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Gary Scott

It's all there: passion, infatuation, love, death, poverty, suffering, joy and art. And yet, La Boheme defies categorization as just another soap opera. After 116 years, Giacomo Puccini's music of the heart still grabs the listener's soul more willingly than any siren call ever could.

The recent performance by the St. Louis Symphony of Brahms' monumental "Symphony No. 4" marked not just a performance event, but proved once again that the SLSO is perhaps the most cogent and vital music educator in our community.

David Robertson's on-stage introduction to Philippe Manoury's "Synapse", for violine and orchestra, made more sense than the composer's own description, which fluttered about such terms as "blocks", "formulas" and "specific grammar" without really explaining their true meaning. However, Robertson's substantial personal charisma seemed insufficient to make such a piece palatable to what was easily the sparsest audience in memory at a St. Louis Symphony concert.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010 00:18

Concert review: The 13th century rocks

Few human emotions are not found in Sergei Prokofiev's epic cantata Alexander Nevsky. Fear, bravery, adrenaline rush, grief, thirst for freedom, love, the thrill of victory, and, ultimately, happiness -- all were delivered handsomely on November 19-20 by the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus under David Robertson.

A teacher of mine once observed that the defining characteristic of the Romantic era was not fiery emotionalism and heroics, but introspection. This was clearly demonstrated in the performance by Belgian guitarist Raphaella Smits in her performance for the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society on November 6, 2010, at the Ethical Society.

Saturday, 25 September 2010 17:43

Zen and the art of Emozioni Ricordati

The Zen master D. T. Suzuki once wrote: "In Zen there is nothing to explain by means of words....Do not remain silent; nor be discursive." Performance artist Tom Brady, in his new work Emozioni Ricordati (Recalled Emotions), presented by Annonyarts, has constructed a collage of forms without form that evoke primeval memories and glimpses of what we once were, are and are becoming.

According to figures compiled by Human Rights Watch and the Seattle-based web group Rachel Corrie Facts, 950 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks carried out between January 2000 and March 2003, when the young American activist Rachel Corrie met her tragic death in Gaza.  Corrie stood in the path of an oncoming bulldozer intent on destroying the network of tunnels that Israel believed were used by terrorists for arms smuggling from Egypt.
Thursday, 10 January 2008 19:00

Highland Fling

Although patronage of the arts, particularly music, continues to increase, ironically many orchestras now face the necessity of re-inventing themselves and devising evermore innovative programs to entice listeners who might otherwise be drawn to today's vast offerings in opera, dance, chamber music, cabaret and musical theatre. Although this makes greater work for the orchestras, we as audiences are beneficiaries of this continuing outpour of creative programming.

Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00

Ptah Williams Jazz Quartet

Jazz at Holmes Summer Concert Series at Washington University 

8/2/2007 only
Reviewed by Gary Scott
If you think about it, jazz is sort of like a uniquely American version of chamber music (OK, I realize that chamber musicians generally don't use amps and microphones, but I think the comparison is still valid). When jazz is performed in a comfortable cabaret-style venue, replete with tables and comfortable chairs and free(!) refreshments, the listener achieves the same up-close and personal intimacy that characterizes European chamber music from previous eras.

There are those who feel that perhaps classical music needs more flash and verve in order to reach out to audiences that increasingly are drawn to visuals. Maybe they are right--for example, movies about musicians (such as Hillary and Jackie or Madame Souzatzka) are generally successful, as are the blowout performances aired on public television during pledge drives, etc., but such visually stimulating performances, although usually excellent, rely heavily on hype and visual appeal.
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