph Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 6 in E minor. Both works are from the 1940's; and both deserve to be shared more widely by the NSO and public radio WETA/WGMS-FM with the Greater Washington region.

I had never heard the Schuman work. I had only heard the Vaughan Williams's work once before, under the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and Harold Farberman, 35 years ago in the Spring of 1972. Last night, I remembered a fairly good deal of the work from that early (or earlier) listenings.

While N. and I both thoroughly enjoyed Lviv, Ukraine-born Emmanuel Ax's performance, under Slatkin, of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83 [WETA/WGMS-FM will be broadcasting a recording of the work tonight at 9 PM; for those who can't make or afford the NSO concert]; I somewhat wished that I could have heard either the Friday or Saturday performances, when ensemble work was even further fine-tuned. [I performed in the work, as a violinist, in the summer of 1976, in Berkeley, under Jonathan Khuner, and with __ as the soloist.]

Given that he hopes now to be able to record more American music, let us hope that the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will afford Mr. Slatkin the opportunity to record the heart-felt William Schuman work, as well as much more American repertoire. [Mr. Slatkin has already recorded the Vaughan Williams with a London orchestra.]


Moving on to current new classical music, be sure to check out tonight's performance, at the Library of Congress, of the San Francisco-based Del Sol Quartet with Stephen Kent, didgeridoo, performing a new work by the Grawemeyer Award-winner Chinary Ung, commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation, plus works by Kui Dong, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Peter Sculthorpe’s Quartet no. 16 for string quartet and didgeridoo. L of C Senior Music curator Steven Soderberg leads a pre-concert discussion with Chinary Ung and members of Del Sol Quartet at 6:15 PM.

Photo credit: (c) Jim Block. All rights reserved. Via the Library of Congress Music Concerts site. With thanks.



Del Sol String Quartet, Hevel and La Familia Peña-Govea on KQED'S Spark, Art and Culture Television Program [San Francisco, California].

[Original Airdate: Wed, Apr 11, 2007]

'Hear [and watch] the Del Sol String Quartet rehearse and debut the work of contemporary chamber composers.'

Tue, Oct 23, 2007 -- 2:30am [Pacific Time].

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Karachi, Pakistan October 18, 2007

Photo credit: (c) B.K.Bangash and Associated Press. 2007. All rights reserved. Via the New York Times. With thanks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Leonard Slatkin And Richard Freed On William Schuman, Vaughan Williams, And 'The Spoils Of War'

The Spoils of War
By Leonard Slatkin

"Every country knows its share of tragedy. The devastation of internal and global conflict would seem an unlikely field to produce great works of art. But that is exactly what seemed to happen during and immediately following World War II.

Music has always had a healing effect on public sentiment." ...


Program Note on Prayer in Time of War
By Richard Freed

"Schuman composed this piece in 1942 and it was given its first performance, under the title Prayer—1943, on February 26, 1943, by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner. The National Symphony Orchestra's only performance of this work prior to the present concerts was conducted by Leon Barzin in a Watergate concert on July 4, 1943, a little more than four months after the Pittsburgh premiere and again under the original title."...


"[Leonard Slatkin] says he sees Detroit as a stimulating next chapter, an opportunity to do interesting things musically and once again immerse himself in a community the way he did as director of the St. Louis Symphony in the 1980s and '90s. ...

Not only did Slatkin promise he would work with the [Detroit Symphony Orchestra's] youth ensembles, but he also pledged a much wider engagement.

"Wherever I am, I go into high schools, grade schools, any school that asks me to come, if I have time. I'm available for anything that has to do with education, and I don't take a penny for it." ...

"The American repertoire is so rich and so varied. Does the world need another Beethoven cycle? No, not from anybody. But there is a wealth of American music that hasn't been recorded." ...

The bottom line, of course, will be his salary, which amounted to some $1.2 million in his last reported year with the National Symphony." ...

Lawrence B. Johnson "No done deal but Slatkin wants DSO director job" The Detroit News August 14, 2007

Babiy Yar, Kyiv, Ukraine, 1944. Soviet investigators (at left) inspect an opened grave. William Schuman, an American Jew, composed his Prayer In Time Of War in 1942. Ralph Vaughan Williams composed his Sixth Symphony between 1944 and 1947.

Photo credit: Archival via Wikimedia Commons. Author unknown. Via Soviet archives and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The work belonged to the former Soviet government and is now in the Russian Federation public domain.

