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Archive for aprile 2007

PEOPLE who pay the least attention to classical music probably know Mozart’s clarinet concerto and quintet, two indelibly beautiful works. But how many remember the name Anton Stadler? He was Mozart’s fellow Freemason in Vienna, a clarinetist for whom the works were written. The history of music is littered with Stadlers, great virtuosos whose artistry inspired the repertory we live with today. An outstanding example of such an artist, Mstislav Rostropovich, died last week.

Mstislav Rostropovich, 80, Dissident Maestro, Dies (April 28, 2007) Mr. Rostropovich played a number of extraordinary roles in his life: brilliant cellist, conductor, thorn in the side of the Soviet regime, champion of artistic and political freedom, mentor and humanitarian.

One of his greatest legacies, though, will probably be a prodigious body of cello music composed for him or inspired by him.

He was the recipient of five pieces by Britten; two cello concertos by Shostakovich; and Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante. He gave the first performances of works by Penderecki, Dutilleux, Lutoslawski, Schnittke, Messiaen, Bernstein, Auric and Walton and a host of other 20th-century composers.

Ralph Kirshbaum, an American cellist living in London, recalled a car ride with Mr. Rostropovich two years ago. The Russian said he was working on a new Penderecki piece. How many premieres had Mr. Rostropovich given, Mr. Kirshbaum idly asked. “It is No. 224,” Mr. Rostropovich answered — mostly cello works, but also pieces for orchestra, chamber ensemble and voice and piano (he was a capable accompanist).

“He is the supreme example of a practicing musician, an internationally renowned artist, who brings into the world so many new compositions,” said Mr. Kirshbaum, who runs an international cello festival in Manchester, England. The festival begins May 2 and will include a tribute to Mr. Rostropovich.

“He made it his business to know these composers and goad from them these compositions,” Mr. Kirshbaum said. “He would insist, ‘Must write piece for me!’ ”

Visual artists, of course, have always had muses, and the inspiration is obvious: they painted them. Picasso had his lover Dora Maar; Bonnard had his wife Marthe, whom he painted hundreds of times; Rembrandt, a genius of self-portraiture, had himself. Elsewhere in the world of performing arts, the great example of performer inspiration is George Balanchine, who built ballets on a succession of great dancers, some of whom became wives.

In music, the relationship between performer and composer is less intimate but no less powerful, although opera is something of an exception. Composers have long written operatic roles with specific singers — their voices, their looks, their personalities — in mind. Mozart several times added and subtracted arias based on who was singing in a particular production. Composers of that era also tended to write concertos for themselves or their students to play.

In our age, the importance of the performer as muse has grown, for several reasons. Technical advances in instrument-making over the last 100 years have broadened the range of what musicians can play. And musicians have become better. They want more music, and composers are stimulated to write for them. All this music helps keep the classical scene vibrant.

The oboe is a good example. Its modern form dates back only 100 years, meaning the 19th-century Romantics produced few solo works of note for oboe and orchestra. The Strauss concerto, a landmark, came in 1945, and since the 1960s, the Swiss soloist Heinz Holliger has played a major role in raising the oboe’s profile and inspiring myriad works by composers including Berio, Carter, Martin, Henze, Lutoslawski and Stockhausen.

“All of us guys with big jobs are always looking for new pieces to play,” said Eugene Izotov, principal oboist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. “When a composer, no matter whether famous or not, sends me something, I’m very excited about it.”

New musical markets have arisen as the newer members of the modern symphony orchestra have come into their own. The trombone has a huge new body of recent solo literature. Much of it came about because of the Swedish trombone virtuoso Christian Lindberg, who counts at least 82 works written for him. Oystein Baadsvik of Norway, a tuba soloist, has given the premieres of some 40 works.

Even percussionists have a library of solo literature, born almost exclusively in the last 75 years. This month, the combined percussion ensembles of the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music performed a pillar of the repertory, an entire symphony of percussion by Charles Wuorinen.

