Friday, October 30, 2009

Michael Tilson Thomas And The San Francisco Symphony's "Keeping Score: Season Two" Installations On Berlioz, Ives, And Shostakovich – The Review

The San Francisco Symphony – under conductor and host Michael Tilson Thomas -- has recently released the second full season of its “Keeping Score” public television, radio, and internet-based multi-media programming – this season launching hour-long programs focusing on three great composers and three great works of classical symphonic music – Hector Berlioz and his “Symphonie Fantastique”, Charles Ives’s and his “Holidays Symphony”, and Dmitri Shostakovich and his ”Symphony #5.” In the autumn of 2006, the San Francisco Symphony and public television station KQED released three programs in their path-breaking series: installations on Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony #3, Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” and Aaron Copland and American classical music. In 2004, an initial episode aired on Pyotr Ilyich Chaikowsky and his Symphony #4.

While the initial four episodes, in 2004 and 2006, were outstanding, the new set is - in many ways - even more outstanding. These three new programs are joyful, powerful, evocative, and democratic celebrations of symphonic classical music over the past 175 years, and what it means to be human. All of these programs will be best enjoyed not just once, but – better – two or even three times. Along with an upcoming special installation on Gustav Mahler, the San Francisco Symphony will have created an eight-part, experimental and national public television cycle – with accompanying interactive website --on eight composers who mean so much to Michael Tilson Thomas, to the excellent musicians of the San Francisco Symphony, and to millions of 21st century classical music listeners today – whether they are seasoned listeners or new to classical music; and whether they are 10 years old or 100 years old. Those seven composers -- Beethoven, Berlioz, Chaikovsky, Mahler, Stravinsky, Ives, Copland, and Shostakovich -- and eight major works represent the basis for both an introduction to symphonic classical music, or a review of understanding of symphonic classical music for those more experienced and fortunate.

Two weeks ago, I attended a special program at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., examining the 40th anniversary of the release, in America, of Lord Kenneth Clark’s BBC and PBS 13-part series (and book) “Civilization”, in 1969. One of the program participants, from Britain, noted that, today, the state-controlled broadcaster, the BBC, would never commit to a 13-part series of programs –six being the new, unwritten limit. However, the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas, and KQED, have already well breached the BBC limit of six, having produced, or being in the process of producing, eight installations (and websites) in its “Keeping Score” Project. There is no reason why – given the unflagging enthusiasm from Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony musicians, and the producers – the Project could not continue for at least another two seasons (or more).

Now, I will state here upfront that for 21st century classical music listeners – both experienced and new – I completely agree with the “Keeping Score” Project’s strategy of starting with 20th and 19th century masterpieces. There was no reason why, given Michael Tilson Thomas’s and the musicians of the Symphony’s musical passions, that the Project should have started with J.S. Bach, Handel, Haydn, and Mozart (and, later, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, and Dvorak). While those composers are touchstones of “Civilization” (or better, “Western Civilization”), the modern symphonic orchestra today is primarily focused firmly on 20th, 19th, and 21st century music.

By choosing these eight great composers and works, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony musicians have placed the focus squarely on the immense passion, power, and mystery of great Western (and now, world) symphonic classical music. One comes away from the seven programs on Beethoven, Berlioz, Chaikovsky, Stravinsky, Ives, Copland, and Shostakovich knowing much more deeply how it feels to be a great, generous, passionate, and highly intelligent composer. (Michael Tilson Thomas notes that Charles Ives would have been a great American president.) One does this, in large part, by now knowing much more about the historical and social times in which the seven composers lived over a period of 150 years. (Other public television and web-site programming can explore the music of the past 50 years, as explored by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony in its earlier, successful, American Mavericks programming - successful at least in regards to more recent American classical music.)

Speaking of 20th century and contemporary classical music, let me refer briefly to two lesser known public television efforts on the part of classical music (there may be more than two) made in the 34 years between the last season in 1972, on CBS, of Leonard Bernstein’s “Young People’s Concerts” (which ran for fifteen years) and Michael Tilson Thomas’s and the San Francisco Symphony’s “Keeping Score” Projects of 2006 and 2009. In the 1980s, French television and public media produced the "Pierre Boulez XX Century Project"; while in the 1990s, British television released the ten programs (and Michael Hall authored book) of Simon Rattle’s “Leaving Home: A Tour of Twentieth Century Music” series. Both are, I believe, still available today, and I highly recommend the (Sir) Simon Rattle/Michael Hall “Leaving Home” television programs and accompanying book. However, the Michael Tilson Thomas and San Francisco Symphony eight-part television, radio, and website series/project is the best that we can expect in our early 21st century, post-“Civilization” age, and is superb, in and of itself. As I mentioned above, the passion and excitement of the 20th and 19th century Western symphonic classical music tradition – as exemplified in six great works of art -- comes through with flying colors.

