Joe Cocker and Bob Dylan

December 22, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, Ulalume |

Image courtesy of Eddie

Christmas 2014 – and what have you done?  Gluttony, jealousy, wrath…getting drunk and falling down…presents, presents, presents.  P is listening to (& loving) his new vinyl (!) record, ‘Lost on the River: the new basement tapes’, featuring various artists adding melody and shape to some lyrics of Bob Dylan stuck in a drawer since 1967.  Best so far: ‘Down on the Bottom’, ‘Kansas City’, ‘Liberty Street’, ‘Florida Key’ and the title track (# 12).  Maybe a review in the fullness of time (at least 20 more listens first).  Abject lesson to all: don’t throw away your turntable!  Never discard your…

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Falstaff

December 11, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Opera Australia, Melbourne December 2014 To the claustrophobic scarlet pit that is Melbourne’s Arts Centre for Verdi’s take on Sir John, a rather broad and heavy handed work drawing mostly from the plonking Merry Wives of Windsor with only salted bits from the history plays. First done at La Scala in 1893, this is a radically economical opera in structure: no overture, no recitative, almost no arias; melodies that rattle along, into each other and most formalities discarded as it cuts to the Garter Inn without ado. Shakespeare’s Falstaff is big in every sense but here he is merely fat,…

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Ariadne & Theseus at the Mortlock Chamber

Picture courtesy of Dr Daniela Kaleva

To the Mortlock Chamber in the State Library of SA, to hear L’Arianna abbandonata e gloriosa and Lamento d’Arianna (1608), works reconstructed from Monteverdi’s fragmented scores, with solo voice and harpsichord, accompanied by the odd stage effect to evoke waves crashing on lonely Naxos, where (failed Argonaut) Theseus has parked Ariadne to show his gratitude for her help surviving the labyrinth on Minos. This paring away eschews the go-for-baroque approach that could overwhelm the purity of the harmonics, which are quite reminiscent of Purcell’s Dido pieces…

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Carmen – PC? 22/11/14

November 24, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, MUSIC, Opera, Ulalume |

The WA Opera has achieved fame – no, sorry, infamy – by censoring smoking from its production of Carmen.  This due to pressure from their new sponsor, Healthway, an independent statutory body reporting to the WA Minister for Health, which according to its website “provides sponsorship to Sports, Arts and Community organisations to promote healthy messages, facilitate healthy environments, reduce the promotion of unhealthy messages, and increase participation in healthy activities … key priorities for Healthway are reducing harm from tobacco, reducing harm from alcohol, reducing obesity and promoting good mental health.” In view of this, we assume WA Opera…

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Nazi Philistines – Arthur Boyd – The Brians

November 24, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, Modern Music, MUSIC, POLITICS, Ulalume, WW2 |

Pyjamas

The Wall Street Journal reports that the art collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, who died on 6/5/14, has been bequeathed to a museum in Bern.  The collection included works looted by the Nazis and ‘assayed’ under the stewardship of Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand: Matisse, Franz Marc, Monet and Renoir (which last perhaps suggests the basic philistine nature of the national socialists). German authorities famously carried out a home invasion of Gurlitt’s Augsburg home in 2012 and confiscated the art as, according to the WSJ, “Gurlitt sat shocked in a corner wearing his pyjamas.” This property was never returned to him but the…

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