CRITICA MUSICAL / MUSICAL CRITIC

Um blog de Álvaro Sílvio Teixeira

2008/10/22

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Kontakte
in youtube.com/user/Archosvalens

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2008/10/21

Because we Were Born

The Way of a Warrior, de Andreas Pichler, é um documentário que faz luz sobre o envolvimento dos movimentos católicos na luta contra as ex-ditaduras sanguinárias latino-americanas e sobre a radicalização de um desses católicos: um missionário de origem austríaca que decidiu pegar em armas contra a ditadura que naquela época dominava a Bolívia. É um trabalho importante para se compreender o dito "terrorismo" latino-americano que, na verdade, foi uma reacção, legítima, de pessoas maioritariamente pacíficas contra as atrocidades de Estado que por lá diariamente aconteciam. The Way of a Warrior é também um trabalho relevante para que não nos esqueçamos dos apoios exteriores, que foram essenciais para a manutenção daqueles regimes, com que os ditadores latino-americanos contaram. Trata-se em nosso entender de um dos filmes mais cativantes que passaram no doclisboa 2008.

We (Wo Men), de Huang Wenhai, relata-nos uma série de episódios em que a oposição ao actual regime chinês se mostra particularmente desorganizada face a uma máquina poderosa habituada a utilizar técnicas ancestrais de desinformação e controle. O mais interessante é vermos ex-membros do Comité Central do Partido Comunista Chinês, e até o próprio ex-secretário de Mao Tsé-Tung, criticarem a falta de democracia do actual governo... Um trabalho interessante e indispensável para se compreender o actual estado de coisas na China.

Because we Were Born, de Jean-Pierre Duret e Andrea Santana, retrata a vida de duas "crianças de rua" brasileiras, do estado de Pernambuco, uma das quais vive num camião abandonado e sonha ser camionista, fala-nos dos seus sonhos e do seu dia a dia na luta pela sobrevivência. Trata-se de um acutilante documento que referindo-se a duas vidas particulares de alguma maneira nos dá notícia dos milhões de crianças às quais é negada a condição de criança. Um belíssimo documentário ao qual a objectividade não impediu uma elevada carga poética.

Frederick Wiseman, ele mesmo, andou pelo doclisboa 2008. Conversou com os espectadores, respondeu a perguntas inteligentes e a perguntas idiotas, talvez a maioria (...), e até dinamizou uma "master-class". A retrospectiva da obra de Wiseman foi o grande acontecimento do doclisboa 2008. Não é demais lembrar que o primeiro trabalho de Wiseman, Titicut Folies, impô-lo quase instantaneamente como uma referência no cinema documental. Em nosso entender Titicut Folies e Welfare são as obras mais interessantes daquele que nos foi apresentado como sendo o "mais importante documentarista em actividade". Quem não aproveitou para as ver perdeu uma boa oportunidade para tentar compreender o que pode ser a "essência" do trabalho de um(a) realizador(a) documentarista. No entanto até ao final do doclisboa ainda as poderá visualizar na videoteca do festival.


2008/10/15

Imagine

Imagine a country where nobody can identify who owns what, [title to] property cannot be easily verified, people cannot be made to pay their debts, resources cannot conveniently be turned into money, ownership cannot be divided into shares, descriptions of assets are not standardized and cannot be easily compared, and the rules that govern property vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even from street to street. You have just put yourself into the life of a developing country or former communist nation…

These words are from the classic book on third-world economics, The Mystery of Capital by Professor Hernando de Soto.

Frighteningly, these words describe not only a third-world economy, they precisely describe the jumbled-up financial instruments called “credit derivative securities” (including the now-infamous “credit default swaps”) that are now identified as the toxic assets of the global banking system. Daniel Hass


Nixonland

There are all sorts of connections between the Nixon administration and the Bush administration. But here’s one I didn’t know about: Hank Paulson was John Ehrlichman’s assistant in 1972 and 1973. Maybe you have to have lived through Watergate to know what that means. Paul Krugman

2008/10/14

The problem this time may not be “too big to fail” but, more accurately, “too big to save”. Only time will tell. But, seriously, do you REALLY THINK that Paulson's $700 billion (yeah, it's really larger than that…) bailout plan will do anything considering the size of the problem?

