Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Art And Media Studies: Classical WETA-FM Salutes Rostropovich And The New MET Opera Announces Next Season's Video Broadcasts

Today, Sharon Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, will offer a 9 PM special broadcast honoring the late Mstislav Rostropovich; who sought, only partially successfully, to entrench Washington, D.C. firmly in the international classical music world. The program, hosted by David Ginder, will feature short interviews with Hugh Wolff, a Rostropovich conducting protegee, as well as several musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra.

N. and I will each be hurrying home from work in order to listen.


The New Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD series is made possible by a generous grant from the Neubauer Family Foundation.

Opening Night Gala
(North America only)
La Traviata (Act II) – Verdi
Manon (Act III) – Massenet
Capriccio (Final Scene) – Richard Strauss
Monday, September 22, 2008 (6:30 pm ET)
James Levine conducts Renée Fleming in a performance of fully staged scenes. Also starring Ramón Vargas, Thomas Hampson, and Dwayne Croft.

Salome – Richard Strauss
Saturday, October 11, 2008 (1:00 pm ET)
Karita Mattila reprises her acclaimed interpretation of the title role.

Doctor Atomic (New production) – John Adams
Saturday, November 8, 2008 (1:00 pm ET)
Gerald Finley stars in the Met premiere of John Adams’s modern masterpiece. New production by Penny Woolcock.

La Damnation de Faust (New production) – Berlioz
Saturday, November 22, 2008 (1:00 pm ET)
Robert Lepage directs Marcello Giordani in the title role of this new production, conducted by James Levine. Also starring Susan Graham.

Thaïs (New production) – Massenet
Saturday, December 20, 2008 (12:00 pm ET)
Renée Fleming stars in the title role opposite Thomas Hampson.

La Rondine (New production) – Puccini
Saturday, January 10, 2009 (1:00 pm ET)
Puccini’s melodic gem stars real-life couple Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna.

Orfeo ed Euridice – Gluck
Saturday, January 24, 2009 (1:00 pm ET)
Mark Morris’s production returns with Stephanie Blythe and Danielle de Niese in the title roles.

Lucia di Lammermoor– Donizetti
Saturday, February 7, 2009 (1:00 pm ET)
Anna Netrebko sings the title role in Mary Zimmerman’s hit production, opposite Rolando Villazón and Mariusz Kwiecien.

Madama Butterfly – Puccini
Saturday, March 7, 2009 (1:00 pm ET)
Anthony Minghella’s stunning production returns with Cristina Gallardo-Domâs and Marcello Giordani in the leading roles.

La Sonnambula (New production) – Bellini
Saturday, March 21, 2009 (1:00 pm ET)
Mary Zimmerman stages this new production, which stars Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez.

La Cenerentola – Rossini
Saturday, May 9, 2009 (1:00 pm ET)
Rossini’s Cinderella story returns to the rep with Elīna Garanča in the title role.

Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation for the Health and Future of Children, Washington, D.C.

Mstislav Rostropovich playing the Duport Stradivarius at the White House in 1978; and children (and possible future musicians if the world lets them live) at the orphanage in Batumi, Republic of Georgia, ca. 2007.

Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons and Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation web-site. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Cathedrals And Grand Boulevards Of Our Age?

Chornobyl, Ukraine, Future European Union; and Delhi, India. ... Belarus, Future European Union.

Photo credits: (c) Sergei Chuzakov and Gurinder Osan, Associated Press. All rights reserved. With thanks. CIA Image via Wikimedia.


Mstislav Rostropovich was of partly Russian ethnicity and partly Belarusian-Polish noble descent.

Monday, April 28, 2008

... Sir Harrison Birtwistle's and David Harsent's The Minotaur Being Filmed For Release On DVD ...

Gazan Mother and 4 Children Killed During Israeli Operation

The Minotaur Video

Sir Harrison Birtwistle

David Harsent

Stephen Langridge

Alison Chitty

Paul Pyant

Philippe Giraudeau

Video design
Leo Warner
Mark Grimmer

Antonio Pappano

The Minotaur
John Tomlinson

Johan Reuter

Christine Rice

Snake Priestess
Andrew Watts

Rebecca Bottone
Pumeza Matshikiza
Wendy Dawn Thompson
Christopher Ainslie
Tim Mead

Philip Langridge

Amanda Echalaz

Generously supported by Columbia Foundation of San Francisco with additional support from the Peter Moores Foundation


Photo credit: (c) Mohammed Salem and Reuters. All rights reserved. 2008. Via New York Times. With thanks.

