Category Archives: Great Artists

Nelson Atkins Museum

Last week, while I was in Kansas City, I visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

This kind of stuff makes me weak in the knees:

I enjoyed viewing this Chinese orchestra:

And revisiting Persephone by Thomas Hart Benton:

The Chinese temple exhibit is one of the Nelson’s great glories:

This Stonehenge is one I don’t remember seeing before:

But the crowning jewel of the Nelson collection?  This Caravaggio of St. John the Baptist.  It’s gut-punching in person:

Save the date | JRC cabaret in February

SONGS I WISH MY MOTHER
HAD TAUGHT ME

Tuesday, February 25, 8 p.m.
Tentative venue: the new Blue Strawberry in Central West End

Featuring such songs as

I love a piano
Bye, bye blackbird
Accentuate the positive
September Song
The man I love

and more by
Michel LeGrand, Jerry Herman, Irving Berlin, Morton Lauridsen,
Kander & Ebb, Goldrich & Heisler, and of course P.D.Q. Bach!

This is ticketed event.  Stay tuned for details.

CSO

Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Saturday evening subscription concert.

Juanjo Mena conducts the CSO in a program featuring Holst’s powerful and haunting The Planets. Sally Matthews, a soprano of “incandescent verve” (The Times, London), performs two scenes from Barber’s 1966 opera that opened the Metropolitan Opera’s new house at Lincoln Center. Detroit-based composer James Lee III’s celebratory Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula illustrates an ancient Hebrew harvest festival refracted through the lens of the Book of Revelation.

My soul thus refreshed, I am ready for the annual meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music.

Sir Stephen Cleobury

Sir Stephen Cleobury has died.

The long-time Director of Music at King’s College Cambridge, he was one of the most influential musicians in England.

https://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/news/2019/sir-stephen-cleobury-1948-2019

https://www.classicfm.com/artists/stephen-cleobury/has-died-aged-70/

I had drinks with him in Kansas City some years ago, and spoke with him at King’s on several visits.  And I had looked forward to him conducting Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius at King’s last year, but he was indisposed and had a sub on the podium.

“If for nothing else, Stephen Cleobury should go down as the man who really recharged the writing of contemporary choral music – not just the Christmas carol, but the fact that his commissioning has affected how people write choral music. In all four corners of the globe people switch on the radio on Christmas Eve and hear a new piece of music.”
~Jeremy Summerly, CD Review, Radio 3, 1 December 2018

A fine voice is silenced. That he died on Saint Cecelia’s Day, the feast of the patron saints of musicians, is truly fitting.

Chicago afternoon

I arrived yesterday, dropped my bags at the hotel, and immediately set out for the Art Institute of Chicago.

I made my way quickly to the stunning and magnificent collection of Impressionism, spending some decent time with Renoir and Monet, and of course Georges.

And I’ve never visited the small Islamic collection at the Art Institute, so I spent some time there.

And then the Chagall windows.  These amazing Chagall windows:

My leg was talking to me — well, screaming at me — so I walked back to the hotel and took a two-hour nap.