In conclusion, I think you can see that we've been living in a world that is standing on its head; a topsy turvy world turned upside down. The forces of gravity pull equally hard on all Earthly structures and economic structures are no different. In the domain of today's digitized wealth, it's become all too easy to forget that the basis for all monetary and financial systems is TRUST , not financial ingenuity and computer programming skill. As in any relationship, trust - once lost - is not easily regained. David Haas in The Crushing Potential of Financial Derivatives

Reputable business leaders and economists had been warning for years that our financial institutions were excessively leveraged. In mid-August of this year the New York Times Magazine published an article foolishly entitled "Dr. Doom" about a perfectly reputable academic economist, a professor at New York University named Nouriel Roubini, who for years had been predicting with uncanny accuracy what has happened. In September of 2006--two years ago--he had "announced that a crisis was brewing. In the coming months and years, he warned, the United States was likely to face a once-in-a-lifetime housing bust, an oil shock, sharply declining consumer confidence and, ultimately, a deep recession. He laid out a bleak sequence of events: homeowners defaulting on mortgages, trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities unraveling worldwide and the global financial system shuddering to a halt. These developments, he went on, could cripple or destroy hedge funds, investment banks and other major financial institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac." By August of this year, when the Times article was published, Roubini's predictions had come true, yet he continued to be ignored. Until mid-September, the magnitude of the crisis was greatly underestimated by government, the business community, and the economics profession, including specialists in financial economics. Bernanke had repeatedly stated that it was unlikely that the mortgage defaults that accelerated after the housing bubble burst in mid-2006 would spill over to the financial system or the broader, nonfinancial economy. In May of 2007, for example, he said: "Importantly, we see no serious broader spillover to banks or thrift institutions from the problems in the subprime market." It has been more than two years since the housing bubble burst. One might have thought that that was enough time to enable the experts to discover that our financial system was in serious trouble. Richard Posner

Traditionally, commodities futures were used by companies like Kellogg's Cereal as a form of “insurance” to help them manage the risk of major price fluctuations in the grains they use to make breakfast cereal. By purchasing a futures contract to guarantee the future delivery price of the grains they needed to make cereal for the consumer marketplace, they could be certain that they could maintain relative price stability at the retail level (benefiting consumers) and still operate with the profit they would need to stay in business and serve the market.

In the early 1980's, derivatives began to appear that were of a strictly financial nature. The reasoning behind their regulatory approval was that producers of financial “products” and services also needed to have similar types of “insurance” to protect them against future risks and uncertainties - just like the non-financial operators had. The main selling point was, of course, that these financial futures contracts would help financial companies to stabilize their operations and provide powerful tools to manage their risks from fluctuating markets and future uncertainties, as well. Unfortunately, these sophisticated tools that were originally intended to help firms manage risk grew into potent vehicles for leveraged speculation… and this is where the systemic problems we're facing today originated.

During the 1990's, more and more firms (financial and non-financial alike) began realizing they could make tremendous profits trading in financial vehicles. Many firms made more money trading than they did in their core manufacturing businesses. Word spread and firms of all kinds across all industries began bringing in experienced traders and setting them up with computerized trading operations or they employed the services of outside money managers and hedge funds to do the job for them. Either way, with the seemingly endless expansion of financial opportunity brought about by the rapidly globalizing markets, companies feared they would look foolish to shareholders if they weren't participating in this leveraged gamesmanship. And why not? Everyone else seemed to be doing it, so they should too.