Palestine: Life -- And Unnecessary Death -- On Earth

A Palestinian mother and her four young children were killed in northern Gaza on Monday ...

Photo credit: (c) Suhaib Salem and Reuters. All rights reserved. 2008. Via New York Times.

Life -- And Death -- On Earth: In Memorium Joseph Solman And Henry Brant

Joseph Solman "The Forty-Second Street Shuttle [1937]." Wichita Art Museum. ["Your Museum. America's Art"]

Solman called the subway system “the greatest studio of all time.”


Composer Henry Brant


I had the privilege of meeting both of these American modern artists.


The Phillips Collection's new American Art Timeline.


Sharon Rockefeller's virtually American music-less Classical WETA-FM, so-called public radio in the Nation's Capital.

Image credit: (c) Joseph Solman. All rights reserved. Via Wichita Art Museum and the Jewish Daily Forward. With thanks.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Does Time Actually Slow Or Bend As Orthodox Sad Friday Gives Way To Orthodox Easter Bright Sunday And The Christian Transfiguration?

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Interior of the Church of the Transfiguration, Lviv, Ukraine, Future European Union.

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

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Classy French Embassy Offers Rare Contemporary Classical Works By Ravel, Antheil, Crumb, Aperghis, Clement, Ueno, And Prestini -- And French Wine

Dear Friends of Contemporary Classical Music,

The French “Ensemble Aleph,” together with the American ”Verge Ensemble,” will give a unique performance of 20th and 21st century musical works at La Maison Française on Friday, April 25 at 7:30 pm. La Maison Francaise is part of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The Contemporary Music Forum has been working with La Maison Française to create a year-long collaboration between French and American musicians, promoting new American and French music. This collaboration led to a Franco-American contemporary music festival, which includes this month a series of three concerts with the Verge Ensemble and Ensemble Aleph.


- George Crumb, Dream Sequence (Images II) (violin, cello, piano, percussion, glass harmonica)

- Ken Ueno, cello & percussion/boombox (Verge ensemble)

- George Aperghis, Récitations /voice

- George Antheil, Mecanique 1: Serpents (1921-Création USA) - transcription
- Maurice Ravel, Trio violin, cello, piano

- Dominique Clément, "Let's go" for voice, violin, cello, clarinet, piano, percussion, electronics

- Paola Prestini, New piece for Aleph & Verge Ensemble

A wine reception to meet the artists will follow the concert.

WHAT: Ensemble Aleph and Verge Ensemble (details below and at

WHEN: Friday, April 25 at 7:30 PM

WHERE: La Maison Française, 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington DC 20007


RESERVATION: Required. Please send an email to

Your reservation will allow access - on a first come, first served basis - to the Embassy's underground parking facilities.

This performance is made possible thanks to the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the French-American Cultural Foundation, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Music, and Spedidam.

Daniel Chester French sculpture inside the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Photo credit: With thanks.


Adams Memorial (grave marker) · African American Civil War Memorial · Albert Einstein Memorial · District of Columbia War Memorial · Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial · George Mason Memorial · James A. Garfield Monument · Jefferson Memorial · Jefferson Pier · John Ericsson National Memorial · John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts · Korean War Veterans Memorial · Lincoln Memorial · Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac · National Japanese American Memorial To Patriotism During World War II · National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial · National World War II Memorial · Navy-Marine Memorial · Oscar Straus Memorial · Outdoor sculpture in Washington, D.C. · Peace Monument · President Lincoln and Soldiers' Home National Monument · Robert A. Taft Memorial · The Extra Mile · The Three Soldiers · Theodore Roosevelt Island · Ulysses S. Grant Memorial · United States Navy Memorial · Victims of Communism Memorial · Vietnam Veterans Memorial · Vietnam Women's Memorial · Washington Monument · Women's Titanic Memorial · Zero Milestone

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Not Content With Just Two Theaters Of Military Warfare In Post 9/11 World, U.S. Prepares To Expand Military Operations To Third Ring

... "When he was asked whether General Petraeus’s promotion to the theater-wide post [of head of the Central Command], coupled with the selection of his former deputy, General Odierno, to lead forces in Iraq, should be interpreted as a warning to Iran, which has often been accused of meddling with the affairs of its neighbor Iraq, Mr. Gates did not answer directly.

