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Anthology: Ten Years of TQ – Rita Valencia

Writing an intro to a selection of your own essays is tough, so I'll deflect the problem by heaping praise on Nancy Cantwell for curating the Times Quotidian Journal. She's created a cultural playground of ideas and images that is unique and vibrant. I have never been a prose writer, so it was fun and challenging to talk about media. I had a couple of principles in creating these essays. The first was to write only about work to which I had a positive response and to report, muse, free associate. In that light, please know that the article about The Art of Killing, entitled Relax and Rolex, is mostly negative. However, in his follow-up film to The Art of Killing, The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer completely answered all the … [Read more...]

Anthology: Ten Years of TQ – Aram Yardumian

For nearly a decade, Times Quotidian has given me the chance to address specifics with a freedom I don't quite have in professional life. It's difficult to see a thread running through my articles, but behind it all I am still staring into the same materialist abyss reconnoitered by Sade, Darwin, Genet, and Bergman— none of whom I ever directly wrote about, but whose shadows fall over the anthropology of cruelty and suffering, zoological ambivalence, Lacanian superego, social dissolution mirrored in aesthetics, and a more real Real. Errol Morris's epistemological interrogations, Michael Gira's overwhelming sense of physical ecstasy, Thomas Mera Gartz's post-music fantasia, a non-Marxist sociology of Lascaux and Chauvet, Tommie … [Read more...]

Lute Salute

Paul O'Dette, Lute, The Da Camera Society, Greystone Mansion — In virtually every Hollywood movie depicting Renaissance Lives of the Rich and Famous, there is a cliched banquet scene: servants replenish goblets with wine, ale or mead; courtiers, when not otherwise engaged in manhandling available wenches, stuff themselves with roasted meats and fresh fruit; then the royal host makes his routine announcement: "Let there be music, dancing and much merriment!" Whereupon the 17th Century is further evoked by the spirited playing of a harpsichord, a wooden cornetto and a recorder. Later, in private chambers, the mood of the mandatory love scene is always enhanced by the dulcet, romantic sound of a lute. Merriam-Webster defines … [Read more...]

Beyond Category

David Roussève: Halfway to Dawn, REDCAT, October 4, 2018 — Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington deserved his royal nickname. Throughout his fifty-year reign as America's premier composer/pianist/band leader and goodwill ambassador to the world, Ellington spoke and carried himself in a courtly, regal manner. He routinely used the "royal we" when acknowledging applause from his audiences--as in, "we love you madly"--and referred to himself, with amused and characteristic noblesse oblige, simply as "our pianist." He was charming and grandiose, elegant and hip. In truth, the princely Ellington's empire was actually quite small; it consisted of about fifteen loyal musicians, all with virtually lifetime jobs, and a retinue that … [Read more...]

Russian Repercussions

A. Borodin, A. Glazunov, N. Rinsky-Korsakov: “Les Vendredis” String Quartets, Excerpts A. Glazunov: Elegy for Piano and Cello, OP 17 D. Shostakovitch: Piano Quintet in C Minor, OP 57 Le Salon de Musiques, April 8th, Dorothy Chandler Pavillon —                                      News cycles at the moment are rife with tales of Russian influence, wealthy oligarchs and behind-the-scene businessmen with lavish country dachas. On April 8th, Le Salon de Musiques presented a concert whose background, although of similar themes, dealt with the world of classical music (circa 1890-1943)  rather than the current international … [Read more...]

Raag Malkauns

April 2018 celebrates the Centenary of Swami Vijnananand (P.R. Bhide) — In September 2010, an unusual video was posted on YouTube, by Mr. Bharat Upadhyay of Lata Mangeshkar singing Raag Malkauns. During the past seven odd years, 250K viewers have seen it and commented. I have had in my possession, for many years, a copy of this film that was more or less the same except for very last frame that had been severed in the above mentioned YouTube post. Hence began my search for the origin of this unusual film. Sometime around 2003, a friend sent me a DVD, with two folders. Both had Lata Mangeshkar singing Raag Malkauns for ten minutes. One was a digital version from audio tape, and the other was from a video tape, with … [Read more...]

Sense and Sensuality

Extrasensory, Jacaranda February 24, 2018— Andre Jolivet, Eric Tanguy, Olivier Messiaen, Betsy Jolas and Claude Debussy Midway through its 15th season, Jacaranda presented an updated interpretation of it's two season 2007-2009 celebration of the centenary works of Olivier Messiaen and the 20th century French music informed by and that paid homage to the great composer. Entitled Extrasensory, the concert began with works by younger composers who were students of or influenced by Messiaen; it ended with a seminal work by Claude Debussy, historically the starting point for the kind of impressionistic "sound painting" heard throughout the evening. Jacaranda's creative decisions—from the choice of composers and musicians … [Read more...]

Mars, Music, Mayhem

"War of the Worlds" director Yuval Sharon, composer Annie Gosfield, LA Phil, Disney Hall —  From the late 1920s until the rise of television in the early 1950s, two relatively new inventions--motion pictures and radio-- truly united the United States. By the time of their broadest reach in the 30s and 40s, movies had an immensely popular draw; millions of people went to see them every week. For a quarter, you could enjoy two films, a newsreel, a comedy short and a bag of popcorn. Radio was an even more visceral unifier and when families owned one they felt connected to a wider world. The airwaves carried free sources of entertainment and information. Everybody listened to FDR's "fireside chats', popular music, Joe Louis … [Read more...]

Souvenirs: Lost and Found

C. Debussy, G. Faure, Z. Kodaly and C. Chaminade, Le Salon de Musique, April 2, 2017— Years ago, while employed in the television industry, we purchased thirty antiques for possible use in a production. These 18th and 19th century furniture pieces—huge armoires, elaborate partner desks, chifferobes, secretaires and vitrines—haunted a dark corner of a stage for months until they were returned to the seller, never used. But while they sat gathering dust, these former possessions of Europe's elite fascinated me. In time I thoroughly searched every nook, cranny and drawer looking for possible hidden compartments, hoping to find a lost bit of hidden history—a story by Oscar Wilde, a letter from Napoleon, a score by Mozart—tucked … [Read more...]

Coursing Towards Twelve Tone

Quatuor Diotima, Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg, String Quartets, Jacaranda February 25th, 2017— The Diotima Quartet is an anomaly in the 21st century. Witnessing their precision, concentration and commitment in action serves as the perfect antidote to the off-the-cuff remarks, half baked ideas, reactionary reflexes, and incomplete sentences that marked and marred the beginning of 2017. Quatuor Diotima, in it's present incarnation, includes Yun-Peng, violin I, Constance Ronsatti, violin II, Franck Chevalier, viola and Pierre Morlet Cello. Soprano Elissa Johnston joined for the Schoenberg String Quartet No. 2 and Contralto, Adrianna Manfredi, concluded with the Berg Lyric Suite. Released in 2016, … [Read more...]