The first major threat to the global “casino” came in 1998 with the collapse of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM). LTCM was a highly-leveraged, computer-based trading firm whose ingenious program authors had not fully considered the possibility that a “statistically unlikely” series of events could occur in a short span of time and wipe them out. A series of such events (East Asian collapse, Russian financial crisis, etc.) did occur, bringing down LTCM and the failure of LTCM was, singlehandedly, large enough to destabilize the entire global financial system. At that time, governments banded together to stabilize the financial system and in doing so created the world's first example of a firm being “too big to fail”.

Once the “too big to fail” precedent had been firmly established, the structured finance and derivatives industry was off and running, emboldened by the fact that they'd proven governments could be relied upon for bailouts of massive, yet risky ventures pursued by financial firms in the future. The bigger the venture, the bigger the risk, the more likely it would be insulated from ultimate failure by government bailout or intervention with taxpayer money. This is what's commonly known as MORAL HAZARD in industry parlance.

This new philosophy was a speculator's dream and it rocketed around the globe at the speed of light gathering eager new participants and “hot” capital wherever it went. According to my understanding, here's what it did to the global financial structure - mainly between 1996 and 2007 - leading us to the “edge of the abyss” that we are peering into today. David Haas in The Crushing Potential of Financial Derivatives


We are brilliant! 25 billion for me, 10 billion for you...

Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase were told they would each get $25 billion; Bank of America and Wells Fargo, $20 billion; Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, $10 billion each, with Bank of New York and State Street each receiving $2 to 3 billion. Wells Fargo will get an additional $5 billion, reflecting its acquisition of Wachovia, and Bank of America receives the same for amount for its purchase of Merrill Lynch. MARK LANDLER, October 13, 2008 in nytimes.com (Photo by Susan Etheridge for The New York Times: John J. Mack, Morgan Stanley's chief executive, left, and Vikram S. Pandit, chief executive of Citigroup, after a meeting at the Treasury Department on Monday)


The Voices of Paul Bowles

«Curated by Claudia Gould and Stephen Frailey, ‘The Voices of Paul Bowles’ [1910-1999] is an audio portrait combining some of the composer’s music with readings from his own texts, morrocan traditional music and location recordings from Tangier and Morroco where he lived from 1947. The most striking device is the handsome and warm voice of Bowles reading through his writings. Also notable are the lively field recordings of folk local music Bowles made himself in 1959 (tracks #01, 03, 06 & 09). The simoon (my conjecture) heard at the end of ‘The Garden’, track #08, is a short but evocative recording of a North Africa typical wind. Bowles own compositions are exquisite vignettes full of humour and wit. A microcosm in itself, a day in the life of Paul Bowles, the tape starts with the muezzin’s morning call to prayer and ends with dogs barking at sunset, an amazing barking chorale recorded amid the rising desert wind. A poignant conclusion to an utterly beautiful tape». UbuWeb Sound in Jazz e Arredores

2008/10/12

Astor Piazzolla - Libertango

Astor Piazzolla - Milonga del Angel

Astor Piazzolla - Verano Porteño

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Trovesi / Coscia - C'era Una Strega, C'era Una Fata

Gianni Coscia in Portugallo

Foi um concerto agradável, este promovido pelo Instituto Italiano de Cultura de Lisboa, em que Gianni Coscia tocou e falou numa sala pequena para uma dúzia (duas dúzias...) de convidados. Sem necessidade da amplificação a que os grandes espaços obrigam, podemos escutar a sonoridade "autêntica" do acordeonista-compositor.

Nas sonoridades jazzísticas Costia trouxe-nos nomeadamente as suas interessantes recriações do tango, mas foi pena que nas suas prelecções inter-musicais omitisse o nome do grande Piazzolla, porque é incontornável. Mesmo para os acordeonistas...

O "tango moderno", como o designou Coscia numa tonalidade depreciativa, tem um nome: Astor Piazzolla, um grande músico, um grande artista que tive o privilégio de escutar ao vivo em dois concertos no Teatro Rivoli do Porto.