All of the programs have wonderful, imaginative touches that will appeal to younger viewers and less-committed older viewers. The Berlioz program, naturally given the symphonic work in question, focuses on Berlioz’s lifetime love for Anglo-Irish actress Harriet Smithson, from the time they meet but had no common language to later in life when he supported her despite her business failures and growing mental problems. However, we also view 19th century musical dolls and a young Alpine village boy singing a French folksong that later influenced the symphony, as well as learn why having studied medicine can potentially help composers when the persons they love do not get with the program (poison and the antidote to poison is involved.) (In fact, all of the new programs have fascinating focii on the young composers and folk music; as well as unsurpassable glimpses and discussions of the pleasant living spaces in which the young composers grew up. I also enjoyed the wonderful glimpses of the Concert Halls of the Paris Conservatory, Yale University, and the Saint Petersburg Conservatory; only the last of which I have ever visited.)

Of the new programs, both the Ives and the Shostakovich programs are a bit too hyper-active visually in their opening minutes – the Shostakovich when exploring Soviet artistic life in the 1920s through a whirlwind of constructivism and futurism, the Ives, when watered-down Nam June Paik techniques are used to evoke the multiplicity of American experience at the opening of the twentieth century. Fortunately, both shows grow beyond this trendy hyperactivity, and they both find firmer groundings in slow, exceptionally thoughtful comments from the musicians of the Symphony – especially the handful of both older and younger Russian- and Ukrainian-American San Francisco Symphony musicians who discuss their experiences in the Soviet Union before 1991. (Broadly speaking, the Ives program comes across as transcendential, while the Shostakovich program comes across as existential.)

I personally liked the Charles Ives’s program best of the seven, despite the somewhat weak opening. Watching this wonderful program that deepened magnificently – and grew in transcendental mysticism -- over the course of the 55 minutes, I was reminded of the early 1970s when I performed some of Charles Ives’s symphonic music in both California and Germany (under Denis de Couteau and the Oakland Youth Orchestra) and some chamber music in Philadelphia, and when I heard the Philadelphia Orchestra perform the “Holidays Symphony” in the winter of either 1973 or 1974 – at about the time of the Charles Ives’s Centennial. I also recalled watching a documentary on Charles Ives on public television in Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1972; which naturally led me to think about the American decline and loss of the past two generations since then. (WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, recently featured a special "Symphony Weekend" but no music of Charles Ives was programmed; nor music of Shostakovich. Jean Sibelius's Symphony No. 1 and Mahler's Symphony #5 were, however, included; both of which were unusual for the very conservative station.)

While the seven composer "Keeping Score" websites are available day and night, viewing the three new “Keeping Score” installations will be a bit more work, and parents and caregivers to the young will have to be on point – especially in the Nation's Capital. (The first seven composers and works are also available now on DVD and blu-ray; and may be now in some public libraries in enlightened zones of the late American empire.)

Given balkanized civilization in America today, viewers in the San Francisco area were privileged not only to have been treated to “Keeping Score” last season (unlike in the cultural recession-scarred Nation’s Capital), but to have been able to view the "Keeping Score" installations on Berlioz and Shostakovich on KQED at fairly normal times – with the Shostakovich Symphony #5 program premiering last night.

In the Nation’s Capital, WETA will, in fact, be showing the second set of “Keeping Score”, if not the earlier set, but it will involve some sacrifice to normal living and sleeping schedules – for children and adults – to catch these wonderful programs, at least on their first round. (Unlike in the 1960s, I recall, when I was allowed to play outdoors on Saturday mornings, until Leonard Bernstein and the Young People’s Concerts came on at 11 AM. And, no, I was not groomed in the Washington, D.C. of the 1960s for more than an avocational life in music, despite fine violin instruction and even better high school and youth orchestra experiences.)

The Berlioz "Symphonie Fantastique" episode will first be shown on WETA, in the Nation’s Capital, on Sunday, November 1, 2009, at 2:30 PM. The wonderful Charles Ives’s and his "Holidays Symphony" episode will first be broadcast in the Nation’s Capital on Saturday November 7 at 7 AM (yes, AM); followed by the Shostakovich Symphony #5 episode on Saturday November 7 at 8 AM (yes, AM).

This is bizarre and unwarranted on the part of WETA.

KQED viewers could see the three episodes on three consecutive Saturdays at 8 p.m. beginning on October 17. Alternatively, they can also see the wonderful Charles Ives episode for a second time this Sunday, Nov 1, 2009 at 1:00 PM – a much more civilized time than 7 AM as in Washington, D.C. -- especially for younger people who need their morning sleep.


Header credit: Harvey Dinnerstein “Sundown, the Crossing” 1999. 74 x 84”. Gift to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco from the Frey Norris Gallery.
(c) Harvey Dinnerstein and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 2009. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved.


Edited to add reference to KQED's 2004 Keeping Score episode on Chaikovsky.

