Emmanuel Pahud and Alien Audience

Flautist Emmanuel Pahud visited Copenhagen this week and he is absolutely pie and among the best flautists in the world.
He played Carl Nielsen’s flute concerto, and he did it with a lot of humour and very equilibristically. When the first movement was over the worst thing happened. The.worst.thing. The audience began to applaud frenetically.
Please, someone, tell me who beamed this audience down to the concert hall of the Danish radio? And from which planet? And why? You may think “well, what’s the big deal – they were just happy”. But no, that wont do. Here is a list of reasons why you shouldn’t applaud between the movements:

1. Silence is part of the music. The pause is just as important as the sound.
2. You disturb the concentration of the performers.
3. You disturb the concentration of your co-audience.
4. You destroy the atmosphere and the feeling of being inside the music.
5. You exhibit your ignorance of the rules of classical concerts.
6. The piece isn’t over. Would you applaud in the middle of a play?
7. You drag others with little experience of classical concerts with you and they will never learn the rules.
8. We will never get home if we have to applaud every time there is a pause.

In this particular case I felt even worse since it was a foreigner and a star who will now tell all his friends – “Copenhagen? Ha! I will never go there again – too damn provincial. You know what? They applauded between the movements! Can you believe that?!”
Or maybe not, but the gaze from Mr Pahud to conductor Thomas Dausgaard just wanted me to make the whole bunch of idiots incinerate instantly and leave the concert hall to the rest of us. So embarrassing.
Pahud

After the Nielsen and Shostakovitj’s 4th symphony (which shook me a lot) there was a bonus concert with Mr Pahud and a harpist. Unfortunately I had to go after the first piece, but that was unforgettable. Total darkness and just a flautist standing in a spotlight playing something very strange and very short. He moved the borders of how to play the flute by wringing out sounds that I have never heard. The piece was by Heinz Holliger: “Sonata (in)solit(air)e”, from 1995-96.
After the first movement Pahud continued with the first movement of Bach’s partita in A minor (BWV 1013) and after that another movement of Holliger, then the second movement of the partita etc. And it was amazingly beautiful. One of the the movements by Holliger was even funny when Mr Pahud slowly went down to a pianissimo and then less and less while fixing his eye at a female member of the audience holding the flute with one hand and letting the other lie softly on top of it by his cheek slowly pointing flirtingly at the girl. Pie! It made me so happy all of it and the audience can go to hell since music of such high quality will always win. But so sad that they had to shake my good feeling by applauding after every Bach movement.

Emmanuel Pahud

Emmanuel Pahud – such a flirt.

Today I went to the library and picked up the score for the partita. It’s playable. And with Emmanuel Pahud in my ears maybe, maybe, maybe I can get a tiny little bit of that sound out of my own instrument. Well, at least he’s an inspiration. Sigh.

/anna

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September 30, 2006. Lists, Music, Rants, Reviews. Leave a comment.

The Arena Chapel. Now in Copenhagen!

A couple of days ago I went to Danmarks Kunstbibliotek (the main library of art in Denmark, and the largest of its kind in Scandinavia) to return some books. And behold! They had an exhibition on Giotto’s Arena Chapel which included a giant model of the chapel. And it is beautiful! And you can walk inside it! The size is 1:3 which made me realise how small the chapel must be (sadly I have never been there). 

Some quite funny meta sensation occurs when you, standing in the model, look at this part of the fresco where the donor Enrico Scrovegni offers a model of the chapel to the Virgin Mary:

Model of the Arena Chapel

How cute is that?!

I didn’t have time to read all the texts (there were way to many in my opinion), so I’ll have to come back. Such a great idea, and so well done. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t have such a model when I wrote my paper on the chapel. The paper was very much about the limits of space in the chapel, so to be able to walk inside it would have been wonderful.

To read more go here. Only in Danish unfortunately…

/anna

September 28, 2006. Art, In the library. Leave a comment.

Rochester Porn

(Replying to Anna’s post.)

The new BBC-series of Jane Eyre isn’t just “fan fiction adaptation”, I think – clearly this goes under the category of “Rochester Porn”. I just invented that term, but that’s what it is. You know how guys rent porn flicks because it’s frustrating to them that there’s never any actual intercourse shown in regular movies (with the possible exception of Lars von Trier’s The Idiots) ? Well, my theory is that BBC’s new Jane Eyre miniseries is what women will watch when they’re frustrated that there’s never any real hard-core flirting going on in the regular Jane Eyre novel. It’s about time someone invented this genre, really: porn directed at female humanities graduates.

So, what do I mean to say with all this? Do I like it? Why of course I do! It’s Rochester Porn! Rochester-porn, people. What’s not to like about that?

