September 17, 2007

Staying Humble - and Couture

Well...what to write?

Valentino, the couturier, is retiring...and this week the New York Times contained an article about the collections being shown during Fashion Week, asking the question about Fashion Week, fashion itself, and the intellectual relevance of it all. Meanwhile, Andre Leon Talley's tribute to the late Gianfranco Ferre (designer of the amazing ballgowns featured on the Christian Dior runways in the '90s) appears in the September American Vogue. Featured in that tribute is a beautiful picture of Ferre and Karen Mulder in the favorite image: movement, creativity, a moment with the muse and the designer...

Today, in the car, I heard both the Elgar Violin Concerto (played by Itzhak Perlman and the Chicago Symphony) and Bach's Violin Concerto in A Minor(played by Nigel Kennedy and the Berlin Philharmonic). Both performances were stunning, and I was again reminded of the importance of listening...about keeping the ears, sensibilities, and spirit alive.

Today I went to the library and looked at Prokofieff's Classical Symphony. Both the first and fourth movements of this symphony appear on audition lists and I'm actually somewhat ashamed to say that in all of these years I've never studied that score. I've also started working on Mozart's Concerto in A Minor again - this time with new eyes, new thoughts, real insights that come from the text itself.

Musically, it's been all about being and STAYING humble, realizing that there is so much more to know, hear, read, study - the work is continuing, and while it was tragic in many ways I do have to be thankful for many of the things connected with Katrina, including having that picture taken in the New Orleans Basketball Arena. In the past two years I have had numerous opportunities to play, to speak - and somehow in these past two years I have studied more, practiced more. Of course, this was out of necessity. As I look back, however, I realize that I had always done that kind of work, even before being told to. This is the work - not just practicing. Really knowing music, and figuring out what needs to be said, what one wants to say, and being able to both articulate it and defend it. Quite the challenge, no?

Yes, and a welcome keep working, growing, sniffing, learning, digging...staying in the trenches.

As far as fashion and its relevance or usefulness? In 1994 "supermodels" Karen Mulder (who speaks five languages) and Carla Bruni (who has started a pretty amazing career as a vocalist) were featured on City TV's Fashion Television during the Paris couture shows - during a time that those in the media were saying that couture was dead, useless, irrelevant, and Ms. Mulder asked her friend "Do you think that couture is dead?"

Ms. Bruni answered: "Couture will never die - people have to be able to dream."

...and the metronome ticks...

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