Now Let Us Praise Two Creative Women -- One A (British) Composer, And The Other An (Iranian-Born) Visual Artist

"The lied [song] is one of those ephemeral genres, like the watercolour or the short story, that often appears on the endangered list and inspires initiatives dedicated to its preservation. The newest of these - the second biennial Leeds Lieder festival - had the slightly fanatical air of a convention of bird-watchers gathered for the sighting of a rare, exotic species.

They were rewarded with glimpses of a nightingale, a peacock and a hoopoe. Sally Beamish's new song cycle is inspired by the bird and animal poems of the 14th-century Sufi mystic known as Hafez, and has been devised in collaboration with the Iranian-born visual artist Jila Peacock. Peacock's printed version of the poems adapts the Islamic calligraphy to fit the physical outline of the creatures they describe, and Beamish brings an aural dimension to the allusive contours of the text.

Tenor Mark Padmore possesses a voice perfectly suited to the project: rich but supple enough to explore the nuances of the imagery. Beamish's writing is expressive: she introduces a gentle warble to imitate the song of the nightingale while a rippling accompaniment figure suggests the shimmer of peacock feathers. The final song adapts the onomatopoeia of the hoopoe's cry into a yearning, ascending triad." ...

Alfred Hickling "Beamish premiere/ Leeds Lieder Leeds" Guardian Unlimited October 15, 2007

Image credit: (c) Jila Peacock and 2007. All rights reserved. With thanks.

What Is One To Make Of A Contemporary Classical Music Culture Which Is Alternatively Highly Serious And Downright Ridiculous?

"An opera by Richard Wagner -- whose music and anti-Semitic writings influenced Adolf Hitler -- will be performed at an open-air theater built under the Nazis by an orchestra made up of Israeli and Arab musicians conducted by a Jew.

Daniel Barenboim told Germany's Die Zeit newspaper that the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which he co-founded, plans next year to perform the first act of Wagner's ''Die Walkuere'' at Berlin's Waldbuehne -- an arena built by the Nazis as part of the complex for the 1936 Olympics [and which was modeled on the old Theater-Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus, Greece].

''Can you imagine that?'' Barenboim was quoted as saying in the interview, released Wednesday. ''The Waldbuehne was built by Hitler. The music is Wagner. Played by us! Hitler and Wagner would turn in their graves.''

Barenboim said the Divan Orchestra, made up of young musicians from Israel, the Palestinian territories [and Future State of Palestine]and neighboring Arab countries, is ''clearly'' the most important musical project of his life.

He and the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said founded the group in 1999 in a gesture for peaceful co-existence in the Middle East."

Associated Press "Wagner Opera to Be Performed in Berlin" New York Times October 17, 2007

[Click on images for enlargement.]

Photo credits: (c) Warner Classics via East-West Divan Website; and (c) Royal Opera House, Covent Garden via On An Overgrown Path. All rights reserved. With thanks.

[Mr Cogito spent his first nights ever in Europe sleeping underneath the huge Berlin Olympic Stadium, then in use (until 1994) as the British occupation headquarters in Berlin.]


Closer to 'home' : Next Tuesday, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, under Yuri Temirkanov and sponsored by WPAS, will be performing MOZART - Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492; BEETHOVEN - Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 61; and PROKOFIEV - Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, Op. 100. [Program notes link here.]

On Friday, October 26, the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra will be joined by acclaimed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko for a performance of SHOSTAKOVICH'S politically charged Symphony No. 13, op. 113 “Babi Yar,” inspired by Yevtushenko's famous poem about the 1941 Soviet-concealed Nazi massacre in Kyiv/Kiev, Ukraine. The concert opens with SIBELIUS'S one-movement masterpiece, Symphony No. 7 in C Major, op 105. [More about Yevgeny Yevtushenko's University of Maryland residency, click here.]

SIBELIUS, SHOSTAKOVICH, AND PROKOFIEV (except for his early 'Classical' Symphony #1) are among the master composers banned from the airwaves of the current WETA/WGMS-FM, in the Nation's Capital.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Current Time For Research, But Briefly Noted Nonetheless: Three New Operas On The Horizon For Later In 2008

Sir Harrison Birtwistle and David Harsent's "The Minotaur" for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 2008.

