Thursday, January 29, 2009

Despite Greatest Global Economic Crisis In 60 Years, Three American Classical Music Advocates Plot Henry Eichheim And American Classical Music Revival

"Garth, if you're interested I can send you two mp3s of extant Henry Eichheim, both conducted by Stokowski and the Philadelphia orchestra. A big piece and a little piece: Bali, and the Japanese Nocturne from the suite Oriental Impressions.

Eichheim has been on my list for a good while. Dolores Hsu [at the University of California, Santa Barbara] has offered to lend Eichheim's instruments from the collection if I were to make a recording. Where's that lottery ticket!"



"John, I see that see while the University of California, Santa Barbara, has the Eichheim papers, musical instrument collection, and travel photographs; the Newberry Library, in Chicago, has his music manuscripts.

Is this where you consulted them?

I'll help you put together the list of American foundations to approach about this project. While private American foundations increasingly disdain American creative artists, they have been increasingly kind lately to American conductors and music critics."



Photo credits: (c) Portrait of Henry Eichheim by Alfredo Ramos Martinez (1871-1946) via the Henry Eichheim Collection at the University of California at Santa Barbara. (c) Portrait of Grammy Award winning American classical conductor John McLaughlin Williams via the Eliesha Nelson website. (c) Portrait of Professor and Henry Eichheim Musical Instrument Collection Curator Dolores Hsu via the University of California at Santa Barbara web-site. With thanks.

Howard Hanson And American Classical Music Broadcast On Public Radio In Hong Kong, China, But Not On Public Radio In U.S. Nation’s Capital

“Among the August [2006] highlights are three concerts by the Asian Youth Orchestra including the Hong Kong premiere of Howard Hanson's Symphony No 2, the Romantic, a performance of Samuel Barber's heavenly Violin Concerto with the 21 year old Stefan Jackiw as soloist, and a Mozart and Mahler programme conducted by Okko Kamu. All these concerts are broadcast on radio, TV and the internet.”

“Music Beyond Borders” On An Overgrown Path, August 24, 2006


Radio 4, the Fine Arts and Music Channel of Radio Television Hong Kong


Another day of absolutely no American classical music on Sharon Percy Rockefeller’s so-called “public radio” Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation’s Capital. Ms. Rockefeller refuses to allow Howard Hanson and most other American classical composers – excepting perhaps George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein – to be broadcast on her “public radio station”.


Header credits: Howard Hanson; Samuel Barber from the American photographer Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964)Photography Collection of the Library of Congress; and violinist Stefan Jackiw. Copyright controlled. With thanks.


American musician Ella Fitzgerald, by American photographer Carl Van Vechten, January 19, 1940. From the Library of Congress Carl Van Vechten Collection.

Pan Cogito Doubts That Classical WETA President Sharon Rockefeller Has Ever Heard Of American Classical Composers Aaron Copland Or Henry Eichheim

Another day of absolutely no American classical music on Sharon Percy Rockefeller's so-called "public radio" Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital.

"Sharon Percy Rockefeller has worked for women's causes, serves on corporate and charitable boards, and has led public broadcasting's Washington affiliate the past 18 years."


Photo credits: MacDowell Colony via the Library of Congress; and (c) Portrait of Henry Eichheim by Alfredo Ramos Martinez (1871-1946) via the Henry Eichheim Collection at the University of California at Santa Barbara. With thanks.

Post-Classical Ensemble Complements John Adams's Doctor Atomic Opera With Program On 'Aaron Copland And The Cold War'

Copland and the Cold War
Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 7pm
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

A Post-Classical Ensemble Production with Benjamin Pasternack, pianist;
Georgetown University Concert Choir and Chamber Singers; actors from Georgetown’s Theater and Performance Studies Program.

Aaron Copland: Cat and Mouse; Piano Variations;
Scherzo (from Piano Sonata); Piano Fantasy
Copland: “Into the Streets May First” (audience sing-along).

Plus a re-enactment of Copland’s testimony before Senator
Joseph McCarthy’s Subcommittee on Special Investigations;
and excerpts from the new Post-Classical Ensemble Naxos DVD
of the classic 1939 documentary film The City, with music by Aaron Copland.

In 1953 Aaron Copland was subpoenaed by Senator Joseph McCarthy and asked about his dealings with Communists. How did the Red Scare impact on the artistic and national identity of America’s most famous concert composer? Our program traces his compositional odyssey: from student years to modernism, to 1930s populism and political radicalism, to a cerebral “late style.”


Header photo:

Aaron Copland, ca. 1961.
Photographic print.
Margery Smith.
Prints and Photographs Division,
Library of Congress (86)

"Aaron Copland’s MacDowell Colony residency in 1925 brought him into contact with artists working in different disciplines for the first time, an experience he credited with changing the way he thought about art in America. Years later, Copland publicly acknowledged the Colony’s influence on his work: “If my music has been connected in people’s minds with America, if people find some reflection of the American spirit in my music, then certainly the Colony must have some of the credit.”"

Photo credit: Courtesy of the MacDowell Colony via the Library of Congress website on A Century of American Creativity, the MacDowell Colony.

