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Everything posted by papeetepatrick

  1. It's marvelous to finally get the official announcement, I'm quite excited about it. Seems especially wonderful to have two such rare visitors--RDB and POB--in successive summers, along with the usual ABT stars. Thanks for the remarks on the Pina Bausch, I think I will definitely want to see it now. I kept hoping they'd schedule 'Wuthering Heights', but it looks like they won't. The 'Caligula' I recently enjoyed many parts of, but wouldn't most likely feel the need to see it live if they did it, nor the 'Siddhartha', after Nanarina's impressions of it. I'm also intrigued by the prospect of their 'Giselle', as I imagine it will be very crisp and slightly cooler than most versions. Have you seen it? I'm really not going to pay much attention to what anybody does with 'Bolero' (I can't even believe Ravel is the one who wrote it sometimes), but maybe it will be at the end of a mixed bill, and I can split.
  2. That second line ranks as one of the most profound in its simplicity I've ever heard. Everybody secretly knows it, and a lot of people don't want to admit it! You've really tickled me with that one
  3. Except this time. This is not artistic privileges, and those people who are doing it know that. Yes, David Koch did not demand the privilege of dancing in Darci's Farewell Performance, BUT... By 'artistic privileges' I mean what you and I and other dance-lovers get without even paying very much. I'd call what these 'ballerinas' are getting is 'Provincial School of Ballet and Tap' privileges. And these people are anything but stupid. But there can be no mistake that 'Maple Leaf Rag' would have been one of the few options, and that's why it doesn't matter artistically. It's primarily distinguished because of being her last work, and the near-miraculous old creative age she lived to. Now, if I were to see them deciding to let Britney Spears do 'Lamentation' and insist on getting the stretchy garment made for her...yes, that would be different. As it is, this probably won't be as bad as Lee Radziwill in that horrible performance she did in Capote's teleplay of 'Laura'. I rather think the socialites themselves know not to ask to do 'Herodiade'.
  4. Don't misunderstand me -- I'd prefer that it were otherwise. But if the company could fill every opening night gala seat at $600 per, should they forgo the opportunity to raise the extra money and let seats go for less? I'd be interested to know how much they will actually net from the gala in any event. I agree with Kathleen that they should get just as much money as they can, they are UNDERFUNDED. And why shouldn't the galas be just the 'plaything of the rich', since they're willing to pay and enjoy the social aspect of it, as being members of the charity ball circuit and all the rest--who else could enjoy it? nobody but these people are the insiders of that class; they're not worried about 'getting quality', at least for that gala night. Serious dancegoers all know that galas are more about the celebration than the art itself, which you can see better almost any other time. Why should 'the little people' even want to take on such things? I've never had even the slightest desire to go to a gala, although I don't think of myself exactly as a 'little people' just because I haven't the money for galas. As Leona might have said 'Galas, unlike taxes, are not for the little people'. That wise old sage. kfw--it's always about the money at the fundraisers, that's what those are for--or really at any 'exclusive event'. When Barbra Streisand did her corny act at the Village Vanguard in Autumn, 2009, there were these fiercely-competitive competitions to win the few available seats for the non-V.I.P.'s, and so a few people got to go to the performance. However, they were NOT allowed to go to the after-performance party uptown; this was for the Clintons (all three) and the other 'important people'. Streisand has always done this kind of super-snobbery back with her big obscenely-priced concerts beginning about 1994, and she's even an artist. None of them are any different from the other, it's just that some are more needy than others. Peter Martins wouldn't even do a toast at that first event with Koch because of 'hard economic times' or some such rot (or he wouldn't provide vodka for the audience, as had been at the 100th Balanchine birthday; of course, he made sure to be smug to the audience anyway, as if that's expected, maybe it is as far as I know). Everything Kathleen says about the networking and the connections, the socialites are heavy into doing that kind of work, they love arm-twisting, breaking heads, and practically blackmailing people into paying for these expensive tickets and donations. I've heard choreographers do 'begging ads' on WQXR some 15 or 20 years ago--asking for a minimum of $300,000, it was one of the weirdest things I ever heard, and I don't know how it worked or not; and what's wrong with that if he got it?). Always the people that pay more get more social privileges, but that does not translate to artistic privileges, and it's totally democratic when it comes to performances with live orchestra of 'Appalachian Spring' and 'Letter to the World' and 'Cave of the Heart'. These 'vulgar galas' pay for those pristine, unforgettable performances, and I will never forget the difference in seeing the Graham in 2005 at CCenter with live orchestra: All the other times it was recorded music, and it made