Yannis Kyiakides's "Ocean of Rain," an opera commissioned by Britain's 2008 Aldeburgh Festival.

Paul Moravec and Ted Kooser's "Blizzard Voices," an opera commissioned by Opera Omaha is scheduled to receive its world premiere in 2008.

"Shipweck of the Minotaur" by J. M. W. Turner, oil on canvas, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon.

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. With thanks.


J.M.W. Turner at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. October 1, 2007 to January 6, 2008.

Guide To Strange And Not-So-Strange Classical And American Classical Music -- Including Sonic Rebellion: Naxos's Alternative Classical Collection

Thanks to Daniel and Meiyu, N. and I enjoyed prime orchestra seats at an absolutely superb concert by the Cleveland Orchestra, under Franz Welser-Most, at the Kennedy Center last night. The program included Mozart's Symphony #28, Tchaikovsky's Symphony #6, and John Adams's Guide to Strange Places (from 2001). [Program notes here.] The Mozart symphony was one of the first three in which he mastered the four movement classical style and form inherited from (the living) Haydn. Both it and the Tchaikovsky were superbly executed. It was most likely my most enjoyed concert by the Cleveland Orchestra since hearing George Szell conduct Mahler's Symphony #9 in the Spring of 1969 (at DAR Constitution Hall). N. found the John Adams "interesting", which was a relief to me; while I found it authoritatively and superbly performed (better than the National Symphony performance from some years back that left me cold -- if not confused).

Congratulations to the Washington Performing Arts Society for continuing to uphold serious, classical and contemporary classical standards in the Greater Washington region; and for its decades of work in arts outreach and education. WPAS will next be hosting the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, and much else both classical and more popular. The Philadelphia Orchestra, performing under guest James Conlon who is still sought after by the NSO to replace Leonard Slatkin, will be allowed to perform Edgard Varese's Ameriques, a work which is banned from the airwaves of musically reactionary WETA/WGMS-FM, in the Nation's Capital. [For those who can't afford the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra or the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the equally fine, and more egalitarian Library of Congress is hosting the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra next Monday and the Concerto Copenhagen Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin next February (as well as the Post-Classical Ensemble and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, later in the Spring). Though all advance (virtually free) tickets for the Czech Chamber Orchestra are now gone, some free tickets will be made available to those who arrive early and wait in line.]


Moving back to the theme of Guide to Strange Places, readers are encouraged to invest in Naxos's new recording, Sonic Rebellion: Alternative Classical Collection; which includes works by many of the living and recent composers, who along with the early 20th c. "modernists", are currently banned on WETA/WGMS --works by Glass, Penderecki, Nancarrow, Cage, Henze, Scelsi, Riley, Wuorinen, Varese, Crumb, Ligeti, Gubaidulina, Plaetner, John Adams, Rautavaara, and Arvo Part.

My thanks to Danny L., of Kemp Mill Records, on Washington's historic F Street [below the now gone, once famous, Albert Moglie Violin Shop, where my father bought me my first violin in 1961], for his extra Naxos promo CD and press package (but with apologies to Danny for feeling just too old to wear the Sonic Rebellion: Alternative Classics tee shirt to the Cleveland Orchestra concert last night. I know that he would have worn it.)

Naxos also produces the excellent American Classics series, of which WETA/WGMS-FM appears also to be largely ignorant. Unknown to WETA/WGMS, proud and exciting American conductors (including American conductors of African descent) are at this very moment recording American classical orchestral repertoire with excellent orchestras in Kyiv, Ukraine, Future European Union.

Image credit: (c) Naxos of America, Inc. 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

War, Memory And Art: Interwoven Fragments From Two "Heroic" Historical Panorama Cycles Of Men, Women, Horses, And Landscape

Roger Fenton Crimean War Photographs
Photographic panorama of the plateau of Sebastopol

Franz Alekseyevich Roubaud Panorama "Defense of Sevastopol (Sebastopol) 1854 - 1855" during the Crimean War, 1853-1856.

[Click on images for enlargements.]

Photo credits: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. and (c) 2000-2007, Irina Shvayakova and Andrew Karpov. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Biotechnology Sought To Reduce The Huge Carbon Imprint Of Transcontinental And Intra-continental Jet Airline Travel

"British billionaire Richard Branson said on Monday his Virgin Group hopes to produce clean biofuels by around the start of the next decade and early next year will test a jet plane on renewable fuel.