Do I, however, think it’s a quality adaptation of a literary classic? No, I have to say that I don’t, so far. The director is the same who did Bleak House (how much did Anna and I squeal when we found out about this? Lots! Since, as you may remember: we loved Bleak House!), and while the art direction of Jane Eyre is every bit as lovely and quirky and innovative as it was on Bleak House, I don’t think the series really holds up to the standards of BH. Maybe it’s just that the production has not been provided with as much airtime as the Dickens adaptation? I can’t help thinking that the whole thing seems so rushed all the time. The childhood parts were effective in terms of nightmare-ish crooked camera angles, but they went through the chapters – that are quite extensive and significant in Brontë’s novel – so quickly that it felt more like an episode summary. You know, as in “Last time – on Jane Eyre!”. And even in the more elaborate grown-up parts of the episode there’s that rushed feeling to it, and it seems as if there’s hardly time for character development. The subtle little hints of the character’s peeves and quirks as we saw them in BH (Mr. Jarndyce stealing a gaze at Esther now and then, Lady Dedlock patting her maid’s cheek maternally) are easily completely lost here.  Which is a shame, since this is Jane Eyre! The Bible of Quirkiness! Featuring, possibly, the two most quirky literary characters of the 19th century; Rochester and Jane. Who, in this adaptation, walk around beaming openly at each other and flirting heavily.

But, well. As mentioned before – I like it, of course I like it. Part of me (a larger part than I care to admit) craves Rochester porn. And the art direction really is ingenious. And the scene with Rochester’s sprained foot was quite true to the book. And the actors are doing a freakin’ amazing job! Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson are out-of-this-world amazing, even when they have to rush through material worth of about 200 pages with only about 10 minutes of dialogue. Not to mention, Stephens is hottt!

So in other words – I’m enjoying myself. And I’m looking forward to seeing more of the series. And I’ll just try to take it for what it is; well-acted, cleverly photographed Rochester Porn.

…Rochester porn. Pie.

/marie

September 26, 2006. Literature, Reviews, Television. 145 comments.

Every evening, Jane

Sunday BBC broadcast the first episode of their new Jane Eyre adaptation. Marie and I have been wringing our hands and really trying to accept that we wouldn’t get to see it before February when the show is set to appear in dvd. But then came the internet. Woohoo – and there it was already Monday thanks to some merciful soul in the UK who put it out there. I have watched it and I am now waiting, in anguish, to hear Marie’s feelings about it.
It is not a very close adaptation. In a Brontë blog some one characterised is as a sort of fan fiction adaptation and I think that about covers it. The script takes almost nothing from the book in terms of lines and there are a lot of scenes that are somewhat close to the book, but then with a lot of twists. Rochester very quickly turns out to be a nice almost sweet man, and Jane is smiling all over her face a lot of the time. So it’s no wonder they fall in love. They spend a lot of time on their own and Rochester even flirts a good deal.
I’m looking forward to the next episode which will perhaps determine my opinion. Right now I am loving it with a lot of petty little reservations. Just to be on the safe side 😉
Jane and Rochester
BBC made a theme page about the show, here and here is a nice blog devoted to the Brontës.
/anna

September 26, 2006. Literature, Reviews, Television. Leave a comment.

Overheard on the Phone

– “This is the Royal Collection of Paintings, how may I help you?”
– *silence*
– “Hello?… Hellooo?”
– “Hello? Yes, sorry…I thought it were a machine talking.”

/overheard by the machine, a.k.a. Anna

September 25, 2006. Overheard. Leave a comment.

