Classical Music with Cathy Fuller

Hopper and Gershwin

By Cathy Fuller   |   Wednesday, January 5, 2011
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The Museum of Fine Arts opened their Art of the Americas Wing in November 2010, and out of sheer glee, I decided to feature one treasure from the new wing paired with music written in the same year.

Edward Hopper’s "Room in Brooklyn," (left) painted in 1932, is haunting. The signature sunlight which so intrigued Hopper is here given harsh geometry, and the woman seems starkly alone. Her isolation has emptied the city of its life.

This disconcerting canvas offers a vision of New York light years away from George Gershwin’s view. His is romantic, lush and complex -- full of the rhythms that he insisted “should be made to snap, and at times to crackle.”

In 1932 Gershwin’s publisher suggested that he write some keyboard versions of his own songs. "Playing my songs as frequently as I do at private parties," Gershwin said, "I have naturally been led to compose numerous variations upon them, and to indulge the desire for complication and variety that every composer feels when he manipulates the same material over and over again."

Here is a selection from Gershwin's songbook transcriptions for piano, played by William Bolcom:

Gershwin: Rialto Ripples (excerpt)


(image courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts)


Concert for the Cure

By Cathy Fuller   |   Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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When flutist Julie Scolnik underwent treatment for breast cancer, music consoled her.  Her family and doctors kept her focused on the future.  And as she made her way out of the darkness, she resolved to do what she could to help women less fortunate who would find themselves in the same place.  Working with the remarkable foundation Susan G. Komen for the Cure, she has put together an evening of music that will console and, she hopes, inspire many more people to work toward a cancer-free world. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested nearly $1.5 billion since its inception in 1982. As the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, they work  to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.

On Sunday, December 5th, some of the world's most brilliant and renowned musicians will gather on the Jordan Hall stage.  Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director of the Berlin Philharmonic, will conduct an orchestra of inspired musicians, including members of the Boston Symphony, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, many of Boston's finest chamber ensembles, and emerging young artists.  Eight-time Grammy nominee Marc-André Hamelin will play Mozart's Piano Concerto in G, K.453, and the orchestra will play one of Gustav Mahler's most moving creations, the Adagietto from his Symphony No. 5.  The evening will end with the thrilling embrace of the Symphony No. 2 by Johannes Brahms.

Rattle will be driving up from his conducting duties at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  Hamelin will have arrived that day from New York as well.   They know the life-changing power of music, and its ability to reach into the noblest parts of the human spirit.  Every musician is donating his/her talent to help everyone who has been visited by the nightmare of cancer, and to do their part toward the ultimate dream of erasing it from all of our lives.

I'll be there on Sunday, and I hope you will be, too.  To learn more, listen to my interview with Julie Scolnik below, and visit Concert for the Cure.  Tickets are available from the Jordan Hall box office.

New and Notable Releases

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
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