Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Bevy Of Classical And Popular Composers From Japan, Europe, And America Help The Nation's Capital To Usher In The Spring Holiday Festivities

Chanoyu: Japanese Tea Ceremony
Saturday, March 31, 2007, 12 to 2 pm, Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art

Join masters and students from Nakamura Gakuen University in Japan for a demonstration of chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony. Curator of Ceramics Louise Cort provides commentary.

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Slavic Cultural Festival
Saturday, March 31, 2007, noon to 6 pm
The George Washington University, University Yard, 21st and H St NW, Washington, DC.

A day of traditional Slavic cuisine, dance, and folk music from Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.
The feature performance will be by the 2004 winner of Eurovision Song Contest, Ruslana Lyzhichko, from Lviv and Kyiv.

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New Chamber Music from Japan: Ruckus, with Retsuzan Tanabe, shakuhachi
Sunday, April 1, 2007, 1 pm, Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art
Pre-concert tour, Arts of Japan, 12:15 pm

Three leading Japanese composers are on hand for the Washington premiere of their works for shakuhachi (bamboo flute), flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, and piano. Composers Hiroyuki Itoh, Hiroyuki Yamamoto, and Shirotomo Aizawa participate in a discussion after the concert, which concludes the Music of Japan 2007 conference at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (4th Street and Michigan Avenue NE), a short walk from the Brookland/CUA Metro stop (Red Line).

PALM SUNDAY (April 1, 12 noon)
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, celebrant

Thomas Weelkes, Hosanna to the Son of David
Felice Anerio, Christus factus est
Tomás Luis de Victoria, Vere languores nostros

HOLY THURSDAY (April 5, 5:30 pm)
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, celebrant

Roland de Lassus, Gustate et videte
Juan de Lienas, Coenantibus autem illis
Michalenagelo Grancini, Suspirat anima mea and Dulcis Christe
Robert Powell, Anima Christi
David Hurd, Love Bade Me Welcome
Maurice Duruflé, Tantum ergo and Ubi caritas
William Byrd, Ave verum corpus
Giovanni da Palestrina, Sicut cervus
João Rebola, Panis angelicus

GOOD FRIDAY (April 6, 2:30 pm)
Monsignor Walter Rossi, celebrant

Gregorio Allegri, Miserere mei
Palestrina, Stabat mater and Super flumina Babylonis
Victoria, O vos omnes
Giovanni Nanino, Adoramus te Christe
Antonio Lotti, Crucifixus à 8
Carlo Gesualdo, Tenebrae factae sunt

Source: ionarts.org















[Click on image for enlargement.]

The Museum of Folk Architecture in Strochitsy, Minsk region, Belarus. The building of the museum is also an example of folk Belarusian architecture.

Photo credit (c) Ira, Volcovysk, Belarus (2001) and www.studentsoftheworld.info. [Students of the World / Etudiants du Monde]. With thanks.

On Shrugging Of The Conflict Between Modernists And Historicists That Absurdly Still Defines So Much Debate Over Contemporary Culture

"Three decades after his Pompidou Center in Paris turned the architecture world upside down and brought him global fame, the British architect Richard Rogers has been named the 2007 winner of the Pritzker Prize, the profession’s highest honor.

In the citation accompanying its decision, to be announced today, the Pritzker jury saluted Mr. Rogers for his “unique interpretation of the Modern Movement’s fascination with the building as machine, an interest in architectural clarity and transparency, the integration of public and private spaces, and a commitment to flexible floor plans that respond to the ever-changing demands of users.” ...

Mr. Rogers earned a reputation as a high-tech iconoclast with the completion of the 1977 Pompidou Center, with its exposed skeleton of brightly colored tubes for mechanical systems. The Pompidou “revolutionized museums,” the Pritzker jury said, “transforming what had once been elite monuments into popular places of social and cultural exchange, woven into the heart of the city.” Similarly, his 1986 Lloyd’s office building in the heart of the London financial district features a inside-out design, with a soaring atrium surrounded by external escalators and elevators.

Asked to describe his own stylistic signature, Mr. Rogers said he was recognized for “celebrating the components and the structure.”

“That’s how we get rhythm and poetry out of it,” he said. He added that he would like to be known for “buildings which are full of light, which are light in weight, which are flexible, which have low energy, which are what we call legible — you can read how the building is put together.”

Other high-profile projects by Mr. Rogers include the sprawling Millennium Dome in Greenwich, England, suspended from steel masts and secured by steel cable (1999), and the law courts in Bordeaux, France (1998) — seven “pods” clad in cedar wood surrounded by glass walls under an undulating copper roof.

Mr. Rogers’ most recent major undertaking was the $2.2 billion new terminal at Barajas International Airport in Madrid (2005), featuring waves formed by wings of prefabricated steel and a roof covered in bamboo strips. ...

While he had been largely absent from New York, Mr. Rogers now has four projects under way in the city: an expanded the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on the Far West Side of Manhattan; a tower at the World Trade Center site; a complex at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, Queens; and a redesign of the East River waterfront.

Not all of these designs have been well received. Appraising Mr. Rogers’s vision for the Javits Center in The New York Times, Nicolai Ouroussoff said its boxy design was “a decent but not particularly dazzling work of architecture.”

But he offered glowing praise for Mr. Rogers’s reimagination of the East Side waterfront, designed in collaboration with Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects and the landscape architect Ken Smith.

“The idea is to create a seamless, contemplative environment along the waterfront that embraces both the fine-grained scale of the surrounding communities and the monumental scale of the freeway,” Mr. Ouroussoff wrote. “In doing so, the architects shrug off the conflict between Modernists and historicists that absurdly still defines so many urban planning debates in New York.”

Mr. Rogers said he was gratified by his New York commissions. He described the Javits project as “the most complex, but also the most exciting potentially — as a public space that could create the regeneration of a large area which is very depressed.”

Over the years he has become well known for his philosophy as well as for his buildings." ...


Robin Pogrebin "Top Prize for Rogers, Iconoclastic Architect" New York Times March 29, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/29/arts/design/
29prit.html?pagewanted=all

















Richard Rodgers designed the Barajas International Airport in Madrid, Spain, European Union (2005).














Richard Rogers designed National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff, UK, European Union.


Photo credits: (c) OAS Travel Information www.oag.com and M.J.N.Colston Building Services Engineering mjncolston.co.uk With thanks.

Three Voices Crying Out In The Wilderness Call For Major Overhaul of Classical WETA-FM's 'Fin-de-Regime' Classical Programming

"Music by American composers today on Public Classical Music Station WGUC, in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States:

William Schuman: New England Triptych

Amy Beach: Pastorale

Aaron Copland: Rodeo

John Barry: Dances with Wolves: Suite

Samuel Barber: Violin Concerto

Henry Fillmore:The Circus Bee March

George Chadwick: Serenade for Strings

Alan Hovhaness: Symphony #2 “Mysterious Mountain

Erich Korngold:The Sea Hawk

Aaron Copland: Quiet City

David Amram: Piano Sonata

Randall Thompson: Symphony No. 2

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Classical Music by American composers today, March 29, 2007, on the new Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital:

Zero, zip, nada [0%]

Brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it?

Today WGUC also plays some short choral works, a Shostakovich Quartet, and Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony." ...

Source: Bob L. on Classical WETA-FM: The Blog For Classical Music Lovers [And Defenders].















Golden Gate of Kyiv [Kiev] (Ukrainian: Золоті ворота, Zoloti vorota), Ukraine, as it appeared in the mid-1970s; prior to Soviet and post-Soviet attempts at reconstruction.

While Classical WETA-FM's David Ginder, presumably reading from notes prepared by others, said this morning that the Great Gate of Kyiv [Kiev], which was the subject of an architectural concept design by Victor Hartmann for the 19th rebuilding of that part of the fortifications of Kyiv Rus', and the picture upon which Modest Mussorgsky based the powerful final movement of his great orchestral tone poem cycle, Pictures at an Exhibition, did not in fact exist today; he and his researcher could have additionally pointed out that a grand Kyiv Rus' Golden Gate, in comparable state of decay in the 19th c. under Russian occupation of Ukraine, does in fact exist today and is a major Kyiv, Ukraine tourist attraction. The Golden Gate of Kyiv, unfortunately, has been the subject of controversial restoration efforts over the past generation (since 1982) as attempts have been made to reconcile the ceremonial and defensive qualities of that early Kyiv Rus' ceremonial gate.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons (and under special fair use provisions). With thanks.

