Saturday, December 10, 2016
Middle Class Communities For the many of us reeling from the recent election, middle class communities are much on our minds. ... I thought it might be good to dig a little deeper into what this might mean for community engagement. ... read more AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2016-12-06 What to do about the NEA At Bloomberg, Tyler Cowen posts some recommendations on US federal government arts policy. ... The thing I always enjoy about Cowen – especially in his blog – is his ability to put fresh ideas out there as sparks for discussion; this is particularly important in arts policy ... read more AJBlog: For What It’s Worth Published 2016-12-06 Brett’s Bet: What Gorvy’s Sudden Exit from Christie’s May Mean for the Art Market One thing I know about Brett Gorvy, Christie’s departing chairman of Post-War and Contemporary art, is that he’s very smart — probably the savviest auction-house specialist I’ve ever encountered. So it’s almost impossible not to interpret his ... read more AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2016-12-07 Singing artists When did singers and songwriters first start getting lumped under the moniker “artists?” I think it happened during my lifetime, but I’m not sure, because I’ve spent a lot of my life in a cave. ... read more AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2016-12-06
The Phillips specialists acknowledge that their November sale was only an opening move; the larger effort to disrupt the duopoly has just begun. “We’re still in this phase when we get the sympathy vote. I don’t think it’s a giant leap. It’s just a good step to take.”
My personal election post-mortem is complicated. Trump won because of many and diverse reasons, including....the Electoral College. Hillary Clinton is currently ahead in the popular vote, and as absentee ballots are counted, her lead might increase. Yes, it is likely that more people want her to be president than want Donald Trump. Here's everything that I believe had at least some influence on the outcome. They are not in any particular order. Terrible, really terrible, turnout. I have not seen vote totals yet, but in 2008, there were 131 million votes cast and in 2012 about 129 million. This year, it looks like around 124 and a quarter million. So, five million fewer total votes. I haven't seen an analysis yet of where the missing votes are. I have heard that not nearly as many people volunteered for HRC as for Obama, which could certainly be the case.Voter suppression efforts, starting with the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by SCOTUS and laws passed in many states that made it harder to vote, by requiring ID that could be very difficult to obtain, by closing polling places or restricting early voting, etc. People who'd voted for 40, 50, 60 years had to obtain original birth certificates, which were sometimes unavailable owing to records destruction by fire, etc. This is partially responsible for the missing votes.White people and their racial resentments. If you don't think racism was a big factor in this election, you need to look at what Trump said during the campaign, at the targets of voter suppression, at the treatment of President Obama (birther lies), and at what people are actually saying about why they voted the way they did. Over at Whatever, John Scalzi's blog, a commenter (Layla Lawlor) notes that she has family and friends who voted for Trump, and they are saying things about returning to the way things were, when they were "nice for white people" and they didn't have to let black people and religious minorities into cultural institutions, etc.Working-class people who've been deeply harmed by the destruction of decent jobs and who feel they've been ignored by Washington and people on the coasts. They are right to be resentful and to want more for themselves and their children. Their interests have been neglected by neo-liberals and trade pacts that moved jobs to Mexico and China, and it's not like they've gotten the help that, as our fellow Americans, they deserved.People who voted for Trump thinking he couldn't possibly win. This happened with Brexit as well, where there was a fair amount of voters' remorse the next day / week / month. People your votes should not be cast as protests. Write letters instead.Third-party votes. Again, I haven't seen numbers on Johnson and Stein, but....The Clinton baggage. In 2008, I supported John Edwards and, after he flamed out, Barack Obama. Part of the reason was fearing that Clinton had been chased around and investigated for so long that she was basically radioactive to a large part of the electorate. It turns out that perhaps I was right. I don't know why I thought this year might be different and I certainly don't know why the Democratic field was so small and uncompetitive. Would Sanders have done better? We can't know. I