Sem querer minimizar Coscia, que foi a vedeta deste dia (sábado) e que é um grande acordeonista, não poderia omitir o meu espanto pela sua omissão, desastrosamente investida de alguma arrogância. Porque uma coisa é dizer que não gosta da música de Piazzolla, outra é falar de Carlos Gardel (que disse apreciar muito) e referir-se ao "tango moderno" com um encolher de ombros, sem dizer quem criou o tal "tango moderno".

2008/10/10

Portuguese traditions

Six weeks ago I arrived in Évora for the first time. It was on the advice of a friend who knew that I was looking for a spiritual centre in Portugal, a place of peace and tranquillity. These qualities unfortunately seem more and more difficult to find in this modern world, and one has to look hard to find such an oasis.

I quickly fell in love with Évora, a beautiful city with its longstanding traditions reflecting the variety of cultures from its history. I found myself accommodation in the historical centre, and settled down to continue my work.

Around mid September, I was rather surprised and disappointed when this peaceful and ancient city was suddenly transformed into a placed of noise and chaos. What appeared to me as gangs of uneducated youths wandered aimlessly up and down the streets from morning until night for three whole weeks. The noise level from their shouting, and their behaviour in general, gave the impression that they were half drunk. My surprise then turned to shock as I was informed that these mobs were in fact students from the famous University of Évora! This, I was told, is their tradition.

During these disturbing weeks, I witnessed many things and I would like to mention three of them:

1. Students being forced to kneel on the ground in full view of passers-by and tourists, whilst their "lectures" (?) shouted or even screamed at them. Several tourists I spoke to, said this reminded them of a dictatorship country.

2. Long lines of students forced to walk one behind the other, holding the person in front and chanting/shouting. These scenes reminded me of a documentary I once saw on chain gangs in America in the 1920's - lines of prisoners.

3. One evening just as it was getting dark, I came upon an incident that I found hard to believe. One young female student was kneeling on the pavement surrounded by three of her "lectures". All the other students had gone and she was alone. I heard the "lectures" shouting and speaking harshly to her, and as I approached I could see that she was crying. She was clearly being humiliated and, despite the fact that several passers-by stopped, the treatment continued for about a further 5 minutes. I remember wondering whether or not they knew of the possible damage they could be doing to this young girl. After a while, one of the "lectures" produced the student's mobile phone from an inside pocket, gave it to her and, as if speaking to a criminal, told her harshly to go. She ran off, still crying as she passed me. The whole scene was difficult to believe. It was just like seeing something from Nazi Germany in the late 30's.

The ironical part of all this last incident was that, as I was leaving the scene, I realised it had taken place right outside the Church of the Holy Spirit. I wondered what God might be thinking.

So, if this is a tradition of the University in Évora, is it perhaps time to re-look at it to see whether it still has any value in a modern society? When the Colégio do Espírito Santo was founded in 1559, the Jesuits would have placed the teachings of Jesus Christ as the foundation for their learning. His message was one of love, compassion, friendship and respect for one another - all of these are matters of the heart, and exactly what the world needs now. What I have witnessed recently in Évora can hardly be described as "matters of the heart", but rather an old-fashioned, out-dated behaviour based on bullying and fear. In the 21st century, the world needs new young leaders who listen to their hearts and not their heads.

Michael Telfer

Évora, 9th October, 2008

2008/10/05

Kaija Saariaho - "Parfum de l'instant"
Karita Mattila sings Kaija Saariaho's "Parfume de l'instant" (Perfume of the moment) in Esa-Pekka Salonen's 50th birthday gala at Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, in June 2008. E-P Salonen conducts the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. in youtube.com/user/Operalou


Kaija Saariaho - "Lonh"
Extracts of a performance of a piece for soprano and electronics by Kaija Saariaho, performed by Valérie Gabail, visual part conceived by Jean-Baptiste Barrière & realized by Pierre-Jean Bouyer, video by Isabelle Barrière. in youtube.com/user/jbbarriere

