Aug 6, 2008
Yes, folks, blogging has been light around here for a very good reason (see name change at left). I'm in Southern France, mostly chilling out on a diet of wine and sunshine; I've missed most of the big theater festivals around here (Avignon in particular), not by design but thankfully so, on balance.
What my better half and I have been doing for entertainment has happily included the old European standby of finding the odd chamber music concert in a village church or museum (I still have fond memories of witnessing the Talich Quartet blaze through some Suk at a convent in Prague some 12 years ago or more). The pickings have been inordinately strong on this trip, and incidentally Russian: the irresistible Soviet kitsch of the Silver Strings, filling a 12th-century church in Mons with a surprisingly rich and lyrical sound (surprising given that the orchestra is made up of two accordions, a few woodwinds, about 10 xylophones, and a quadrillion balalaikas), and, on a far more serious note, an almost unbearably intense and really quite exquisite string quartet concert tonight at the church in the eerily Sedona-like red-rock town of Roussillon (postcards are en route to Arizona family to prove it), given by a young foursome, Quatuor Atrium, also out of St. Petersburg (the program included a fierce Beethoven 59, a searing Shostakovich 3, and a vigorous, haunting quartet "in memory of Indira Gandhy" by a Turkish composer, Chary Nurymov).
Lots of thoughts occur about the unique power of music to organize and model relationships between voices, people, cultures, and centuries (partly under the slow-burning influence of Christopher Small's maddening but powerful Musicking, which I read, slowly, many months ago), and about the implications of such musings on how I think about the separate but parallel art of the theater...but I will leave them to ripen for a later time. The wine and sunshine, and the better half, beckon. More anon!
Posted by Rob Weinert-Kendt at 5:36 PM