// It’s Bob’s first Christmas and he hopes to prove to his family that he has more than one trick up his sleev //
Bob really thinks of everything. After his postcard from his holiday in Honolulu, the medici.tv penguin detective investigated and unearthed the best presents for 2013. Whether or not you’re a family of well-informed music-lovers, take a look at his guide for the best presents of all prices for your parents, brothers and sisters, children and even your uncle. Happy shopping!
// So, you too found all your gifts from Christmas? //
It seems like Google love classical music! Following Google’s tribute to Clara Schumann last year, we now find Maria Callas on the world’s leading search engine’s homepage.
This is what you’ll see all day long on Google’s homepage:.
Ask her what you want and for instance, ask her to show you an archive of two of her unforgettable recitals in Paris in the 1960s! The perfect opportunity to watch the great Callas perform her favorite roles, including Manon, La Sonnambula, Norma, and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi (excerpt below):
The prima donna assoluta remains with no doubt the most iconic singer of the full operatic history. She was born on the 2nd of December 1923 and would have turned 90 years-old today.
Maria Callas in video
Who does not know Gustavo Dudamel? The Venezuelian conductor appears regularly on the most pretigious musical stages and without fail charms the audience with his charisma and exhilarating energy. Yet, did you know where he received his first musical education?
Currently musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Gustavo Dudamel owes his success – at least in part – to an initiative launched in 1975 by José Antonio Abreu in Venezuela. Businessman and music lover, José Antonio Abreu had the remarkable ambition to offer to underpriviledged children the chance to get out of their daily troubles by practicing music together. Thanks to El Sistema, thousands of children have enrolled for the first time in a music school where, gathered within the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, they learn that the sum of every individual effort can result in the creation of an harmonious community.
Gustavo Dudamel was a schoolboy at the Sistema before reaching the success he enjoys today. Now true ambassador of this initiative, he took the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra as far as Austria on several occasions. In 2013, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra was even invited as orchestra in residence at the prestigious Salzburg Festival. Remember, on the 26th of July 2013, medici.tv broadcasted live from Salzburg their performance of Malher’s Eighth Symphony:
The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel, performs Malher’s Symphony of a Thousand at the Salzburg Festival.
In view of the educational success achieved by El Sistema in the underprivileged areas of Venezuela – every year 400 000 children playing music gather into 300 orchestras! – more than 40 countries have launched a program based upon El Sitema’s model in order to help children who experience difficulties, either at school or within their social environment, thanks to an intensive musical education in orchestras and choirs.
In France, the Association El Sistema France has led the project since 2000.
The first experimental school opened in 2013 in Gorges (in the surrounding area of Nantes). It is now under the direction of the Venezuelian conductor Alcides Maestre Blanco, helped in his task by the choir director Etienne Roullet.
El Sistema France carries moral and legal liability for the entire network of associations that join the El Sistema program.
More schools are about to open at the start of the school year 2014/2015 in several cities, such as Orléans, Aix-les-Bains, Fort-de-France, Marseille, Nice as well as in Paris and its region.
Medici.tv wishes good luck to the members of the association, with the hope that the several projects, in France and abroad, will carry out successes as remarkable as in Venezuela.
The exhilarating young members of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela acclaimed at the Salzburg Festival in 2013. © Silvia Lelli
Learn more about this outstanding initiative:
- Visit the Association El Sistema France‘s website on the internet (French only);
- Become a fan of El Sistema France on Facebook (French only);
- Subscribe to the Association El Sistema France’s newsletter (French only);
- Make a donation to El Sistema France.
Learn more about El Sistema in Venezuela and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and visit medici.tv to discover:
- The documentary El Sistema directed by Maria Stodtmeier and Paul Smaczny gone in Venezuela in 2009 to encounter the young musicians;
- The public rehearsal of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony by the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Nikolaus Harnoncourt during the Salzburg Festival in 2009;
- Still during the Salzburg Festival in 2009, the public rehearsal of Mahler’s First Symphony, with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.
While waiting for Musical Gifts from Joshua Bell & Friends, an exceptional event gathering on screen Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Frankie Moreno and Michael Feinstein among others, discover pictures of Joshua Bell’s apartment in Manhattan, where the concert will be shot.
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I ♥ New York Philharmonic
I am currently having the best time ever… As medici.tv launched its first "I ♥ New York Philharmonic" festival last Sunday, I decided that a visit to "the big apple" was needed. Did you enjoy the festival? Did you make a T-shirt? A mug? While waiting for it to become as popular and emblematic as the Empire State Building, I allowed myself the luxury of printing its new logo onto a hat that I’ll be wearing with pride this winter. If only my friends would do as much!
But let’s get back to the festival, and in particular the first event that marked the opening: A Dancer’s Dream, a tribute concert to Igor Stravinsky, two of whose key works, Petrushka and The Fairy’s Kiss, were performed by the New York Philharmonic. Although Petrushka is a very well-known ballet among the general public, and is widely performed throughout the world, The Fairy’s Kiss remains a rare work. This 1928 ballet is inspired by The Snow Queen, a tale by Hans Christian Andersen in which a wicked queen takes a young boy prisoner… Don’t you know this one? Let me tell you then!