do not doubt that he would have been branded a Communist, which he isn't, and given the anti-Semitic communications from Trump and his campaign, and given the power of the alt-right just now, the anti-Semitism directed at Bernie could have been very, very bad. Was she a terrible candidate? No, she ran an excellent campaign and everybody, including Trump and his campaign, though she would win. I do think she might have been the Democratic version of Jeb Bush. I do not have any idea how much of the terrible turnout is attributable to her.The desire of people for someone likable over someone competent (see also: Gore and Kerry vs. Bush, although argh Bush v. Gore). Clinton is not seen as likable; not that Trump is! Some huge percentage of people who voted for him think he lacks the appropriate temperament for the Presidency, and hoo boy, are they right.Here's some reading material for the day after a catastrophe. There is no doubt that we are in deep trouble, with a treaty-wrecking, climate-change-denying, isolationist in the presidency, a person who doesn't read, is deeply ignorant, and will appoint people like Scalia to the SC, and have in his cabinet the likes of Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani. I am deeply grieved and scared today and I'm sure many of you are as well. Read, take care of yourself, and act.Barack Obama's speech today (transcription)Hillary Clinton's speech today (transcription and video)Jon Chait on Republican authoritarianism (terrifying)David Frum on a Trump presidency (A conservative, he held his nose and voted for HRC.)NY Times editorialRoss Douthat (I mostly can't stand what he writes, but he also held his nose and voted for HRC. He is also clearly terrified of Trump.)John ScalziCharles StrossDavid Remnick(I am embarrassed at the lack of female pundits listed above! What is wrong with me?) What should we do now? Self-care, to start with. Donating to progressive or radical organizations you care about. Working toward finding and electing Democrats to the Senate in 2018. (I don't know how Feingold and Bayh blew it. McGinty came amazingly close. Looks as though Maggie Hassan might pull out NH, but WTF 19,000 votes for the independent there.) Finding lots of younger people who want to hold elected office - remember, if millennials had been the only Americans who voted, we would be inaugurating our first female president, come January, and she would have won in a landslide.
Mayor Gallery says that the authentication committee acted wrongly when it rejected 13 works submitted to it by the gallery’s clients. Neither Sotheby’s nor Christie’s will accept a work by Martin for auction or private sale unless it has been or will be included in the catalogue raisonné, the complaint says, so “a refusal by defendants to include an artwork [is] recognised in the worldwide marketplace as a conclusive statement that the artwork is a fake”, rendering it effectively “worthless”.
The urbane, world-traveling, Swiss-born Charles Dutoit has the BSO on his busy schedule for the next two weeks, and on the basis of many strengths evident in last night’s concert, readers would be well advised to hear the orchestra while he’s here. Last night’s music by British composers William Walton, Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst provided powerful lessons in the heroic and honed. Yo-Yo Ma, the admirable virtuoso and all-consuming seer into everything within his orbit, gave a penetrating and soulful account of Edward Elgar’s 1919 Concerto in E Minor for Cello and Orchestra, Opus 85. Annotator Hugh Macdonald wrote: We may discern in the Cello Concerto a sentiment of resignation and even despair generated from within by that strong vein of melancholy that had always been an inescapable element of Elgar’s music, and from without by the desolating impact of the Great War. But the Cello Concerto is not a threnody, nor even…a deliberately planned swansong. It is reflective, playful, tearful, and energetic by turns, like all his best music… Just so. And it is this chameleon-like character that can render certain lesser performances of this music unduly episodic. No chance of that with Dutoit and Ma. The two were as of one mind about this music, remaining always in touch with one another, taking visual cues from each other in the form of an arched eyebrow and a knowing sympathy of thought on a mutual path of music making. Watching the orchestra’s response to Ma’s glances in their direction added further delight. Ma admirably altered the timbre of his cello at certain points to match the timbre of a dovetailing instrumental line, such as at one moment, a flute solo, or at several other moments, when he purposely opened up his Moes and Moes-built cello’s low strings’ resonances to greet the entire double-bass section. Ma’s sympathy of thought makes him a pluperfect collaborator. The cellist gave the most coherent and