May 20, 2013
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
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May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Feb. 26, 2013/ 16 Adar 5773
It is customary now to go to a concert of classical music and hear ... a talk.
The custom long ago spread to the Clinton Presidential Library here in Little Rock, unfortunately. That's where chamber music is regularly served up by a select group of the Arkansas Symphony -- for which we in these parts are just as regularly grateful.
For a starter this evening, we get a condensed Music Appreciation course delivered in a tone that would be suitable for an assemblage of small children, or maybe gentle idiots. How come those who go to rock concerts or an evening of jazz don't have to suffer through an explanatory lecture first? Maybe it's because they know music speaks for itself, or should.
Listening to musicians talk about a piece of classical music -- its background, composer, formation, technique and other addenda -- is almost as stultifying as listening to writers talk about writing (the word processor versus longhand) or an actor being interviewed after a performance. Reduced to writing his own lines, he decides to enlighten us with his views about the Great Political and Ideological Issues of the Day, heaven help us.
The actor who's as interesting off the stage as on is the rare exception to a dismal rule. (The names Richard Burton and Louise Brooks, the vamp of the silent screen, spring to mind.)
Tonight, instead of music that soothes the savage breast, we begin with a mini-TED presentation. Luckily, not even all the talk tonight can put a damper on the musicianship of the Rockefeller Quartet, aka The Rocks. This is their 10th anniversary concert, and their opening number -- Mendelssohn's String Quartet No. 3 in D Major -- was worth waiting 10 years for. The quartet played more than well. They played in that realm where words fail, where they would only get in the way.
At the end, the audience leaps to its feet. I don't remember getting up; the music must have lifted me. Afterward, looking at my program, which is where I scrawl notes on the concert, I see only one: "I am so happy."
Then it's time to go from the sublime to ... Philip Glass, the minimalist composer, and the more minimal my exposure to his work, the better. His natural metier, if you'll forgive my French, is background music for movies like "The Truman Show" -- something that maintains a constant tension without really going anywhere. Much like modernity itself.
If there is a single word to describe both the best and worst of Philip Glass's work, it is cinematic, and both his best and worst have the same skittish quality about them. They make me nervous.
Perhaps seeking distraction, any distraction, I hear the sound of the air-conditioning turning on in the hall, and for a moment wonder if it's part of the composition. It would be just like Philip Glass. With him, you have to wonder: Is this his music or just the metronome?
But there are those who love Glass, and can't wait for his latest composition, which to my ear sounds like all the rest -- like a prelude to some impending disaster, but without the relief disaster might afford.
Maybe I just haven't heard enough Glass, but I'm not about to. A little of his music goes an awfully long way. It never seems to end, just stop.
Then, mercifully, it's time for a reprieve. I mean intermission. It's followed by Tchaikovsky's String Quartet No. 1 in D Major. It's played expertly -- you wouldn't expect less of the Rockefeller Quartet. Nothing wrong with its execution, though a critic's ear might detect something here or there. No, it's not the execution that's off but the conception. Where is the Russian melancholy that looms behind Tchaikovky's even gayest pieces?
Instead, this rendition makes his music sound ... almost sweet. Like one blini after another, each served with a different accompaniment -- sour cream, caviar, apple sauce, maybe maple syrup. The effect of the whole is enough to make you a little queasy, or at least eager to leave while the Mendelssohn still lingers in the air and mind.
We do. And I'm still happy. Thank you, Rocks.
Paul Greenberg Archives
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