Copyright © 2009 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Prelude (Or Postlude) To Keeping Score: 25, 24, 15, 27, and 4

25, 24, 15, 27, and 4


Or, for those preferring a multi-media, non-lecturing filmic and pianistic experience:

60 films, 60 composers, 60 seconds each


Header credit: Andrew Kudless (MATSYS), P_Wall (detail), 2006/2009; plaster and multichannel audio; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Andrew Kudless 2009.

'The Days And Years Grow Shorter': In Memoriam: J. Karla Lemon, 1954-2009

Remembrance from the San Francisco Classical Voice by Jason Victor Serinus.

A memorial service is planned for Nov. 7 at 10 a.m., at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley, California.

Photo credit: (c) Copyright controlled.


(We were classmates at Berkeley High School and colleagues in the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra.)

In Which Pan Cogito Promotes The Berlin Philharmonic and Deutsche Bank In Exchange For A Free Brahms Webcast (Open To 'Everyone' With A Computer)

[Click on image for enlargement.]

"Deutsche Bank will present a free webcast of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle performing Brahms’s Third and Fourth symphonies on Monday, November 9 at 8.00 p.m. EST on its website, To register for the free webcast, visit and click on the link on the lower right-hand corner. For more than 20 years now, Deutsche Bank has been the exclusive partner of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Deutsche Bank’s generous support makes the orchestra’s groundbreaking Digital Concert Hall project possible and has also enabled the orchestra to set up an innovative education project, Zukunft@BPhil.

New service this season: Programme notes in English


Header photo credit: Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, in May 1986, showing No Man's Land between the Outer Wall (foreground) and Inner Wall (background). In the distance, East Berlin and the Fernsehturm. The Palast Hotel stood on the grassy area immediately beyond the lamp-post. The grass-covered mound partly visible on the far left marks the site of Hitler's bunker.

(c) Lyricmac 2008. Via Wikipedia. Some rights reserved. With thanks.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Spirit Night Quiz: What 'Nihilistic' Classical Masterpiece Premiered on April 3, 2011?



Extra credit:

Will Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra be able to match James Ross and the University of Maryland's exceptionally high level of orchestral programming?


Another hint: A trip in the fall of 1909 to Koli -- a pre-Christian sacrificial site -- inspired the first movement of this Symphony.

President And First Lady Obama's White House East Room Increasingly Getting Makeover As Musicians And Artists Den

First Lady Michelle Obama has created the new The White House Music Series to celebrate the arts, to demonstrate the importance of arts education, and to encourage young people who believe in their talent to create a future for themselves in the arts community be it as a hobby or as a profession. On Wednesday, November 4, First Lady Michael Obama will welcome violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, guitarist Sharon Isbin and pianist Awadagin Pratt to the White House's East Room to take part in the event that will include student workshops for 120 middle and high school students followed by an evening concert. Previous White House Musicians and Artists Den events have featured jazz, country and Latin musicians. President Obama will make remarks at the evening concert that will feature the four musicians performing solo works and that will be streamed live on

Photo credits: All (c) Copyright controlled. All rights reserved.


Coming Tomorrow: Pan Cogito finally reviews KQED's "Keeping Score".

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aide Memoire

Aide Memoire

Nicola Porpora (1686-1768), Antonio Caldara (c. 1670-1736), Francesco Araia (1709-1770), Carl Heinrich Graun (c. 1703-1759), Leonardo Leo (1694-1744), Leonardo Vinci (1696-1730), Riccardo Broschi (c. 1658-1756) and Geminiano Giacomello (c. 1692- 1740).

"Symposia were usually held in the andrōn, the men's quarters of the household. The participants would recline on pillowed couches arrayed against the three walls of the room away from the door. Due to space limitations the couches would number between seven and nine, limiting the total number of participants to somewhere between fourteen and twenty seven. If any free boys took part they did not recline but sat up. Food was served, together with wine. The latter, usually mixed with water in varying proportions, was drawn from the krater, a large jar designed to be carried by two men, and served by nude servant boys from pitchers.

For example the most famous symposium of all, the one immortalised by Plato, was being hosted by the poet Agathon on the occasion of his first victory at the theater contest of the 416 BC Dionysia, but was upstaged by the unexpected entrance of the toast of the town, the young Alcibiades dropping in almost totally drunk and almost totally naked, having just left another symposium."

Pan -- whatever happened to your Alcibiades opera?

Photo credits: Both images copyright controlled. All rights reserved.


Man Ray at the Phillips Collection

Monday, October 26, 2009

World Bank Arranges To Send Pan Cogito $25 Million For General Renaissance Purposes … Bank Apologizes To Him For Past Stress And Trauma

Funds Remittance Department
World Bank
Direct Line: +23480207386XX

My dearest Pan Cogito:

After a joint meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the Senate Committee on Foreign Debts reconciliation and the Presidential Payment and Implementation Panel on Contract/ inheritance fund under Category, which was addressed and headed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (GCFR). It became imperative to contact you on the subject matter. This meeting was initiated as part of the recent image laundering scheme of the federal government of Nigeria.