more the difference with the Graham company than any I've ever seen. I think it quite extraordinary that people resent the Graham company, which has always been on hard times even when she was alive (or always had periods of it), for doing some 'down on all fours' stuff, when NYCB gets funding that hardly is within the liberal tradition of the Arts, then plans a mind-numbing gala with two self-congratulatory names working together for some blown-up thing that sounds somewhat better than Spider-Man, most likely. Both had been better at their original professions, one as dancer, the other as pop singer/composer, and are now advanced socially, so can do these silly projects. also, Cristian, why is some little frivolity with silly women who can't dance but 'got money' any worse than a great legend of ballet, your own idol, working with the Castro regime because of her own ambitiions (I'm not saying she shouldn't have, just that she did the cozying up that some are not going to think was the most altruistic or tasteful thing they ever heard of). And it's all political when it comes to 'socialites', in the Graham case, and 'Tea Party donors' in someone else's case. You can talk about 'discussion not to be held on political matters', but these 'socialites' and their networking and fundraising is all political, although usually called 'social', since it's upper-class matters. In these matters, it's all a matter of 'which bad taste is the worst bad taste', because it's all bad taste, from Peter's galas of a few years ago with maybe THREE Ives pieces in it (who'd want to hear all that much Ives at a gala but some down-freak?) Artists can just talk a line about being non-political and non-mercenary, but that's all it ever is; they're as political and as economically-oriented as anybody else, maybe just not 'purists' when it come to hedge funds, because, you know, when you get right down to it, it's those greedy Wall Streeters who see the 'purity' in derivatives, hedge-funds, and are always interested, when push comes to shove, in bailouts that allow a return to unjust exec. bonuses. What artist can possibly aspire to such 'purism' when it comes to lucre? In short, what really is the difference in 'where you get the money from' that Helene has pointed out many times is something artists just can't do? What is the difference in a few socialites getting out to one of Graham's least serious works and having a little fun with it, since it's hardly 'Acts of Light' we're seeing there anyway? What is the difference in 'taking their money' for something that disappears and having to 'sell the name' of a theater to a big right-wing donor? I don't think that's the worst thing in the world either, except that the results for the hall don't seem so much the better, but what Graham company is doing in terms of possibly 'pandering' (at least this time) doesn't hold a candle to what other artists have done. UNLESS people are ready to say that all that right-wing funding should make people now say 'I can't believe the New York City Ballet would ever fall so low'. In any case, the 'really little people' are excluded from ALL ballet performances: They can't afford 5th Ring or Standing Room, and they never ever do see a real ballet either. So if the 'middle little people' are excluded from Martha Graham Co.'s much-needed fundraising gala, then I couldn't care less.
  5. Cristian--it's only for one night, and it's not even the only piece on the program. I'd as lief see it as the 45-50 minute piece by Peter Martins and Paul McCartney for their gala--and I don't mean just the Martins either. That's far more depressing to me, and they never have to worry about having recorded music at NYCB. Not that I might not be at least as happy with it, with their often poor orchestral-playing level, and the dreadful acoustics at Koch Theater (I'd much rather see RDB at the Met so as to hear the music properly as well as see this beautiful company, but I can't imagine they'd sell enough, it's too rarefied, not flashy enough.) McCartney's 'Liverpool Oratorio' was no better than okay, and made worth listening to only because of Hadley and TeKanawa and that beautiful church deserved something special (I've been in it, and it's quite awesome). And if $$$$$ don't matter that much, then in that case, NYCB should do without all its improvements that David H. Koch's $$$$$$$$$$ made (and didn't made.) Martha Graham having to use recorded music? It's ridiculous. I don't care how they get the money, frankly, since NYCB has certainly proved they don't care who they get it from (and that's not because I blame them either, I don't, but they're stuck with a not entirely pristine record, in this case, IF you know what I mean...) Admittedly, the combo of McCartney/Martins makes it sound doubly bad, and with Koch's money they didn't even have to do it either (but they think it's WONDERFUL, you know.)
  6. My reading of that is that it must have been an extraordinary performance, is that what you mean? I think you used the quotes to denote the Siren's profession, not Suzanne's. If so, it sounds as though the 'professional ennui' would be very much the attitude of a 'sinuous and serpentine' Siren--nonchalant. I just wonder if Farrell could do that attitude of nonchalance at that age; my guess is probably she could already, since she'd sometimes been talked of as 'mannered' in the first period, none of which I got to see. She could definitely project an uncaring attitude later in the 70s when it was appropriate.