Edward MacDowell was a major American classical composer who believed in nurturing an American classical music tradition.


Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, is working to negate this effort by failing to program all but minimal, token amounts of American classical music.

It should be hoped by classical music lovers and all Americans that Sharon Percy Rockefeller will be replaced as President of WETA due to her failure to program American classical music on Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital.

Another day without American classical music on so-called "public radio" Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s Speech At The Opening Ceremony Of The World Economic Forum ... (Toward A League Of Same, Or Similar, Boats?)

Davos, Switzerland
January 28, 2009

Good afternoon, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank the forum’s organisers for this opportunity to share my thoughts on global economic developments and to share our plans and proposals.

The world is now facing the first truly global economic crisis, which is continuing to develop at an unprecedented pace.

The current situation is often compared to the Great Depression of the late 1920s and the early 1930s.

True, there are some similarities.

However, there are also some basic differences. The crisis has affected everyone at this time of globalisation. Regardless of their political or economic system, all nations have found themselves in the same boat.



Photo credit: The Black Sea, shared by many peoples over hundreds of centuries. NASA via Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.


World Economic Forum


"This world civilization cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor."

Pan Cogito, January 28, 2009

Another Lost Decade? ... 'Advanced' Economic Growth Without Sustainability, Equitability, Or Happiness?

[Click on images for enlargements.]

"Mr [Joseph] Stiglitz, a professor at New York’s Columbia University [and a Nobel Prize laureate], says that as an indicator of the market value of all goods and services produced in an economy, GDP has always been a flawed measure of economic performance, let alone social progress. He argues that the current global economic turmoil has made its deficiencies even more glaring. “This crisis has shown that the GDP numbers for the US were totally erroneous. Growth was based on a mirage,” he says.

“Many people looked at US GDP growth in the 2000s and said: ‘How fast you are growing – we must imitate you.’ But it was not sustainable or equitable growth. Even before the crash, most people were worse off than they were in 2000. It was a decade of decline for most Americans.”

Over the past year, the Stiglitz-Sen commission has been reviewing a vast array of alternative economic indicators while debating three main issues: how to improve standard GDP; how to incorporate new measures of economic, social, and environmental sustainability into the data; and how to devise fresh indicators for assessing quality of life. The commission may not invent a single measure to replace GDP but it could suggest a “dashboard” of indicators aiming to stimulate broader debate about the use – and abuse – of economic statistics." ...

Over the past 20 years, economists have devoted time and effort to inventing ways of measuring environmental degradation and economic sustainability. It is far easier to calculate such measures when resources, such as oil, have a market value; it is a lot trickier when common goods, such as air and water, are regarded as free. To what extent should GDP take account of some of the “bads” produced by indiscriminate economic growth, such as pollution? What value should be ascribed to other factors such as noise levels, the availability of space or the attractiveness of the landscape?

Similar subjective judgments come in when trying to assess the quality of life. The United Nations has developed its own Human Development Index, which attempts to measure social factors such as mortality rates, literacy and standards of living. Mr Sen, who was instrumental in developing the HDI, has long stressed the importance of educational opportunity and social justice in formulating economic policy. …

Perhaps the most controversial issue the commission is examining is whether to create some kind of “happiness index” based on surveys of people’s attitudes." ...

John Thornhill "A measure remodelled" Financial Times January 27, 2009


Image and photo credits: IMF, Washington, D.C.; Condominiums in Pascagoula, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. MKieper via Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.

Twilight Of The Israeli Imperialists

A Palestinian boy watches over camels in front of the illegal under international law, West Bank Jewish outpost of Maale Adumim, constructed on Israeli-colonized, historically Palestinian land, near Jerusalem, August 7, 2008.

President Obama has now called for a contiguous State of Palestine. Such a call should not force Palestinians to abandon any historical West Bank lands illegally seized and colonized by Israel, or force Palestinians to accept land-swaps for poorer quality, marginal land, as proposed by Israel. Israel is free to grow naturally within its internationally-recognized borders, as determined by the United Nations in 1948. The Palestinian West Bank is not Israel's Lebensraum.

Photo credit: (c) Mahfouz Abu Turk and Reuters, 2008. Copyright controlled.


Photo credit: Copyright controlled, 2009. All rights reserved.

Pan Cogito Meets Asia-Influenced American Composer, Conductor, Violinist, Organologist, And Ethnomusicologist Henry Eichheim For The First Time

Henry Eichheim (January 3, 1870 – August 22, 1942) was an American composer, conductor, violinist, organologist, and ethnomusicologist. He is best known as one of the first American composers to combine the sound of indigenous Asian instruments with western orchestral colors.

He was born in Chicago, where he studied at the Chicago Musical College. He later went to Boston to play with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. After about 1912 he became more interested in conducting and composition than in violin performance; he was an early promoter of the works of contemporary French composers, particularly Debussy, Ravel and Gabriel Fauré, in the United States.

Following some trips to east Asia, including Korea, Japan, and China, he began to study the music of those cultures, and as a result began to use both the instruments from east Asia and Indonesia in his compositions, as well as some of the rhythmic and melodic elements of the indigenous music. He moved to Santa Barbara, California in 1922, although he continued to travel widely. On two of his trips–to Bali, and India—he went with Leopold Stokowski, a friend of his.

After Eichheim's death, the University of California, Santa Barbara inherited his collection of papers, photographs and musical instruments.

Some of his better known compositions include Oriental Impressions (1919–1922), which contains transcriptions of Japanese, Korean and Thai melodies; Java (1929), and Bali (1931), which use instruments from the gamelan ensembles of those two islands; and The Moon, My Shadow and I (1926), a setting of poems by Li Bai.

He also composed a number of settings of poems of William Butler Yeats.



Henry Eichheim Collection of Musical Instruments, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Professor Dolores M. Hsu, Director, The Eichheim Collection


With thanks to Grammy Award-winning American conductor and violinist John McLaughlin Williams for this important introduction.


Image credit: (c) Portrait of Henry Eichheim by Alfredo Ramos Martinez (1871-1946).

"The drawing, pastel and chalk on paper, was made in the mid-1930s when Martinez, one of Mexico's most revered artists, was in Santa Barbara painting the renowned frescoes in the chapel of the Santa Barbara Cemetery. Eichheim had met Martinez in Los Angeles at an exhibition of the artist's work which so impressed him that he commissioned Martinez to decorate the chapel. Between 1932 and 1935 Eichheim contributed generously to the completion of the chapel, a George Washington Smith (1876-1930) structure, which was being finished by Lutah Marie Riggs. During this time, Martinez became a close friend of Eichheim's; in addition to the portrait, he painted a series of frescoes on the walls of Eichheim's home, also a George Washington Smith building in Montecito. Both Eichheim and Smith are interred in the chapel. (119.5 cm x 94 cm)"

Eichheim Collection, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Simulating A Classical Performance v. Expressing A Heartfelt Nod

Musician John Coleman, of the Cleveland Firefighters Memorial Pipes & Drums, quit his band after it suspended him for nodding to President Obama last week.

Source and photo credit:

MIA In Globalized Nation's Capital: Lou Harrison And Dozens Of Outstanding, Asia-Influenced American Classical Composers (Paging Sharon Rockefeller)

Qingdao Symphony Orchestra

Feb 1, 2009 at 3:00 PM
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Concert Hall
2 hours
$15.00 - $60.00

Yongyan HU, conductor

Hongyan Zhang, pipa
Sa Chen, piano
Janice Chandler-Eteme, soprano
Alvy Powell, baritone
The Choral Arts Society of Washington
Norman Scribner, artistic director

China Arts and Entertainment Group, in collaboration with IMG Artists and The Choral Arts Society of Washington, presents Image China, a concert of dazzling variety to celebrate Chinese New Year 2009.

BERNSTEIN Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Xiaogang YE Pipa Concerto
CHEN Yi Fiddle Concerto
GERSHWIN Porgy & Bess (Concert Version) (arr. R.R. Bennett)


Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, so-called "public radio" in the Nation's Capital, celebrated the long Inauguration Weekend by broadcasting virtually no American classical music.


The Metropolitan Museum has an outstanding collection of Asmat art, the majority of which was collected in 1961 by Michael C. Rockefeller

Body Mask (Det), mid-20th century
Asmat people, Ambisu village, New Guinea, Papua (Irian Jaya) Province, Indonesia
Wood, fiber, leaves, paint; H. 64 in. (162.6 cm)
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller and Mrs. Mary C. Rockefeller, 1965 (1978.412.1282a)

Photo credit: (c) Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009.


Cogito's Believe It Or Not

" After we had finished our meal, the priest began to tell me the true story of what had happened to Michael Rockefeller nearly 20 years before.

Rockefeller and Wassing had been trading with the Asmat people of the village of Fos on the Eilanden River. He had landed upriver on the evening of November 18. Rockefeller had done a deal with the son of one of the tribal elders to buy a relic of great tribal significance, a sort of totem pole adorned with skulls.

The priest explained to me that the Asmats believed that spirits lived alongside the living, and that killing another person entailed an obligation to look after the spirit's physical remains – the skull. Trading this pole was a huge no-no. Selling it would get the spirits angry and bring doom to the tribe.

What Father Peters told me was that Rockefeller had taken this sacred skull pole in the middle of the night and was on his way with it to the catamaran when other warriors came upon him. Rockefeller was dragged out of his boat. The pole went overboard, the engine was flooded as Wassing tried to get away, and the guides ran off to save their own skins. This account meant that the other, official, story was a complete fabrication.

After his capture, Rockefeller was taken alive back to the village of Fos, where he was kept hidden while the tribe determined his fate...."



Papua New Guinea Women Performing Infanticide to End Tribal War, Women in Papua New Guinea's Highland region are killing their male babies ... December 2, 2008

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Speaking Of Dmitry Medvedev And The Number Of Soviet War Dead During The Great Patriotic War ...

“Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday ordered officials to determine the precise Soviet death toll in World War II as the nation marked the 65th anniversary of the battle that broke the Nazi siege of Leningrad. Russia, which suffered hugely in the conflict it calls the Great Patriotic War, places substantial importance on commemorating its sacrifices. An estimated 27 million Soviet civilians and soldiers died in the war. Much of the western part of the country was ravaged during four years of epic battles. …

Medvedev also used the occasion to condemn what he described as efforts to rehabilitate Nazis in some neighboring nations. He didn't identify any specific nation, but Russia in the past has harshly criticized authorities in the ex-Soviet Baltic nations of Estonia and Latvia for allowing gatherings of local veterans of Nazi SS units.”

Associated Press “Medvedev Orders Precise Soviet WWII Death Toll” New York Times January 27, 2009


The Historic Center, the Constantine Palace, the Trinity Monastery, Mikhailovka, and Znamenka are some of the thirty-six parts of the World Heritage Site Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.

Photo credit: The Constantine Palace, Strelna, Petersburg, 1921. Via Wikipedia.

Speaking Of Green ...

"Iceland's Social Democrats and Greens are working to form a coalition government after the country's Conservative-led government collapsed over the weekend."

"It emerged that the country's banks, which had amassed debt during years of rapid expansion, owed about six times the country's economic output.

Money from around the world had also poured into Iceland because interest rates there exceeded 10%."

The Ox is a Chinese zodiac symbol that is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work.

Photo credit: (c) Francis R. Malasig/European Pressphoto Agency, 2009. Copyright controlled.


"A new survey that bills itself as "the first comprehensive ranking of the world's top think tanks" concludes that the Peterson Institute for International Economics is tied (with Brookings) as the "Top Think Tank in the World""

Pan Cogito Again Has A Passing Thought On Music Conservatories, Universities, Colleges, And His Own Musical Life

In this mini-episode, Cogito wonders whether he should have somehow traded his two years of undergraduate astronomy, physics, and economics (and public policy), for possibly then-available Honors musicology seminars in 'Palestrina and the 16th Century Mass' and '19th Century Romanticism in Music' ...

[To date, Cogito has only heard or studied about one-quarter of Palestrina's 104 Masses; and he never did commence a contemplated dissertation on Josquin's Motets.]

Photo credit: Palestrina in Munich (c) Wilfried Hoesl and the Bavarian State Opera, 2009. Copyright controlled.


Pfitzner’s “musical legend” is staged in Munich by Christian Stückl, who is reported on the Munich opera web-site to be a “Catholic expert”. In 2010, Christian Stückl will be staging the Passion Play in Oberammergau for the third time. Pan Cogito "overheard" fragments of the sold-out Passion Play in Oberammergau in September 2000.



"For their Kennedy Center debut on February 12, 2009, The Hilliard Ensemble performs a program of vocal music by two quintessential Renaissance composers: Orlando de Lassus's four-part Requiem Mass, interspersed with motets and antiphons by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

This program is performed without intermission and lasts approximately 65 minutes.


Lassus - Gradual: Si ambulen
Palestrina - Ad Dominem cum tribularer
Lassus - Offertory--Domine Iesu Christe
Lassus - Sanctus
Palestrina - Miserere mei Deus
Palestrina - Heu mihi Domine
Lassus - Introit--Requiem aeternam
Lassus - Kyrie
Palestrina - Domine quando veneris
Lassus - Agnus
Lassus - Communion--Lux aeterna
Palestrina - Libera me Domine
Chant - In Paradisum"

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pan Cogito Ponders Govt. Collapse [In Iceland] And Nationalization [Of U.S. Banking, Temporary; If Not The Washington National Opera, Permanently]

Pan Cogito respectfully disagrees with the following forecast:

"Iceland's economy is expected to shrink by 9.6 percent this year. Iceland is the world's first government to collapse as a result of the crisis, but seems unlikely to be the last."

[Some economists -- excluding Cogito -- believe that the U.S. economy will contract by 5 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year; and 5 per cent the first quarter of this year.]


David Sanger "Nationalization [of Banking] Gets A New, Serious Look" New York Times January 26, 2009


Header (Riga, Latvia, European Union] photo credit: (c) Roman Koksarov/Associated Press. 2009. Copyright controlled.

Friday, January 23, 2009

'So Germany, France And the Scandinavian Countries Are Mounting Billion-Dollar Stimulus Plans And Erecting Fences To Protect Their Banks'

Pan Cogito decides to try to become a Minimalist [but fails]:

For Some in Euro Zone, Dream Turns Nightmarish


Header: Krakow, Poland, European Union, 2009; as the Nobel-Prize winning Polish poets never knew it.

[Krakow received huge European Union 'Cultural Capital' Funding leading up to 2000; as the first of several official E.U. Eastern European cities so designated]

Photo credits: (c) 2009; and (c) 2009. Copyright conrolled. With thanks.

Pan Cogito’s Message To Latvians: Its Much Worse In Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, And Many Parts Of The Russian Federation Shut Out From Official Europe

... "Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria have suffered street clashes amid a toxic brew of sagging economies and local concerns in recent days. In Greece, Athens was rocked again Thursday by another riot following a protest against an attack on a trade unionist.

''People are fed up -- the government isn't helping them at all. They can't find jobs even though many are standing in line at the employment bureau at 4 in the morning to be the first in line,'' said Yevgeny Dubino, 20, a computer specialist in Riga, Latvia.