During the meeting, so many negative reports were tabled on behalf of our numerous contractors and foreign personnel’s on how unfairly they have been treated and extorted by some corrupt government officials who were vested with the authority to pay them their entitlements. The most annoying and irritating aspect of it all is that they could not effect payment to these foreign beneficiaries after subjecting them to so much stress and trauma. So the WORLD BANK AFRICAN Region Nigeria has being instructed to carry out the payment to you.

So for you to receive your fund which is worth $25M United States Dollars all you need to do is to choose an option amongst the below options on how you will prefer to get your funds. …

Rev, Richard Abel
Funds Remittance Department
World Bank


"Rigo 23 first visited the coastal village of Cananéia and the surrounding forested areas of southeastern Brazil in early spring 2005. Between 2006 and 2008 he made four additional trips to the site, forming strong connections with three local communities: the Guaraní community of Pindoty, an indigenous community; the Quilombola communities of Ivaporunduva and Sapatú, founded hundreds of years ago by escaped and freed slaves; and the Caiçara Community of Itacuruçá, a fishing village near São Paulo.

Rigo worked in collaboration with the artisans of these communities to create two sculptures using traditional materials and methods. The works serve as a metaphor for the notion that the developed world often exploits the resources of economically disadvantaged nations to support unsustainable, and often destructive, ways of life. Together, they have built replicas of contemporary weapons of mass destruction—a cluster bomb and a nuclear submarine—and turned them into celebrations of life instead of death."


Photo credit: Rigo 23: Sapukay—Cry for Help, 2008 (detail); woven taquara, banana trunk fibers, feathers, wire, fishing line, caxeta; assembled in Cananéia, Brazil, with members of the local Quilombola, Guaraní, and Caiçara communities; 60 x 137 x 60 in.; courtesy of the artist and Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco. Installation view, MCASD, photo: (c) Pablo Mason 2009.

This Wednesday At Noon, Early Schoenberg OR Couperin AND Rameau (Sorry, NO Sandwiches Allowed)

October 28, 2009 (Wed)
12 noon
Prof. Walter Frisch, "Arnold Schoenberg: The Early Years, Through Verklärte Nacht and Pierrot Lunaire" [FREE]
Library of Congress

October 28, 2009 (Wed)
12:10 pm
Masques [FREE]
Music by Couperin and Rameau
National Gallery of Art

"Gentlemen, you can evaluate my regards for you when you think that I hand over to you the most precious thing that exists on earth for me: my Glory" Louis XIV to the Petite Academy of the Arts.

"The largest library in the world hosts
the best musicians in the world!"
-- The Washington Post

Header credit: Jeff Koons Louis XIV (1986) The Nasher Collection, Dallas, Texas. (c) Jeff Koons.

One Step Forward In 2008, Nine Steps Backward In 2009: In Economic Crisis, America Is Failing To Sustain Philanthropy Privately

[Click on image for enlargement.]

“The U.S. charities that raised the most from private sources in 2008 collectively attracted $76-billion in donations last year, an increase of just 1 percent. ...

Bruised by the deepest recession in decades, the nation's largest charities anticipate that giving will decline this year [2009] by a median of 9 percent.”

The Chronicle of Philanthropy


Header: Last year, Stewart and Lynda Resnick gave $45 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for an Exhibition Pavillion behind the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum . (c) Los Angeles Times 2009. Copyright controlled.

WETA-FM To Broadcast Near Lost And Neglected Masterpieces Of Jewish Classical Music From The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater

Tonight at 9 PM on WETA-FM
Pro Musica Hebraica: The Biava Quartet and friends

Dmitri Shostakovich: Quartet No. 4 in D major, op. 83 (1949)

Joseph Achron: Four Improvisations, op. 63 (1927)

Aleksandr Zhitomirskii: Dem rebens nigun (The rabbi’s melody) op. 3 (1910)

Michel Michelet: Elegie, for String Orchestra, op. 4 (1923)
Arr. for string quartet and piano
The Biava Quartet with pianist Konstantin Soukhovetski

Leo Zeitlin: Five Songs from the Yiddish (ca. 1913 - 1921)
The Biava Quartet with mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, baritone Alexander Tall, and pianist Konstantin Soukhovetski.

Photo credits: Both copyright controlled. (Budapest Jewish Museum)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pan Cogito's "Believe It Or Not"

"Jakob Lindberg performs on a ten-course Renaissance lute by Sixtus Rauwolf, who was active in Augsburg in the 1590s. Only four other lutes by Rauwolf are known to have survived. These can be found in Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Claudius Collection in Copenhagen, a private collection in England, and the Fugger Museum in Augsburg. Jakob Lindberg’s instrument is from circa 1590 and has been carefully restored. Dendrochronology (a method of dating wooden objects which involves examining the tree-rings) confirms that the soundboard is original and dates the wood to 1418 – 1560. This instrument is probably the oldest lute in playable condition with its original soundboard."

