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30.1.11

In Brief: Death of Complexity Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.
  • Welsh soprano Margaret Price died this week, at age 69. Anne Midgette remembers the effect of hearing her sing Desdemona. [Washington Post]

  • One of the pillars of American modernism, composer Milton Babbitt, has also passed away, at the age of 94. What is going to become of the atonal and complex music that he and others like him favored? Alex Ross offers a whimsical remembrance, including a Milton Babbitt dance video, which has to be seen to be believed. [The Rest Is Noise]

  • You may recall that the staff of the Archives nationales de France occupied their institution's building, the Hôtel de Soubise, back in September. This was an attempt to put a stop to the government's plan to install a new museum, the Maison de l'histoire de France, in the building, putting at risk, they said, priceless archival collections. The staff has lifted the occupation this week, having received agreements that the government will take steps to save and preserve endangered and stalled conservation projects, but the establishment of the new museum will go ahead. [Le Monde]

  • My weekly column with concert picks for the Washington and Baltimore area: Hyperion Ensemble, Klavier Trio Amsterdam, and American Opera Theater's staging of Dido and Aeneas and the Gonzales Cantata make the top cut. [DCist]

  • The Louvre has installed an unusual temporary exhibit of artwork, on the wall of a courtyard inside a prison in Poissy. The Maison Centrale de Poissy holds 230 convicts, 80% of whom are serving terms longer than twenty years. The paintings are reproductions, made for outdoor display but of high photographic quality and backed with aluminum. The ten paintings were chosen by ten inmates, selected from those with an interest in art, and they include Caravaggio's Fortune Teller, De La Tour's Magdalen with the Smoking Flame, Mantegna's Crucifixion, Friedrich's Tree of Crows, and Marie-Guillemine Benoist's Portrait of a Black Woman. The "curators" met with the director of the Louvre and wrote entries on the art for a catalogue of the exhibit, even painting copies of the works with their own additions (a jail cell at the foot of Friedrich's tree, an iron collar around the neck of Benoist's woman). [Le Monde]

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