Playing an instrument brilliantly is not the only quality that leads to new works. Often, the performer is a composer too, like Mr. Holliger and Mr. Lindberg. Energy, a persuasive personality and plenty of commitment are also necessary, and Mr. Rostropovich excelled in these areas (and even composed a bit too).

Once, in the middle of a punishing schedule of concerts and travel, he appeared at a rehearsal with the English Chamber Orchestra to perform a new work at the Aldeburgh Festival, with Britten conducting, Mr. Kirshbaum said, recounting a story told by a member of the orchestra. He had not completely polished the piece, and Britten took offense. Mr. Rostropovich spent the night practicing. The next day, he played it perfectly. From memory.

Another insight into his dedication to new works came from Patricia O’Kelly, the longtime spokeswoman for the National Symphony Orchestra, which Mr. Rostropovich led as music director from 1977 to 1994. In an interview once, he wondered with mock anger why no cellist had ever asked Mozart, “Write for me cello concerto!” in Ms. O’Kelly’s paraphrase.

It was an accusation he never wanted made about him.

Article Taken from:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/weekinreview/29wakin.html?ref=weekinreview

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Another interesting video taken from YouTube! 

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Watch this interesting video on YouTube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsFlY2bBPbw

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Music has always been integral to English Freemasonry from the early years of the 18th century and the inclusion of songs set to music in James Anderson’s first Book of Constitutions (1723) is clear evidence for this. Early Lodge music generally took the form of singing either unaccompanied or with portable instruments, as the Lodges were meeting in the private rooms of inns and taverns which had to be cleared at the end of a meeting.
    During the 19th century dedicated Masonic halls were built and a pipe organ was often installed – mainly a reflection of the Victorian vogue for pipe organs, which by then were installed across England in every ambitious church, chapel and meeting hall.
    The previous century’s tradition of Lodge music, with its echoes of tavern culture, was ill-suited to the new Lodge environment, and so the process of appropriating a new musical repertoire from the unimpeachable sources of church and chapel began.
    Christian hymns and psalms, and new music inspired by them, expressing sentiments thought to validate Freemasonry’s fraternal tenets, began to dominate. A profusion of such material appeared in inexpensive, commercially-produced editions of Lodge music from the middle of the 19th century until the zenith of such publications in the early decades of the 20th.
    The latest exhibition at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London called The Freemason’s Liber Musicus explores this development of Masonic music drawing on its unique collection of music which is currently being catalogued. The Freemason’s Liber Musicus is the work of Dr William Spark, a Leeds organist whose own musical and Masonic career illustrates many aspects of this development.
    In the 19th century many provincial English cities established music festivals whose profits were used to provide finance for hospitals and other community facilities. The festivals also enhanced a city’s status.
    As leading citizens were involved with these festivals, it is not surprising that we can find a number of musical Freemasons playing their part. One such case is Dr William Spark at Leeds.
    The growth of banking and trading services to support the wool trade had led to tremendous growth in the population of Leeds in the early 19th century: the population increased by a factor of three between 1800 and 1841.

Article taken from: http://www.mqmagazine.co.uk/issue-21/p-34.php?PHPSESSID=88feaca762409d9f19747c41a37c2a32

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The storms refuse to die down at the Izmir-based Main Lodge of the Turkish Freemasons, which in the past decade has been pursuing a transparent policy for its activities.
  
Turkey’s Freemasons held their first press meeting on April 26, 1999 to mark the 90th anniversary of the group in Turkey. 
Turkey’s masonic groups previously did not offer spokesmen, briefings for the media or provide talks to interested parties upon request. Freemasons in different countries have stated that Freemasonry has, in the 21st century, become less a secret society. In Turkey, the fraternity held its first press meeting on April 26, 1999 to mark the 90th anniversary of the group in Turkey. In eight of Turkey’s major cities, 160 lodges spoke up and declared that they had a total of 12,000 members. Celebrity figures, such as actor Zeki Alasya, also publicly announced their masonic affiliation.
Since then, the fraternity has seen considerable press coverage. In particular disturbances in its administration, which began in March of 2006 when former Grand Master Kaya Paşakaya and two top leaders of the lodge were expelled from the group on corruption charges, made newspaper headlines. It appears that troubles in the administration continue for the fraternity as a wave of mass resignations, apparently the first such wave in Turkish masonic history, have shaken the organization. Recent resignations include those of former Grand Master Demir Savaşçı, five board members and three stand-by board members.

