Go out and listen to something…

April 27, 2007

Mstislav Rostropovich

Filed under: music — burnett @ 6:53 am

Slava died today, and I thought it best to write a few memories while the motivation is fresh.� I first met Slava in 1980, and he worked with my chamber group, the Foggy Bottom Chamber Music Society from that point until 1986.� He coached us on the Prokofief Cello Sonata, the Brahms d minor Violin Sonata, the Brahms g minor Piano Quartet and the Shostakovich Piano Quintet.� The Brahms was on camera, part of a US AID documentary on Slava, with extensive footage of the FBCMS performing the Brahms under his exhortations.� (more…)

April 16, 2007

Benjamin Britten at Castleton Theater

Filed under: music, theater — burnett @ 6:28 am

Lorin Maazel conducted Britten’s “Rape of Lucretia”� this weekend at Castleton Theater.� This is a weighty piece that creates symbols for the oppression of beauty and purity by the sheer force of power.� The text goes straight for Christian symbolism:� the sacrifice of the pure Christ tied in with the violation and death of Lucretia.� An important distinction is that Lucretia decides that her beauty is a sin because of the lust and violence that it inspired.� The play is seen through the eyes of a man and woman who comprise a sort of chorus.� They are constantly aware of the mirror of the story to their own relationship, and they are as troubled as the viewer by the implications of the plot.� (more…)

April 14, 2007

The tea in China

Filed under: Art, food, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 6:09 am

Pu-er is my favorite tea.� It is good for the digestion, easy on the tummy and has a good, dark flavor.� I first had it in January in Shanghai and then ordered some from a company called Adagio Tea here in the U.S.� Their tea (expensive) � smelled and tasted like rotten spinach, so when I went back to China, I stopped in a tea shop to see if my perceptions had been misstaken.� The shop owner invited me to be seated, and graciously tolerated my mandarin while I inquired about the teas.� She gave me a few pours, and I left with a few ounces of Pu-er.� (more…)

April 13, 2007

Traditional Chinese Music concerts in Shanghai, Chongming

Filed under: music, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 6:57 am

From March 29 to April 10, Ma Xiaohui assembled a host of musicians for a series of 5 performances in various venues throughout Shanghai and the nearby island of Chongming.� The performers� included� Le Zhang, the concertmaster of the Shanghai Philharmonic, the principal cellist of the Phil, a percussionist who is a member of the Shanghai Traditional Orchestra, a free-lance percussionist who played the dagu, a free-lance traditional flutist (dizi), her trusted Pang on yangqing, a guzheng player, another violinist: � Mr. Deng; an itinerant jazz bassist on bells, and numerous children in various venues who performed on their erhu’s. Photos:� Liu at the dagu, Pang at the yangqin, & Dr. Xu joins us in rehearsal at Hua Shan hospital.


April 12, 2007

Coco Zhao at JZ club April 8, 2007

Filed under: music, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 8:56 pm

I had heard Coco Zhao ’s CD, Dream Situation, and was looking forward to his evening at JZ club.� Arrangements are� by violinist Peng Fei and the band includes pianist� Huang Jianyi, bassist E.J. Parker and drummer Chris Trzcinski.� Trzcinski was replaced by an excellent German drummer on this particular night.� � Coco is great to hear, and� the overall � style� is very sophisticated, ‘modern’ in terms of jazz genre.� He sings in Shanghainese, (more…)

Rolf Becker & the JZ All Star Band

Filed under: music, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 8:03 pm

On Sat., April 7, I caught the JZ big band.� Rolf Becker, who has had a lengthy career as an arranger and performer in Europe, is the leader and arranger for this group.� � (Becker is able to maintain his European activities while based in Shanghai).� � The band� includes 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 reeds, piano, bass, drums, guitar and vocalist.� They did a few of the Basie classics:� The Best is Yet to Come and Fly me to the Moon among them.� The last set included a couple Thad Jones arrangements.� The club was jammed and the crowd adores this band, and rightfully so.� (more…)

April 1, 2007

More Shanghai jazz scene

Filed under: music, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 6:09 pm

I went to the JZ club for the first time last night. � The club is owned by the same gentleman who owns the JZ school. � The place was jammed, and is clearly a Shanghai scene. � There is nothing like it in Washington, DC, in shear terms of popularity and success. � The quartet included an excellent pianist, Victor Noriega, from Seattle. � He had a very settled quality to his playing, and it allowed him to make some clever and forceful musical statements, if you will. (more…)

The JZ School in Shanghai

Filed under: music, music education, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 6:08 pm

Today marked my first meeting with Lawrence Ku, director of the JZ jazz school. � Lawrence and I share an affiliation with New England Conservatory where he participated in the M.Mus program for Jazz Studies. � It was clear that Lawrence has taken on an enormous task. � Since there is no jazz school in Washington, DC, home of Duke Ellington, I cannot imagine starting one in Shanghai. � The building is terrific, has real style, and the school has an excellent coterie of faculty and staff. (more…)

Zhang Zongmei

Filed under: Art, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 4:00 pm

The highlight of Moganshan Lu was my visit with Zhang Zongmei. � I walked into an unimproved space in which there were photos on the walls and more photos stacked haphazardly around the room. � I was motioned to have a seat at a tea table and was served jasmine tea by a gentleman in his mid 40’s with hair to his waist. � This was Zhang Zongmei, photographer, artist and poet. (more…)

Moganshan Lu Art Galleries

Filed under: Art, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 3:52 pm

March 30 was a good day to visit 50 Moganshan Lu, a loft space with about 30
art galleries, built into an old factory. I suspect this space could be
razed any day to build another 90 story skycraping extravaganza, but in the
meantime it is a fascinating destination. I have no understanding of the
art market, but it did not seem that there were bargains to be had here.
The galleries hosted very fine artists with extraordinary skills. (more…)

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