October 2011

Music

Vasily Petrenko and Joshua Bell in a Russo-English Program with the SF Symphony: Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, and Elgar

Hats off, ladies and Gentlemen! A conductor! And a great symphony! Vasily Petrenko's recent electrifying week with the San Francisco Symphony reminds the listener that Gustavo Dudamel is not the sole "conducting animal" to be found on the musical circuit these days. Esa-Pekka Salonen coined the term a while back, with the impassioned Venezuelan in mind. And indeed, Dudamel is the sort of refreshing performer who has the winds jumping to their feet like jazz musicians and bass players twirling their instruments. He is all about emotion as vitality. But physically, apart from the energy with which he beats time, his manner is unremarkable. The fascination of Petrenko, by contrast, is his ability to reflect every quivering moment of the music somewhere on his face or body, as though he were a disembodied hologram. We joke about people who are "double-jointed." But Vasily Petrenko might as well be quadruple-sprung and then some...this is a man who'd have no trouble tapping three heads, rubbing five tummies and signalling with numerous eyebrows at the same time!
Architecture | Urban Design

The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra Plays at Sydney’s Newest Concert Hall

The Willoughby Symphony, founded in 1965 and based in Sydney's northern suburbs, played the first concert in their new hall. It is an exciting occasion to christen a new concert hall and I marvel at it all the more that it was built in Sydney's North Shore where new building is almost exclusively in the form of hideous apartment blocks which have destroyed many of the area's old gardens and once contiguous tree canopy. The 1000-seat hall is part of a whole culture house called The Concourse, which also has a 500-seat theatre, some impressive-sounding rehearsal space and the new home of the area's borrowing library. Willoughby Council deserves credit for pulling this off when the New South Wales state government one level up cannot manage anything like it for Barangaroo, right next to Sydney's downtown, let alone the second, Frank Gehry-designed opera house that's begging to be built there. But I mustn't be negative; this isn't the occasion.

Art

Lorenzo Bartolini: Scultore del bello naturale

The rebellion against French academicism in the nineteenth century was carried out from several angles. A variety of new themes, subjects, and techniques were used as ammunition, and the expanding international market widened the battlefield. It was more than a two-sided contest between “conformists” and “non-conformists,” for there were multiple camps of non-conformists each of whom eventually found something else to cling to.
New York Arts in Italy

Leonard Freed e L’Italia: L’elemento del tempo

“There is a mathematical grid in the photograph. There is a rhythm.” (1) Nel rileggere un’intervista rilasciata da Leonard Freed a Nathalie Herschdorfer (2), la mia attenzione si sofferma sulla considerazione che Freed fa rispetto alla connessione tra le sue fotografie ed il tempo: “The thing is I am trying to get into my photographs the element of time” (3). Parole che generano in me una serie di osservazioni in relazione al progetto di immagini italiane al quale proverò a introdurvi nelle pagine seguenti. Dalle interviste e dalle opere di Leonard Freed, emerge come dato di fatto che fu un uomo di poche parole. (4) Sfogliando poi, alcuni dei diari che scrisse durante i numerosi viaggi che lo portarono in Italia tra il 1999 e il 2005 si accredita definitivamente questa teoria. Le considerazioni di Leonard Freed sono sempre coincise, dirette, ironiche e denotano tutta la finezza di osservazione che il suo sguardo ha saputo racchiudere nelle immagini da lui realizzate. Oltre che nei suoi diari di viaggio, che spesso sono delle note, atte a ricordare nomi, incontri, date e conversazioni, il tempo, Leonard Freed, lo ha racchiuso nelle sue fotografie. Interessante, al riguardo, prendere in considerazione alcuni dei bozzetti che disegnò di suo pugno per l’impaginazione del libro su Roma, progetto che per molti anni ha sognato di portare a termine. Mettendo questi in relazione con i provini a contatto stampati e archiviati in ordine cronologico, emerge immediatamente un fattore di rilievo: il progetto editoriale che Leonard Freed aveva intenzione di realizzare aveva come idea di base quella di impostare le immagini secondo la sequenza temporale in cui erano state scattate. Ecco allora che la fotografia diviene diario, narrazione del tempo, scheletro e corpo dei numerosi viaggi e rende al lettore una cronologia appartenuta intimamente all’autore.
New York Arts in Italy

Leonard Freed and Italy: The Element of Time

“There is a mathematical grid in the photograph. There is a rhythm.”1 While reading an interview between Leonard Freed and Nathalie Herschdorfer,2 my attention was caught by a comment Freed made on the connection between his photos and time: “The thing I am trying to get into my photographs is the element of time.”3 These words sparked in me a succession of observations on the Italian Images Project, which I will present in the following paragraphs.
Art

Vasari, gli Uffizi e il Duca

Before entering this exhibition, take the time to examine the building that houses it. Study its façade at close range and from the opposite bank of the Arno. Contemplate its severe, stately economy. Notice the columns that seem to support more weight than they should. Allow your eye to scan the stretch of monolithic architraves, the repetitious ordering of portals. Only then will you begin to appreciate that the core of this exhibit is not in the Uffizi, it is the Uffizi.
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