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Esa Pekka Salonen’s premiere with the NY Phil

Composer-conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen spoke briefly on stage before a full orchestra and a hundred singers to explain what his piece entitled Karawane was about. He said it was about language and how sounds can take on meaning. What we heard were musical sounds whose meaning was up to the listener to figure out.  It was like an abstract painting. You look for something you can relate to, you open your mind to suggestions.  This piece gives listeners more than enough suggestions to keep our minds fully occupied. The source material was a Dadaist poem by

Exciting Eclecticism at Bard

On March 8 Bard College entertained visiting artists Elan Sicroff, pianist, and Katharina Paul, violinist. They arrived from Amsterdam for a lecture/performance on the Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann. This program occurred at the László Z. Bitó Conservatory Building. Beret-clad Mr. Bitó himself attended, as well as George Quasha, the noted poet of American aphorisms, and a bevy of other interesting people.

County moves on new jail

New jail controversy

County Executive Marc Molinaro is asking the County legislature to approve a $192 million bond issue to fund additions to the county jail and new offices for the Sheriff.  The bond will cost taxpayers $10 million a year or $270 million over the 27 years of the bond’s duration. This project has been in the works for years, and it now looks like it is moving forward.  The State Commissioner of Corrections has threatened to withdraw the permit for temporary housing if the county legislature does not approve the bond issue by a deadline of April 1.

The Devil's Playground

Tony Kushner’s award-winning Angels in America has landed at Rhinebeck’s Center for Performing Arts. The star of the ironically entitled play features Lou Trapani as an unforgettable Roy M. Cohn, the American Lucifer of the 20th Century, the next best evil character to Melville’s Ahab. While the general quality of acting remains good, Trapani is superb as the corrupting force of American conservatism. The play becomes worth seeing just for Trapani’s performance, yet there are other virtues at work.

Twenty fervid fingers at Vassar

Anna Polansky and Orion Weiss

The repertoire of four-handed piano pieces is, admittedly, limited. In the summer of 1786 Mozart composed at a manic height, writing for anyone who might slip some cash into his jacket. That summer he wrote a four-hand piece. Orion Weiss and wife Anna Polonsky played that unusual Sonata in F major, K. 497, as an opener for their annual Vassar recital at Skinner Hall. The piece was written for Gottfried Jacquin, one of Mozart’s closest friends.

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