But he did not discourage the suggestion of a warning to Iran when he said, “What Iranians are doing is killing American servicemen inside Iraq.”" ...

David Stout "Petraeus to Be Nominated to Lead Forces in Middle East" New York Times April 23, 2008

An early U.S. tactical nuclear weapon test blast in 1953.

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Energy via Wikipedia. With thanks.

I Know That I Owe You All A Contemporary Classical Music Post, But ... A River Runs Through A Green Kyiv, Ukraine (And The American Democratic Party)

[Click on images for enlargements.]

This morning, a colleague whose niece serves in the U.S. Peace Corps in Donetsk, Ukraine, Future European Union, handed me a clipping from the Washington Post commuter newspaper entitled "A River Runs Through Kyiv", showing a early Spring-time photo that beautiful European city's 11th century CE Vydubytsky Monastery [first photo above] -- near the archeological foundations of the city, the city's botanical garden, and gleaming new luxury highrise apartment houses. [It is also near the city's Soviet-era Motherland statue shown above, which adorns that city's highly intelligent memorial park and museum in memory of the victims of the Great Patriotic War/World War II -- in which the Americans and the Soviets were allied against Nazi Germany.]

Photo credits: (c); Associated Press via U.S. Department of State; and With thanks.


The performance, on Monday night, of a String Quartet by Gyorgy Kurtag at the Terrace Theater of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was cancelled. Movements for String Quartet by Anton Webern were substituted in its place.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Morning Prayer ... "I Want The Iranians To Know That If I'm The President, We Will Attack [And Totally Obliterate] Iran" -- Hillary Clinton

'The flowering shoots of both species of Pussy Willow are used in their respective native regions for spring religious decoration on Palm Sunday, as a replacement for palm branches, which do not grow that far north.

Russian Orthodox; Ukrainian Orthodox; Polish, Austrian, and Bavarian Roman Catholics, and various other East European peoples carry pussy willows on Palm Sunday instead of palm branches (which do not grow that far north). This custom has continued to this day among Russian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Polish Catholic, and Ukrainian Catholic emigrees -- and guests -- in North America. Sometimes, on Palm or Pussy Sunday [last Sunday], they will bless both palms and pussywillows in church. The branches will often be preserved throughout the year in the family's icon corner.'


Source for Hillary Clinton quote on Earth Day, April 22, 2008.

Change the world can live by?


Photo and caption credit: Wikipedia. With thanks.


Iranian Sizdeh Bedar, Ancient Spring Festival

Green Willows or Black Rain [Kuroi ame]?

Photo credit: With thanks.

Monday, April 21, 2008

“The Problem Is Not That I Met With Hamas In Syria. The Problem Is That Israel And The United States Refuse To Meet These People.”

Last week was George Bush and Pope Benedict XVI's week. This week is Nobel Peace Laureate [2002] Jimmy Carter and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's week.

"What I have pleaded for is renunciation of violence of the heart and consequent active exercise of the force generated by the great renunciation."
(મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

Satyagraha libretto from the MET Opera.


According to the World Bank's 2008 World Development Indicators, South Asia has the greatest income equality in the world; followed by Western, Central, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Central and South America and the Carribean have the greatest income inequality in the world.


Photo credit: (c) Tara Todras-Whitehilland the Associated Press via the New York Times. 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"I Look Forward To An America Which Will Reward Achievement In Subtropical Disease Research And Prevention As It Rewards Those Who Manage Hedge Funds"

Bitterness ... The Rising

Americans “need your message that all of life is sacred,” President Bush tells Pope Benedict XVI on the South Lawn of the White House.

By 7 to 2, Supreme Court Justices upheld Kentucky’s method of putting criminals to death by lethal injection, clearing the way for other states to resume executions as well.

Amnesty International

Hemlock produces a slow death by gradually paralyzing the central nervous system.... Socrates was found guilty in 399 BCE by a vote of 280 to 220.

Political/Religious Leaders in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2008, the tail-end of Cherry Blossom Season; and Conium maculatum [or Poison Hemlock]

Photo credits: (c) Doug Mills and the New York Times. 2008. All rights reserved; and Wikipedia Commons. [This image is a work of a United States Department of Agriculture employee, taken or made during the course of the person's official duties]. With thanks.


