MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

You Say West Side, I Say East Side

This is quite wonderful, especially as the world commemorates Stephen Sondheim.

It’s worth recalling that the original scenario conceived by Jerome Robbins involved a Catholic versus Jewish conflict called East Side Story before the creative team changed it to Puerto Ricans versus whites. Bernstein originally imagined the core tritone theme as a shofar call.

Filed under: Leonard Bernstein, miscellaneous, Stephen Sondheim

The AIDS Memorial Quilt Is Now Online

It’s startling to realize that the last time the AIDS Memorial Quilt could be displayed on the National Mall in its entirety was 24 years ago. It returned in 2012, but with smaller sections displayed each day over a two-week period. The Quilt has grown far too vast to be shown all at once on the Mall, as it was in 1996. But all 48,000 panels are now accessible online.

From Billy Anania’s report in Hypoallergenic:

While zooming out conveys the immensity of the overall project, focusing on specific panels shows the care and craftsmanship in each one. Many of the individual patches are color-coordinated within each panel, and some panels are even coordinated with their surroundings. Conducting broad keyword searches — like school, church, and prison — leads to panels contributed by collective groups and organizations affected throughout the years. Many of these memorials feel like time capsules from a previous crisis, particularly salient as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the US.

Reports Smithsonian magazine: “The newly launched digitization commemorates the International AIDS Conference, which was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 40th anniversary of the first reported HIV cases in the United States. When viewing the interactive quilt, users can either appreciate the enormous mosaic in its entirety or zoom in on specific panels, which often include individuals’ names and messages of love. Additionally, virtual visitors can search the quilt for specific names, keywords or block numbers.”

Here’s John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1: Of Rage and Remembrance, which was inspired by the Quilt

Filed under: John Corigliano, miscellaneous

Happy Palindrome Day

It’s taken a little over a thousand years to arrive at today’s calendrical palindrome: 02-02-2020. Last time was 11-11-1111–909 years ago (using the eight-digit format).

The French composer Olivier Messiaen found special significance in the palindrome. When looking at the rhythmic parameter, for example, he developed structures based on “non-retrogradable rhythms,” as he termed them.

The German musicologist Siglind Bruhn explores the implications for Messiaen of palindromic structures: “Rhythmic palindromes are interesting above all for their spiritual significance. In the realm of human experience, the irreversibility that defines all acts, be they physical or linguistic, the course of a day or a life, and the expected execution of a plan, are of a quality intrinsically different from reminiscences, regrets, nostalgia, and other acts or feelings turned toward the past.”

from Messiaen’s Contemplations of Covenant and Incarnation

Filed under: miscellaneous, Olivier Messiaen

Music Not Violence

As an antidote to the poison from the occupant of the White House and his lickspittle enablers, here is music by the courageous Mehdi Rajabian and colleagues.

Filed under: miscellaneous

Turning the Page: Happy New Year 2019

Here’s one way to start the New Year: with this remarkable interpretation of Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier by Samuil Feinberg. The opening Prelude and Fugue in C major in particular sounds like a fresh start, yet already shadowed by experience.

Filed under: Bach, miscellaneous

The Devastating Loss in Brazil

From Ed Yong, this assessment of the devastating losses in the aftermath of the conflagration that destroyed the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro:

The museum’s archeological collection had frescoes from Pompeii, and hundreds of Egyptian artifacts, including a 2,700-year-old painted sarcophagus. It housed art and ceramics from indigenous Brazilian cultures, some of whose populations number only in their thousands. It contained audio recordings of indigenous languages, some of which are no longer spoken; entire tongues went up in flames. It carried about 1,800 South American artifacts that dated back to precolonial times, including urns, statues, weapons, and a Chilean mummy that was at least 3,500 years old.

Owen Burdick reports this in a Facebook post:

Incalculable loss:
“There’s nothing left from the Linguistics division. We lost all the indigenous languages collection: the recordings since 1958, the chants in all the languages for which there are no native speakers alive anymore, the Curt Niemuendaju archives: papers, photos, negatives, the original ethnic-historic-linguistic map localizing all the ethnic groups in Brazil, the only record that we had from 1945. The ethnological and archeological references of all ethnic groups in Brazil since the 16th century… An irreparable loss of our historic memory. It just hurts so much to see all in ashes.”

Cinda Gonda, translated by Diogo Almeida, about the fire at Brazil’s National Museum.

Filed under: miscellaneous

The Einstein Theory of Relativity 1923 SD

Filed under: miscellaneous

A Trip Through New York City in 1911

Originally filmed by SF Studios, a Swedish company. Sound of course added on.

Filed under: film, miscellaneous

Meet the Flintstones

Remarkable work by Ilan Rechtman. I need to find out more about him.

Filed under: miscellaneous, piano

Music for a New Year

Also for New Year’s:
Joseph Haydn:
“Die Schöpfung”, Oratorium Hob. XXI:2
(Zeitversetzte Übertragung aus dem Konzerthaus Freiburg)

Filed under: Bartók, miscellaneous

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