The Frick Sunday concert featured Tempesta di Mare’s A Tale of Two Cities. The music represented the different traditions of Venice and Naples. Vivaldi and Castello represented Venice and Marchitelli and Mancini represented Naples. It was enchanting. The quartet is named after Vivaldi’s eighteenth century flute concerto. The instruments played were the recorder, violin, cello and a theorbo. A theorbo is a stringed instrument of the 17th century resembling a large lute but having an extra set of long bass strings.Thank you, Merriam-Webster. Getting it through customs must be a real treat. The Frick includes brief descriptions of related art works. Do you walk by the bronzes? I do. Therefore I was grateful for the Frick notes gently nudging us to pay as much attention to metal as we do to paint by describing Severo da Ravenna’s Neptune on a Sea-Monster. I went to the West Gallery and looked at it closely, marveling at the action and detail. Frick bought the sculpture from the J. Pierpont Morgan estate. After the concert, we stepped around the corner to Charlot, a charming French bistro on 69th Street.
On March 9th, I participated in a Jericho Walk near Foley Square. A Judson Memorial Church member had to appear before ICE. This person has been in the U. S. for twenty five years, has a family, works regularly and yet there’s a distinct chance that he will be deported to a country he hasn’t lived in for decades. We were instructed not to engage in angry exchanges. In other words, keep your BIG mouth shut. I shouted at a creep who was holding up posters telling immigrants to get out of his country. I was correctly shushed by my pals. A Jericho Walk is a prayer walk by a group. The purpose is to pray for or against something which indeed we did.
Highlights in Jazz was on Thursday evening. After a delicious dinner at Gigino’s we made our way to BMCC. That’s Borough of Manhattan Community College auditorium. Paquito D’Rivera was his usual charming self. The evening was shadowed by the news of Barbara Carroll’s death.
Have you seen The Fallen Idol? Film Forum is having a Carol Reed moment. Reed, the director and Graham Greene, the writer, worked on three films together: The Fallen Idol, The Third Man and Our Man in Havana. Not bad, eh? The 1948 movie is charming. It’s a literate thriller that takes place in an impossibly vast and posh mansion in post-war London. The superb cast includes Ralph Richardson, Michelle Morgan and the amazing child, Bobby Henrey. Mr. Henrey presented his elderly self at the Film Forum’s first screening of The Fallen Idol. The small movie houses are bucking up. Film Forum and IFC have Q & A’s with actors from long ago productions. Earlier in the week, Film Forum presented The Odd Man Out, an earlier Reed film. It stars the young, handsome James Mason as an Irish revolutionary who spends most of the long film bleeding to death. Afterwards, dinner at the Jane Restaurant on Houston. Lovely oysters and shrimp for me and a burger, medium please, for my pal from Michigan.
Friday night we went to the NY Philharmonic in what used to be called the Avery Fisher Hall. Frank Huang, the lead violinist, had a stellar solo debut gliding us through a Grieg quickie followed, after intermission, by Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. I’m embarrassed to say that after all the time I’ve spent at Lincoln Center I had never been to the Shun Lee Cafe. What a treat. It’s tucked into west 65th Street, and a perfect pretheatre restaurant. Forget the dim sum. It’s so 1970’s. Instead, head straight for the entrées and delicious white wine. Wine? In a Chinese restaurant? That’s right. It’s 2016, folks.
On Sunday I pulled on my hiking boots and went to the Frick Collection for a late afternoon concert by Florilegium, an English early music ensemble. The audience, dressed for the weather, resembled an apres skiing group. In contrast the romantic Baroque music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann was well suited to the brocaded interior of the Frick Music Room.
Afterwards, we had dinner at Marks Hotel. We slid and skidded our way from 70th Street to 77th up a deserted Madison.It was well worth it for the wonderful cocktails, oysters, perfectly cooked salmon and homemade cookies.
You can’t go home again. A friend and I returned to a neighborhood haunt on 12 Street, John’s. We both had fond memories of delicious food in a charming setting. The restaurant itself is still engaging: the neon sign that beckons to neighborhood diners, the nostalgic murals that circle the upper walls, the dark furniture and sparkling white linens, and an original feature: the ornate candle confection. If only the service and food were as good as the surroundings. I remember fondly the sweetbreads, a dish that has been banished from John’s menu. So, I ordered tagliatelli with Tuscan ragout. It was featured on the Food Network’s Dives, Drive-Ins and Diners. I can’t imagine Guy Fieri, the genial host, being served the same dish. Forget about Tuscany. It was definitely barbecue out of a bottle.The waiters behaved as if they were in their mothers’ kitchens. They grabbed plates, acted bored and couldn’t wait to get back to the bar where they exchanged loud jokes. It was very Saturday Night Fever but without John Travolta.
Amnesty International mailed me a 12” by 12” 2015 paper calendar. Is there any more dated symbol of a bygone world? The paper calendar is in the same category as all those deserted malls. Isn’t the internet, or a similar communication device, here to stay? In addition to the expense of producing the calendar, the contents are highly suspect. There are colored photos of pretty dark children smiling in soft focused lighting. We know Panos Pictures did the photos because the credit is almost an inch high and mentioned three times. It’s Project Runway meets the Sierra Club. Some day these shots might be considered vintage. Now they’re only dated examples of another charity spending its money unwisely. What a distortion of human suffering. What a waste of money.
Vivaldi is to Venice what Gershwin is to NYC. I was thinking this while listening to the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato at Carnegie Hall. She was celebrating Venice. In addition to Vivaldi, she sang the works of Faure´, Rossini, Head, Hahn and DeCurtis.It’s all lovely and wonderful to hear, but I favor Vivaldi because he’s a hometown boy and I associate his music with the churches, Santa Maria della Pieta and San Vidal. Who was San Vidal? There’s a Carpaccio painting of him on horseback on San Vidal’s main altar. You can gaze at it and other paintings while listening to gorgeous music – Vivaldi, of course, at the church just over the Accademia Bridge.
Have you visited any of the following countries in the last 21 days, followed by a map of western Africa showing Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Maps of Vietnam, Irag, Iran, Syria come to mind. Do we have to have a health crisis or declare war to become interested in geography?