  7. I can't see the problem, it's just for the gala, and not for a serious piece. Galas are supposed to be a little less 'serious art', aren't they? I've heard of a lot of sillier things for galas. The worst thing is they don't have enough money, and I never heard them with a live orchestra but once in the last years. Maybe the quality has gone down seriously in the last couple of years, but the 'socialites' have always been a big deal with Graham (from Bethsabee Rothschild to Jacqueline Onassis, although I guess they didn't 'dance'.)
  8. Typical. I guess it just goes to show that on a board as politically correct as this one--where the crimes that Polanski may have committed (sodomy had been mentioned?), have to be read about elsewhere, for example; and even a discussion about Toni's 'The Surrender' would not be possible--that jokes about senseless REAL LIFE murders can be thought to be so sophisticated and clever.
  9. I can sympathise, Mashinka. By the time the credits rolled I was ready to shoot myself in the head. You know, Simon, that's neither funny nor witty. Surprised at you.
  10. I've never seen a photo of Balanchine that showed him with quite this much urbane handsomeness as the one with Hart here. Touch of natural brashness to it, maybe, too.
  11. kfw said: Agree with kfw. And it's all right when a performer is once in a while 'selfish', and then all right if the critic points this out so that it hasn't gone unnoticed. Not that this necessarily means that she was 'selfish', of course, anyway--I just mentioned this, because that impression could also come from an exhilirated mood as well, in which you were 'full of yourself'. This could still be an 'off night' for the whole piece, but there can be all sorts of 'off nights', including those in which it's just not quite inspired or quite enough energy. kyeong said: kfw said: Good heavens, yes, he can't be hemmed in and worry about every little thing he says, and I'm obviously not even a big fan. If he 'didn't have confidence in his taste', then he ought not have that job! even if we don't always like that taste. 'Innate bias' is something we need as well--that's just like a ballerina's 'possible selfishness' or 'over-the-topness'--personal taste is part of it. Why cannot he himself 'clearly know what kind of...etc.'? And why would his 'acquired, cultivated, educated taste' always be better? And if his 'confidence in taste as a whole should always be carefully monitored', I can assure you it must be, or people wouldn't be talking about him all the time. This sounds almost as though he needs one of those bracelets that people who get out of jail early have to wear. If people are TOO carefully monitored, they become afraid to express anything. I mean, what PLANET? This is not a country where 'Dear Leader' has to be pleased to such a degree beyond just not cussing or leering too much.
  12. I'm not sure that can be factually disagreed on, however, at least in most contemporary intellectual usage. If so, then theater and dance and music critics are also 'media critics'. A 'media critic' in this day and time is usually referred to as any of several kinds of theorists, going back even before Marshall MacLuhan, and long including those who double as philosophers like Jean Baudrillard and Slavoj Zizek and Noam Chomsky and all the left-leaning writers who talk about the manipulation of societies by TV--and there is always connection with 'media studies', which is always getting bigger and bigger as it's just 'so much fun', it seems (obviously, I've been a bit too exposed to some of this to enjoy it as much as some of its favourite hobbyists, whom I've known wisely but too well). But even if one insists on calling Pauline Kael and Stephen Holden 'media critics' (and even if one is considered to be accurate, although I don't thnk it is), the fact is definitely that Pauline Kael is known to be a 'film critic' to quite as great a degree that Alistair Macaulay is known to be a 'dance critic'. A 'media critic' is one who critiques media, in common intellectual parlance; 'which' medium one is in doesn't constitute (for most people) that they are a 'media critic', but rather whether they talk about media as such or not, not specific works within the medium (unless that's attached to the other while being subsumed to it, as in some of Zizek's observations about 'The Matrix', 'High Noon', etc.)
  13. Thanks vh, much better now. This piece has a lot going for it, and I'd rank it as a Gutsy, Noble Failure (for one thing, the subject matter--more like Paris Hilton than Graham's 'ancient famous person', not like Herodias, Phedre, Jocasta and Oedipus, Mary Queen of Scots, but le Riche had a few definitely images to work with, and there's that stark, Gallic elegance). I'll say more tomorrow, as it's late, but the opening in total silence says more about how even better this work could have been; I did finally just quit fighting the seeming dissonance of all that overly pretty, even syrupy Vivaldi, but I never really liked that aspect (some laziness in the concept-conference, maybe? I'm sure there was another way, but it's still got a lot going for it--and the usual POB perfect dancing.)
  14. Good post, puppytreats, thoughtful and thought-provoking. Yes, it must be, although you might just mean Macaulay and other NYTimes 'power-critics'. The query may come from the fact that any word he utters is discussed at great length here--more than I think is merited, but then I've fallen into that trap myself until recently, because he's knowledgeable but not IMO a good writer (some critics are). People are right that the NYTimes critic is the most-read, even if many don't like him/her (although I don't think I remember Dunning and Anna Kisselgoff being so controversial, but then I wasn't reading them as often), but I think it doesn't have to be taken as seriously as it is. He's almost always linked, and is sometimes truly worth paying attention to, sometimes not, sometimes just fatuous (as the NYTimes in general seems to be increasingly becoming, although it's still the Paper or Record, and we have to use it). Yes, insofar as it does apply, and where. I think on this board, it's more a matter of trust of the NYTimes in general, rather than much need for 'greater expertise', because a lot of the members of Ballet Alert have it themselves, and don't need to be told; so many of them find it as some sort of addendum, I guess. Frankly, some of them here, as I've mentioned a number of times, say far more interesting and useful things about ballet for me personally, as they don't resort to hyperbole. And if you're new here, you may not know that there are quite a number of professional critics, not only for dailies, but for other dance journals as well (some have blogs connected with this board, or elsewhere too, apparently.) The critics here are not usually going to weigh in so much on the value of colleagues, of course, that's not to be expected. But there are several on here you must have discovered by now. It's 'not very nice' to say such things, but it's worse when one N.J. critic for a paper said 'Ratmansky is an idiot', so that frankly I think it's good that there is at least that much freedom to speak on this board, even if that is extreme. I tend to say such things about certain writers, including one who writes about dance (but doesn't do dance reviews, as far as I know, but rather writes the worst purple prose I've seen in my entire life of any kind and anywhere, but that's another matter.) Some might 'look down upon it', but I doubt most would, and they oughtn't, and it's an excellent point too. The problem is, of course, that critics can't research everything they review that thoroughly, no matter how erudite and well-versed they are in any given art-realm. Yes, I've done the same with certain writers and performers (in various art-forms.) It is the only way to become fully expert in the artist, but in this way I'll defend all critics, in that if they have to review a lot of material, they can't be specialists in nearly all of it. Macaulay is generally thought by those who do know here (I'm not one of them) to know a great deal about ballet and dance, whether or not one agrees with him or likes him. Here's where we diverge: I don't think it's necessarily good either, although it can be, especially if the reviewer also writes the fiction or good non-fiction. Or it can be perfectly horrible too. There is garbage being written everywhere, and probably always was, in addition to the good pieces. It's just as normal to write criticism of dance as of any other art, and I don't think the 'members of this board rely on it' especially. Some find Macaulay esp. interesting, illuminating, whatever... But there are several critics who write on this board (some more than others) who are writing professionally, and I'd imagine they all have differing views of Macaulay and NYTimes critics of the past. I'd personally rather read them--there's not only DanceView Times, with several members here who write, but also the UK's 'Ballet Magazine' reviews of RDB and RB are particularly good (as this one which is linked in another post here: http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_10/dec10/js_rev_royal_danish_ballet_sleeping_beauty_1210.htm, (these are the kinds of reviews I get most from and do learn from and even 'rely on', as well as just some criticism written directly onto the board by some of these same people) as are some of the other British members who aren't writing professionally, like Simon G. and leonid (who doesn't write here for some time, however.) I was interested in something Richard mentioned about theater critics influence being somewhat less than in the past, particularly the NYTimes one. I don't know about 'the last decade', to me it seems as if the Times theater critic has become less 'make or break' for even longer, but that might just be for the huge shows. No time to go into that in detail, but right now the big absurdities around 'Spider-Man' are one example. Ben Brantley reviewed it while it was (is) still in previews, because its opening keeps being postponed, and said it was one of the worst musicals in history (or close to that, it 'might be', but who cares). It's still making a fortune, even with all the danger and irresponsibility (including legal citations) or maybe because of this. And it probably will if it ever opens. So maybe the theater critics still hold sway on smaller and more serious productions, but not on the big tourist spectacles. I remember a good number of Frank Rich reviews, was not overly impressed with most of them, but I haven't paid attention to the powerful critics since the 60s. I don't see Ben Brantley as being an esp. powerful theater critic the way Macaulay is, though. Less powerful still are film critics of even the NYTimes--most people don't even know their names. And the Establishment movie critics of today seem less knowledgeable than those of the past: Nowadays, there is a lot of reviewing, for example, of movies adapted from novels, in which you can see that the critic didn't read the novel; this becomes obvious when you read it, given that they can't refer to it. I think this was less frequent in decades past, and even critics I don't admire as much as others do, like Pauline Kael, were much more often familiar with the books or plays from which films were adapted. This doesn't seem to be a pre-requisite anymore, and here, in particular, is where 'everybody writes reviews', with the IMDb an often hilarious spectacle of people writing 'in movie review mode', and taking it dead seriously too. That's just one example of how bad movie-reviewing can be, though, but I'd think it's the one that requires the least expertise. Any music or dance critic has to really have some solid experience and long experience too, even if some indulge in the sillinesses that are becoming more and more prevalent--and this goes for the very top critics, there's probably a lot of pressure to do 'pop things' which I dislike personally, like choosing 'best of lists' and making sweeping statements about geniuses (that the critic often or always isn't, even if s/he's a good critic in many ways.)
  15. I rarely would defend a point against elitism, having nothing but problems with my own elitism. Canbelto's point was delimited and subtle (or that was my reading; in that case, my reading of canbelto's remark was delimited, subtle and even elitist.) I saw a lot of Balanchine live here in the 'Golden Age', and I know what that was. I also know that the Paris Opera Ballet really has something right now, and that the Royal Danish Ballet does too--I'm going to the second this year, the first next. 'THEY are my favourites...' to paraphrase Miss Jean Brodie. So it's a matter of opinion and sensibility, which might even be chemical--you know, the matter of 'mourning' about the past, and sensibilities which are more prone to cling to the past and be depressed about the current situations. I'm talking about myself, who used to be much more likely to think 'some art form is dead'. I probably still have a strong tendency in that direction, except that there is always something in any of them that all of a sudden is an exception that seems to come out of nowhere. Even in fiction you'll find the occasional writer of the 90s and 00s--mainstream sort, not talking about me now--like Harry Mulisch, who doesn't just write shtick like Rushdie is wont to do. Or there'll be a surprise B'way show or movie that 'couldn't possibly have happened in this era'. But I also wonder if people really even want another choreographer as great as Balanchine; it's as though he still ought to hold sway even in death, and in one of the more recent (last 40-50) American-style trends, is more famous now and after death than he was when alive, just like Marilyn and Elvis. I'm sure there are some choreographers who aren't intimidated by this, though, and that they even do surface and are seen by those who aren't always looking for a glimmer of Balanchine to prove the point. There's always something more, as you say. But there always was.
  16. That's very good, I think, as is your whole long post of notes on the Homans, which I haven't read, but does sound like a fine reference book. I also like this singling out you've done here, and what you say before quoting it: I'm glad you pointed out Toni Bentley's review from the fall, as it is the worst thing I've read of any kind since her last hyperbole and total immersion in every nook and cranny of snob appeal--to the point that even refinement is given a bad name; it's little more than a middle-class-wishful caricature of aristocracy, the kind of thing Louis Auchincloss was so good at portraying the reality of--as in such characters as drunken layabouts and 'parvenu-toff tutu-toffs' (if he'd gotten to the latter). A post I read about someone else's writing, called 'Notes from the Vomitorium' seems to apply equally to all Bentley's work--sometimes 'faux-aristocracy' comes across as mere vulgarity, by virtue of being vulgar. I have never read even a single paragraph by Ms. Bentley that was not vulgar, and in fact, it is simply excruciating. There are obvious reasons she is allowed to indulge in such grotesqueries, absolutely none of which are 'aristocratic', a word she is apparently deeply in love with, but somehow wants it to remain 'ethereal' and 'inaccessible' (like 'the heaven' of 'my special-only ballet in the eternity of real-time' or some such rot.) But this is particularly unbelievable in its condescension: Most of us love 'The Red Shoes', but this is sickening (although I couldn't tell how much of it was literally Homans's view as well): I can see that she deserves credit for pointing out some of the better points of Homans's book (which comes across as indispensible, if flawed, as a general concensus throughout the thread and its tangents). I was also interested that you call her 'an excellent writer', because, while I respect Kathleen's and Richard's assessments (most of us need tougher editors) as to the quality of the writing not being necessarily always 'beautiful' or maybe not 'exquisite' or 'perfect' (the subtext I was reading--for history and non-fiction, the rules are more stringent, and it has to be scrupulously formal), it is clearly not always ugly. The quality of writing is perhaps not as important as the research accuracy, which you point out well, but it does matter as well. I thought this extremely good too, as the kind of recommendation of the book that is indisputable, although I think you're citing of other important texts also has real merit: Without having enough rock-solid background to make an unerring assessment, I would think that in some cases, these books are enhanced by there having a professional dancer who can also write, which seems to be the case to some degree with Ms. Homans, despite that depressing (and frankly boring) prognosis, reminding of the physicians' manuals 'death