Virgin hopes to provide clean fuel for buses, trains and cars within three or four years, Branson told a Mortgage Bankers Association meeting in Boston.

In the meantime, Virgin will be conducting a test jet flight on renewable fuels. "Early next year we will fly one of our 747s without passengers with one of the fuels that we have developed," Branson told the annual conference.

Virgin is developing biofuels for aircraft in conjunction with Boeing Co and engine-maker GE Aviation, a unit of General Electric Co. Previously, Branson had said the company would test the fuel sometime next year and that some people had said it would be late in the year.

Air New Zealand has said it plans to test a flight on a combination fuel of biofuel and kerosene in late 2008, but Virgin is trying to beat that airline by testing biofuels first.

Branson pledged last year to spend all the profit over the next 10 years from his 51 percent stake in Virgin's airline and rail businesses on fighting global warming." ...

Rueters "Virgin Atlantic 747 to Test Biofuel In Early 2008" New York Times October 15, 2007

Are the political leaders of our advanced Civilization wedded to an archaic, fossil-fuel powered paradigm of energy, transportation, and economy?

Photo credit: (c) All rights reserved. With thanks.


Take the first step, and calculate your carbon footprint.

National Symphony And Radio, In Crisis, Fail To Prepare Experienced And Younger Audiences For The Classical Beauty Of Bartok, Stravinsky, And Barber

... "I had come to presume it was impossible for an NSO soloist not to get a standing ovation, but Midori, the evening's violin soloist, somehow managed. Whether Bartok's discursive and episodic Violin Concerto No. 2 left the audience cold, or whether Midori's overly tense sound failed to reach many of them, two perfunctory curtain calls were all this masterpiece could draw." ...

Robert Battey "Schubert's 'The Great' Shows NSO At Its Best" Washington Post October 12, 2007


It will be increasingly difficult in a city which allows its major orchestral conductor to open the season with two Viennese waltzes and to devote subscription weeks to "Serious Fun" programming -- and where the public WETA/WGMS-FM radio station refuses to program modern classic music by Stravinsky and Bartok -- for audience members -- older and younger -- at National Symphony subscription concerts to appreciate the beauty of classical masterpieces such as Bela Bartok's Violin Concerto #2. [Even Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto is banned from the airwaves controlled by the WETA/WGMS merger.]

Bartok, Stravinsky, and Barber -- Unwanted on the Nation's Capital's public radio.

Now let us praise the famous classical composers banned by WETA/WGMS, in the Nation's Capital.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. Carl Van Vechten photo of Samuel Barber from the collection of the Library of Congress. Van Vechten estate requests that integrity of the photo be respected. With thanks.

Friday, October 12, 2007

C'est Chic! Google Honors Pavarotti, While Pan Cogito Honors Contemporary French Film, Beautiful French Film Stars And Traumatized War Survivors

Fragments of Antonin /
Les Fragments d’Antonin

Directed by Gabriel Le Bomin

France - 2006 - 90 min
In French with English subtitles

Cast: Grégori Dérangère, Anouk Grinberg, Aurélien Recoing, Niels Arestrup


Five names endlessly repeated. Five obsessive gestures. Five moments of war. Antonin has returned from the fighting without any visible signs of injury. But his wounds are of an intimate, internal nature, deeply buried. It’s 1919 and Professor Labrousse, a pioneer at treating soldiers suffering traumatic shock, develops a passionate interest in Antonin’s case. His new, controversial method involves making the patient relive the most intense moments of the war in order to free himself from them.

Festival selections
2006, Montreal, World Film Festival
International Sales: Dragoonie Films

Avalon Theatre: Sun. Oct. 28 at 5:30 p.m.
Meet director Gabriel Le Bomin
& actor Grégori Dérangère


C'est Chic! 2007; Washington, D.C.

Gabriel Le Bomin directs actor Aurélien Recoing in 'Les Fragments d’Antonin'

Photo credit: Via C'est Chic! Festival.

Operatic Aide Memoire: James Conlon To Los Angeles Opera, Gerard Mortier From Paris Opera To New York Peoples Opera, Philippe Jordan To Opera National

"Swiss conductor Philippe Jordan has been named the next music director at the Opera National de Paris, the French opera house said.

The 33-year-old, currently principal guest conductor at the Berlin Staatsoper opera house, will join the Paris institution starting with the 2009-2010 season, the Paris opera said Thursday.