convincing take this listener has heard in concert. Cello fans, hie thee hence for the remainder this run! The concert had opened with a zesty and bracingly fiendish reading of the busy Overture, Portsmouth Point (1925) of William Walton, which the BSO first played under Serge Koussevitzky in Symphony Hall November 19, 1926, 90 years ago almost to the day. One wonders how last night’s crackling exhibition might have compared with that earlier one. The hyperactivity begins with the downbeat and doesn’t quit until the finale. Only a couple of fleeting moments betrayed a bit of unfamiliarity with this score, which the orchestra last performed under Richard Burgin in 1941. By this weekend I’ll wager the orchestra’s performance will be flawless. How remarkably forward looking work was Gustav Holst’s Op. 32 Suite The Planets when it arrived in its completed version in London under Albert Coates on November 15, 1920, a full 96 years ago. No less today do we admire its bold and unconventional orchestrations and exotic melodies, its wide breadth of emotion, and its human as well as its ethereal connections. One became totally immersed, reveling in the impact of the many fff moments and relishing the intricate workings of the inner details. Imitations of Morse code signaling repeating in the violin, along with the subsequent imitative glockenspiel notes coming early in the Mercury, the Winged Messenger gave much amused enjoyment. The tympani beats a similar repeated pattern later. Could this latter be suggestive of native drumming, another form of messaging sent though the ether? I note with pleasure: the brutal and endlessly repeated tritone-pitched poundings in 5/4 meter of Mars, The Bringer of War, emblematic, one presumes, of the senseless and mindless brutality of seemingly unending cosmic and earthly combat… the joy and irrepressible spirit of Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity, which strides along carefree and confident, pausing only at its center to frame a melody that hints of a higher plane of nobility and promise which later Holst reused, first as a patriotic song created in 1921 and set to the verse of Sir Cecil Spring Rice, and later published in 1926 as a hymn “I Vow to Thee, My Country,” whereafter it was regularly sung at Armistice memorial ceremonies. As such it has become as inextricably woven into the fabric of British hymnody as Parry’s contemporaneous Jerusalem. the incessant flute and harp ostinati at the beginning of Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age, later imitated by two tubular bells and then answered in titanic volume by the entire orchestra, all tolling the inexorable passing of time… the hypnotic spinning of the atmospheres of far-distant worlds heard in Neptune, the Mystic, where the diaphanous orchestration is bedecked with sparkling starlight points of light played from the celesta. Then, at its end, Holst’s crowning effect – the singing and slowly fading away choir of distant female voices, endlessly repeating an oscillating 5/4 measure of 7-part harmony which Holst notes in his score “…are to be repeated until the sound is lost in the distance.” the 29 women from the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, prepared by Guest Chorus Conductor Lisa Graham, were appropriately distant and sirenic. Charles Dutoit and Yo Yo Ma (Robert Torres photo) Kudos to many of the orchestra’s outstanding instrumentalists: Mike Roylance, for his mastery of the exposed tenor tuba solo early in Mars James Somerville, Principal Horn, for his repeated rising four-note solos in Venus Timothy Genis, whose timpani virtuosity throughout, especially in Uranus, the Magician, was breathlessly essayed Malcolm Lowe, BSO Concertmaster, for many elegant solos Martha Babcock, Acting Principal Cello, for her heartfelt spotlight moments The entire brass section, with every member playing above and beyond in color, depth and with “grace under fire” James David Christie, organ, and the bass section, whose deep and soulful underpinnings were felt as well as heard Charles Dutoit, who knows this music thoroughly and recorded it in a highly acclaimed performance with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, made an ideal communicator, and the orchestra appeared completely engaged with his many demands. His tempi were ideal, his pacing impeccable, his shading of dynamics skilled and nuanced. His many subtle rubati, paced to wonderful effect in the Elgar Concerto, were again abundant the powerful exposition of The Planets. I would not miss the remaining opportunity to hear this magical score in this masterful interpretation. John W. Ehrlich is music director of Spectrum Singers, which he founded 37 years ago. He has been a singer and conductor in the Boston area for more than 45 years. The post BSO/Charles Dutoit/Yo-Yo Ma Bring Brits appeared first on The Boston Musical Intelligencer .