will occur'. There are quite a number of fine dance writers on this board, and not only the ones who practice it professionally. And The New York Times alone (not even getting to other papers and journals) proves that writing of an almost overweeningly silly quality is now being allowed publication regularly--as Simon G. pointed out last week in that appalling Style Section article (by Joshua David Stein) about Millepied and Portman, as 'diabetes-inducing', and it did read like the work of food critics like Gael Greene (who used to write oozing restaurant reviews for New York Magazine), so I guess the 'trade' may sometimes have to do with whether you're yourself trained as a ballet dancer, although not always. Edited to add Feb. 13, although While I still believe Ms. Bentley is incapable of writing anything that is 'not vulgar', I no longer hold that against her when she is writing her 'personal odyssey'; the prose works much better there. To wit, I just found the full Playboy excerpt from 'The Surrender', and I hardly ever laughed so hard. Her 'betrayal of Betty Friedan' was particularly geniale. So Suzanne is her idol? I'm not so sure...but I dare not link it...because...
  17. Oh, I've had this in addition to the rest. I think you can get rid of those by clicking the arrow to the right of the counter and it finally goes away. While I'm at it, I'll add that the person who wrote me on Jan. 31st hadn't seen my message from back early Jan. himself. But then another person wrote and a pop-up appeared as well the email notification. A third person wrote and no popup appeared but it was in email.
  18. Thanks, Helene. I checked my Settings/Notifications, and they were all set for email and pop-ups. I'm just going to check regularly and not worry about it, as it's just not consistent, and unnecessarily difficult to figure out--esp. since I looked where you said to, and all those things were previously checked.
  19. Just for the record, I think I realize now that you have no choice but to check your 'messenger' regularly if you expect to get any of your messages on time. I just checked mine by accident, and found one from Jan. 31st, and there had never been any indication that it was there--as a 'continuing conversation', it had not come up as a 'you have 1 unread message'. I got no indication in my email that there was this message here, either. I know that, because someone else wrote me, but I think through the email, and I did get his message that way this morning (this was current, the other five days old.) I'm just documenting this for people who may not check their messenger often enough--some of them just lie in there buried, without any indication at all that there's anything new.
  20. Yes, they are missing as of now, and they were still on there this morning. I called the box office to ask about buying in person, she said call back Monday, that you couldn't buy them at the box office as of today. I doubt it's serious, although at the time she thought they were available online.
  21. "Critical awareness involves the ability to distinguish between personal taste and artistic merit." -- James Calvert You were close. Helene's signature. I always find it mesmerizing too, as every time you see one of her posts, you get stuck with thinking about it again (and don't always want to have to.)
  22. Oh my god, Tchaikovsky didn't make the delicate, refined Tommasini's Illumined List!!!??? I don't think either Piotr or I will be able to get over this, you know. And maybe even based on one of the greatest works ever written for piano and orchestra--fabulous to either play with orchestra (and I have) or hear (esp. by a 'piano animal' like the great Martha Argerich, the BEST.). Crass???? I don't think so. But you're right: I can't imagine Tchaikovsky's great piano concerto (terrible that the one used for 'Ballet Imperial' doesn't come even close to this one as a piece of music, although it's pretty fantastic too) making something as crass as a 'Ten Best' List by some two-bit NYTimes critic, who just wants to show his cultivated tastes. I wrote up 50 greatest composers I could think of, and the whole thing so frikkin' silly I deleted all of it (yes, even with 50, not just the ludicrous '10 Best', which just sounds like Facebook or Twitter; Piotr Illyich must have turned over in his grave at his omission from this illustrious survey--some snubbings just plain HURT!!! As for the 'bombastic', don't knock it, they all did it. And just to think, Wagner might have done it too...might have been bombastic...jeez...and all the while I thought it was something else... All I've gotta say is Liszt is in the TOP FIVE as well. Wrote TONS of bombast. You think Bach and Beethoven didn't? Well, they did.
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