Archive for June 22nd, 2009

movies and more june 002

by Sam Juliano

    Jean Sibelius’s most popular work is his Symphony No. 2 in D Major, a four-movement masterpiece that at the very least vies with the composer’s nationalistic Finlandia amongst the Finnish composer’s pantheon.  Yet, not until the final “Allegretto moderato” coda does the work evince the same kind of melodic invention and wide appeal that characterized the earlier work.  The composition of the Second marked the culmination of the composer’s early romantic period, a time he was under the thrall of Tchaikovsky, and the flowing melodic line of the work’s denouement, which is actually a series of repeating fragments strung together, provides listeners with one of classical music’s most exquisite (and signature) passages. 

     Concert goers had to wait till the closing minutes to avail themselves of such invigorating sublimity, after hearing a first half that included two works composed by music director/conductor Lorin Maazel in the late 90’s and a brief acknowledgement by New York Philharmonic chairman Paul B. Guenther, who introduced five musicians who are slated to retire at the end of the month after long tenures.  Guenther took an apparently unprovoked poke at the Borough of Brooklyn, stating that it “used to be a hotbed of classical music” in announcing that several of the retirees were born and raised there.  That kind of demeaning cultural elitism is what often prevents this kind of music from reaching those who reside in less ‘privleged’ sections of the city.  A few catcalls from the crowd sent Guenther a clear message. (more…)

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Claire's Knee 1 copy

by Allan Fish

(France 1970 103m) DVD1/2

Aka. Le Genou de Claire

A diplomat’s fetish

p  Pierre Cottrelli  d/w  Eric Rohmer  ph  Nestor Almendros  ed  Cécile Decugis

Jean-Claude Brialy (Jerome), Béatrice Romand (Laura), Aurora Cornu (Aurora), Laurence de Monaghan (Claire), Michèle Montel (Mme.Walter), Gérard Falconetti (Gilles), Fabrice Luchini (Vincent),

Rohmer’s haunting film is perhaps the cinema’s nearest approximation to Proustian discourse” stated Sight & Sound in their review.  Over thirty years later, Raoul Ruiz’s actual adaptation of Proust, Time Regained, may have changed that, but it’s no less accurate a summation as there is something faintly Proustian about proceedings.  The fifth of Rohmer’s six moral tales, Claire’s Knee is a beautifully shot dip into the waters of not only Lake Geneva but the notion of desire itself and how it can manifest itself in the strangest ways.

            Jerome is a 35 year old French diplomat who has returned from Sweden to his childhood town on the shores of Lake Geneva prior to marriage to the unseen Lucinda.  He is met there by a platonic friend, Aurora, who introduces him to the sixteen year old Laura, who develops a crush on him.  But he is equally interested in her half-sister, Claire, who is besotted with a boorish lout of a boyfriend.  Jerome only wants to touch her knee, which becomes the focal point of his desires. (more…)

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