Matthew Gurewitsch
Matthew Gurewitsch
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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April's last Catch: Brush up your Shakespeare
Episode 3: Simple women, simple people

May 1, 2021

From Shakespeare to more Shakespeare, by way of Broadway. "I Hate Men!" a ferocious Kelli O'Hara announced, in the first of three excerpts from the 2019 revival of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate! Next up: Will Chase followed with the tempestuous yearning of "Were Thine That Special Face," and finally Kate's quiet bombshell moment, "I Am Ashamed That People Are So Simple."

Say again?! In The Taming of the Shrew, Porter's Shakespearean source, wasn't it women who were so simple? And didn't Porter follow Shakespeare's lead?

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April's last Catch: the series continues
Episode 2: Giya Kancheli's incidental genius

May 1, 2021

From epic Chausson to miniatures scarcely two minutes a piece from Simple Music, an anthology by the late Giya Kancheli, who hailed from Georgia but settled in Belgium. According to his fellow composer Rodion Shchedrin, the austere spiritual compositions for which Kancheli is best known unfold "like Vesuvius in slow motion." Simple Music, on the other hand, assembles bits and pieces from his voluminous output for theater and film. It seems the composer himself arranged 33 such items for piano (a nod to Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, also 33 in number, though not simple at all). Then came Jenny Lin, piano, and Guy Klucevsek, accordion, to arrange them again. We heard themes from Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, which brought to mind the teddy bears having their picnic; Beckett's Waiting for Godot, reminiscent of the Shakers' "Simple Gifts"; and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, fit for Tom and Jerry. Wonderful stuff, and we'll have more.

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April's last Catch: a limited miniseries begins
Episode 1: Chausson's epic 'Concert'

May 1, 2021

Ernest Chausson. Does the name ring a bell? A contemporary of Claude Debussy's, he was born in Paris in 1855 and died nearby in 1899, killed instantly when he bicycled into a brick wall, just as widespread recognition was beginning to come his way. His Poème, for violin and orchestra, is still heard with some frequency, as are the orchestral song cycles Poème de l'Amour de de la Mer and Chanson Perpétuelle. The SummerScape Festival at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson has announced a rare revival of his opera Le Roi Artus (King Arthur) this summer. But the piece I most cherish him for is his Concert ("Concerto") for violin, piano, and string quartet. I haven't heard it in ages but think of it often. Lately, the urge to share it has been overwhelming.

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Celia Ipiotis and the living legacy of "Eye on Dance"
The Dance Boom that began with Nureyev and ended with Y2K still resonates today

April 17, 2021

Timing, people say, is everything. Dance, people say, is the most ephemeral of the arts. What a stroke of fortune, then, that Celia Ipiotis came along when she did with her long-running half-hour TV talk-show-with-benefits "Eye on Dance," catching America's legendary late-20th-century Dance Boom in full bloom.

Born in Athens, Celia came to America at the age of three, when her father, a polymer chemist, won a fellowship for advanced study in New York. Her father's subsequent employment at General Motors took the family to Dayton, Ohio.

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Music in the real world: Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, arranged by Shostakovich
A remarkable tribute, and a remarkable appreciation

April 15, 2021

You may remember that I've had occasion to introduce Richard Guérin on these posts before. He's the man who has been running Philip Glass's record labels for donkeys' years, and I'm convinced that he never sleeps. It's always a good day in my office when I hear from Richard, and early this month, he shot me the following message:

Hi Matthew,

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Books by Matthew Gurewitsch

Cover of Rafal Olbinski Women Cover of When Stars Blow Out

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