Justice John Paul Stevens, a key vote in upholding the death penalty 30 years ago, on Wednesday became the first of the nine sitting justices to say the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Before Bitterness ... Some Roots Of 'The American Century', The 'Greatest Generation', And Great American And American-Centric Symphony Orchestras

[Click on image for enlargement.]


"Cincinnati and San Francisco saw dramatically different developments in businessmen's class alignments, civic identities, and approach to unions. In Cincinnati, manufacturing and commercial interests joined together in a variety of civic organizations and business clubs. These organizations helped members overcome their conflicts and identify their interests with the good of the municipal community. That pervasive ideology of "business citizenship" provided much of the rationale for opposing unions. In sharp contrast, San Francisco's businessmen remained divided among themselves, opted to side with white labor against the Chinese, and advocated treating both unions and business organizations as legitimate units of economic and municipal governance.

Citizen Employers closely examines the reasons why these two bourgeoisies, located in comparable cities in the same country at the same time, differed so radically in their degree of unity and in their attitudes toward labor unions, and how their views would ultimately converge and harden against labor by the 1920s."


"Bourgeois class formation is one of the most important, yet understudied, issues in U.S. history. Citizen Employers provides a theoretically sophisticated account of the making of the Gilded Age bourgeoisie, comparing the institutions, ideology, civic discourse and workplace politics of the merchants, manufacturers, bankers, and professionals of Cincinnati and San Francisco. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the trajectory of class relations in the United States."—Sven Beckert, Harvard University, author of The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie

“Citizen Employers is easily one of the best historical studies we have of America's economic elite. Jeffrey Haydu's thoughtful reflections on business leaders are smart and insightful. His book will appeal to everyone interested in class formation, social movements, and cultural sociology and will earn the respect and admiration of historians for its narrative integrity, solid evidentiary basis, and use of primary sources.”—Howard Kimeldorf, University of Michigan

Jeffrey Haydu, University of California

Photo and text credits: (c) Cornell University Press. 2008.


(Bogdana Carpenter was my Comparative Literature Professor my freshman year, at U.C. Berkeley; and Jeffrey Haydu was my roommate my senior year, at Swarthmore.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Great Nation Deserves Great Art ... But What If There Is No Nation And Your Homeland Is Occupied?

[Click on images for enlargement.]


"A Great Nation Deserves Great Art"

"Picturing [and Listening To] America: America's History Through Our Nation's Art"

"As a child, I, too, had the romance of the Olympics in my eyes. But I would ask myself, 'Where are my Tibetan national heroes? Where is my flag at the Olympics?' " [Tenzin Tsundue, Tibetan Poet, in Exile in India]

''I think it is absolutely crucial that in the final and dreamed-about and prayed-for peace agreement for this [Middle-East] region that Hamas be involved and Syria be involved'' [Former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jimmy Carter]


Owning the Olympics
Narratives of the New China
Monroe E. Price and Daniel Dayan, Editors


"Welcome to digitalculturebooks
the online home of a new imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library.The imprint will feature titles on the social and cultural impact of new media and on related humanities topics.

digitalculturebooks is a work in progress, as we develop new publishing strategies to meet the needs of authors and readers. Please stay tuned in the coming months as we get ready to launch a number of our Spring titles as well as a new website with additional features and functionalities. In the meantime, we are pleased to announce the free, online publication of Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the New China, edited by Monroe E. Price and Daniel Dayan."


Amnesty International

The Carter Center: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope

The MET Opera Produces the Sound of [Gandhi's] Truth [and the Satyagraha Libretto]


Photo credits: (c) University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. (c) The San Francisco Sentinel. 2008. All rights reserved. (c) IndyMedia, Ireland, European Union. 2007. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

In Which Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Invisible Allies Mobilize To Help Try To Secure Universal Human Rights In China, Xinjiang, And Tibet

Dear Pan Cogito,

By way of introduction, I am the publicist at the University of Michigan Press. We have recently published a book called OWNING THE OLYMPICS Narratives of the New China edited by Monroe Price and Daniel Dayan.

This edited volume brings together a distinguished group of scholars from Chinese studies, human rights, media studies, law, and other fields. OWNING THE OLYMPICS reveals how multiple entities—including the Chinese Communist Party itself—seek to influence and control the narratives through which the Beijing Games will be understood.

There’s an important section in the book on Nonaccredited Media and Citizen Journalists at the Olympic Games, which should be of significant interest to bloggers [and human rights activists] ...