Danish Music Awards Classical. What a Laugh

Yesterday evening Marie and I went to the Danish Music Awards! Doesn’t that just sound smashing?! And I had even been invited (or maybe I was just on the right mailing list). So very glamourous! Right? Well…it wasn’t. Probably because this was the show for classical music. And as we all know people who listen to classical music are past 50, boring, grey and would never wish for anything to be funny or glamourous. So the concert hall had a little bit of alternative (a.k.a. coloured) lighting and that was it. Marie and I had totally missed the dress code as we came in high heels, nice dresses and lip gloss and the rest of the audience had chosen the sweatshirt-jeans combination – and not in the cool what-do-I-care-way but more like…well-this-is-good-enough-for-me-way. In other words – we were among the elect few properly dressed for the red carpet.
The show began with the category “Best Danish Orchestra Release” presented by Lars Ulrik Mortensen. Who was – and this is when the provinciality of the whole project dawned on us – one of the three nominees as well! How sick is that?! And that wasn’t the only time it happened – they just kept on letting the presenters be nominees (or vice versa). Why not let the nominees present another category than their own? That’s been done before, just look at the Oscars. But no, no, no they just wanted to cut suspense to a 50/50 deal since the presenters of course never won themselves. Fortunately Marie and I had very bad seats on the second row to the extreme right of the stage which meant that we couldn’t see the presenters as they were standing on the extreme left. So we couldn’t follow their embarrassed expressions as they listened to a highlight of their own performance with a whole concert hall looking at them. Gosh, how stupid!
Well, Marie and I just let it all happen without much ado and only discussed the boredom a little bit in the intermission. But then. After the intermission we had reached “Best Danish Solo Release” (presented by pianist Christina Bjørkøe – also a nominee… ) which was won by cellist Morten Zeuthen. Morten Zeuthen, a little squared man bearing a striking resemblance to Charlie Brown, gets up on stage, opens his mouth and says: “Now this is festive”. He said it with an almost accusing air and that was about the last thing we heard him say since this was when we completely exploded in hysterical laughter. And it was one of those times when we just couldn’t stop. However since this has happened before we more or less knew how to tackle it so Marie almost turned her back to me and I stared frantically at the shoes of a bass player while biting my finger so hard I still have marks. Afterwards it turned out that we had both been thinking about dead family members in order to STOP LAUGHING.
After the show, still laughing, we went to a bar to drink cocktails and talk about hot men.
Without Marie, this would have been a night to forget but as it is we will now be saying/whispering/screaming “now this is festive” to each other whenever being bored in the future.
/anna

p.s. Still loving Johnny Caaaash.

September 24, 2006. Music. 1 comment.

Ode to Reese Witherspoon

This is somewhat strange. Something has happened. I…I actually like country music it turns out. Or let’s keep it down a little: I like Johnny Cash. Ever since Marie wrote that post about how she imagines Siegfried singing Ring of Fire as an intermezzo before awakening Brünnhilde he has been haunting me. I have been listening to Ring of Fire a 1000 times and every time I smile and see Siegfried getting his old guitar.

Tonight I watched Walk the Line which is a marvellous film and of course that just spurred my interest. It is like the Three Tenors of country music. You know a lot of people began listening to opera because of the Three Tenors and now I am listening to Johnny Cash because of Walk the Line.
Besides from the great music the film is mainly wonderful because of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon playing Johnny Cash and June Carter (the love of his life). I think I have only seen Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator where he’s a lethal crybaby (which he does remarkably well), but his portrayal of Cash was heart wringing and I am amazed that he sings so well. And of course he was totally hot too.
Phoenix

But now for a regular ode. Reese Witherspoon is the best! I first noticed her in Pleasantville from 1998 but not until Vanity Fair from 2004 did I truly realise my love for this actress. When I one afternoon kept talking about the wonderful Becky Sharp played by Witherspoon a friend of mine said something I thought I should never have heard come from her lips: “But she was great in Legally Blonde too”. Legally f*** Blonde?! I had forgotten, or maybe even suppressed Legally Blonde that I once watched on my way home from New York one autumn some years ago. Terrible movie – but there she was again, and she was quite delicious and cute and GOOD!

As June Carter she has all the spunk, humour and seriousness you would want from an actress portraying a country singer rescuing another human being from complete self destruction. And topping that with a marvellous voice just made me adore her even more. I want to be her! Look at her – and love her:

And one from Vanity Fair (don’t mind the troll next to her – he’s just another one of Becky Sharp’s tricks):
Becky Sharp

/anna

September 20, 2006. Fandom, Films, Music, Odes. 2 comments.

Rule #1: Never ever ask that question without having actually seen that blue line

Girl: Will you look at my fat pregnant belly! A friend of mine is six months pregnant, and hers is much smaller than mine.

Guy: Oh… Well, how far along are you then?

Girl: I’M NOT PREGNANT!!!

– Krystalgade, Copenhagen

Overheard by

/marie

September 19, 2006. Overheard. Leave a comment.

Marie posing as the Nile

A year ago Marie and I went to Rome. One evening we were in the Piazza Navona eating Tartufi – those intimidating chocolate ice cream cakes (or what ever they are called) and high on too much chocolate Marie chose to pose as the river Nile mirroring Berninis version in the fountain in the middle of the square. As the source of that river was unknown at the time its head is hidden.
I just found the picture and thought it was too good to keep to myself:
Marie as the Nile
/anna

September 18, 2006. Photos, Staged photos, Travels. 1 comment.

About The Confidential Attachées – at last

We have finally pulled ourselves together and written our biographies. So have a look at the “About The Confidential Attachées” in the column to the right.
/anna and marie

September 18, 2006. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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