Leading World Musician Ruslana Lyzhychko -- Also Parlimentarian And Goodwill Ambassador -- To Speak On Social Pressures Faced By East European Youth

Leading Ukraine Into a New Era of Global and European Citizenship Ruslana Lyzhychko, Member of Parliament of Ukraine; Winner of Eurovision 2004

March 30, 2007; 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.

Washington, DC

Ruslana Lyzhychko, Member of Parliament of Ukraine; Goodwill Ambassador, UNICEF; and Winner of Eurovision 2004 will give a presentation on "Leading Ukraine Into a New Era of Global and European Citizenship" at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

The event is co-sponsored by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Children of Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund.

Since Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004, politicians and civil society activists have been trying to meet the nations demands for political and social reform. Ukraine remains a geopolitical crossroad, and leaders of the Orange Revolution are working for integration into Euro-Atlantic and global structures, such as the WTO, NATO, and the European Union. As part of the efforts, many leaders in Ukraine are striving to raise public awareness of and build popular support for these international organizations, as well as reform Ukrainian laws to meet international standards in a number of areas.

In the process of becoming European and global, Ukraines youth faces additional social pressures from unemployment, environmental disasters and substance abuse. In an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle and motivate the next generation of Ukrainian citizens to live well, activists are encouraging the youth to participate in athletics, while warning them of the dangers of drug use.

Ruslana Lyzhychko, Member of Parliament of Ukraine, will discuss ongoing efforts to promote domestic and foreign policies that focus on integrating Ukraine into a global society, while protecting the well-being of its youth.

What: Leading Ukraine Into a New Era of Global and European Citizenship

Who: Ruslana Lyzhychko, Member of Parliament of Ukraine; Goodwill Ambassador, UNICEF; and Winner of Eurovision 2004

When: Friday, March 30, 2007, Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Where: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 6th Floor Auditorium. The Center is located at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

RSVPs are required to attend. Please call 202-691-4243.
















A Tale of Two Musicians in Today's Europe: Vytautas Landsbergis Member of European Parliament (EPP-ED, Lithuania); and Ruslana Lyzhychko, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004, Member of Parliament of Ukraine, and Goodwill Ambassador, UNICEF.

'Since 2006, Ruslana Lyzhychko has been a member of Ukraine's parliament. She was listed at the fifth position in Bloc Our Ukraine candidate list during the Parliamentary elections of March 2006. Among the priorities of her legislative activity, she names the revision of laws on the patronage of art, job placement for students, and the defense of intellectual property rights.'

'Ruslana was appointed Good Will Ambassador of Ukraine by the UNICEF. She works for the preservation of Ukraine's castles and the national cultural heritage. Within the framework of the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 in Kyiv, she gave a charity concert [The Heart of Europe Concert] for children suffering from the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. Ruslana's charity project with German rock star Peter Maffay, Children of Spring, also will benefit Chornobyl children.'

Chernobyl Children’s Project International Inc., (CCPI), is a Not- For- Profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing humanitarian and medical aid to the 3-4 million children the United Nations recognizes as suffering from the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

Photo credit: (c) Europaen Parliament Press Corps. With thanks.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Reposting: Intellectual Responsibility -- When Silence Is Not Golden: Conversations With Mstislav Rostropovich And Galina Vishnevskaya

Intellectual Responsibility: When Silence Is Not Golden: Conversations With Mstislav Rostropovich And Galina Vishnevskaya

"What is the responsibility of intellectuals to other artists and thinkers whom they know are being repressed by their respective governments in other parts of the world? What can they do? What should they do? And does it matter?

The following is an excerpt from conversations with music critic Claude Samuel and world-famous cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife, Bolshoi Opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya. Rostropovich was born in Baku, [Azerbaijan]. The home in which he was born was recently converted into a home museum and the street named after father and son cellists - Leopold and Mstislav.

The observations about how intellectuals should be active grew out of their own personal experience in assisting Russian composers Prokofiev and Shostakovich whose works were censured for a period of time under the restrictive Soviet regime. But then the spotlight was turned on Rostropovich and Galina themselves in 1970 when they befriended dissident writer [Nobel Prize for Literature laureate, 1970] Alexander Solshenitsyn (author of "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" and later the three volume "Gulag Archipelago" describing the horrors of the prison camps in Siberia, which he himself had survived and had lived to tell the story).

Rostropovich invited the writer and his family to spend the winter at his dacha outside of Moscow, as he had no place to live. Then the musician wrote an Open Letter in support of the maligned writer. But his humanitarian gesture brought on retaliation. Soviet authorities turned the spotlight on the musicians and revoked their citizenship and stripped them of all the music honors and privileges while they were on a two-year tour in the United States. This meant the Lenin and Stalin medals, which were the ultimate awards bestowed in the Soviet Union by some of the most respected and highly qualified musicians and music critics in the world. It's an understatement to say that Rostropovich and Galina were shocked by the decision.

Here, Galina and Rostropovich with French journalist and renowned music critic Claude Samuel discuss the responsibility of artists and intellectuals when they learn that fellow artists are being repressed by their governments." ...

Claude Samuel Azerbaijan International AZER.com Summer 2005




























Mstislav Rostropovich, World renown cellist, painted by Tahir Salahov. On display at the Rostropovich Home Museum in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the musician was born. The portrait was prepared specifically in 1999 for the Rostropovich Home Museum. [The Museum, and the Street on which it is located, honor both Mstislav and Leopold Rostropovich, Mstislav's father; who was also a cellist.]

Image credit: (c) Tahir Salahov and Azerbaijan International(AZER.com.) 2007. All rights reserved. With thanks.

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And with special thanks to topix.net, whose non-artificial intelligence, has helped me remember what I have posted and what I could fruitfully be thinking about.

Mr Cogito's Heart Is Suddenly Gripped By Terror As He Studies Closely A Link To The New York Philharmonic's Upcoming Performance Of Shostakovich

'New York Philharmonic
& Peter Schickele Takes You Inside Shostakovich's 1st Violin Concerto'

ntphil.org

[VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED]


Peter Schickele

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Saner notes on The Program (Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor Opus 99; and Symphony No. 10 in E minor Opus 93) are expertly provided by James M. Keller, Program Annotator for the New York Philharmonic.





















Georg BASELITZ, Les Jeunes filles d'Olmo II, 1981,
huile sur toile, 249 x 250 cm,
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, European Union.

Image credit: (c) Georg Baselitz. All rights reserved. Via EcuNet Arts Plastiques, Amiens, France, European Union. With thanks.

Mr Cogito's Mind Swirls As He Contemplates Cultural Diplomacy, Propaganda, Concert Halls, Obsolete Museums, Flames, And Phoenixes Rising From The Ash

"LAST May, a 30-something American curator named Chris Gilbert stormed off his job at the Berkeley Art Museum [and Pacifice Film Archive] in California. He left in a dispute over a word.

He had just organized a show called “Now-Time Venezuela: Media Along the Path of the Bolivarian Process,” about the leftist revolution in progress in South America. In a wall label, he described the exhibition as being in “solidarity” with that struggle, and museum officials balked. They wanted him to use more neutral wording, like “concerned” with the struggle. An ideological standoff ensued. Mr. Gilbert quit, posting his resignation letter, which was also a political position paper, on the Internet.

Two concepts of what a museum should do — and be — crystallized and clashed, with Mr. Gilbert’s view by far the less traditional. To him, art is an instrument for radical change. The museum is a social forum where that change catches fire. The curator is a committed activist who can help light the spark. The goal is to transform the values of the culture that had created the museum. If in the process an obsolete museum went up in flames, a new one would rise from its ashes." ...

Holland Carter "Essay: Leaving Room for the Troublemaker" New York Times March 28, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/28/arts/artsspecial/
28ESSAY.html?ref=artsspecial

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"This week I have had the chance to see two propaganda concerts in the span of three days – which, as an eager proponent of more cultural diplomacy (which is the name for propaganda if ‘your guys’ are doing it), I embrace wholeheartedly. In principle, at least.