Lodge members are highly skeptical that the reason behind the 2006 expulsions was actually “corruption doubts,” and direct serious accusations at Grand Master Asım Akin. A former board member of the lodge, Yalçın Erceber, among those who recently resigned, asserted that last year’s expulsions had been registered at a date three days earlier than the meeting out of which the official expulsion decision had emerged. Erceber also claimed that signatures collected earlier from board members on blank sheets of papers had been used to approve the expulsions ahead of the meeting. Former Grand Master Kaya Paşakaya, Grand Secretary Koray Darga and Grand Treasurer Professor Ali Sait Sevgener were all expelled from the Mason Lodge in March 2006 on charges of corruption. News about the expulsions hit the national media while mutual accusations between the expelled and the Lodge administration were brought to court.

In addition to reactions to the expulsions, some members have resigned to demonstrate exasperation with a new by-law introduced at a meeting on March 4, 2007. Members who resigned following a meeting on the new by-laws include former Grand Mater Demir Savaşçın and three other board members from the İzmir chapter. These resignations were a bombshell in the Turkish freemasonry scene. The topic was dealt with at a board meeting on March 17, with many stating there was a vacuum in the İzmir chapter leadership. The current board, in an e-mail message it sent to lodge members, stressed that the massive resignations were a first in the history of Turkish masonry. The message underlined the need to take immediate action and warned that massive resignations would constitute a “masonic crime.”

The schisms within the Izmir Lodge are already reflecting on preparations for the upcoming June general assembly meeting of the fraternity. Different factions of the İzmir Freemasons have rolled up their sleeves to overthrow Grand Master Akin. At this point, four names are being discussed as prospective candidates. According to sources, Akin’s name is no longer on the list of candidates supported by the board. In the face of this, the fact that Yalcin Erceber, who resigned, has received the second-most votes for filling what is now Akin’s position underscores what some say is a “message” to the Grand Master of the Freemasons.

Article taken from: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=107261

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“La Massoneria del Grande Oriente d’Italia si propone l’elaborazione di un progetto di un nuovo umanesimo per il rinascimento dei valori, la sola via per pervenire ad una civiltà della persona edificata sui fondamenti culturali di uguaglianza, libertà, fratellanza, tolleranza: nostri valori, questi, che conducono all’amore gratuito dell’uomo per il proprio simile e che non potranno mai essere acquistati da alcuna società finanziaria”.

Lo ha detto l’avvocato Gustavo Raffi, Gran Maestro del Grande Oriente d’Italia di Palazzo Giustiniani, chiudendo i lavori della Gran Loggia 2007, la massima assise annuale della maggiore istituzione massonica italiana che ha visto riuniti a Rimini oltre duemila massoni in rappresentanza degli oltre diciottomila iscritti alle 671 Logge del Grande Oriente d’Italia e delegazioni di venticinque Grandi Logge estere.

“La Massoneria – ha detto ancora – configurandosi come ambiente formativo al di là delle diversità delle condizioni culturali, sociali ed economiche, rappresenta un ambito di esistenza e, nel contempo, lo sfondo di valore entro il quale accogliere l’istanza etica, corroborarla con i propri principi, elaborarla in forma di comunicazione significativa e affidarla al confronto culturale”

“Noi, dunque – conclude Raffi – come sentinelle etiche contro trionfanti ideologie del non-pensiero, volte a costruire le condizioni spirituali del futuro; per compiere, spedizioni verso le terre del non-ancora, utopia speranza; non per conquistarle, per esserci, non per integrarvisi, ma per essere ‘altro’ anche nell’’altrove’”.

 Fonte: Comunicato Stampa GOI Rimini, 15 aprile 2007

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