Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bravo, Roberto!

Gounod's "Faust" has been on my mind thanks to a production this weekend by Buffalo Opera Unlimited that I went to last night.

While studying up on the opera I fell in love with the performance above by Roberto Alagna.

Every once in a while you see something that just makes you think, "That's how it's done."

Alagna steps into that role of the young Faust so beautifully. His lovestruck smiles, the joy and wonder in his voice ... he really makes you love that character and wish the best for him.

He is so natural, so unhurried. Plus, just the quality of his voice, how controlled he is, the subtleties of his dynamics, the smooth bel canto tone.

Then at the end of the aria, how he puts on his top hat and strikes that pose, and the crowd goes wild.


Thursday, September 13, 2012


The cutting-edge music that heralded designer Jason Wu's new spring/summer fashion collection?

By the way let me say that I love it that it is time for the spring/summer clothes. That always gives me a boost this time of year.

But anyway. The music that touched off the show was, according to the Wall Street Journal ...

Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata.

You do not get to hear it in the video up above -- it features kind of edgy string music -- but the show began at 20 minutes past one in the afternoon (it was supposed to have begun at one) with, the Journal reported, Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata "pulsing from above."

Haha! You do not think of this music as "pulsing" exactly but you never know.

Beethoven would have gotten a kick out of this, being a fashion plate when he was younger. Edmund Morris talks about that in his book on Beethoven, about how Beethoven was concerned about clothes in his younger years. I liked that. You think of Mozart being concerned about clothes but not Beethoven.

Beethoven was also vain about his teeth. I think about that. I guess he was always wiping at them with a handkerchief which is what you did back then. When I was younger, that is. I think he gave that up when he got older. Not me! I am more vain about my teeth now than I was when I was in my 20s.

We listen and reflect and enjoy.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Arthur Rubinstein speaks

 This is an interview I found with Arthur Rubinstein when he was 90. It is Arthur, not Artur! I have a letter signed by him and he wrote Arthur.

There is a lot of blah-blah-blah but the interview is cool.

"He has demonstrated a prodigious appetite for living.. for food... for friends... for family..."

That is for sure! Although having read "My Young Years" and "My Many Years," with all their sexcapades, I do not know if his family was always all that happy with him.

Look at those massive doors Rubinstein pushes open at about 1:13.

Look how dapper Rubinstein looks, how nicely he is dressed.

Leonard Pennario liked him. So that makes me like him. I have always liked Rubinstein anyway. You know what, this is funny, watching this interview, I kind of stop listening to him and just watch him. I like to look at him.

He brags about learning the Grieg concerto in three days. Pennario did that too. Well, Pennario learned it in six days but then he was only 12.

It is interesting what Rubinstein says about how the Grieg concerto was looked down on when he was a boy. I am fascinated by how music goes in and out of style.

I love looking at the inside of Rubinstein's house. It looks like one of the antique shops on Hertel near my house.

Anyway, fascinating footage.

Here is a Rubinstein performance I love. It is of the Brahms Intermezzo in C. I have heard other pianists play it and it sounds wooden. He makes it breathe like a summer day. After hearing him play it I had to learn it.

Play it, Arthur!