Emma Kirby, Jakob Lindberg, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Celebrate the 350th Birthday of Henry Purcell, Baroque Master Artist

Sunday October 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Free -- First come, first seated.

Image credit: (c) BIS Recordings. Copyright controlled.


"We once had a glorious school of composers. It departed, with no sunset splendour on it, nor even the comfortable ripe tints of autumn. The sun of the young morning shone on its close; the dews of dawn gleam for ever on the last music; the freshness and purity of the air of early morning linger about it. It closed with Purcell, and it is no hyperbole to say the note that distinguishes Purcell's music from all other music in the world is the note of spring freshness. The dewy sweetness of the morning
air is in it, and the fragrance of spring flowers. The brown sheets on which the notes are printed have lain amongst the dust for a couple of centuries; they are musty and mildewed. Set the sheets on a piano and play: the music starts to life in full youthful vigour, as music from the soul of a young god should. It cannot and never will grow old; the everlasting life is in it that makes the green buds shoot. To realise the immortal youth of Purcell's music, let us make a comparison. Consider Mozart, divine Mozart. Mixed with the ineffable beauty of his music there is sadness, apart and different from the sadness that was of the man's own soul. It is the sadness that clings to forlorn things of an order that is dead and past: it tinkles in the harpsichord figurations and cadences; it makes one think of lavender scent and of the days when our great-grandmothers danced minuets. Purcell's music, too, is sad at times, but the human note reaches us blended with the gaiety of robust health and the clean young life that is renewed each year with the lengthening days."

Purcell by John F. Runciman (1909), from Project Gutenberg

National Gallery of Art Celebrates 'Fragmented Painting of Lemons and a Melon on a Table' (And Late 20th c. Fragmented American Musical Culture?)

Fragmented Painting of Lemons and a Melon on a Table
Roy Lichtenstein
oil and Magna on canvas
91.4 x 116.8 cm (36 x 46 in.)
Collection of Robert and Jane Meyerhoff

Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection: On View through May 2, 2010.


Richard Stoltzman, clarinetist
Yehudi Wyner, pianist
November 22 at 6:30PM [FREE]

East Building Concourse, Auditorium
Music by Carter, Reich, and Wyner
First concert in the 64th American Music Festival
Presented in honor of The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection: Selected Works

Ensō String Quartet
November 25 at 12:10PM [FREE]

East Building Concourse, Auditorium
Music by Reich and Jalbert
Second concert in 64th American Music Festival

National Gallery of Art Orchestra
November 29 at 6:30PM [FREE]

East Building Concourse, Auditorium
Music by Aikman, Bermel, Corigliano, and Lerdahl
Third concert in 64th American Music Festival

Joel Fan, pianist
December 2 at 12:10PM [FREE]

East Building Concourse, Auditorium
Music by Carter, Bolcom, Gandolfi, and Kirchner
Final concert of 64th American Music Festival

Other free concerts -- and program notes.

Image credit: Copyright © 2009 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dudamel And The LAPhil Now Over (And Enjoyed), Now Desperately Seeking Time To Preview The SFS's "Keeping Score: Charles Ives's Holidays Symphony"

San Francisco Symphony "Keeping Score: Charles Ives's Holidays Symphony"

Photo credit: Last photo (c) Patrice Nin 2009. Copyright controlled. Second photo also copyright controlled.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Keep Literacy And Classical Music Alive In The Nation’s Capital – Donate Your Unneeded Personal Books And CDs To Carpe Librum (And Carpe CD)!

Turning the Page Fall Book And CD Sale!

Turning the Page links D.C. public schools, families and the community so that together, we can ensure that D.C. students receive valuable educational resources and a high-quality public education.

Turning the Page recently learned that a major D.C. government grant they had been counting on to support their literacy and music programs had fallen victim to D.C. budget cuts in late July. A major part of their fall fundraising effort to make up for this loss will be hosting three fall book and CD sales: October 19th - 31st, November 9th - 20th, and December 4th - 18th.

Photo credits: (c) Turning the Page 2009. Copyright controlled.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frank Gehry's New World Symphony Campus And Concert Hall: A Home For 21st Century Oratorios?

"Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the New World Symphony campus will be a global hub for creative expression and collaboration. A laboratory for generating new ideas about the way music is taught, performed, and experienced; and a cultural meeting place."

Photo credit: (c) Gehry Technologies 2009. Copyright controlled.

Behind Schedule & Life, Pan Cogito Ponders Whether To Watch The SFS "Keeping Score: Charles Ives" Or The LAPh "Gustavo Dudamel: The Inaugural Concert"




"Civilisation came at an opportune time for American public television, appearing in that venue after the BBC had tried in vain to place the series with the commercial networks. The program was underwritten by Xerox, which also provided $450,000 for an hour-long promotional programme (again produced by the BBC) to drum up business for the multipart broadcast. The nascent Public Broadcasting System received plaudits for carrying the programme, and Clark undoubtedly found his largest audience in the United States. The series's reach in America was demonstrated by the popularity of the precedent-setting Harper and Row tie-in book, which became a best seller despite its $15 price tag. Thus in addition to promulgating its comforting message about the survival capacities of a high culture besieged for a millennium by the forces of darkness, Civilisation had in the United States the serendipitous effect of demonstrating that high-culture television could in fact draw significant numbers of viewers."

-Anne Morey, The Museum of Broadcast Communications

Photo credits: Copyright controlled. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Once Was The Time Of Sir Kenneth Clark's "Civilization" ... Now Is The Time Of Michael Tilson Thomas And The San Francisco Symphony's "Keeping Score"

Review of the San Francisco Symphony's "Keeping Score -- Season Two" forthcoming ... Watch This Space!

(I still need to find time to preview the new segment on Charles Ives's "Holiday Symphony". The two new segments on Hector Berlioz's "Symphony Fantastique" and Dmitri Shostakovich's "Symphony #5" are outstanding.)


Keeping Score


Photo credits: Copyright controlled.


The Skin of our Teeth - In this the first episode Clark travels from Byzantine Ravenna to the Celtic Hebrides, from the Norway of the Vikings to Charlemagne's chapel at Aachen, telling his story of the Dark Ages; the six centuries following the collapse of the Roman Empire.

The Great Thaw
- In the second episode Clark tells of the sudden reawakening of European civilisation in the twelfth century . He traces it from its first manifestations in the Abbey of Cluny to its high point, the building of the Chartres cathedral.

Romance and Reality - Beginning at a castle in the Loire, then travelling through the hills of Tuscany and Umbria to the cathedral baptistry at Pisa as he examines both the aspirations and achievements of the later Middle Ages in France and Italy.

Man - the Measure of all Things - Visiting Florence, where, Clark argues, European thought gained a new impetus from its rediscovery of its classical past. He also visits the palaces at Urbino and Mantua, other centres of (Renaissance) civilisation.

The Hero as Artist - (List of Renaissance figures) Here Clark takes us back to 16th century Papal Rome noting the convergence of Christianity and antiquity. He discusses Michelangelo, Raphael, and da Vinci, the courtyards of the Vatican, the rooms decorated for the Pope by Raphael, and the Sistine Chapel.

Protest and Communication - Here Clark takes us back to the Reformation. That is to the Germany of Albrecht Duerer and Martin Luther, the world of the humanitarians Erasmus, Montaigne, and Shakespeare.

Grandeur and Obedience - Again in Rome of Michelangelo and Bernini, Clark tells of the Catholic Church's fight against the Protestant north, the Counter-Reformation and the Church's new splendour symbolised by the glory of St. Peter’s.

The Light of Experience - Here Clark tells of new worlds in space and in a drop of water that the telescope and microscope revealed, and the new realism in the Dutch paintings which took the observation of human character to a higher stage of development.

The Pursuit of Happiness - Here Clark talks of the harmonious flow and complex symmetries of the works of Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mozart — and the reflection of these in the Rococo churches and palaces of Bavaria.

The Smile of Reason - Here Clark discusses the Age of Enlightenment tracing it from the polite conversations in the elegant Parisian salons of eighteenth-century, through the subsequent revolutionary politics to the great European palaces of Blenheim and Versailles finally to Jefferson’s Monticello.

The Worship of Nature - Belief in the divinity of nature, Clark argues, usurped Christianity’s position as the chief creative force in Western civilisation and ushered in the Romantic movement. Here Clark visits Tintern Abbey, the Alps, and there discusses the landscapes of Turner and Constable.

The Fallacies of Hope - Here Clark argues that the French Revolution led to the dictatorship of Napoleon and the dreary bureaucracies of the nineteenth century and traces the disillusionment of the Romanticism artists from Beethoven's music, Byron's poetry, Delacroix's paintings to Rodin's sculpture.

Heroic Materialism - Clark concludes the series with his discussion of materialism and humanitarianism of the past century. This takes us from the industrial landscape of nineteenth century England to the skyscrapers of twentieth century New York. The achievements of the engineers and scientists - such as Brunel and Rutherford - having been matched by the great reformers like Wilberforce and Shaftsbury.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Drag And Drop … And Then Drop, Cover, And Hold On!! … Sharon Rockefeller’s Classical WETA-FM Wants To Refresh Your I-Pod With Over 21 Hours Of Music!!

"Refresh your iPod with over 21 hours of music from a very special 100 Best Series. Your collection will include the 100 Best Classics, 100 Best Adagios, and 100 Best Opera. A total of 18 CDs all pre-loaded onto a 4 gigabyte flash drive.