The son of the late conductor Armin Jordan, Philippe Jordan has studied piano and violin as well as theory and composition....

The Opera National de Paris has not had a music director since American James Conlon left in 2004 to join the Los Angeles Opera, and it has been relying on guest conductors since then." ...

Associated Press "Swiss conductor Philippe Jordan to join Paris Opera" International Herald Tribute October 12, 2007

Opera directors and conductors on the move ...

Jamie Hewlett, Chen Shi-Zheng and Damon Albarn in Monkey Journey to the West, at the Berlin State Opera House. [Click on image for enlargement.]

Video and Audio link.

Photo credit: (c) Statoper Unter den Linden. With thanks.

In Which Mr Cogito Contemplates The Outside World, The Inside World, The Fear of AIDS/HIV And The Old Transnational Phenomena Of Induced Near-Drowning

"Myanmar's military junta rejected a U.N. statement calling for negotiations with the opposition, insisting Friday that it would follow its own plan to bring democracy to the country.

The impoverished country's main opposition party, however, urged the ruling generals to comply with U.N. demands for negotiations with pro-democracy forces and ethnic minorities, and the release of political prisoners.

State-run TV and radio issued a statement Friday arguing that conditions inside Myanmar -- a reference to the anti-government protests that were violently suppressed by troops on Sept. 26 and 27 -- were not the concern of the outside world....

Myanmar's military junta has said 10 people were killed and nearly 2,100 arrested in last month's demonstrations, with 700 later released. Diplomats and dissidents say the death toll is likely much higher and up to 6,000 people were seized, including thousands of monks who led the rallies.

At least a dozen freed prisoners described brutal treatment at detention centers, including one who said ''dozens'' of detainees were killed, the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based short-wave radio station and Web site run by dissident journalists, said in a report Thursday.

There was no way to independently confirm the reports attributed to freed prisoners.

In an interview with The Associated Press, another released prisoner, Zaw Myint, 45, said he was arrested Sept. 26 on a Yangon street after a soldier bashed his face with the butt of his gun, leaving a bloody gash across his cheek.

Zaw Myint said he was denied treatment for three days then stitched up by a doctor at Yangon's notorious Insein prison, after the physician had treated several other wounded prisoners.

''He used the same needle to treat all patients. And I saw him give injections to wounded people using the same syringe,'' said Zaw Myint, who was released after a week in custody. He said was ''extremely worried'' about having contracted HIV as a result of the treatment. Rights groups say Myanmar's prisons have soaring rates of HIV-AIDS.

Human rights groups have long accused the military government of abuse and torture of prisoners. The Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, comprised of around 100 former inmates, has put out a report describing homosexual rape, electric shocks to the genitals, near drowning, burning with hot wax and other abuse." ...

Associated Press "Myanmar Rejects UN Call for Negotiations" New York Times October 12, 2007


Orlando De Guzman "Myanmar's Hidden AIDS Epidemic" PBS Frontline World April 25, 2006

AIDS patients in Myanmar.

Photo credit: (c) Orlando de Guzman and WGBH Boston. 2002-2007. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The World-Wide Blue And Red States Of Mind Within Each Of Us

These icons are reported to have been designed by Liu Young who is reported to have been born in China and educated in Germany, the European Union. This information, from the World Wide Web, is not guaranteed and has not been independently verified.[Click on icons for enlargements.]

Blue --> Westerner
Red --> Asian/Chinese

Images credit: (c) Liu Young. 2007. All rights reserved.

Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of personal and non-commercial/non-profit study, review, or critical analysis only; and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).


Also visit, and learn more about the activities of, the International Professors Project, working to secure the professional and educational needs of teachers and students throughout the "developing" world.

Doris Lessing Wins 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature; Torture And Disappearances Of Thousands Continue In Myanmar

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Thursday described Doris Lessing as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny.”

Photo credits: (c) Lefteris Pitarakis and Associated Press via New York Times and © United States Campaign for Burma. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Death Under Torture Of Time

The 42-year-old chief of military intelligence in Rangoon’s northern region [General Hla Win] added: “I decided to desert when I was ordered to raid two monasteries and force several hundred monks onto trucks.

“They were to be killed and their bodies dumped deep inside the jungle. I refused to participate in this.”

