Monday, February 27, 2006

Alfred Brendel and the Viennese tradition

Solo Pianist at Carnegie Hall, New York, New York

I was fortunate enough to be able to see supreme master pianist, born in Austria, Alfred Brendel, at Carnegie Hall tonight playing various Viennese classical works from Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. He played with genius and with the utmost emotional sensibilities. His performance never lacked energy or passion. During the performance also, there were at times, many slight pauses but right when a piece concluded, the audience clapped right away, obviously they knew the tunes note for note. I personally wasn't familiar with the songs so I just followed the crowd, for the most part: at the conclusion of concert, I was one of the first to yell, "more, one more." Let's just say, I've been to Carnegie Hall a few times and I've learned how to ask for an encore. Yes, he did play an encore, it was beautiful and it sounded like a Handel piece. I might also add that this year Alfred Brendel turns 75.

I had been wanting to hear maestro Alfred Brendel for quite sometime, ever since I came across one of his essays and one of his poems. Yes, the man is also a highly regarded poet with volumes accredited to his name. Interestingly, he is also a photographer and painter. As a pianist, he is largely self-taught. "Many times a teacher can be too influential," he says. "Being self-taught, I learned to distrust anything I hadn't figured out myself." I hope to write more about this show tonight, I feel grateful that I was able to witness artistic excellence at its highest level.

To visit Alfred Brendel's website click the link below:
Alfred Brendel's website

Other relevant posts:
3 great albums from 2005
Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett and Bach
Brad Mehldau Trio, Live at the Vanguard

New Jersey: Vintage Rock Band

Here's a link to a great interview with a member of the band THE LITES, a rock group from East Rutherford, New Jersey. This band existed in the 60's. Check out the interview, click the link below:

Interview with the Artist

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Goethe Quote

"If you treat men the way they are you never improve them. If you treat them the way you want them to be, you do." - Goethe

Other relevant quotes:
Stephane Mallerme
Art as Experience
Sequence of Emotions

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

International Music: Great Time in New York

This past Friday I had an amazing time watching some friends of mine perform in their respective bands/quartet. Right after work I had a chance to see my boss stroke the ivories on the piano with his truly world-class eclectic group Luxo100. The band is made up of about 4 people. My boss performing dual duties playing the keys/electronic keyboard and utilizing some box where he was changing the music somehow, yes, I am not quite sure what that was! Standing next to him was their singer and all I have to say is I kept thinking I was in a night-time drinking lounge with a CD playing on speakers, her voice blended perfectly with the band, very succinct. I've been to sooooooo many spots and the singers tend to have a habit of letting you know that they can sing but not her. With her soprano like voice she supported the members just fine and at times she lead but it was never over the top. It was just right. The third member of the band was a guy named Blake. I think these guys all went to the same high school because the due to the groovy laid back, classy feel of their music and this guy clearly stood in unison with the group. The fourth member of the band played flute and saxophone(tenor sax). I must say, I enjoyed this guy's playing, he was great. I will have to get more info on the type of music these guys where playing, obviously it was a mix of several different types of music spawning several continents and several generations. Yes, impressive but more importantly enjoyable!

After the first set which took place in alphabet city in Manhattan, I jumped into a taxi to catch some jazz at the upstart jazz location - The Jazz Gallery, located in the west side of the village. Marcus Gilmore led his quartet which features him playing the drums, a pianist, harmonica player, bass player and a saxophonist. I enjoyed everyone as they took turns improvising on various melodies with an energy that was quite infecting to the crowd. Each member creatively offered great interpetations of various melodies. As the leader and as the drummer of the band, Marcus made his presence felt as a leader and not overtly as a drummer which is a good thing. The pianist kept all interested also as it seem that he was playing fresh and unpretentious music that was inspiring. I absolutely loved the showed and spoke with all the band members who I must mention were friendly, professional and courteous to myself and all who expressed gratitude toward them.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Jazz Intensifies Film: When it rains (In The City)[en la ciudad]

I recently saw In the City[en la ciudad], a Spanish film directed by Cesc Gay which chronicles the actions of some "30-somethings," who are well established and quite functional from a secular standpoint, and how they cope with banality in a rather dysfunctional or liberal way - depending on who you ask.

At any rate, during a rather poignant scene, suddenly the music of Brad Mehldau starts playing. In fact, during the course of the film, Brad Mehldau's music, the composition "When it rains" was played at least three times with slight differences each time played. The use of the track with each scene was powerful, especially considering that they used the track in a rather "crescendo" approach. The first two times hearing the song during the film are rather short and then the third and final time hearing the song, you hear more of the tune and the emotional effect heightens to a certain degree of sadness.