Plug it in. Drag and drop. And in under five minutes you have a whole new iPod!

It's that easy!"


California stages massive earthquake drill


Sharon Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM invites you to explore the richness of American classical music for only $120.

Photo credit: (c) Copyright controlled 2009.

And We Laughed At East Berlin's Communist-Era 'Palace Of The Republic' As Aesbestos-Ladden And Ecologically Unsound

"Floating above Creole cottages and Victorian shotgun houses of the Tremé/Lafitte neighborhood of New Orleans is the glass-and-steel Phillis Wheatley Elementary School. In 1954, the architect Charles Colbert constructed an elevated cantilevered steel truss structure to provide an expansive shaded playground area, protecting the schoolchildren from the tropical climate. Progressive for a school facility at the time, the building was critically acclaimed and its design was exhibited internationally. The building is a valuable example of regional modernism in a city most noted for its 18th- and 19th-century architecture.

More than 50 years later, the elevated form proved highly effective in protecting the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School from the floods of Hurricane Katrina. Since the hurricane, the Orleans Parish School Board has shuttered the building, and decay and vandalism have taken their toll on this striking statement of modern design. Demolition of the edifice to construct a new school has been proposed, and Docomomo-Louisiana has countered this proposal by suggesting an adaptive reuse of the building as a community center. This alternative to demolition would raise public awareness of an architectural gem unique to New Orleans and encourage community building in an area still recovering from disaster."


"Cascading down the eastern flank of the Cordillera Central mountain range in the heart of Luzon, hundreds of man-made terraces stand testament to the cooperative spirit and ingenuity of a people who settled and thrived in this rugged environment. Facing limited land and soil resources, these early inhabitants developed four terrace complexes during the 16th century for the cultivation of rice. Today, these structures are still heralded as some of the world’s best examples of soil conservation technology. For the indigenous Ifugao peoples who maintained them throughout the centuries, the terraces symbolize the survival of their distinctive cultural legacy.

This majestic cultural landscape was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1995, and in 2001, it was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to physical deterioration and loss of the site’s cultural underpinnings. The terraces continue to face decreasing use and are now threatened by wide-scale abandonment. The rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras underscore the challenge of conserving a once-dynamic environment that has lost both its primary function for agricultural productivity and the people who have traditionally maintained it as they leave the region to pursue other employment opportunities. These situations require innovative approaches to preserve the community as well as the historic landscape and related man-made structures."

Source: World Monuments Fund 2010 Watch List

Photo credits: © 2009 World Monuments Fund. Copyright controlled.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"How Can A Group Of Principals Who Are In An Interdependent Situation Organize And Govern Themselves To Obtain Continuing Joint Benefits?"

"[Elinor] Ostrom uses the term "common pool resources" to denote natural resources used by many individuals in common, such as fisheries, groundwater basins, and irrigation systems. Such resources have long been subject to overexploitation and misuse by individuals acting in their own best interests. Conventional solutions typically involve either centralized governmental regulation or privatization of the resource. But, according to Ostrom, there is a third approach to resolving the problem of the commons: the design of durable cooperative institutions that are organized and governed by the resource users themselves.

"The central question in this study," she writes, "is how a group of principals who are in an interdependent situation can organize and govern themselves to obtain continuing joint benefits when all face temptations to free-ride, shirk, or otherwise act opportunistically."

The heart of this study is an in-depth analysis of several long-standing and viable common property regimes, including Swiss grazing pastures, Japanese forests, and irrigation systems in Spain and the Philippines. Although Ostrom insists that each of these situations must be evaluated on its own terms, she delineates a set of eight "design principles" common to each of the cases. These include clearly defined boundaries, monitors who are either resource users or accountable to them, graduated sanctions, and mechanisms dominated by the users themselves to resolve conflicts and to alter the rules. The challenge, she observes, is to foster contingent self-commitment among the members: "I will commit myself to follow the set of rules we have devised in all instances except dire emergencies if the rest of those affected make a similar commitment and act accordingly.""

From Scott London's Book Review of “Governing the Commons” by Elinor Ostrom [Cambridge University Press 1990]. Copyright 1998 by Scott London. All rights reserved.

Photo credit: (c) INTERNATIONAL LAND COALITION 2009. Copyright controlled.

How Many Operas About John Brown Have Been Produced At the Opera House Of The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Renaissance Lost, Pan Cogito Proposes International Endowment For the Arts And Humanities And Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize For Music Composition

Leaders' Statement: The Pittsburgh Summit
September 24 – 25, 2009


1. We meet in the midst of a critical transition from crisis to recovery to turn the page on an era of irresponsibility and to adopt a set of policies, regulations and reforms to meet the needs of the 21st century global economy.