Ideally, cultural diplomacy brings people of diverse background, opinions, and cultures together on presumably neutral, common ground. Art – classical music – for example.

The United States was no slouch at this, either, during the Cold War. Duke Ellington, Van Cliburn, and Co. were out there to convince peoples around the world that the US was not a ruthless, soulless capitalist, slave-holding, baby-eating monster. Well, at least not only that. Since then, the US seems to have forgotten the benefits of this policy that cost a comparatively paltry $1 billion annually – especially when compared to certain policies that cost up to $200 million per day and have done significantly less to improve the image of the United States abroad.

No Nation had perfected the art of cultural diplomacy quite as the Soviet Union." ...

Jens F. Laurson "Music as Propaganda in Washington and New York" ionarts.org blog Washington, D.C. March 27, 2007

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/03/
music-as-propaganda-in-washington-and.html

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Though one might ask whether Mr Laurson is not more properly referring to Hamburger Propaganda at Carnegie Hall rather than Hanseatic Propaganda at Carnegie Hall.











[Click on image for enlargement.]

Herzog and de Meuron's concept for the New Elbe Concert Hall on the historic waterfront of Hamburg, Germany, European Union. [2003-2005, planned realization 2006-2009.]

"Similar to a large glassy wave, the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall floats above the distinctive Kaispeicher A building.

Classical music, 21st-century music and quality easy-listening music will all find their performance base here."

Photo and caption credit: © Herzog & de Meuron via HafenCity, Hamburg. With thanks.

80th Anniversity Celebration For World Classical Musician Mstislav Rostropovich Held By Russian President Putin At Russian Federation Kremlin Palace

"Feeble but clearly pleased, Mstislav Rostropovich came to the [Russian Federation] Kremlin on Tuesday evening for a gala celebration marking the 80th birthday of a man renowned for his music and his human rights work.

Rostropovich, who had been hospitalized in February for an undisclosed illness, walked slowly into the celebration on the arms of his wife, Galina Vishnyevsakaya, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The hall was decked in decorations shaped like cellos, the instrument of which he was a towering master.

'I feel myself the happiest man in the world,' Rostropovich said after slowly rising from his chair, in remarks shown on Russian state television. 'I will be even more happy if this evening will be pleasant for you.'

Putin then presented him with a medal -- the Order of Service to the Fatherland." ...

Jim Heintz and Associated Press "Rostropovich Feted on 80th Birthday" topix.net March 27, 2007

http://www.topix.net/content/ap/
2663371418194331877906763403404019866234

















Musician and humanist Mstislav Rostropovich, Musician and philanthropist Galina Vishnyevsakaya, and Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.

Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation

Photo credit: (c) Associated Press 2007. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Incredibly, That Crank Mr Cogito Lets Loose With Another So-called Editorial On The Sad State Of The Current Classical WETA-FM In The Nation's Capital

"If the new Classical WETA-FM were properly connected to American classical music as well as to Mr Jim Allison’s favorite European classical music — and additionally connected to the diverse audiences of Greater Washington which WETA [Washington Educational Television Association] once professed to serve — then it would, in my opinion, find a way to program, now, from these 8 NAXOS CDs conducted by the outstanding American classical music conductor — and Washington, D.C. native — John McLaughlin Williams. Could my membership contribution for this year be dedicated to purchasing some of these 8 NAXOS CDs of American classical music conducted by this outstanding younger American classical conductor?

American Classical Artist John McLaughlin Williams Conducting American Classical Music


AMERICAN CLASSICS SAMPLER 8.559118
CARPENTER: Adventures in a Perambulator / Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 8.559065
EXPLORE AMERICA 8.559187
FLAGELLO: Piano Concerto No. 1 / Dante’s Farewell / Concerto Sinfonico 8.559296
HADLEY: Symphony No. 4 / The Ocean / The Culprit Fay 8.559064
MCKAY: From a Moonlit Ceremony / Harbor Narrative 8.559052
MCKAY: Violin Concerto / Sinfonietta No. 4 / Song Over the Great Plains 8.559225
STORY OF AMERICAN CLASSICAL MUSIC (THE) 8.558164-65

PROBABLY OVER 500 MINUTES OF WONDERFUL, LITTLE KNOWN, PROFESSIONALLY PRE-SCREENED, RECORDED, PRODUCED, AND INTERNATIONALLY DISTRIBUTED AMERICAN CLASSICAL MUSIC, AS CHAMPIONED BY AN AMERICAN CLASSICAL MUSICIAN WHO SHOULD BE A “WETA HOME-TOWN HERO”!!!

Those non-WGMS refugees here may also remember Mr Williams championing American classical music on a former WETA-FM classical music show, “Performance Today;” a show which highlighted American classical music, as well as European, and some Asian, classical music.

And because the new, culturally unconnected Classical WETA-FM Lite, in the Nation’s Capital, does not offer broadcast exposure to outstanding emerging American classical artists such as John McLaughlin Williams, Mr Williams will not receive the guest conducting invitations - (or, the horror; the horror!) — the permanent guest conductor or permanent music director positions with a major American orchestra such as the National Symphony Orchestra. It is one thing to be a woman conductor of privileged background in America; another to be an ambitious American classical musician of African-American ancestry from the Nation’s Capital. Look what professional, prize, and monetary awards Ms Marin Alsop’s recordings of European AND American classical music on the NAXOS label led to!!

Here is a link to Ms Marin Alsop conducting both European and American classical music on the inexpensive NAXOS label:

European and American Classical Music

And here is a link in case the next Music Director at Classical WETA-FM wants to celebrate Cherry Blossom time by programming from the riches of NAXOS’S inexpensive catalogue of outstanding and sensitive Japanese Classical Music:

Japanese Classical Music

And who says that it would be impossible to curate Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation’s Capital, as thoughtfully as the classical art and music curating at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian American Art Museums, the Smithsonian Freer-Sackler Galleries, and the National Gallery of Art’s European and American Classical Galleries?"

Source: Classical WETA-FM The Blog For Classical Music Lovers March 28, 2007














Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin in Washington, D. C.

Photo credit: The Official Web Site of the National Cherry Blossom Festival via the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., United States. With thanks.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

'American Classical Music Composer Christopher Rouse Has Given Us The First Great Traditional American Requiem:' Critic Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

"Christopher Rouse's Requiem begins beyond emotion. For the first few minutes of the premiere of this extraordinary 90-minute score, Sunday night by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, baritone Sanford Sylvan stood alone on a darkened Walt Disney Concert Hall stage. Unaccompanied, he intoned a cheerless lyric by Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

The song lies somewhere between chant and chantey. Sadness is presented as an offering, prayerful yet oddly matter-of-fact. Each exquisitely enunciated word, delivered by Sylvan in haunting rounded tones, was like a bomb gift-wrapped. A 4-year-old has died.

The chorus, also a cappella, follows with a somber madrigal. Rouse sets "Requiem aeternam" ("Eternal rest") with slightly sour chromatic harmonies. Sopranos, altos, tenors and finally basses come in. The dynamics are quiet with a couple of modest crescendos, as if the music must sneak around frightful death. But before long, all hell breaks loose. Rouse requires that the orchestra include seven hard-working, uninhibited percussionists. Later — with the help of a rousing large chorus, children's chorus and orchestra in full bloom — all heaven breaks loose.

Rouse's is the first great traditional American Requiem. Ours is not a heritage rich in settings of the Latin Mass for the dead. For public mourning, European masterworks — the requiems of Mozart and Faur– — suffice. The overpoweringly theatrical requiems of Verdi and Berlioz are entertainment. When terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, the New York Philharmonic could easily pull out Brahms' dour "German Requiem." Roger Sessions' Requiem-like "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" or Philip Glass' massive interfaith choral Fifth Symphony ("Requiem, Bardo, Nirmanakaya") should mean more to New Yorkers but are less conventional and far removed from the orchestra's core repertory." ...

Mark Swed "Rouse's Requiem: From death's fury to hope
The Los Angeles Master Chorale showcases the explosive racket and magnificent lyricism of the 90-minute score" Los Angeles Times March 27, 2007

http://www.calendarlive.com/music/
la-et-requiem27mar27,0,4258545.story
















America, and its classical culture, did not in fact escape unscathed from history.

