Tag Archive: Symbolism

Stephen Porter plays Debussy’s Preludes, Books I and II at SubCulture, New York

Stephen Porter playing Debussy at SubCulture, New York

One can’t say that performances of both books of Debussy’s Preludes are absolutely unheard of, but they are sufficiently uncommon for Stephen Porter to deserve our admiration for his courage and enlightenment in offering them in the form he did. Not only did he perform both books in their entirety from memory, he prefaced each with a piece from Debussy’s earlier Images, in order to prepare the audience, and included engaging discussions of the composer and the works, not only providing us with background, but preparing us to listen, to enter Debussy’s particular world of sounds.

Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande at the Metropolitan Opera House

Metropolitan Opera House December 20, 2010 Claude Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande Libretto by Maurice Maeterlinck Pelléas – Stéphane Degout Mélisande – Magdalena Kožená Golaud – Gerald Finley Arkel – Willard White Genevive – Felicity Palmer Yniold – Neel Ram Nagarajan…
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Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, and the Myth of Italy in Victorian England, at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Roma, until June 12

The Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna follows up a Burne-Jones retrospective it hosted twenty-five years ago with a hundred pre-Raphaelite works illustrating the influence of Italian art on Victorian England.

Formed in London in 1848, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, like the Impressionists, felt challenged by photography and the emerging science of color. Whereas the Impressionists took to the fields, the Pre-Raphaelites closed themselves in a private, inner world of nostalgia. They staunchly opposed the academy as they strove to recapture pre-Renaissance ethical sensibilities, assimilating and re-expressing them in the language of modernity. They rejected Raphael because he forsook the truth for ideal beauty. They concluded that the only way forward was to go backward and construct a new grammar with elements of Gothicism, Romanticism, and Classicism, recapturing a Gefühl for nature to counter the devastating effects of “progress” on rural and artisanal life.