Dubino said he plans to leave for Germany to find work there. ''There's nothing for me to do here. I'm not going to work 10 hours a day for 200 lats ($360) per month [$4320 per year].''" ...

Associated Press "Crisis Weighs Ever Heavier in Europe" New York Times January 23, 2009


Pan Cogito's value-adding [sic], mini-analysis:

Before the global financial and economic crisis, the International Monetary Fund staff estimated that Estonia would be the first post-Soviet bloc nation to converge [in 2013], in terms of per capital GDP, with the 'poorest' country of the European Union, Portugal [at about $27,400 per year]. [Estonia would be closely followed-up by the energy-rich Russian Federation; with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and the Central Asian Republics trailing far behind at about one-third to one-fourth to one-fifth the "affluent" level of Estonia/Portugal.]


Header: Low-income laborers and women workers in the former Soviet-bloc are more likely to actually spend extra money they get.

Photo credit: (c) Gleb Garanich/Reuters. Copyright controlled.


Leigh Phillips "Anti-government riot hits Latvia" EU Observer January 14, 2009

The Latvian parliament: Protesters smashed windows and overturned a police van.

Photo credit: Latvian parliament.

O Public Art!: Pan Cogito Glances Back To American Civic Culture At About The Time Of Richard Wagner's American-Commissioned Centennial March

America's Statue of Freedom

After Secretary of War Jefferson Davis objected to the sculptor's intention to include a liberty cap, the symbol of freed slaves, Crawford replaced it with a crested Roman helmet.

Photo credit: Office of the Architect of the Capitol.

After The Inauguration Commissioned Poem And Classical Music ... A Visual Present (Something Borrowed To Go Along With The Lincoln Bible)

Polly Jane Reed
A Present from Mother Lucy to Eliza Ann Taylor

Shaker Gift Drawings and Gift Songs

Shaker Visual Poetry (Gift Drawings & Gift Songs) link from today's On An Overgrown Path.

Image credit: (c) N. F. Karlins and 2004. With thanks.







(Shaker Gift Drawings and Gift Songs in an Era of Mechanical Reproduction and Globalization, 2009.)

Photo credit: (c) 2009. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved.

Pan Cogito Thinks The Athenian Greeks Were Right: Make The Oligarch Class Support Public Civic Art & Culture Or Tax Away Their Excessive Wealth

'Obama made an apparent allusion to reports that former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain spent over $1 million renovating his office after he was hired as an executive at Bank of America to which he sold Merrill late last year.' [Bank of America last week received additional massive U.S. taxpayer funding as part of the ongoing banking/financial crisis bailout packages.]


Header image: A costume sketch by Anita Yavich of the Nibelungs, from the Washington National Opera's 'The American Ring' (based upon Richard Wagner's music and text); and whose lavish funding is being taken from the yearly staging of classic American operas, as promised by the company to the U.S. Congress when the Congress allowed the company to rename itself the Washington National Opera.

Photo credit: (c) Washington National Opera via

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Head Wind And The Cyrus Cylinder: Iran's Underground Satellite, Internet, And DVD Culture

Head Wind, film by Mohammad Rasoulof

Friday, January 23, 2009, 7:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art
Sunday, January 25, 2009, 2:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art

"This film by Mohammad Rasoulof is a candid, searing look inside the Islamic Republic and its losing battle for control over the flow of information that enters the country from the outside world. In what at first seems like an investigation into the government's effort to deny people access to Hollywood films, the documentary unfolds to reveal that at the heart of this struggle beats the desire of the Iranian people for self-determination and open access to information. This remarkable film touches on one of the major post-revolution issues by examining Iran's underground satellite, Internet, and DVD culture. Description adapted from the Tribeca Film Festival. In Persian with English subtitles. Iran / 2008 / 65 min. / video

Part of the Freer's thirteenth annual festival of Iranian films. This series is organized by Bo Smith of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with the support of ILEX Foundation: Olga M. Davidson and Niloofar Fotouhi. This series is cosponsored by the ILEX Foundation.

Due to high demand for tickets, assigned seating is in effect for this series. Up to two free tickets per person are distributed beginning one hour before show time."

The Cyrus Cylinder. Terracotta, Babylonian, ca. 539-530 BCE. From Babylon, southern Iraq.

The Cyrus Cylinder is reported to be the first recorded declaration of human rights in history. Reza Shabani asserts that the cylinder "discusses human rights in a way unique for the era, dealing with ways to protect the honor, prestige, and religious beliefs of all the nations dependent to Iran in those days."


Photo credit: Marco Prins and Jona Lendering via Wikipedia. With thanks.

Header: White phosphorus attack. Copyright controlled.

Post-Inauguration Poetry And Demands For Tribunal On Israeli War Crimes: "I’m going to die. I want to pray. I saw my daughter-in-law melt away."