Photo credit: Ben's Guide. United States Printing Office. bensguide.gpo.gov. With thanks.

During Hardship Of American War In Iraq, Christopher Rouse, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Soli Deo Gloria Celebrate American Classical Music

Christopher Rouse's notes on his new Requiem, premiered on Sunday, March 25, 2007 in Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California, United States

"Completed in Aspen, Colorado on July 12, 2002, my Requiem was commissioned by the Chicago-based organization Soli Deo Gloria in honor of the 2003 bicentenary of Hector Berlioz’ birth.

Berlioz is a composer whose music has always held an especially profound power over me, and his own mighty Requiem remains one of the most stupendous and imaginative of all such works, a unique example of the genre. While I chose not to make use of actual musical quotations from Berlioz’ works, I decided to reflect my love of his music by setting the Latin text with the same cuts, emendations, and reshufflings that he had chosen for his own Requiem. It would seem, however, that since Benjamin Britten composed his War Requiem in 1962 with interpolated poems by Wilfred Owen few composers have been able to resist the temptation to similarly “trope” the traditional Latin Requiem text with texts from other sources, and I was no exception. My goal was to use the chorus, restricted to the Latin liturgical text, to express the enormity of “death” in its deepest context; the role of the bassbaritone soloist would then be to make the experience of death more personal by adopting the classic figure of the “Everyman” whose life is marked by the deaths of loved ones around him.

The work begins with the soloist singing alone the lines of Seamus Heaney’s Mid-Term Break, in which a boy leaves school to attend the funeral of his younger brother, struck by a car. Before the Tuba Mirum come lines from Siegfried Sassoon’s Suicide in the Trenches, in which the poet describes the self-destruction of a shell-shocked comrade. The Rex Tremendae is succeeded by excerpts from Michelangelo’s ode on the death of his father, and the Sanctus is preceded by Ben Jonson’s On My First Sonne, a heartbreaking contemplation of the death of his child. Before the Agnus Dei comes John Milton’s Sonnet 23, in which he dreams that his dead wife has returned to him. Finally, Michelangelo’s On Immortality (set, like the earlier Michelangelo poem, in the original Italian), sung near the very end of the score, speaks of the “Everyman” figure’s own death.

September 11, 2001 found me in New York City. After the initial shock of the day’s events began to wear off, it became obvious to me that this Requiem of which I had completed about half should be completed in and dedicated to the remembrance of those who perished. However, further reflection led me to change my mind; I had come to feel that some tragedies were too enormous to consecrate with anything more than deep but silent grieving and that to turn this piece into a “9/11 work” might even smack a bit of opportunism. There is a small, symbolic reference in the score to September 11, but beyond that I have elected to attempt, in my own inadequate way, a remembrance of all who have died as well as those who have survived and grieved for them. It is my hope that my Requiem will, in the end, provide some sort of solace, and for this reason I have interspersed near the conclusion verses from the Anglican hymn “Now the Laborer’s Task is O’er” (death) with lines from “Es ist ein’ Ros’ entsprungen” (i.e., “Lo! How a Rose e’er Blooming” — birth).

The works lasts approximately ninety minutes.

-— Christopher Rouse

Source: Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon, Music Director

And with thanks to Jerry Z. at Jerry Bowles's Sequenza21, the vital Portal of the Contemporary Classical Music Community.

Additional thanks to Soli Deo Gloria, in Chicago, Illinois, for earlier promotional materials on this major new work of American classical music.
















A living musical culture is often elsewhere.

Photo credit: (c) flickr.com. All rights reserved. 2007. Via Carpet Blog: Caustic Commentary from Constantinople. With many thanks.

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"Talking about cultural shock: I have never experienced it. But it was interesting to learn something new from an experienced traveller. Cultural shock is a quite normal feeling when you're getting to another society with its specific culture. I think people's mentality is a very important factor, because for example Ukrainians and Americans have different patterns of behaviour (stereotypes) and sometimes we may not understand each other in daily interaction. I'm studying ethnic psychology this term, so I have an idea to write an essay about it..."

Y. of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv, Ukraine, Greater Europe (With thanks.)

World Bank Announces Four Winners Of Small Grants Program In Belarus Focusing On Citizen Empowerment, The Environment, And Disabled Young People

Washington, D.C., March 6, 2007

World Bank Announces Winners of Small Grants Program in Belarus

Belarus’ Winners of the Small Grants Program of the World Bank (SmGP) for civil society organizations have been announced. Four civil society organizations, which proposed solutions to environmental challenges at a local level, will receive grants of $8,000 - 10,000 to implement their projects ideas. The projects were selected by a special committee comprising besides World Bank staff representatives from the Ministry of Nature Resources and Environmental Protection and from the Small Grants Program of the United Nations Development Program/Global Environmental Facility in Belarus (UNDP/GEF).

The Small Grants Program of the World Bank aims to make development more inclusive and to empower citizens to have greater ownership of development processes. The program helps disseminate information and enhance cooperation between key development players, including public sector agencies, civil society organizations, bilateral and multilateral organizations, funds, and the private sector.

The Small Grants Program of the World Bank for civil society organizations has been implemented in Belarus since 1999. During this time 54 projects received support totaling about $300,000. The projects were selected out of more than 500 applications. In recent years, the program has become thematic. In 2005, the program supported projects, which aimed to mitigate long-term post Chernobyl consequences. Activities supported in 2006 related to the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. The focus of the program in 2007 is environmental protection.

"We have received 36 applications, and the committee had a challenging task of selecting the winners. A series of criteria were considered, such as inclusion of vulnerable groups (for instance, disabled young people and orphans), regional focus of the proposed activities, possibility of achieving the goals within a relatively short period. Almost all project proposals submitted for the Small Grants Program in 2007 were thoroughly prepared and appropriately presented. We hope that the organizations that have not won World Bank awards will receive support from other sources," noted Elena Klochan, Operations Officer from the World Bank Country Office in Belarus.


The following projects are announced winners of the SmGP in 2007:

- “Milashki: Clean Water”. The project will be implemented in the village of Milashki of Braslav rayon by an international civil society organization "Understanding".

- “Our Home Is Our Concern”. The project will be implemented in the village of Tarasovo of Minsk Oblast by the Minsk city branch of a civil society association «Belarusian Association for Assistance to Children and Young People with Disabilities".

- “I Am For Clean Smilovichi”. The project is prepared by an international civil society organization "Education without Boundaries".

- International ecologic television and cinema forum of the countries in Eastern and Central Europe and the Baltic: "Role of Cinema, Television, and Mass Media in Addressing Environmental Problems". The project is prepared by a republican civil society organization "Belarus Association of Cinematographers".

Source: The World Bank Program for Belarus via Embassy of Belarus, Washington, D.C.
















Christian Orthodox Church, in winter, in Tarasovo, Minsk Oblast, Belarus, Greater Europe.

Photo credit: (c) Den Jigunoff 2007. All rights reserved. Via TrekEarth www.trekearth.com. With thanks.

Shunning Advice From Classical WETA-FM, American Soprano Superstar Renee Fleming Wows Nobel Prize Celebration Audiences With American Classical Music

American Public Media's SymphonyCast

Week of March 25, 2007

2006 Nobel Prize Concert
Renée Fleming and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

Lawrence Renes, conductor
Renée Fleming, soprano


Program:
Strauss: Don Juan, Op. 20, symphonic poem
Strauss: Final scene from 'Capriccio'
Verdi: Overture to 'La forza del destino'
Verdi: Lenora's Cavatina, from 'Il Trovatore'
Puccini: Intermezzo, from 'Manon Lescaut'
Puccini: O, mio babbino caro, from 'Gianni Schicchi'
Puccini: Vissi d'arte, from 'Tosca'
Bernstein: Overture to 'Candide'
Gershwin: Summertime, from 'Porgy and Bess'
Porter: So in Love, from 'Kiss Me, Kate'
Korngold: 'Ich soll ihn niemals niemals mehr seh'n', from 'Die Kathrin'
Strauss: Cäcilie, op. 27/2
Schubert: Ave Maria

Description:

"Each December, just before the Nobel Prizes are awarded, there's a very special concert in the royal city of Stockholm. The concert honors the contributions that Nobel laureates have made to the world. Last year Renée Fleming made her first trip to Sweden to sing for the event. Lawrence Renes and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied Renée's luminous voice for an extraordinary performance of works by Strauss, Puccini, Gershwin, and a few classic jazz numbers."

