Stephen Kaye

Garrick Ohlsson is truly one of the giants of the piano, not just by virtue of his impressive size but for a special kind of gentleness that bespeaks the humanity that he brings to every piece he plays. His concert at Alice Tully Hall last Thursday, part of the Great Performers series, took a good look at three Russian composers: Prokofiev through four short early works, Rachmaninoff through a late piece, and Scriabin through five difficult pieces. 

It is not every day that one gets to attend the premiere of a requiem.  It is not usual for a requiem to be written by a composer who has not reached his thirtieth birthday.  Yet the subject is universal:  the old have no lock on requiem writing.  

One of the distinguishing features of Treuille’s Requiem is the depth of scholarship that went into its making.  First, the composer has chosen the Latin texts. Second, he has researched those texts to find sources in ancient Jewish rites with corollary usages in Muslim texts, thus finding a universality, specifically in the Sanctus.  

Gidon Kremer, one of the old hands of the violin and Daniil Trifonov, a 24 year old Russian  already recognized as a prodigious pianist, teamed up Friday, January 23 offering a Carnegie Hall audience a singular program of new and old.  The old was a sonata and a fantasy by Mozart  and a Schubert fantasy (in C minor, D. 934);  two pieces by Mieszyslaw Wienberg were the newish although new really means, in this case, newly rediscovered. 

What kind of music would you write if you were just released from the notorious Lubyanka prison where Stalin’s infamous Beria was the warden in chief?  You don’t have to answer because Weinberg’s answer is more than adequate. His Violin Sonata No 5 played with restraint by Kremer and with respect by Trifonov was filled with conflicting emotions, from the terrible terror of not knowing if each day might be your last to the nostalgia of memory that brings up Jewish folk songs, fleeting moments of joy followed by war, tragedy, death of loved ones and the sadness/gladness of being a survivor burdened by memory.

Few may have noticed that for a space of 14 days Peter Devers was not in his accustomed desk at Houlihan Lawrence.  He was attending an unusual, rarely held festival of falconry at an even more unusual location – Abu Dhabi. 

Peter’s connection to falconry goes back to 1974 when he first took a course on the sport in Ireland and then returned home to capture his first Red-tailed Hawk. He has had Coopers Hawks, Harris Hawks, and a goshawk, his favorite however being “Wyvern”, a Red-tailed Hawk who was his hunting companion for 27 years. 

Peter was a guest of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of this Persian Gulf emirate, who was hosting the Third International Festival of Falconry in a desert compound specially constructed for the festival, and afterwards at the Al Fortran Sports Complex near the city of Abu Dhabi.     

Eliot Clarke of Millbrook Real Estate reports the sale of 245 Sharon Station Road, a four bedroom house on 14 acres that sold for $945,999.  It was listed at $1,175,000.  The listing broker was Katherine Dunlop.

George Langa, also of the Millbrook Real Estate office reports the sale of the LaBerta property on Duel Road in Bangall.  This is the property known for its fortress-like stone wall.  It sits on 16 acres and has a four bedroom colonial style house and a small stable. A cottage on a separate parcel went with the package for which the buyer paid $1.6 million. The selling broker was the Elyse Harney office.  

Katherine Dunlop sold the house on five acres at the corner of Flint Hill Road and Smithfield Road for $1.950 million.  It was reportedly in prime condition.

Paula Redmond sold the sprawling colonial at 745 Hollow Road, Staatsburg  that had been listed at $1.975 million for $1.6 million.  It came with a back lawn of 160 acres and an 11 stall barn.  Paula was also the listing broker.  

Posted: 12/18/2015 

Every age has its own language; every artist seeks her own voice.   On Thursday, December 11,  Yuja Wang, a 27 year old Chinese pianist chose not to relive early 19th century Vienna when artists wrote and sang about modest maidens and rippling water.  Franz List transposed songs by Schubert for piano solo that Ms Wang translated into her own 21st century idiom.  The lovely melodies were there, but often in the background.  A bubbling brook was barely discernable over the babble of what might be a room full of arguing students all talking at once.  Ms. Wang asks us to lay our preconceptions side. Listen to what she has to say.  She had deconstructed and reconstructed this music and this is what she came up with.  It was a 21st century interpretation by a serious artist of a pastoral that no longer existed.  There is no nostalgia.  There is the excitement of something new.  You may not like it, but it demands respect. 

Posted: 12/18/ 2014

Jolliness is not a bad idea, no, not at all.  And there’s lots to be jolly about.  Our communities are safe and in a celebratory mood, our climate, though warming, is seasonally cold and our land is, as we write this, covered with a blanket of snow.  We are in the spirit of giving, giving to family and friends, but also to those in need.  We can be jolly givers and take pleasure in the joy of others.  In song, parades and parties, in eating and in the simple act of neighborliness we can spread cheer and good will to all men.  

Posted: December 3, 2014 

We are one of many voices in the community that sincerely hope that the Silo Ridge golf – residential development succeeds. The benefits to the community will be substantial.  We also applaud the time being taken by the planning board of Amenia to review each issue carefully and in full view of the public.  This is a huge development for the town, well beyond anything it has heretofore seen. 

Many members of the public have expertise in particular areas such as landscaping, wildlife conservation, flood control systems, planning and insurance.  The town is lucky to have these talents, and is wise to let them participate in the planning process.

We mention the letters of John Duffy who is experienced in performance and completion bonds, an arcane subject.  He makes the point that the town should obtain protection from the risk of default and from the risk of a contractor failing to complete.  The risks relate to both the water and sewer system and the reclamation of the land.   These could become obligations of the town if the developer or its sub-contractors default.  

November 19, 2014 

We noticed that gas prices have suddenly broken the three dollar barrier.  Commodity prices are down in general.  This means that producers and consumers will benefit. Transportation will be cheaper.  More people will fly.  Factories will save money on raw materials.  Primary producers, like farmers, mining companies and the oil and gas industries will suffer.  The fracking companies will find margins disappearing.  Drilling may slow down. 

Looking beyond the good news, we ask, will commuters start looking further afield for housing now that driving is cheaper?  Will we find builders buying up our farms? Will projects that were not viable last year suddenly become viable?  Will housing starts pick up? 

Cheap gas may be great for people who drive, but it is not so great for global warming.  How can we wean drivers off fossil fuels if gas prices continue to decline? 

How are we going to get more public transport if private transport is a bargain? 

November 19, 2014 

Christine Gevert once again showed that when scholarship and musicianship are combined  they can produce a singularly interesting concert experience.  She paired two Bach cantatas with six works by the Italian-Argentinian Baroque composer Domenico Zipoli.  Don’t know Sr . Zipoli?  He was a prolific composer, born in Italy, played the organ at Rome’s Jesuit Church Chiesa del Gesu, moved to Spain and then to Argentina around 1716 where he continued to compose, sending his manuscripts all over South America.  Most of his work was thought to have been lost, but many manuscripts were recently discovered in Chiquitos, Boliva.   Christine Gevert is one of the few musicologists who have rescored his work for period orchestra and chorus. 

As the detailed program notes relate, Bach used Luthern sources for his German audience and patrons.  Zipoli was, of course Catholic, and was taught by Scarlotti.

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