Mike Nizza "Hints of a Vast, Grim Toll in Myanmar" New York Times October 1, 2007


"A Myanmar opposition leader who was arrested during last month's mass protests against the junta died due to torture during interrogation, an activist group said on Wednesday.

In Washington, the United States threatened new sanctions against Myanmar after media reports of the death of Win Shwe.

"The junta must stop the brutal treatment of its people and peacefully transition to democracy or face new sanctions from the United States," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a statement.

The White House did not say what additional sanctions it was considering on the former Burma, but it called for a full investigation into Win Shwe's death.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said that Win Shwe, a 42-year-old member of the National League for Democracy, and four other people were arrested on September 26 because of their active support for and participation in the biggest pro-democracy protests in nearly 20 years.

"He died as a result of torture during interrogation," the Thai-based group said in a statement on its Web site (, sourcing its information to authorities in Kyaukpandawn township.

"However, his body was not sent to his family and the interrogators indicated that they had cremated it instead."

Official media in Myanmar said 10 people were killed when the junta sent in soldiers to end days of Buddhist monk-led demonstrations in September, although Western governments say the toll is likely to have been much higher.

The AAPP said in its statement that "many dead bodies and injured persons were cremated or placed in the river." ...

Reuters "Myanmar Opposition Leader Tortured to Death: Group" New York Times October 10, 2007

Photo credit: © United States Campaign for Burma.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

American Art And Culture Disconnect II: Like PBS's "The War", Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton's "Appomattox" Greeted By Near Silence By Many

"Nearly a century and a half after its conclusion and long after anyone who witnessed it is gone, the Civil War remains the defining event of American history. It's the wound that refuses to heal, the festering outgrowth of the racial crimes encoded in the nation's DNA.

"Appomattox," the ambitious and maddeningly inconsistent new opera by composer Philip Glass and librettist Christopher Hampton that had its world premiere Friday night at the San Francisco Opera, attempts nothing less than to capture that sense of far-reaching scope.

As the title suggests, the opera's ostensible subject is the historic meeting between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee in April 1865, when Lee's surrender - negotiated in an aura of courtly respect - brought the bloody hostilities to an end.

But Glass and Hampton cast their net further. They look backward from Appomattox to try to conjure up the horrors of the war itself, the most intensively murderous conflict the world had yet seen. And they look ahead to the ensuing hundred years, in which the recurrent violence of the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras seemed to bear out Abraham Lincoln's pessimistic view of human nature.

That's a lot to try to pack into 21/2 hours of musical theater, and during Friday's opening performance at the War Memorial Opera House, "Appomattox" - the first new work commissioned by the company under General Director David Gockley - sometimes struggled to do justice to the broad terrain its creators had mapped out.

The opera's strengths are impressive. The relationship between the two generals - each striving in his own way to satisfy the demands of humanity and national honor - is finely drawn, and the two roles were handsomely sung by baritones Andrew Shore (in his company debut) as Grant and Dwayne Croft as Lee. Women's voices are interjected into the predominantly male landscape through the presence of the two generals' families and Mary Todd Lincoln, who provide a poignant counterpoint.

And in the second act, as "Appomattox" intercuts the surrender negotiations with a series of short episodes from the subsequent century's worth of racial strife, the opera adopts a brisk historical long view that is effectively matched by the sinewy vigor of Glass' music." ...

Joshua Kosman "Philip Glass opera 'Appomattox' both impressive and inconsistent" San Francisco Chronicle October 8, 2007


In lieu of the National Broadcast of the San Francisco Opera World Premiere, on PBS, we are offered the following "video clip" [link on lower left of page]:

Roger Fenton, The tombs of the generals on Cathcart's Hill (above)

Roger Fenton, The artist's van (below)

Photographic panorama of the plateau of Sebastopol, Crimea

Roger Fenton's Crimean War photographs represent one of the earliest systematic attempts to document a war through the medium of photography. Fenton, who spent fewer than four months in the Crimea (March 8 to June 26, 1855), produced 360 photographs under extremely trying conditions. While these photographs present a substantial documentary record of the participants and the landscape of the war, there are no actual combat scenes, nor are there any scenes of the devastating effects of war.

The Library of Congress purchased 263 of Fenton's salted paper and albumen prints from his grandniece Frances M. Fenton in 1944, including his most well-known photograph, "Valley of the Shadow of Death."

Text and photo credits: Prints and Photographs Reading Room, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., United States of America.