Source: American Public Media.















The initials FDR, alone, once stood for a past American courage, public culture, and idealism. A central figure of the 20th century, FDR has consistently been ranked as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents in scholarly surveys.

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Karl Weigl's Symphony #5 "The Apocalyptic" was dedicated to the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Photo credit: (c) Tom Powers and www.geocities.com. With thanks.

In Which Blogs Having Supplanted The Washington Post In Nation's Capital Cultural Affairs, Mr Cogito Vents An Editorial On The New Classical WETA-Lite

"Its current audience is, I would guess, predominantly refugees from WGMS"

Bob, I'm not sure that you are correct about this. At one time, and until very recently, WETA-FM was a very powerful intellectual 'brand' (think 'National Geographic' or 'Live from Lincoln Center' or 'Great Performances' or 'Masterpiece Theater' or 'Nova') and many, many listeners in Greater Washington, I believe, accommodated their classical music listening in order to take breaks at 4 PM in the afternoon for "All Things Considered" (or whatever the old 4 PM program was called), as well as for the 7 PM "The PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer;" knowing full well that there would be "Performance Today" at 8 PM, and perhaps 'Music from Washington' at 9 PM, or American Public Media's "SymphonyCast" at 9 PM, or else the otherwise resumption of serious, full-length feature classical music at 9 PM. Wasn't there even an evening dedicated to 'Choral Masterpieces', matching the old WETA-FM's commitment to opera, jazz, American folk and roots music, and pre-baroque 'Western' music [Millennium of Music]? Talk about serving a fully diverse Greater Washington classical musical audience, as opposed to one affluent, European-American suburban cul-de-sac of that culturally and experientially rich audience!

In my opinion, the new Classical WETA-FM has quickly diluted its intellectual 'brand' in an attempt to pander to the less classically and musically educated listening public who were formerly satisfied with the 'made-in-America' mix of shorter, top-40, foreign classical music selections; both soothing and chatty on-air personalities; and the snobbish brand-focused advertising mastered by commercially-driven WGMS; which, as we all know, passed away relatively young this past winter at the age of only 60.

Again, I call upon WETA-FM to be a part of the still stellar, larger WETA brand; one exemplified by superb public news and political reporting, superb world affairs programming, superb science programming, superb Anglo-American entertainment, superb 'Americana' shows such as 'Antiques Roadshow', and superb -- ta ta ta! -- programming such as "The American Experience" and the Ken Burns American history specials!

How would the small percentages of the outspoken here who speak for thousands react if the National Gallery of Art suddenly closed its American Art Wing; citing the need to accommodate those who watched commercial television, but who had never visited an American public museum? [The National Gallery of Art is now featuring a beautiful work of American classical painting, by Martin Johnson Heade, on its home page; in honor of its American classical heritage and the generosity of its outstanding, and America-loving, patron, Paul Mellon; and the equally America-loving The [Patrons] Circle of the National Gallery.] Or, if the National Symphony Orchestra stopped performing any American classical music from America's largely unknown, but rich, over 250 year old history of classical music in the New World? Or if the Washington National Opera (as some Board members are allegedly pressing, perhaps advised by Mr Jim Allison or Mr Dan De Vany) were to break our National Opera Company's historic decision to stage one American opera production every year?

And I deeply resent being called either a crank or hysterical, given the unremunerated public educational service that we gathered here -- like Jens Laurson, Charles T. Downey, Mark Barry, and others -- are providing the Greater Washington's cultural life. It reminds me of the time when, after I had been asked by a former John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts administration, in the late 1990s, to provide pro-bono input on the Performing Arts Campus expansion plans, I was told by the new Kennedy Center leader, Michael Kaiser, to now leave all matters to "the experts." In my opinion, Mr Jim Allison and Mr Dan De Vany are no more above intellectual critical reproach in the matter of the new Classical WETA-FM and its lack of commitment of American classical music culture than is the Smithsonian's Laurence Small.

Source: Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, the Blog For Classical Music Lovers.




















Abraham Lincoln by the now virtually unknown American Master Sculptor, Daniel Chester French, 1850-1931.

In 1893, French was a founding member of the National Sculpture Society, and he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. French also became a member of the National Academy of Design (1901), the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Sculpture Society, the Architectural League, and the Accademia di San Luca, of Rome.

Photo and caption credit: Wikipedia. With thanks.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Berlin Declaration On A Unifying Europe Available In 23 Languages (Sans Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, Belarusian, Georgian, Moldovan, Armenian)

You can download the text of the Berlin Declaration in the following languages:

български (Bălgarski) - Bulgarian
Čeština - Czech
Dansk - Danish
Deutsch - German
Eesti - Estonian
Elinika - Greek
English - English
Español - Spanish
Français - French
Gaeilge - Irish
Italiano - Italian
Latviesu valoda - Latvian
Lietuviu kalba - Lithuanian
Magyar - Hungarian
Malti - Maltese
Nederlands - Dutch
Polski - Polish
Português - Portuguese
Română - Romanian
Slovenčina - Slovak
Slovenščina - Slovene
Suomi - Finnish
Svenska - Swedish

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Declaration on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the signature of the Treaties of Rome

"For centuries Europe has been an idea, holding out hope of peace and understanding. That hope has been fulfilled. European unification has made peace and prosperity possible. It has brought about a sense of community and overcome differences. Each Member State has helped to unite Europe and to strengthen democracy and the rule of law. Thanks to the yearning for freedom of the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe the unnatural division of Europe is now consigned to the past. European integration shows that we have learnt the painful lessons of a history marked by bloody conflict. Today we live together as was never possible before.

We, the citizens of the European Union, have united for the better...."


















Detail from the facade of Lviv State University, Lviv, Ukraine, Greater Europe.

[Click on image for EU enlargement.]

The building of L'viv State University was erected in the middle of the last century as the Seim (Parliament) of Galicia and Lodomeria.

Lemberg (the Austrian name for Lviv) was the capital of that province.

The full official name of the new Austrian province was: Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria with the Duchies of Auschwitz and Zator.

After the incorporation of the Free City of Kraków in 1846, it was extended to: Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, and the Grand Duchy of Krakau with the Duchies of Auschwitz and Zator.

The standing statue on the top symbolizes Austria, and the two sitting statues at either side symbolize the two main rivers of old Galicia - Dnister and Visla."

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LEOPOLIS PROJECT: ELECTRONIC INDEXES OF THE ART OF UKRAINE

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Herbert, Zbigniew Britannica Book of the Year 1999
Polish poet, essayist, and playwright (b. Oct. 29, 1924, Lwow, Pol. [now Lviv, Ukraine]--d. July 28, 1998, Warsaw, Pol.), revealed his lifelong opposition to communism in dissident poetry...

Bruno Schulz (July 12, 1892 – November 19, 1942) was a Polish language novelist and painter, widely considered to be one of the greatest Polish prose stylists of the 20th century. Schulz was born in Drohobycz, at the time when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in the province of Galicia (now Drohobych is in Ukraine) to Jewish parents. At a very early age, he developed an interest in painting, and eventually studied architecture at Lwów University ...

Lem, Stanislaw
Polish author of science fiction that veers between humanism and despair about human limitations. His books have been translated into more than 35 languages.

Zagajewski, Adam Britannica Book of the Year 2005
In 2004 Polish poet, fiction writer, and essayist Adam Zagajewski—already the recipient of several notable literary honours, including the Swedish PEN's Kurt Tucholsky Prize, the Tomas Tranströmer ...

Photo credit: (c) 'Victor' at All About Lviv. www.about.lviv.ua. With thanks.

Extra! Extra! Classical WETA-FM, In Nation's Capital, Broadcasts Newly Found Recording Of John Knowles Paine Overture Shakespeare's "As You Like It!"

