05 November 2006

six degrees

From Strauss to Monk. On Friday night, it was Strauss's "Four last songs" sung by Karita Mattila at Carnegie Hall. Yesterday, the music continued with an afternoon recital at Morris Jumel Mansion in Harlem. Carlene Stober and Charlie Weaver played 17th and 18th century string music in the 1765 house. Lovely and oh so civilized but not pretentious. Then on to the A train from 168th Street in Manhattan to Lafayette in Brooklyn. A fine supper at Scopello (their ravioli di funghi is very satisfying with a glass of nero davola) and off to BAM for Meredith Monk. The Majestic/Harvey was filling with stage smoke as a sort of chant/drone filled the air. Mystical. Then the first words out of Monk's mouth are "Last song" with words by James Hillman. Her last was more of a word piece than Strauss's: last dance, last chance, last place, last rites (melancholia still continues?). Still, the circle is always there.

One of the encores at the Bavarian Radio Symphony concert on Friday night at Carnegie Hall was played pizzicato, which circled around at the Morris Jumel Mansion as Carleen and Charlie did some plucking on their fiddles. Charlie's theorba was a beautiful instrument.

And as I was enjoying all that music, I was finishing reading Chronicles, volume one by Bob Dylan in which he describes his sources with a longish bit on Brecht and Weill toward the end. The mixing of politics into the words of your songs. The book is quite compelling, not least because it is not over-edited, leaving in inelegant, if not also wrong, grammar.

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