Ongoing Cultural Disconnect: WETA-FM, Public radio in Nation's Capital, celebrates Christopher Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day/Clash of Civilizations Day, on Monday, October 8, 2007.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

"The World Does Not Understand Us" -- Shahryar Eivazzadeh

..."It is the paradox of Tehran today -- a city and people surprisingly cosmopolitan and far different from Western stereotypes, paired with an ultraconservative government working to consolidate its power and at sharp odds with the West.

Yet, whether modern or strictly traditional, many Iranians share one thing: A strong national pride and desire for respect from the outside world, sharpened by their sense of being under siege.

''The world does not understand us,'' said Shahryar Eivazzadeh, in his early 30s, who works at a software company in north Tehran. Many young people may dislike the current government but they shudder at the thought of attack by the West, he said.

''Not everything is so bad here,'' he said of the criticism Iran faces. ''It's not that simple.''

In part, the strong nationalism stems from the 1980s Iran-Iraq war and the vivid, frequent references to it across state media. TV images of weeping mothers, exhausted and heroic soldiers and martyred civilians are a stark reminder of how Iran suffered the last time it was invaded.

During key times, such as the recent anniversary of the war's start, hard-liners may deliberately use such images to shore up their influence. But even educated middle-class Iranians say their country sits in a rough neighborhood, surrounded by Arab countries that are not friendly, and that Iran needs ways to defend itself.

Such shared national sentiment aside, much of Tehran feels split.

Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won many votes in the conservative, poorer southern neighborhoods of Tehran, where people responded to his populist call for sharing the country's oil wealth.

Little of that sharing has happened, however, and even former Ahmadinejad supporters in parliament and the media have raised complaints about his economic performance.

In the city's more upscale and modern north, the criticism is much sharper: Some shake their heads in disgust when the president's name comes up." ...

Associated Press "Tehran: Split Between Liberal, Hard-Line" New York Times October 4, 2007


... "Still, majorities in 46 of the 47 countries [surveyed by the Pew Research Center] agreed that environmental protection should be a priority, “even if it causes slower economic growth and some loss of jobs.” Majorities in the same number of countries said that their traditional way of life was getting lost. At least half of the respondents in those 46 countries said, “Our way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence.” ...

Brian Knowlton "Globalization Is Good, According to World. Sort Of." New York Times October 5, 2007

Tehran, Iran.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.

Autumn Moon Viewing Interrupted By World-Wide Protests Against Brutal, Anti-Democratic Repression In Myanmar

Saturday 6TH OCTOBER 2007 -- Support the Monks in Burma @ 12 NOON in every major city across the world.

Photo credits: © United States Campaign for Burma and © Agence France Press.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Atahualpa Yupanqui And Chango Spasiuk On Music, Sacred Topography, And Beauty

"Music is a way to go to a place you've never been before, or as the poet [and musician Atahualpa]Yupanqui said: 'Music is a torch with which to see where beauty lies'."

-- Chango Spasiuk

"The 6/8 rhythm of Chamamé evolved through three centuries, based on African roots but influenced by Creoles and the Guarany Indians, and further developed by European immigrants who brought with them the main instrument of the Chamamé - the accordeon. Now Chamamé often includes violin, percussion and bass. It is the most powerful folk expression of the north-eastern part of Argentina."



"Sensuous and romantic. Something of Edith Piaf's Paris and the sultry summer nights of Kyiv, Ukraine."

-- Nestor, Berkeley, California, United States

Photo credit: Raymond Lofthouse via Wikimedia Commons. With thanks.


[Click on images for enlargements.]

Topographies of 'Europe' and 'Argentina' via Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.

Gobustan And Matisse Celebrate The Dance Of Life

Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape (above); and Henri Matisse, Dance (I)(below).

Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape covers three areas of a plateau of rocky boulders rising out of the semi-desert of central Azerbaijan, with an outstanding collection of some 6,000 rock engravings bearing testimony to 4000 years of rock art. The site also features the remains of settlements and burials, all reflecting an intensive human settlement by dwellers who lived in the area during the wet period that followed the last ice age, from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages. The property cover an area of 537 ha., and is part of the larger protected Gobustan Reservation. Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List on June 29, 2007.

Text and photo credits: (c) UNESCO World Heritage List and © 1999 The Museum of Modern Art, N.Y. © 1999 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), N.Y.