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Martha Argerich - Chopin - Polonaise no. 6 "L'heroique"

Martha Argerich - Chopin - Scherzo no. 3
1965 Chopin International Piano Competition


Ivo Pogorelich - Chopin - Scherzo no. 3
1980 Chopin International Piano Competition

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2008/10/04

Vladimir Horowitz: Chopin's Polonaise A-flat major Op. 53
Horowitz in Musikverein, Vienna, Austria on May 31, 1987 which makes him 84 years old. Two years before his death on November 5th, 1989. in youtube.com/user/thepolonaise

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Horowitz plays Chopin Nocturne in F minor Op.55

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Arturo B. Michelangeli plays Chopin Ballade No.1

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Krystian Zimerman - Chopin - Ballade No. 2


Krystian Zimerman - Chopin - Ballade No. 3

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2008/10/03

Андре́й Арсе́ньевич Тарко́вский

Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (Russian: Андре́й Арсе́ньевич Тарко́вский) (April 4, 1932 - December 29, 1986) was a Soviet film director, writer and opera director. Tarkovksy is listed among the 100 most critically acclaimed filmmakers[1]; director Ingmar Bergman was famously quoted as saying "Tarkovsky for me is the greatest [director], the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream".[2] Tarkovsky attained critical acclaim for directing such films as Andrei Rublev, Solaris and Stalker.

Tarkovsky also worked extensively as a screenwriter, film editor, film theorist and theater director. He directed most of his films in the Soviet Union, with the exception of his last two films which were produced in Italy and Sweden. His films are characterized by Christian spirituality and metaphysical themes, extremely long takes, lack of conventional dramatic structure and plot, and memorable images of exceptional beauty.
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Tarkovsky's first feature film was Ivan's Childhood in 1962. He had inherited the film from director Eduard Abalov, who had to abort the project. The film earned Tarkovksy international acclaim and won him the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 1962. In the same year, on September 30, his first son Arseny (called Senka in Tarkovsky's diaries) Tarkovsky was born.

In 1965, he directed the film Andrei Rublev about the life of Andrei Rublev, the 15th century Russian icon painter. Andrei Rublev was not immediately released after completion due to problems with Soviet authorities. Tarkovsky had to cut the film several times, resulting in several different versions of varying lengths. A version of the film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 1969 and won the FIPRESCI prize. The film was officially released in the Soviet Union in a cut version in 1971.
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Tarkovsky returned to Italy in 1982 to start shooting Nostalghia. He never went back to his home country. As Mosfilm withdrew from the project, he had to complete the film with financial support provided by the Italian RAI. Tarkovsky completed the film in 1983. Nostalghia was presented at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury, the FIPRESCI prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Soviet authorities prevented the film from winning the Palme d'Or, a fact that hardened Tarkovsky's resolve to never work in the Soviet Union again. In the same year, he also arranged the opera Boris Godunov at the Royal Opera House in London under the musical direction of Claudio Abbado.

He spend most of 1984 preparing the film The Sacrifice. At a press conference in Milan on July 10, 1984 he announced that he would never return to the Soviet Union and would remain in the West. At that time, his son Andrei Jr. was still in the Soviet Union and not allowed to leave the country.

During 1985, he shot the film The Sacrifice in Sweden. At the end of the year he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. In January 1986, he began treatment in Paris, and was joined there by his wife and his son, who were finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union. The Sacrifice was presented at the Cannes Film Festival and received the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury, the FIPRESCI prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. As Tarkovsky was unable to attend due to his illness, the prizes were collected by his son, Andrei Jr.
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Tarkovsky died on December 29, 1986 in Paris at age 54. He was buried on January 3, 1987 in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois in France. The inscription on his grave stone, which was created by the Russian sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, reads To the man who saw the Angel. in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Tarkovsky

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