The full extent of American Classical Music on Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, on March 26, 2007:

11:52am: Grande Tarantelle
Louis Moreau Gottschalk
William Tritt (piano)
Cincinnati Pops
Erich Kunzel (conductor)
[Telarc 80112]

6:24pm: Overture to Shakespeare's "As You Like It"
John Knowles Paine
New York Philharmonic
Zubin Mehta (conductor)
[New World Records 374]


In the wake of Classical WETA-FM's recent act of intellectual suicide in terms of classical American musical culture, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, also in Washington, D.C., now feels free to trumpet "Jazz" as America's greatest and only classical music.

Source: Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts March/April Brochure. Cover and contents.

The Harvard Gazette's Celebrating John Knowles Paine's Legacy by Ann P. Hall


















The Angel of Death and the Sculptor [from the Milmore Memorial], 1889–93; this carving, 1926

American classical artist Daniel Chester French (American, 1850–1931)
Marble; 93 1/2 x 100 1/2 x 32 1/2 in. (237.5 x 255.3 x 82.6 cm)
Gift of a group of Metropolitan Museum trustees, 1926 (26.120)

[Daniel Chester French sculptor of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.; home of the American classical music hating Classical WETA-FM.]

"Modeled between 1889 and 1893, French's Milmore Memorial (also known as The Angel of Death and the Sculptor and Death Staying the Hand of the Sculptor) was a commission from the family of Boston sculptor Martin Milmore (1844–1883), to honor his memory and that of his brother Joseph (1841–1886). The bronze, erected in August 1893 in the family plot in Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, was greeted by an acclaim that secured French's status at the forefront of his profession. In the final work, a winged angel of death, massive in her physical presence, appears to the young sculptor, who is in the prime of life. Chisel and mallet in hand, he rests his left knee on a ledge projecting from his unfinished relief. The angel, her cloak falling in heavy folds, reaches out gently with her left hand to halt his actions. In her right hand she carries a group of poppies, symbolizing eternal sleep. In this sculpture, French joined high and low relief with in-the-round sculpture and assimilated realistic and ideal elements into a concordant whole. In 1917, the president of the Metropolitan Museum, Robert W. de Forest, asked French, who was also a Museum trustee, about acquiring a replica of the original. After delays due to World War I, French contracted the Piccirilli Brothers, New York's leading firm of marble carvers, who completed the work between 1921 and 1926."

"Daniel Chester French: The Angel of Death and the Sculptor from the Milmore Memorial (26.120)". In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/modl/hod_26.120.htm (October 2006)

Photo credit: (c) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City Timeline of Art History, the United States and Canada 1900 to the present. With thanks.

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Shakespeare in Washington Festival at the 'Jazz' and 'Shakespeare' loving, and 'American Classical Music' respecting, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

In Shadow Of The EU's Iron-Curtained Disco Party; Belarus And Russian Protesters Clash With Police While Some Question Future Direction For New Europe

"Belarusian police have clashed with protesters in Minsk after about 10,000 people turned out for an opposition rally to call for the ousting of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

There are no reports of injuries in the clashes, which came as the opposition marked the anniversary of the short-lived 1918 Belarus republic crushed by Bolshevik troops.

Opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich told supporters at the rally: "We are the majority. We will win. The authorities will fall under the pressure of their lies."

Dozens of people were arrested during the demonstration today, not including some 34 opposition activists and leaders arrested in the days leading up to the protest.

Lukashenka, branded by the United States as Europe's last dictator, has begun to make overtures to the EU after relations with Russia collapsed this year in a trade row over oil and gas prices....

The demonstration marks the one year anniversary of when police used force to break up mass protests in Minsk against the elections in which Lukashenka won a third term. The election was deemed neither free nor fair by the international community.

Protests against that election a year ago lasted four days before a wave of arrests of opposition activists stopped the rallies. Western countries imposed sanctions on Lukashenka and other high-level Belarus officials in response.

Protesters in today's demonstration shouted "Long Live Belarus!" as they made their way toward the city center. Opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich led the demonstrators in chants of "We want freedom! and "Belarus will join the European Union!" Many carried blue EU or the white-red-white Belarusian flags.

Police, who at times beat back individuals in the crowd, redirected the march toward the Academy of Sciences, where Milinkevich addressed the crowd. Milinkevich, who along with his wife was among those police hit with their truncheons, was joined by members of the European Parliament.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the thoughts of the European Union are with the people in Belarus today.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in Berlin that the European Union is ready to form "a full partnership" with Belarus and boost financial aid to the republic if it adopts democratic reforms."

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty "Belarus: Protesters Clash With Police" March 25, 2007

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"Russian riot police have detained dozens of activists at an opposition rally in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, RFE/RL's Russian Service reported.

Authorities had not given permission to hold the rally on a square in the city center as planned.

Despite the presence of hundreds of riot police, several hundred protesters gathered in the vicinity of the square.

Organizers told RFE/RL that police dragged dozens of activists into police buses and took them to police stations.

Dozens of activists were also reportedly detained on their way to the rally.

The rally was part of a protest movement known as the "March of the Discontented" that is being organized by liberal and leftist forces. Its leaders include former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, and independent lawmaker Vladimir Ryzhkov."

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty "Russian Police Detain Dozens At Anti-Kremlin Rally" March 24, 2007

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Belarus and the Media

"Is voicing one's opinion in Belarus really against the rules?

When I refused to post stories about the March 25th protest in Minsk on the BHTimes, I received several letters by people telling me that I was not being a very responsible journalist. These people were almost universally NOT from Belarus, but instead from the EU or from the United States. My point for not running the article was that the protest was staged NOT for the benefit of the Republic of Belarus, but rather for furthering European interests and distorting the image of Belarus in the media by showing a false picture of chaos and governmental violence.

What is your opinion? Should Europe and the United States be allowed to exert control over the Republic of Belarus, or should Belarus have the right to freely choose its leaders and to govern itself?"

See also today's BEING HAD TIMES for more about the situation."

Adam Goodman, Pinsk, Belarus, Future European Union?


















European Union and United States backed Belarus Reform and Opposition Leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich and his wife at yesterday's protest march in Minsk, Belarus; and Christian Orthodox Church Saint Theodore in Pinsk, Belarus; the home of American Belarus affairs commentator Adam Goodman.

Photo credit: (c) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Oleg Babinets, Minsk, Belarus. With thanks to both.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cultural Scientists To Collect Historical Data About Belarus's Nesvizh And Mir Castle Complexes, Both UNESCO World Heritage Sites

"In 2007, the [Belarus] State Committee for Science and Technologies will start financing the project of the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for collecting rare historical data related to the Nesvizh Castle. As a result, the information regarding the benefits of the Nesvizh Castle, about the oldest part of the Radzivills’ archives, other information will be introduced in scientific circulation, supervisor of the project, head research officer of the Institute Andrei Metelskiy recently told to reporters.

The final goal of compiling the database will become the preparation for publishing a book dedicated to the history of the Nesvizh Castle [similar to the large scholarly volume that Wawel Castle [Poland] Director Jan L. Ostrowski just published on the Podhorce (Pidhyirci) Castle and Churches [second, wooden church image] Complex east of Lviv, Ukraine. Professor Ostrowski considers Pidhyirci Castle Complex the finest Baroque Castle-Palace in all of Eastern Europe]. This innovation project envisages searching underground passages and communications described in numerous documents related to the construction of the Nesvizh Castle.

According to Andrei Metelskiy, specialists started the archeological dig in the early 1990s. By the time, four underground passages have been discovered, cleaned and included in tourist itineraries. The first passage goes from the Castle’s yard to a bastion and a fighting ground, the second one goes from the castle’s yard to the water and to the castle’s moat. Two maintenance passages more have been discovered as well. Their usage has not been determined yet as a human does not pass through them. This year the search will be continued and, possibly, a new story about lives of the Nesvizh Castle’s owners will appear, Andrei Metelskiy noted.

The Nesvizh Castle, the official residence of the Radzivills, was included into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005.

The city of Nesvizh is located about 112 km (70 miles) westward from Minsk. The city was first mentioned in historical chronicles in 1446. In 1513 the city of Nesvizh became the official residence of the Radzivills – the biggest and the most powerful tycoon family in Belarus. The residence included the Castle, and a cathedral with a marketplace.

