Friday, April 10, 2009

Oh For A ...

While N. was working last night at the Collection, I was tempted to attend Kurt Masur and the National Symphony Orchestra in Brahms's 'Haydn Variations' (which my youth orchestra performed in Berlin back when that city was divided) and, with Heidi Grant Murphy, John Relyea, and The Master Chorale of Washington, the 'German Requiem'. However, no promotional tickets were available to non-music critics, the $25 tickets were long sold out, and I hestitated, in this economy, to spend $45 or $50 (the next lowest), given that I had just sprung big bucks for a pair of rear orchestra seats to the Washington National Opera doing Wagner's American 'Siegfried', next month. (I am still analyzing the microfoundations of that purchase, having seen Siegried five times before in New York City, San Francisco, Berlin/Washington; and not really enjoying the Washington National Opera's new American Ring Cycle, to date.)

Alot of National Symphony Orchestra seats are remaining unsold during this severe recession, and yet the NSO and the Kennedy Center appear hesitant to try to find an earned income maximizing price point between $25 and $47.50. (For example, tonight 66% of the $80 Box Seats remain unsold, 44% of the 'Parterre Box" at $59 remain unsold, and 60% of the Second Tier (Balcony) Center at $45 remain unsold.) So much for second or third generation economics and the arts theory and practice ...

At six this morning, while listening to birdsong in the dark, I recalled that 37 years ago I heard a life-changing performance by the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, under NSO conductor Antal Dorati with the University of Maryland Chorus, of Olivier Messiaen's "La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ" (an American premiere). I wondered whether the NSO's new conductor Christoph Eschenbach would revive the work for Washington regional audiences, or whether that task would fall to the following NSO conductor.

At 6:15 am this morning, I recalled a visit, at Easter and Holiday time 35 years ago, to the Metropolitan Museum to see the visiting Cluny Museum Unicorn Tapestries (since revisited, to lesser effect, in Paris) ...

Header photo credits:

© 2008 Copyright controlled. With thanks.

Copyright © 2000–2009 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.

The Unicorn Is Attacked, ca. 1495–1505
South Netherlandish; France/Belgium
Wool warp, wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts; 12 ft. 1 in. x 14 ft. (368.3 x 426.7 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.3)

"The "Unicorn" tapestries at The Cloisters are the most celebrated medieval hangings in the Metropolitan Museum's collection; their quality and rarity are equaled by only a few examples in the world and are surpassed by none. Their celebrity notwithstanding, there are many remaining questions about the tapestries, including the number of series from which they came, the patron or patrons for whom they were made, and the metaphoric links between the scenes of the unicorn hunt and the life and Passion of Christ." ...


At home with Pan Cogito, 5 a.m. zzzzz

Photo credit © 2008, Houlihan Lawrence Copyright controlled.


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