2. When we last gathered in April, we confronted the greatest challenge to the world economy in our generation.

3. Global output was contracting at pace not seen since the 1930s. Trade was plummeting. Jobs were disappearing rapidly. Our people worried that the world was on the edge of a depression.

4. At that time, our countries agreed to do everything necessary to ensure recovery, to repair our financial systems and to maintain the global flow of capital.

5. It worked.

6. Our forceful response helped stop the dangerous, sharp decline in global activity and stabilize financial markets. Industrial output is now rising in nearly all our economies. International trade is starting to recover. Our financial institutions are raising needed capital, financial markets are showing a willingness to invest and lend, and confidence has improved. ...


Nobel Prize Foundation

International Monetary Fund

now-defunct American National Endowment for the Arts


Header credit: Julian Schnabel Divan Oil, plates, wax and bondo on wood 1979

(c) Julian Schnabel and 2009. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved.

New York And Los Angeles Philharmonics Open With Lindberg And Adams World Premieres ... Non-National Symphony Orchestra Opens With Beethoven Pastoral

... "Mr. Dudamel began his tenure conducting the premiere of the new Adams piece, “City Noir,” a bustling, complex 35-minute work in three movements: the final panel in a triptych of orchestral works inspired by what Mr. Adams calls the “California experience,” its “landscape and its culture.” (The first two are “El Dorado” and “The Dharma at Big Sur,” a violin concerto.)

The piece was suggested, Mr. Adams has written, by the richly evocative books on California’s social history by Kevin Starr, especially a chapter called “Black Dahlia,” which explores the sassy, shoddy and sensational era of the 1940s and ’50s, which gave rise to film noir. It is not easy to evoke the milieu of an era in music. But this score was also inspired by jazz-inflected American symphonic music of the 1920s through the ’50s, from Gershwin to Copland to Bernstein, something that is a lot easier to evoke." ...

Anthony Tomassini "Los Angeles Glows at Dudamel’s Inaugural Concert" New York Times October 9, 2009


Header photo: The blogger revisited his family's 1958-61 Pacific Palisades, California house when he attended the season and hall opening performance of Bela Bartok's "Miraculous Mandarin" at the Walt Disney Concert Hall a few years back. His attendence at the performance was by special arrangement with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and did not result in a review, and his transportation was provided courtesy of the University of California - San Diego's Department of Sociology. He remembers paying for his own lunch at the Getty Museum and one-half of his wife's lunch; as well as $5 for parking at the Museum.

(Did you expect another picture of Mr. Dudamel, instead?)

(c) Copyright controlled 2003. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Romanian-Born Herta Müller Wins the Nobel Prize in Literature

"“Niederungen” and other early works depicted life in a small village and the repression faced by its denizens. Her later novels, including “The Land of Green Plums” and “The Appointment,” approach allegory as they graphically portray the brutality suffered by modest people leaving under totalitarianism."

"The Passport," "The Land of Green Plums," "Traveling on One Leg" and "The Appointment" have been translated from German into English, French and Spanish.

Herta Müller Wins the Nobel Prize in Literature

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

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pan Cogito Endorses The Dalai Lama’s Middle Way Proposals Toward A Lasting Solution For The Mutual Benefit Of The Chinese And Tibetan Peoples

Monday, October 05, 2009

Pan Cogito Pulls Out Of Secret National Symphony Orchestra And Classical WETA-FM Endorsement Agreements: Faces Fines Of $1,221,000; Must Return Strad

"The Federal Trade Commission will require bloggers to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.

It is the first time since 1980 that the commission has revised its guidelines on endorsements and testimonials, and the first time the rules have covered bloggers.

But the commission stopped short Monday of specifying how bloggers must disclose any conflicts of interest.

The FTC said its commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the final guidelines, which had been expected. Penalties include up to $11,000 in fines per violation.

The rules take effect Dec. 1."

Associated Press "Bloggers Must Disclose Payments for Reviews" New York Times October 6, 2009


English: The image of the Spanish II Stradivarius (1687-1689) on exhibit at Palacio Real de Madrid (home of the only complete quintet of Stradivarius instruments).
Español: Stradivarius Español II de la colección del Palacio Real de Madrid.
Italiano: Un violino Spagnoli II Stradivarius esposto al Palazzo Reale di Madrid.
Deutsch: Spanisch II Stradivari-Violine im Palacio Real, Madrid.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

dust in the wind - the opera

“The combination of record heat and widespread drought during the past five to twelve years over large parts of southern and eastern Australia is without historical precedent and is, at least partly, a result of climate change.”

Australian Bureau of Meteorology May 6, 2009

Photo credit: (c) 2009. Copyright controlled.

Remember ... Energy/New Music/Rust Never Sleeps Or Dies

Does The Course Of Civilization Travel Westward Or In Spirals?

President of the People's Republic of China, Hu Jintao

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Photo credit: (c) Agence France Press. 2009. Copyright controlled.