It all begins when a sorcerer, "the devil himself", decides to create a magic mirror that reflects all beautiful things as ugly. It wasn’t Snow White’s mirror, but another enchanted mirror, and the sorcerer laughed heartily at his invention. One day, the mirror broke into countless pieces, some of which got stuck in the eyes and heart of poor Kai. And I’m sure that you will want to go and read the rest…
You’re probably thinking, "We seem to be hearing a lot of fairy tales from medici.tv at the moment!" It’s true, you know, after the week of Hansel and Gretel, The Tales of Hoffmann, Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia and the rest, now we have The Snow Queen! Because of course, dear friends, the composers were children just like everyone else – well, almost. Their imaginations were just as influenced as ours by those wonderful stories in which animals talk, objects come to life, fairies exist and snowflakes live in an autocracy in the kingdom of a very beautiful woman, dressed in a white bearskin and hat…
It’s a very different world to the reality of New York City, and, if the local press is to be believed, white is the colour for winter 2013 and fur has largely come back into fashion – I should take care of my feathers. But thankfully, the New York Philharmonic snaps us out of reality and back into dreams. And that’s all thanks to one person: Alan Gilbert. I met him this week, and those who already know him will agree: he’s an extraordinary person. He is a true New Yorker, the orchestra’s first in its long line of music directors. Born practically in the lap of the New York Philharmonic, his parents met as members of it. The passion Alan Gilbert demonstrates for staging, video, the spatialisation of music and new technology draws a parallel between his vision of music and the concept of total art. "I ♥ New York Philharmonic" is the fruit of this perception. A celebration of the orchestra, as well as its conductor.
"I ♥ New York Philharmonic" is a truly magical show that transforms Avery Fisher Hall into a Swiss ski resort. It was Lorin Maazel who took up the challenge of conducting the oldest American orchestra in North Korea. It was Alan Gilbert who really shook things up like a modern-day deus ex machina. It was Long Yu who brought with him the whole tradition of Chinese music. It was Alan Gilbert, again, who succeeded in bringing together in a single programme – and with the same theme! – works as varied as Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Stockhausen’s Gruppen.
Dreams and fantasy are values that music sweeps along with it, and that medici.tv is delighted to broadcast… And so that you can make the most of it, I have some good news: "I ♥ New York Philharmonic" is available on-line until Sunday! Which just leaves me time to gobble a few donuts before going back to Paris. Oh, and by the way, why not tell you? I’ve already bought my tickets to come back to New York for Thanksgiving. Jot it down in your diary: there’s a big surprise waiting for you on 26 November. Plenty of musical gifts to come!
Bob the penguin detective
Certainly you have watched The Fairy’s Kiss last Sunday, the ballet composed by Igor Stravinsky in 1928. By the way, did you know that the plot was inspired by Andersen’s tale? No?! The Snow Queen rings no bell? Then, here is the plot. Once upon a time…
The iconic kiss of the Snow Queen as seen by the New York Philharmonic and Giants Are Small.
…A sorcerer, “the devil himself”, decides to create a magic mirror that reflects all beautiful things as ugly. The sorcerer laughed heartily at his invention, and carried it up to the highest sphere of the sky to mock the angels. But while the mirror went higher and higher, it eventually broke into countless pieces, some of which got stuck in humans eyes and heart.
It is what happened to the young Kai. While he was playing with his friend Gerda in the garden, two pieces of the broken mirror got stuck in his heart and eye. He became as wicked and nasty as the creator of the mirror himself. He criticised everything, he even turned away the poor little Gerda. Until the day when, coupling his sledge to the Snow Queen’s sleigh, he was carried away from his homeland.
“Where is Kai? Where is Kai” worried the dear Gerda. Grieved by the disappearance of her friend, Gerda went off in search of Kai, standing up to bandits, braving death on several occasions, exploring the furthermost bounds of Lapland. She finally found the young boy under the joke of the Snow Queen in Finland. But her love for Kai released him from his curse lodged in his heart and eye. Kai, overwhelmed with joy, bursted into tears at the sight of Gerda. Falling on the ground, his frozen tears eventually spelled a word, like a puzzle, the word “eternity”; fullfilling thus the condition imposed on him by the Snow Queen for him to recover his freedom.
The Théâtre du Capitole (Toulouse, France) will present L’Apocalypse de Jean by Pierre Henry, an epoch-making composition in the history of electroacoustic music.
Pierre Henry, in his music studio, during the broadcasting of Paroxysmes on the 15th of January 2012.
Performances of L’Apocalypse de Jean are such a rare thing that medici.tv could not let the Théâtre du Capitole’s production go unnoticed; all the more so that the concert will be conducted by the composer himself, Pierre Henry. Premiered in 1968, L’Apocalypse de Jean is a work of musique concrète, i.e. a composition in which all the sounds are first recorded and then cut, worked, assembled together on a magnetic tape. No computer, no mixer, no whatsoever; cisors and tapes were the sole instruments needed – which seems almost unbelievable for the 21st century audience used with tablets, smartphones, etc. Maybe because of this very hi-tech addiction, it is always a surprise and a rejuvenating experience to listen again to the work of the pioneers of the electroacoustic music. An impossible-to-miss concert, at least for those lucky enough to be nearby Toulouse nect week!
Pierre Henry rings no bell? You must have heard Psyché Rock, at least in the worldwide famous remix made by Fatboy Slim:
- About the performance on the 6th of November of L’Apocalypse de Jean on the Théâtre du Capitole’s website (in French),
- Read Pierre Henry’ biography on medici.tv,
- Pierre Henry, the art of sounds on medici.tv, a remarkable documentary about Pierre Henry directed by Franck Mallet and Éric Darmon.