My best,

Trade Marketing, Publicity and Foreign Rights
University of Michigan Press
839 Greene Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 615-6477




"A major contribution to the study of global events in times of global media. Owning the Olympics tests the possibilities and limits of the concept of 'media events' by analyzing the mega-event of the information age: the Beijing Olympics. . . . A good read from cover to cover."

---Guobin Yang, Associate Professor, Asian/Middle Eastern Cultures & Sociology, Barnard College, Columbia University


By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Translated by Alexis Klimoff and Michael Nicholson.


As Bogdana Carpenter writes in World Literature Today, “Although the evolution of Zbigniew Herbert's poetry was closely tied to the changes in Poland's political situation, its greatness lies in the universality of its message.”


Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Tibet Autonomous Region

Drapchi Prison City, Tibet

Amnesty International


Photo credits: (c) University of Michigan Press and San Francisco Sentinel. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One Of The Great Bridges Of America And The Great Wall Of China Meet The Great Tsunami Of Universal Human Rights

Caption to lower 2007 image: "Chinese authorities removed the activists after two hours; their current whereabouts are unknown."

Amnesty International


Photo credits: (c) and All rights reserved. With thanks.

Berlin, Germany; Beijing, China; And Drapchi Prison City, Tibet: Sport And Architecture And International Human Rights

Berlin, Germany in the Summer of 1936; Beijing, China and Lhasa, Tibet in the Spring of 2008.

[Click on images for enlargements.]

Amnesty International

What human rights legacy for the Beijing Olympics?

31 March 2008

Liu Jingmin, Vice-President of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee, said in 2001 that allowing Beijing to host the Games would “help the development of human rights". Seven years on, China’s human rights record shows little sign of improvement, according to an Amnesty International report.

Photo credits: Wikipedia Commons. San Francisco Sentinel. With thanks.


[Due to a cultural exhange snafu, in September 1972 my California youth orchestra, visiting the Herbert von Karajan International Festival of Youth Orchestras, spent its first night sleeping in spartan quarters under the 1936 Berlin Olympics Stadium, rather than in the cosy youth hostel near the original West Berlin Cafe Einstein.]

Monday, April 07, 2008

War And Peace: This May Mean Peace, This May Mean War

This May Mean Peace:

U.S.-Russia Strategic Framework Declaration Between Presidents Bush and Putin, April 6, 2008, Sochi, Russian Federation

The United States and the Russian Federation,

Recalling our Joint Statement of November 13, 2001 on a New Relationship

Between the United States and Russian and our Joint Declaration of May 24, 2002, we reaffirm that the era in which the United States and Russia considered one another an enemy or strategic threat has ended. We reject the zero-sum thinking of the Cold War when “what was good for Russia was bad for America” and vice versa. Rather, we are dedicated to working together and with other nations to address the global challenges of the 21st century, moving the U.S.-Russia relationship from one of strategic competition to strategic partnership. We intend to cooperate as partners to promote security, and to jointly counter the threats to peace we face, including international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are determined to build a lasting peace, both on a bilateral basis and in international fora, recognizing our shared responsibility to the people of our countries and the global community of nations to remain steadfast and united in pursuit of international security, and a peaceful, free world. Where we have differences, we will work to resolve them in a spirit of mutual respect.

Recognizing the importance of these issues, we affirm our commitment to respect the rule of law, international law, human rights, tolerance of diversity, political freedom, and a free market approach to economic policy and practices.

We agree that the foundation for the U.S. and Russian relationship should be based on the core principles of friendship, cooperation, openness, and predictability." ...

Source: The White House


This May Mean War:

After programming absolutely none of the hundreds of American classical symphonies during its two-day "Symphony Weekend", Classical WETA-FM punches Pan Cogito in the gut by programming Frederick the Great of Prussia's Symphony in G Major two days in a row:

Sunday, April 6, 2008
11:49pm: Symphony G Major
Frederick the Great of Prussia

CPE Bach Chamber Orchestra
Hartmut Haenchen (conductor)
[Capriccio 10.064]
Buy now >

Sunday, April 7, 2008
4:34pm: Symphony in D Major
Frederick the Great of Prussia

CPE Bach Chamber Orchestra
Hartmut Haenchen (conductor)
[Capriccio 10.064]
Buy now >

Russian SS-25 and American Peacekeeper strategic nuclear missiles; Pine Cones

Photo credits: and GreenNet, Australia. With thanks.


