August 31, 2009 |
It's tough being an angel, even in as idyllic a setting as the Green-Wood Cemetery, where the leaves of shade trees rustle in the summer breeze and the grassy hills offer vistas of New York Harbor. Acid rain eats away the delicate tips of wings. Marble hands clasped in prayer lose their fingers and thumbs. Noses drop to the knolls. Some cherubs, targets for thieves and vandals, simply vanish. Sure, the full-time residents of Green-Wood might not notice. Leonard Bernstein (1918-90)
July 27, 2009 |
Fuzjko Hemming gave the first of two piano recitals at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Friday night. Her appearance was heavily promoted on Japanese television. Ticket prices were high -- $60 to $100 -- but both the Friday and Sunday concerts sold out. The 74-year-old pianist has sold more than 2 million CDs in Japan over the last decade, but the Fuzjko phenomenon hasn't yet crossed the Pacific with the general public. I'm not so sure that it will. But I could be wrong. Her full name is Ingrid Fuzjko von Georgii-Hemming, and she has a compelling story.
July 17, 2009 |
Saturday morning a major story out of Washington had this headline on the front page of the Los Angeles Times: "Bush-era Surveillance Went Beyond Wiretaps." That evening, "West Side Story" was screened in all its widescreen glory at the Aero in Santa Monica as part of American Cinematheque's tribute to director Robert Wise. A critic's exercise is to connect the dots. "West Side Story" opened in New York on Oct. 18, 1961, and went on to win 10 Academy Awards. In September 1962, the new home for the New York Philharmonic had its gala opening ceremonies.
December 16, 2008 |
After a two-day bash at Carnegie Hall for Elliott Carter, who turned 100 on Thursday, the New York Philharmonic mounted a small-scale chamber music tribute to the composer Saturday afternoon that included the premiere of four new songs, titled "Poems of Louis Zukofsky." These are very new songs -- one was dated Saturday morning. That evening in Carnegie's underground Zankel Hall, Leonard Bernstein's last work, "Arias and Barcarolles," was given a rare performance. He wrote it in 1989, the year before he died, and the concert served as the culmination of "Bernstein: The Best of All Possible Worlds," a two-month festival commemorating Bernstein's 90th birthday.
December 14, 2008 |
Albert Ihde and Ellen Pasternack's nuptials involved much more than the union of two souls -- there was also the ritual joining together of their record collections, which ran a close second for the founding couple behind Santa Barbara Theatre. And when Pasternack first heard Ihde's original recording of Leonard Bernstein's little-known score for "Peter Pan," which debuted on Broadway in 1950, she was gobsmacked.
November 26, 2008 |
Monday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall, a bass player from the Israel Philharmonic stepped forward to say a few words to the audience about Leonard Bernstein's Concerto for Orchestra. Hearing a new piece for the first time can be difficult, he said about one of Bernstein's significant last works, which had its premiere in Tel Aviv in 1989, the year before the composer died. "But this isn't just any new piece," he noted. "It's about us." The italics are mine, but you get the point. The us -- the orchestra, that is, which was on the last day of its American tour under Gustavo Dudamel -- is "undisciplined," "unpredictable" and "noisy," the player had said.