The song, "When it rains" can be found on Brad Mehldau's album Largo. Readers of Art Comments may remember that several months ago I included that album on a "Recommendation List." Obviously, I am not the only one who recognizes the power of Brad's music. If you have 99 cent you should just go and buy it on itunes. I guarantee you'll love the tune.

The tune used in the film also is not the exact same version played on Largo, instead there is another quartet/trio playing Brad Mehldau's original composition.

Other relevant blogs:

Brad Mehldau Trio Live at the Village Vanguard

Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett and Bach

Exclusive Coverage: Capote Film Interview with Philip Seymour Hoffman

Pete Duhon

Monday, February 13, 2006

3 Must-Have Albums from 2005

The Chosen Ones

Radiance, Keith Jarrett(solo acoustic piano)

Day is Done, The Brad Mehldau Trio

The Ground, The Tord Gustavsen Trio

Though the three album were not selected or nominated for a Grammy award, it doesn't matter. These there albums sparkle with genius, energy and creativity. If your looking for background music that doesn't motivate and inspire, look somewhere else. These albums collectively warrant foreground listening but this is not an academic assignment from your local professor, foreground listening of jazz is not a boring affair, in fact, it can be quite rewarding as the 3 albums in my selection thoroughly prove.

These three albums really stood out for me, all are quite monumental in their own way. Keith Jarrett's Radiance is a live recording of short, spontaneous improvisations in front of a Japanese audience. Brad Mehldau's Day is Done, is another album in Brad's oeuvre were the mixture of music is truly eclectic, enchanting and fiery. The Ground, the other trio album on this list is on the opposite end of the spectrum when compared with Brad's effort. But there is no need for comparison since they are both enjoyable.

Past relevant blogs:
Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett and Bach
Jazz Too Busy?
Brad Mehldau in Philly

Friday, February 10, 2006

Catalunya Film in Manhattan

In the City / A la ciutat

The other night I was privileged to see this great film. If you have seen the film Closer, you will like this one also. I am not sure if this film is available on DVD.

"Gay exposes the duality of human nature, the inconsistencies we all share and the difficulty of meeting other people's expectations. (He) treats his characters with the utmost tenderness and respect as he brings his profound observations to these stories of modern life and love." - Diana Sanchez, 2003 Toronto International Film Festival

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Grammy Awards: Email Posts

In a previous email about the Grammy awards, I wrote the following:

Three albums that standout from the year that are groundbreaking, original and transformative:

Radiance: Keith Jarrett
The Ground: Tord Gustavsen
Day is Done: Brad Mehldau


In response to my email, someone else wrote in an email:

"The Ground: Tord Gustavsen"

I thought this album was nice, but nothing special. It's too lethargic and
quiet; maybe somebody should have slipped some methamphetamines into
Gustavsen's water. I definitely wouldn't call it "groundbreaking".

I then responded back:

This album successfully creates a particular mood and it exercises a disciplined focus with each composition - all original tunes by Tord Gustavsen - being thematically linked. I like fiery albums myself but to appreciate the fiery albums, the quiet and subtle ones are needed as well and vice versa. The atmosphere of this album is quite spiritual and makes slight references to universal themes of hope, redemption, emotional struggles, humility and the need for attachment.

With the above in mind, take a look at some of the titles taken from the album below:

Colours of Mercy
Kneeling Down
Edges of Happiness
Tears Transforming
Curtains Aside

All the tunes that are on this album are interlocked to each other and would not quite exist the same if one of them was taken off the album. This album definitely follows the principles of modern art as laid out by Cezanne.


Other Relevant Blogs:
Outstanding Albums from 2005
Is Jazz too Busy?
Films of 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Resource for Literature

Literature, Rhythm and Movement

"The book, which is a total expansion of the letter, must find its mobility in the letter; and in its spaciousness must establish some nameless system of relationships which will embrace and strengthen fiction." - Stephane Mallarme

Past relevant posts:
John Dewey Quote
Books of 2005

Monday, February 06, 2006

Winter Films: 2006

A list of six films and their respective websites that have caught my interest, these films are either in theater now or will be coming out soon:

1. Bubble, directed by Steven Soderbergh
2. Fateless, directed by Lajos Koltai
3. Manderlay, directed by Lars Von Trier
4. Match Point, directed by Woody Allen
5. Sophie Scholl, directed by Marc Rothemund
6. Tsotsi, written and directed by Gavin Hood

Relevant past blogs:
Films of 2005
Film Review: Cache
Memoirs of a Geisha Part I
Memoirs of a Geisha Part II
CAPOTE Screening, Philip Seymour Hoffman interview Part I

Peter Duhon

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Guggenheim Pictures: RUSSIA!

As requested from readers of Art Comments, more pictures from the great exhibition: