A main curtain that challenges the Chrysler Building in Art Deco beauty. Four luggage-tossing, red-capped porters who tap dance and sing their way across the stage. Then the big reveal of the huge 20th Century Limited train itself—blue-gray metallic, slanted out toward the audience under the black iron and glass ceiling. Surely this set, which appears only once in the show, is the most magnificent Broadway has seen in years.
This week's program at Davies Hall had a split personality. Young contemporary music specialist Christian Baldini was onstage to lead the opening work, The Light That Fills the World, by Alaska composer J. L. Adams. Michael Tilson Thomas then conducted the San Francisco Symphony in the Brahms concerto and Schumann symphony.
The best part of a love affair, wrote Georges Clémenceau some hundred years ago, is the moment you are climbing the stairs. It was, one hopes, not a cynical remark but a commentary on the pleasures of anticipation. I thought of this last month as I negotiated stairs at London's Barbican Centre. A visit by the Berlin Philharmonic is always, if not a love affair, then certainly a thrill. But the otherwise admirable and much used Barbican is a windowless maze, and climbing the various levels can make for the seeming triumph of cluelessness over romance.
In the first hundred years of our still budding love affair with Maurice Ravel, his orchestral works have come to us from many directions. But despite our familiarity, Ravel's music remains enigmatic beneath its surface appeal. There is something "film-noir" about it. We are in a mystery. The lady has shown up at the detective agency wearing a veil....and one suspects it might take a Frenchman to lift it without getting his face slapped.
Hotel Elefant's spring concert continues their third season theme "speakOUT," representing artists who are utilizing music to reflect on issues both personal and political. Not only will the program “speakOUT” by focusing on these issues, but the program itself will raise its voice by featuring an all-female cast of composers, presenting innovative work by featured composer Paola Prestini along with emerging composers Lainie Fefferman and Leaha Maria Villarreal. The ensemble will perform Prestini’s Yoani, with a libretto by Royce Vavrek, including a brand new movement from the work, and Inngerutit; the world premiere of Lainie Fefferman’s Hotel Elefant-commissioned piece Impostor Syndrome; and the world premiere of Leaha Maria Villarreal’s This is How We Love.
The poet Rainer Maria Rilke saw the retrospective of Paul Cézanne at the 1907 Autumn Salon in Paris. Overcome by Cézanne’s “infinitely responsive conscience,” recognizable in the painter’s shifting fragments across the canvas, he returned to the exhibition daily until its close. In his writings on the exhibition, Rilke’s most jubilant praise was lauded to Madame Cézanne in a Red Armchair (ca. 1877).