"In early January, a week into Israel’s war in Gaza, the home of Sabah Abu Halima was hit by an Israeli shell. Ms. Abu Halima, the matriarch of a farming family in the northern Gaza area of Beit Lahiya, was caught in an inferno that burned her husband and four of their nine children to death. …

Amnesty International said it found “indisputable evidence of widespread use of white phosphorus in densely populated residential areas in Gaza City and in the north.” In a statement, it said its investigators “saw streets and alleyways littered with evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including still-burning wedges and the remnants of the shells and canisters fired by the Israeli Army.” It called such use a likely war crime and demanded a full international investigation.

In Gaza, Ms. Abu Halima said that when her family was hit, “fire came from the bodies of my husband and my children.” “The children were screaming, ‘Fire! Fire!’ and there was smoke everywhere and a horrible, suffocating smell,” she said. “My 14-year-old cried out, ‘I’m going to die. I want to pray.’ I saw my daughter-in-law melt away.” ...

Ethan Bronner “Outcry Erupts Over Reports That Israel Used Phosphorus Arms on Gazans” New York Times January 21, 2009


Amnesty International Israel used white phosphorus in Gaza civilian areas

Photo credit: White Phosphorus Bomb Victim photograph from the War Remnants Museum (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam. Copyright controlled.

Time Present And Time Past. Are Both Perhaps Present In Time Future, And Time Future Contained In Time Past.

"Leading international banks operating in central and eastern Europe have clubbed together to lobby the European Union and the European Central Bank to extend their anti-crisis policies to ease the credit crunch in the region.

The group of ten, which wants action to ease liquidity shortages and help revive lending, is urging Brussels and the ECB to extend support beyond the EU’s new member states, such as Poland, to prospective members, such as Serbia, and to Ukraine, which has few prospects of joining the bloc soon."

Herbert Stepic, chief executive of Raiffeisen International, the Austrian bank, who brought the group together, said it was important that any action to support banks was not limited to western Europe.

“We fought for 50 years, many of us, to get these countries away from communism and now we have a free market economy in the region, we can’t leave them alone when there is an extremely harsh wind blowing,” he said. ...

Stefan Wagstyl "Banks ask for crisis funds for eastern Europe" Financial Times January 22, 2009



Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.
Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
Not that only, but the co-existence,
Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now. Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them. The Word in the desert
Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.
The detail of the pattern is movement,
As in the figure of the ten stairs.
Desire itself is movement
Not in itself desirable;
Love is itself unmoving,
Only the cause and end of movement,
Timeless, and undesiring
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between un-being and being.
Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
Even while the dust moves
There rises the hidden laughter
Of children in the foliage
Quick now, here, now, always -
Ridiculous the waste sad time
Stretching before and after.

(No. 1 of 'Four Quartets')
T.S. Eliot


Header image: 1922 portrait of Anna Akhmatova by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (died 1939). The painting is located in the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Photo credit: Via Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.

Hungarian And Austrian Composer Mini-Musical Portraits Ninety-Eight Years After The Passing Of Gustav Mahler

Two musical events anticipated now that the Inauguration has passed and the Presidential oath of office properly administered -- the world premiere of Gyorgy Kurtag’s "Hommage à Bartók", performed by the composer and his wife Marta, at the Library of Congress on Saturday February 7, 2009; and the Washington premiere of Georg Friedrich Haas’s "In Vain", at the Embassy of Austria, in Washington, on Monday Feburary 9, 2009 (also under the composer's direction).


I am sad to report that doctoral economics studies will keep me from attending the performance by soprano Tony Arnold and violinist Movses Pogossian of Kurtág's wonderful Kafka-Fragments, this evening, in Baltimore, Maryland. (I fondly recall hearing Phyllis Bryn-Julson sing this masterpiece at the Embassy of Hungary, in Washington, years back.)

Also, tonight pianist François-Frédéric Guy performs absolute musical masterpieces of Brahms, Beethoven, and Schubert at the La Maison Française, Washington, D.C. Tickets may still be available.


Photo credits: © Embassy of Hungary, Washington, D.C. and Universal Editions/Frank Helmrich. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More On Bubbles, The Increased Risk Of Collapse Of Globalization, And Need To Channel World's Surplus Capital Into Investment In Emerging Economies

..."If the world economy is to be less dependent on destructive bubbles, more of the world’s surplus capital needs to flow into investment in emerging economies. The problem, however, is that such flows have also always led to crises. This is why emerging economies set themselves to accumulate vast foreign currency reserves in this decade. It is essential, therefore, to make the world economy much more supportive of net borrowing by emerging economies.

What will be needed for this is far bigger and more effective insurance against systemic risks than the International Monetary Fund now provides. A crucial step is a restructuring of the IMF’s governance, to make it more responsive to the needs of responsible borrowers. One of the ideas Mr Obama should propose is the establishment of a high-level committee to recommend a radical restructuring of global institutions, with a view to lowering risks of the emerging market crises that preceded the era of advanced country bubbles.

Let us be clear about what is at stake. It is essential to clean up the huge current mess. But it is also evident that an open world economy will be unsustainable if it remains dependent on bubbles. Collapse of globalisation is now no small risk. Mr Obama is present at the re-creation of the global economic system. It is a challenge he has to take up."

Martin Wolf "Why Obama must mend a sick world economy" Financial Times January 20, 2009


Can you locate on the above map the Iron Curtains of 1989 and early 2009?