Satyagraha (Sanskrit: सत्याग्रह satyāgraha) is coming to the MET Opera and New York City; if not yet to Greater Washington.

Photo credit: (c) Catherine Ashmore, 2008. All rights reserved.

Government! ... "Bah! Humbug!" ... ['Light The Passion, Share The Dream' Of Universal Human Rights In China, Xinjiang, And Tibet]

"Government intervention at a global level is required to tackle the credit crisis, according to the head of the International Monetary Fund, who has warned that market turmoil will take a serious toll on world growth.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF managing director, told the FT: “I really think that the need for public intervention is becoming more evident.”

Government intervention – whether in the securities market, the housing market or the banking sector – would act as a “third line of defence” supporting monetary and fiscal policy, he said.

The controversial call comes days before world finance ministers and central bank governors meet in Washington DC for the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank. Policymakers will discuss the credit crisis and steps to address it. ...

Mr Strauss-Kahn’s call will increase pressure on them to act. The Institute of International Finance, an association representing big banks, last week said there was a “growing case” for government intervention.

Krishna Guha "IMF head calls for global action on turmoil" Financial Times April 7, 2008

A European Union government strives to protect the People's Republic of China's government image by encasing in a bus the Olympic torch to the 2008 Beijing, China/Drapchi, Tibet Summer Games.

Amnesty International

International Campaign for Tibet


Photo credit: (c) Jacky Naegelen and Reuters, 2008. All rights reserved. Via The New York Times. With thanks.

triste ... the cold and wet ending of cherry blossom week in the nation's capital;... and yet ... Behold! ...

Has it already been 36 years since I first visited the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and heard conductor/composer Antal Dorati lead the National Symphony Orchestra and the Choral Arts Society of Washington in Olivier Messiaen's religious masterpiece, La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ?

Composers Iannis Xenakis and Olivier Messiaen in 1977.

Photo credit: [Via On an Overgrown Path]


And my sincere holiday wishes to N. and my Eastern Orthodox readers who celebrate the mystery of the Christian Annunciation each year on this date [Old Calendar].

[The Annunciation is also cited in the Quran, in Suras 3 (Aal 'Imran - The family of Imran) verses 45-51 and 19 (Maryam - Mary) verses 16-26.]

The Annunciation, from Ohrid, Macedonia, Future European Union.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.


Reuters "Research Explores What 1.3 Billion Muslims Think" New York Times April 7, 2008

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The 2008 Beijing/Drapchi Summer Olympics: "One World, One Dream" ... And Universal Human Rights For All, Including The Citizens Of China And Tibet

The official opening ceremonies for the Beijing Summer 2008 Olympics will be held at the new National Stadium in Beijing, Peoples Republic of China.

The unofficial opening ceremonies for the Summer 2008 Olympics will be held at Drapchi Prison City, Lhasa, Tibet.


Amnesty International

International Campaign for Tibet


Photo credits: Wikipedia Commons and International Campaign for Tibet. With thanks.

Two Small Steps For Mankind? ... For One Weekend, Classical WETA-FM Finally Programs Symphonic Works By Mahler, Bruckner, Sibelius, And Shostakovich

The reactionary managers of "Greater Washington's" public Classical WETA-FM must have lost a significant battle with WETA President and CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller and the WETA Board of Directors. This weekend -- its "Symphony Weekend" -- the so-called "public radio station" for the Nation's Capital has programmed Bruckner's Symphony #5, Mahler's Symphony #4, Sibelius's Symphony #7, and Shostakovich's Symphony #5 -- works banned from the public radio station for the past year.

[During its first weeks starting in late January 2007 after WETA-FM abandonned its all-news experiment and following the takeover of Classical-WETA by refugee managers, announcers, and critics from junior WETA-FM/WGMS-FM merger partner WGMS, some brave announcer did program both a Bruckner Symphony and an Alan Hovhaness Symphony. That individual was probably fired by the incoming reactionary WGMS manager for programming a non-WGMS computer tested work of classical music. By the next few weeks, Frederick the Great of Prussia was firmly enthroned at the newly-branded Classical WETA/WGMS-FM for Greater Washington.]

Classical WETA/WGMS-FM -- with the National Symphony Orchestra and taxpayer money -- has promised a couple of hours of American classical music for Wednesday, July 2, 2008, at 9 PM.

American classical painter Sean Scully (born in Ireland)
Wall of Light
A Recent Gift to The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.


Sean Scully on why he makes art


American painter Sean Scully Wall of Light Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Phillips Collection, and the Fort Worth Museum of Fine Arts (and other American classical art museums).

This exhibition features recent work by abstract artist Sean Scully (American, b. Ireland, 1945), specifically his Wall of Light series of paintings, watercolors, pastels, and aquatints. Inspired by the artist's first visits to Mexico in the early 1980s, where he observed the play of light and shadow on ancient stone walls, this ongoing and distinctive body of work focuses on an exploration of abstract forms affected by light, evoking a range of emotional and narrative themes. Paintings from 1998 to the present are constructed with rectangular bricklike forms, closely fitted and arranged in horizontal and vertical groupings as if in a wall, and characterized by broad, gestural brushstrokes, a wide range of luminous colors built up in layers, and varying degrees of overall light and darkness. The core of the exhibition features 30 small-, medium-, and large-scale paintings on canvas, with related watercolors, pastels, and aquatints.

Anne L. Strauss, Associate Curator in the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art, has organized the exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Accompanied by a publication.

The exhibition is made possible by Paula Cussi and Ignacio Garza Medina.

Corporate support is provided by UBS.

"Sean Scully: Wall of Light" was organized by The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Image credit: (c) Sean Scully via The Phillips Collection. 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Rice, Food Prices, Famine In Africa, U.S. Agency For International Development, Mali, International Monetary Fund, World Bank

"Rice prices rose more than 10 per cent on Friday [April 4, 2008] to a fresh all-time high as African countries joined the rush of south-east Asian importers to secure supplies from the handful of exporters that continue to sell the grain in the international market.

The rise in prices – a 50 per cent jump in two weeks and more than double since January – threats to trigger social unrest in emerging countries, where the grain is a staple for more than 2.5bn people" ...

Javier Blas and Roel Landingin "Rice jumps as Africa joins race for supplies" Financial Times April 4, 2008

Estimated food security conditions, 1st Quarter 2008 (January-March), from the U.S. Agency for International Development Famine Early Warning Systems Network --FEWSNET.


International Monetary Fund Mali: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Published: April 3, 2008 [Internally dated December 2006]
Electronic Access: Free Full Text (PDF file size is 2,076KB) [225 pages]

Mali: Joint Staff Advisory Note to the Executive Boards of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on the Mali Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper April 2008 [9 pages]

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Cherry Blossom And Magnolia Blossom Season, Washington, D.C. And America, April 4-5, 1968, May 4, 1968, May 4, 1970

Photo credits: All images copyright controlled. Aerial photograph of Washington, D.C. race riot by Frank Hoy and the Washington Post. All rights reserved. Resurrection City, Washington, D.C. photos by Ollie Atkins via George Mason University Library Special Collections. All rights reserved. Kent State University Deaths photo (c) John Filo. All rights reserved.

Former President Carter In Nigeria To Help Celebrate A Reduction In Guinea Worm Disease In West Africa

"Former President Carter wouldn't quite say it, but he left little doubt this week about who he'd like to see in the White House next year.

Speaking to local reporters Wednesday on a trip to Nigeria, the former Democratic president noted that Barack Obama had won his home state of Georgia and his hometown of Plains.

"My children and their spouses are pro-Obama. My grandchildren are also pro-Obama," he said at a press conference, according to the Nigerian newspaper This Day. "As a superdelegate, I would not disclose who I am rooting for, but I leave you to make that guess." ...

Carter was in Nigeria for a ceremony celebrating a reduction in Guinea worm disease in West Africa."

Associated Press "Carter Hints at Support for Obama" Washington Post April 3, 2008


Guinea Worm Disease

"Except for a few remote villages in the Rajastan desert of India and in Yemen, Guinea worm disease now occurs only in Africa. Infected areas in Africa lie in a band between the Sahara and the equator. More than half of all cases of Guinea worm disease are reported from southern Sudan. Other countries with more than 1,000 cases each year are Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana, Mali, Uganda, Togo, Benin, and Ivory Coast. Smaller numbers of cases are reported from Mauritania, Ethiopia, Chad, Senegal, and Cameroon. Most cases occur in poor rural villages that are not visited by tourists."

The Carter Center: Advancing Human Rights and Alleviating Suffering

World Health Organization


[For the record, Pani Cogito supports Hillary Clinton.]

Image credits: Via MicrobiologyBytes and the Carter Center. With thanks.