Reconstructed in the 18th century, the Radzivills Castle is the only surviving original tycoon residence in this part of the European continent [sic; see Podhorce (Pidhyirci) Castle, above]. The gem of the Nesvizh Castle is a crypt-based vault of the Radzivill dukes. Today it features 72 open caskets with remains of the renowned members of the family. The earliest grave dates back to 1616. The Nesvizh Castle has beautiful and harmonic combine of medieval architectural features, styles of late Renaissance, the Baroque and original stylish research of local masters.

"Specialists to Collect Historical Data about Nesvizh Castle" via Belarus Embassy to the United States WEEKLY DIGEST OF BELARUSIAN NEWS February 22, 2007

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Bizarrely, considering the huge number of UNESCO World Heritage Site approved for Germany and Poland, the European Union; Podhorce/Pidhyirci Castle, near Lviv, Ukraine, is not yet on the UNESCO World Heritage List. [The central old city of Lviv, Ukraine; as well as historic central sites of Kyiv, Ukraine, are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.]















Belarus's Nesvizh Castle, which along with Belarus's Mir Castle, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Photo credit: ©2006г. БелИнтурист. www.belintourist.by. With thanks.

A Tired European Union Parties, But Reaffirms Its New Iron Curtain By Not Funding Cultural Cooperation Programs With Non-Balkan or Turkic New Nations

European Union "Culture 2007" Programme

"The Commission has proposed a single financing and programming instrument for cultural cooperation, entitled the "Culture 2007 programme", for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013. The Commission's initial proposal provides for a budget of EUR 408 million in order to develop transnational cultural cooperation between operators from the countries of the enlarged European Union participating in the programme. It proposes to support cultural cooperation actions, European organisations active in the field of culture and the dissemination of information, analyses and activities to promote culture. This new instrument follows on from the Culture 2000 framework programme, which covered the period 2000-2006. It is more complete, more open and more user-friendly.

PROPOSAL

Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 14.07.2004, establishing the Culture 2007 programme (2007-2013).

SUMMARY

Following the example of previous cultural programmes, the general objective of the programme is to enhance the cultural area common to Europeans, with a view to encouraging the emergence of European citizenship.

The Commission nevertheless intends to correct a number of shortcomings in previous programmes, which were revealed in a wide-ranging forward thinking exercise .

The number of objectives, which was considered too high in the Culture 2000 programme given the limited financial resources available to it, is now reduced to three.

Support for the " European Capitals of Culture " is increased.

The programme also distances itself from the sectoral approach, which does not adequately support multidisciplinary objectives or new forms of cultural expression.

Finally, certain types of actions supported, such as discussions on the challenges of and resources for cultural cooperation, will receive increased support under the new programme.

Three objectives

The programme has three central objectives with a significant European added value:

supporting the transnational mobility of professionals in the cultural sector;

encouraging the circulation of works of art and artistic and cultural products beyond national borders;

promoting intercultural dialogue based on equality of cultures.

To receive Community support, the projects chosen will have to meet one or more of these objectives. ...

Cooperation with third countries

The programme is open to the participation of:

the countries of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein);

candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy, such as Turkey, Croatia and later the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM);

the countries of the Western Balkans.

The programme is also open to cooperation with other third countries which have concluded bilateral agreements with the EU which include cultural clauses."

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Excluded in this cultural cooperation program are cultural activities wiwith the new European Nations east of the New Iron Curtain: in particular Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, the Russian Federation, Georgia, and Armenia.















SAINT VOLODYMYR'S CATHEDRAL, Kyiv, Ukraine, Future European Union.

[Click on image for enlargement, and to see European Union stars and blue background.]

"Located on Boulevard Tarasa Shevchenka, St. Volodoymyr's Cathedral was originally designed by Ivan Strom and the building was begun by Alexander Beretti and Paul Sparro and completed by Vladimir Nikolayev. The construction and interior decorations took more than 30 years (1862-96). This seven dome three-aisled church resembles the buildings of old Ukraine only slightly. Its walls are loaded with ornamental details. The interior is decorated in the style of Prince Volodoymyr's period. The interior completed by a team of outstanding artists accomplished the work in eleven years. The main facade is decorated with a double door made of oxidized bronze with enamel, carving and openwork tracery. On the sides of the door are figures of Princess Olga and Prince Volodoymyr made of embossed bronze and portrayed against a blue enamel background.

Inside the cathedral, the feeling is grand and spacious, light and richly painted, with splendid bronze ornaments, white marble walls and a marble floor. Most of the painting inside the cathedral was done by Victor Vasnetsov (1848-1926), whose work is closely associated with Kyiv. He painted the entire central nave of the cathedral. His most outstanding masterpieces are a hugh figure of the mother of God with an infant; Jesus Christ on the main cupola, the Evangelists on four sides beneath the cupola; and the scene of the Last Judgment over the western entrance. He is also the painter of such magnificent historical murals as "The Baptism of the Kievans" and "The Baptism of Prince Vladimir".

After 1890 another outstanding artist, Mikhail Nesterov (1862-1942), took part in the painting of the cathedral, mainly contributing large compositions in the chair gallery and icons for the altar screen of the north and south chapels.

Despite the eclecticism felt in all the cathedral's decoration, this memorial is one of the more significant and characteristic examples of monumental art of the second half and end of the nineteenth century."

Source: adapted from Kyiv Architectural Landmarks and Art Museums - Aurora Publishers 1987

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Once the European Union rests from this Weekend's Anniversary partying, it [as well as the politicians of Ukraine and the other new Eastern European nations] will have to reconsider the issue of the new Iron Curtain bisecting Eastern Europe.

Photo credit: (c) www.pfku.univ.kiev.ua. With thanks.

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For more on this weekend's parties and musical celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the European Union -- the world's only remaining Cultural Superpower, at present -- see Bob Shingleton's blog On An Overgrown Path.

Listen And Speak Up America! U.S. National Park Service To Host 'Listening Session' On $3 Billion National Park Centennial Initiative

"On Tuesday, March 27, 2007, National Park Service, National Capital Region Director Joseph Lawler will host a listening session at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA) to seek suggestions and ideas on President Bush's $3 billion National Park Centennial Initiative. The session is one in a series being held around the country. The President's proposal would provide significant new public and private investment during the next 10 years to reinvigorate and strengthen national parks by the National Park Service's 100th birthday in 2016.

Participants are being asked to focus their comments on three vital questions:

--Imagine you, your children, or future generations enjoying national parks in 2016 and beyond. What are your hopes and expectations?


--What role do you think national parks should play in the lives of Americans and visitors from around the world?

--What are the signature projects and programs that you think should be highlighted for completion over the next 10 years?

"These sessions are a great opportunity to think big and act boldly to develop a plan to prepare national parks for the future," said National Park Service Director Mary Bomar. From the session discussions, the Interior Department and the National Park Service will identify signature projects and programs, set specific performance goals and report to the President by May 31st. The public also may comment on the National Park Centennial Initiative from March 12 through April 2 online at the following site: www.nps.gov/2016.

WHO: National Park Service, National Capital Region Director Joseph Lawler.

WHAT: Listening Session on National Park Centennial Initiative.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 27, 2006, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA). WIMSA is located at the ceremonial entrance to Arlington National Cemetery directly across Memorial Bridge from the Lincoln Memorial. WIMSA is a two-block walk from METRO's Arlington National Cemetery station on the Blue Line."

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With many thanks to Judy Scott Feldman, Ph.D. Chairman National Coalition to Save Our Mall
















The World-renowned Nikitsky Botanical Garden and Park, near Yalta, the Crimean Autonomous Republic, Ukraine, Future European Union.

Photo credit: travel.kyiv.org. With thanks.

As Putin Declared Day Of Mourning Lifts In Russia, Women Continue Their Spring Rituals In Post-Soviet Space Of Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, & Tatarstan

WHAT:

The Ukrainian film "Who Will Sing a Lullaby" will be shown as part of the Gelman Library International Film Series "7 Films From 7 Countries - 7 Testimonies About Women's Lives in Post-Soviet Space (part 2)." Nina Rudik directed the 29-minute film. The two other films scheduled to be shown as part of the evening's program are "Kristina & Christ" (Lithuania – 22 minutes), directed by Inessa Kurkletite, and "There are Women in Russian Villages..." (Russia – 28 minutes), directed by Pavel Kostomarov & Antonin Kattin.