Image credit: Vernes Seferovic and Wikipedia. With thanks.


Polikurovsky Hill, Joann Zlatoust Church, Yalta, Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine), Future European Union.

Photo credit: (c) Sergey Kuznetsov and 2008. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Pan Cogito -- And Other Co-Workers -- Left Out In The Cold On Day Of Interfaith Prayer And Spiritual Renewal

‘Human progress comes from the tireless efforts of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers of God."

-- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his last sermon; at the Washington National Cathedral, April 1968.


'In contrast to yesterday, when millions of onlookers seemed to occupy every inch of the Washington Mall, the cavernous National Cathedral here is half empty this morning. Only those invited by the Presidential Inaugural Committee or the National Cathedral were able to get tickets.'

Thrice Ten Thousand Spirits: On Newly Written Interfaith Prayers And Works And Days

‘On his first full day in office, President Obama is spending part of the morning at the Washington National Cathedral, placing his own stamp on the traditional National Prayer Service with a larger-than-usual group of interfaith religious leaders participating and newly written prayers meant to emphasize liberty and diversity.’

‘Obama will meet today with his top military and security advisers to attempt to devise a strategy for pulling troops out of Iraq and escalating the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan. He will be meeting with his economic team as well. He is also expected to name former senator and veteran international troubleshooter George Mitchell as Mideast envoy.’


(ll. 225-237) But they who give straight judgements to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Peace, the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but light-heartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit.

(ll. 238-247) But for those who practise violence and cruel deeds far-seeing Zeus, the son of Cronos, ordains a punishment. Often even a whole city suffers for a bad man who sins and devises presumptuous deeds, and the son of Cronos lays great trouble upon the people, famine and plague together, so that the men perish away, and their women do not bear children, and their houses become few, through the contriving of Olympian Zeus. And again, at another time, the son of Cronos either destroys their wide army, or their walls, or else makes an end of their ships on the sea.

(ll. 248-264) You princes, mark well this punishment you also; for the deathless gods are near among men and mark all those who oppress their fellows with crooked judgements, and reck not the anger of the gods. For upon the bounteous earth Zeus has thrice ten thousand spirits, watchers of mortal men, and these keep watch on judgements and deeds of wrong as they roam, clothed in mist, all over the earth. And there is virgin Justice, the daughter of Zeus, who is honoured and reverenced among the gods who dwell on Olympus, and whenever anyone hurts her with lying slander, she sits beside her father, Zeus the son of Cronos, and tells him of men's wicked heart, until the people pay for the mad folly of their princes who, evilly minded, pervert judgement and give sentence crookedly. Keep watch against this, you princes, and make straight your judgements, you who devour bribes; put crooked judgements altogether from your thoughts.

Hesiod: Works And Days
translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White


Photo credits: (c) Gerald Martineau/Washington Post 2009. Copyright controlled; (c) Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images 2009. Copyright controlled.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Brief Note: Partial Nationalization Of U.S. Banking System To Date

... "In total, [U.S.] banks raised about $456 billion in 2008, of which 41 percent came from the U.S. government, according to investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. But most of the money from private sources was raised in the first half of the year. As the crisis has worsened, the institutions have come to rely almost entirely on government help."

David Cho, Binyamin Appelbaum and Lori Montgomery "Bank Losses Complicate U.S. Rescue" Washington Post January 15, 2009


Header image: Sergei Prokofiev's plan for his state-subsidized grand opera War and Peace.

Image credit: (c) Serge Prokofiev Foundation. The Foundation website is the outcome of a partnership between the Prokofiev Estate and the Serge Prokofiev Archive in London, UK.

The New Financial New Deal Begins To Take Shape ... Will A New Global And American Classical Culture Follow?

"A top economic adviser to the incoming Obama administration unveiled a plan today to radically rethink the global financial system, including a host of measures that would dramatically expand government control over the free market in the United States.

The plan -- which recommends limiting the size of banks, setting guidelines for executive pay and regulating hedge funds -- offers the first hint of the kind of changes to the financial system President-elect Barack Obama might push for in the coming weeks and months. Obama has pledged to present a comprehensive series of changes to prevent a repeat of the current financial crisis before world leaders gather in London for a major economic summit in April.

The report today was issued by the Group of 30, an organization of international economists and policy makers. But the recommendations were immediately seen by observers as a building block to an Obama plan because the lead author is Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve during the Carter and Reagan administrations who will serve as a special Obama White House adviser. Part of Volcker's role is to help mastermind what could ultimately be the biggest overhaul of the U.S. financial system in decades." ...

Anthony Faiola "Obama Adviser Presents Plan to Alter Global Financial System" Washington Post January 15, 2009


Header photo credit: (c) Ken Howard 2008. Via Opera America website.

Pan Cogito Begins The Cultural Season By 'Ruting' For The Hometown National Symphony Orchestra, Slated To Perform George Crumb's 'A Haunted Landscape'


Rute (a bundle of sticks used on a bass drumhead) [Used by Gustav Mahler in several of his symphonies.]