Enhanced satellite image of Azerbaijan, (c) Azerbaijan International Magazine. All rights reserved. With thanks.


New Classical Music and Poetry Notes:

"Except for the usual mediocre turnout, everything about the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s first [Fall 2007] classical series program was special. ISO music director Mario Venzago led the orchestra with exceptional verve, polish and inflection in three works: Richard Strauss’ tone poem Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24, Alexander Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy, Op. 54 and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35 with guest soloist Augustin Hadelich — who happens to be the current International Violin Competition of Indianapolis gold medalist...."

Tom Aldridge "Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Classical Series Program No. 1" Nuvo, Indy's Alternative Voice October 3, 2007

Spirit and Place Festival: Living Generously, A Civic Collaboration of the Arts, Humanities, and Religion. Indianapolis, Indiana, United States, November 2-18, 2007

Rumi at 800: A Sufi Celebration
Saturday, October 27. 11 am-9 pm Freer Gallery, Washington, D.C., United States

Join us for a day of music, poetry, special tours, and Persian and Turkish food celebrating the eight-hundredth anniversary of the birth of the poet and mystic Mevlana Jalal-ad-Din Rumi, born in 1207. Rumi inspired the founding of the Whirling Dervishes and remains one of the world's best-selling authors in any language. The day's events conclude with a reading by Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye.

Poetry in Song: Rumi's Mystical Journey

Experience the mystical mood of a traditional Sufi assembly with Kazem Davoudian, the Iranian-born composer and virtuoso on the Persian santur (hammered dulcimer).

Poetry Readings: Young Voices/New Poems

Hear young writers from the Washington area recite poems they wrote during a summer residency at the museum under the guidance of poet and teacher Lisa Pegram. Through poetry they explore the many relationships they see between the literary and visual arts, and they present their poems next to the artworks that inspired their writing. Poets are Kiimara Baker, Kaylah Miranda, Lynda Nguyen, Bianca Martinez, Lily Reeder, Ramona Santana, Thandiwe Hunter, and Catherine Frost.

Persian National Music Ensemble

This five-member ensemble from Baltimore recites Rumi's poetry in English, tells famous stories about the mystic-poet, and then performs his poems in Persian, accompanied by santur (hammered dulcimer), tar (lute), violin, and percussion. Director and composer Ahman Borhani taught music at Ferdowsi University in Iran and is a specialist on the life and poetry of Rumi.

Minds Of Mankind: European Union Diplomat Proposes Catalyst To Bring Broken [South] Caucasus Region Together Again

"The European Union's special representative for the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, offered an analysis rare in its candor in his annual address to the European Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee.

Summing up the collective woes of the three countries in the region, Semneby said on October 2 that although Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan share history, they lack a common identity. Soviet attempts to impose unity failed, Semneby says, and now the three countries are each in the grip of "old-fashioned, ethnically exclusive" nationalism.

Semneby said Europe could help remedy this situation.

"Given the rivalries between and inside the countries, this identity has to be larger than the region itself," he said. "An additional layer of identity, a European identity, is what comes to mind here. For such an identity, or for such a layer of identity to work as a catalyst for bringing this broken region together again, the countries and the communities in the region need, however, to understand that this identity is based on much more than just interests, but is fundamentally based on common values."" ...

Ahto Lobjakas "EU Envoy Calls South Caucasus A 'Broken Region,' Prescribes European Identity" Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty October 3, 2007

Caucasus Region in 1882 (above); and 1952 to 1991.

[Click on images to enlarge.]

LINGUGUISTIC OVERLAY: Map on the Ethno-Linguistic groups in the Caucasus region

GROZNY JOURNAL; Nonstop to Chechnya: As War Ebbs, Flights Return [New York Times, September 11, 2007]

Image credits: Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.


Countries and regions of the Caucasus:

South Ossetia
Krasnodar Krai
North Ossetia-Alania
Stavropol Krai

Header Photo: A couple in traditional dress poses for a portrait in the mountainous interior region of Gunib on the north slope of the Caucasus Mountains in what is today the Dagestan Republic of the Russian Federation. Photographed by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, circa 1907 to 1915.

Source: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii Collection, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

National Security States Then And Now ...

Derbent, Republic of Daghestan, Russian Federation. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

[Click on images for enlargements.]




Photo credit: (c) The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and The Jewish National and University Library via; and With thanks.