WHEN:

Sunday, March 25, 2007
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

WHERE:

Gelman Library
The George Washington University
Washington, D.C.
B-04A
2130 H Street, NW
Washington, DC

COST:

Free admission

Seating is [unfortunately quite] limited

*

With thanks to Ken Bossong of the Ukrainian-American Environmental Association.

Welcome to the Ukrainian-American Environmental Association web page

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Munich, Germany, European Union and Washington, D.C. music critic Jens F. Laurson refers to Sofia Gubaidulina's "Canticle of the Sun", for cello soloist [Mstislav Rostropovich], and chamber ensemble and choir, in his essay "Blasphemous Dogs, Recovering Catholics, and a Rediscovered American Gem" posted at Charles T. Downey's cultural blog Ionarts.org. The Rediscovered American Gem is Amy Beach's choral masterpiece "Canticle of the Sun" [Op. 123], to be performed this Sunday, at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., under Norman Schribner and his superb and American music-connected Choral Arts Society of Washington.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra's 2007 January Composer Weekend -- A Journey of the Soul: The Music of Sofia Gubaidulina -- focused on the music of Ms Gubaidulina.
























[Click on images for enlargement.]

Tatar and Russian Federation Composer and Humanist Sofia Gubaidulina; and the Kazan Kremlin, in the Tatarstan Autonomous Republic of the Russian Federation, harmoniously combines elements of Eastern Orthodox and Muslim cultures.

Photo credit SG © Japan Art Association, The Sankei Shimbun. All rights reserved. Via G.Schirmer Music Publishers. Copyrighted photograph of Tatarstan's Kazan Kremlin from Wikipedia used under "fair use provisions". With thanks to both copyright owners for use here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Joshua Bell Wins Prestigious Avery Fisher Prize For American Classical Music; Hopes To Perform More American And Modern Violin Concertos

"Joshua Bell started playing the violin at age 4 and went on to become one of the world's leading performers. Now, approaching 40, he's venturing deeper into conducting.

In an early present, eight months before his birthday, Bell will receive $75,000 as this year's winner of the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.

The dashing violinist from Indiana, who has won three Grammys, made his professional debut at age 14 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Five years later, he received an Avery Fisher Career Grant for promising American classical performers. The new prize, which Bell will receive in April, honors achievement in a career.

The award is named for the late classical music benefactor and electronics wizard who helped fund Lincoln Center. Previous winners include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianists Emanuel Ax and Andre Watts, and violinists Sarah Chang and Midori....

AP: So you'll be 40 in December. Do you feel you've exhausted the violin repertoire?

[Joshua] Bell: No. I'm embarrassed to say what I haven't done -- 20th century violin repertoire, I've done only a few. I haven't done the Bartok, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Berg (concertos). ... The problem is I am playing too many concerts and juggling all that I have done and introducing one concerto a year -- often a new one." ...


Associated Press "Violinist Joshua Bell Wins Coveted Award" New York Times March 21, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/arts/
AP-Music-Joshua-Bell-QA.html

























American classical music performer Joshua Bell is talented and energetic enough for the $75,000 Avery Fisher American Classical Performer Prize; but just don't expect to hear him performing an American or a modern violin concerto on the new Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital.

Photo credit: (c) www.bombast.org. With thanks.

Early Spring Morning Response To Alert Reader Danny Liss On The Continuing Importance Of American Classical Music And Classical WETA-FM's Suicide Wish

Danny, thanks for asking for a clarification. I realized upon publishing late yesterday that the "Cultural Distrust" post might strike some as highly elliptical.

Briefly, being pressed for time now, I am very concerned that the new Classical WETA-FM station (under the new musical direction of Jim Allison, who spent 14 years directing music at commercial WGMS which featured a very shallow playlist) will, unlike the older, more than quasi-Classical WETA-FM which existed until two years ago, and which featured NPR SymphonyCast often incorporating American classical music, Saturday afternoon American Jazz, and Saturday evening American Folk Traditions (and Sunday evening pre-Bach Western classical music), harden the perception among the young and casual listeners that Western classical music ended at about the time of the First World War, and that 'classical music' is a dead art form unworthy of consideration by younger intellectuals and aesthetic appreciators -- many of whom now, in the United States and elsewhere as well -- are of color.

The African musicians cited are contemporary performers and, I imagine some to be, also world music composers. They are representatives of the contemporary music composers whom I do not feel comfortable advocating for over at the newly reinstated Classical WETA-FM and its new blogsite.

WETA-FM, under the direction of Jim Allison from WGMS, recognizes neither that music is a living artform, nor that for approximately 250 years, the United States and the Americas, provided an experimental melting pot where Western classical music rubbed shoulders and occasionally engaged in meaningful conversations with non-Western, but highly alert and human, musics.

Over at the Classical WETA-FM blog, I am not advocating for musical activism, but only that public radio include a well-curated and well-loved American Classical Music Wing -- just like the public American museums in Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, now all have beautiful and meaningful American Classical Art Wings (as well as Modern Art Annexes, which is a separate issue and problem for public radio. One only needs to tune to public television during pledge month of March to see how many public television stations see modern musical art -- and with some exceptions needing to made for modern art programming from places such as WGBH, WNET, and KQED.)

Of course, I wish the listeners to the new Classical WETA-FM lite would also be introduced to Henry Cowell's and Roy Harris's Symphonies, Lou Harrison's Mass for Saint Anthony (whose composition started the day the Nazis invaded Poland, September 1, 1939), selections from Philip Glass's Satyagraha [to be performed by the MET Opera next year] or Christropher Rouse's new Requiem [2007; premiering in Los Angeles this weekend], or selections from John Adams's El Nino or Doctor Atomic Symphony [world premiere London this year; U.S. premiere Saint Louis Symphony, next year].

Sorry that perhaps this only begins to scratch the surface of the question you ask.

I look forward to looking at you blog later this evening. And I thank you again for posting your important question here.

PS. I look forward to reading Alex Ross's new book on Western classical music in the twentieth century which was published earlier this week.

Source
















Restored ruins of the great stone church in San Juan Capistrano, California, North America.

"When The Swallows Come Back to Capistrano"
Leon Rene, c 1939


'...When the swallows come back to Capistrano
That's the day you promised to come back to me
When you whispered, "Farewell", in Capistrano
T'was the day the swallow flew out to sea


All the mission bells will ring
The chapel choir will sing
The happiness you'll bring
Will live in my memory
When the swallows come back to Capistrano
That's the day I pray that you'll come back to me


All the mission bells will ring
The chapel choir will sing
The happiness you'll bring
Will live in my memory
When the swallows come back to Capistrano
That's the day I pray that you'll come back to me...'

*

In loving memory of FHT.

*

Photo and poem credit: (c) San Juan Capistrano: Living History in Spanish West Think and Ask Non-Profit News www.thinkandask.com. With thanks.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Night's Black Bird IV: Should The World Be Sleeping Soundly On This First Night Of Spring 2007?

2007 Earthwatch Institute Film Award

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 7:30 p.m.
National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.

"Will global warming force us to dim the sun artificially? The amount of sunlight reaching Earth is dimming—a surprising fact given the international concern over global warming. As documented by the recipient of this year’s Earthwatch Institute Film Award, Dimming the Sun (UK/2006/56 min), progress has been made in slowing and halting solar dimming after the imposition of pollution controls. However, this progress comes at an ironic price: Evidence is mounting that without pollution, we will lose the cooling effects of global dimming, and accelerate global warming instead. This screening will be introduced by Earthwatch Institute president and CEO Ed Wilson. Director Duncan Copp and producer David Sington will discuss their award-winning work after the screening. They will be joined by Paula S. Apsell, senior executive producer, NOVA/WGBH.

Cosponsored with Earthwatch Institute, an international nonprofit organization that brings science to life for people concerned about the Earth’s future, and presented as part of the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital."












Photo courtesy NASA Langley Research Center. With thanks.