Sandpaper blocks (The NSO generally prefers grade 3 sandpaper, but this might change in rehearsal.)
Three sets of sleigh bells
Snare drum
Four steel drums of indefinite pitch

Three tam tams (unpitched gongs, in very large, large, and medium sizes)
Temple blocks
Two sets of tom toms (low and very low)

Two vibraphones


Four people, more than 50 instruments from too many cultures and sources to count, in about 18 minutes."

From the NSO's 'quick look' at George Crumb's A Haunted Landscape


Header credit: (c) The Official George Crumb Home Page. 2009. Photo: Becky Starobin. George Crumb's Magic Circle of Infinity © C.F. Peters Corporation. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved.

One, Two, Three ... America, Japan, China ... (The 'Wealth' Of Some Nations And The Remaining Poverty Of Over One Billion People)

"The Chinese government has increased its estimate of how much the economy grew during 2007. The revision means China's economy overtook Germany's to become the world's third largest in 2007.

Gross domestic product expanded 13%, up from an earlier estimate of 11.9%, to 25.7 trillion yuan ($3.5 trillion). The figures underscore China's emergence as an economic superpower, although the country's growth rate is expected to have dropped to 9% in 2008....

Individually, most of China's more than one billion people remain poor.

Germany's GDP per person was $38,800 in 2007 compared with $2,800 in China, which has wide disparities between rich and poor.

China's economy has grown tenfold in the past 30 years. Merrill Lynch economist Ting Lu predicted that it will overtake Japan as the world's second largest economy in "only three or four years".

BBC News "China's economy leapfrogs Germany" January 15, 2009

Photo credit: (c) BBC News. 2009. Copyright controlled.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And Why Isn't The Washington NATIONAL Opera And The Washington Shakespeare Theater Collaborating On A Staged Version Of Barber's Antony And Cleopatra?

"The tottering New York City Opera said on Wednesday that it had found a savior after two years of financial and leadership turmoil, appointing the impresario and conductor George R. Steel as its general manager and artistic director.

Opera lovers hope Mr. Steel’s arrival will quell the turbulent plotlines at what many consider the nation’s second most important house, founded in 1943, with help from Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, as the “people’s opera” by and once a symbol of accessible, affordable, innovative productions hospitable to young American singers. The company’s recent struggles could fill a libretto of jilted lovers, betrayal and sudden changes of fortune.

“George is actually the perfect person for City Opera in this chapter of its institutional life,” said the house’s chairwoman, Susan L. Baker. “He is scrappy, flexible, adaptable, charming and innovative.”

The board met for final approval late Wednesday, a day before the company was to give the first of two concert performances of Samuel Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra” at Carnegie Hall, the centerpiece of its minimalist season." ...

Daniel J. Wakin "City Opera Names Steel as General Manager" New York Times January 14, 2009


"In the 1990s, Lyric Opera of Chicago embarked on a mission to present an American opera every season, either new or a revival. Among them, was the first major revival of Samuel Barber's opera Antony and Cleopatra..."



Header: Catherine Malfitano as Cleopatra in Lyric Opera of Chicago's 1991 production of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra.

Photo credit: (c) Tony Romano, courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago. Via With thanks.

More Serious Matters: Increasing Hunger In Post-Gilded Age America And The Gleaning Of Leftover Crops

...""You try to eat as locally as possible, but then you make exceptions" for such long-distance staples as olive oil and good bubbly.

[Chef Alice] Waters also knows that in tough economic times, people struggling to pay the rent or stay employed might find organic food too costly. This is why she thinks all our homes, including the White House, should have vegetable gardens, why we should learn to can and pickle summer's bounty for year-round eating, and why we should buy whole chickens rather than pricey parts, and use even the necks, backs and bones. [Done.]

Waters -- whose dinner is at the Phillips Collection, that temple of Impressionist art near Dupont Circle -- is one of a dozen famed chefs from around the country preparing meals Monday night, though the other dinners are in Washington-area homes.

Proceeds from these feasts ($350 of each $500 ticket) will go to two city soup kitchens and to FRESHFARM Markets, which oversees eight markets in DC and Maryland; last year it gave more than eight tons of leftover crops gleaned from farm fields to anti-hunger groups."

Annie Groer "Alice Waters Goes To Washington To Cook Dinner" The Huffington Post January 14, 2009


With thanks to Jeff and N.


Header image:

Alessandro Battaglia (1890s)
Paul V. Galvin Library, Digital History Collection
Illinois Institute of Technology

Image credit: As cited. Copyright controlled. With thanks.

Are Israel And The United States Of America Blind To Israeli War Crimes In Gaza, Future State Of Palestine?

“Nine Israeli human rights groups called on Wednesday for an investigation into whether Israeli officials had committed war crimes in Gaza since tens of thousands of civilians there have nowhere to flee, the health system has collapsed, many are without electricity and running water, and some are beyond the reach of rescue teams.

“This kind of fighting constitutes a blatant violation of the laws of warfare and raises the suspicion, which we ask be investigated, of the commission of war crimes,” the group said in its first news conference on the 19-day-old war.” …

Ethan Bronner “Israeli Rights Groups Call for War Crimes Inquiry” New York Times January 14, 2009


Photo credits: (c) Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images. 2009. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved.