Monday, February 24, 2003

Russian Ark aka Russkij kovcheg dir. Alexander Sokurov
This elegy to pre-Communist Russia, despite its peremptory dismissal of the peasant masses, is an excellent visual experiment well worth it for both the art in the film and the art of the film. There is art in the film is because the location is the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg. The steadicam movement appropriately simulates the human eye of the narrator while camera filters make the Hermitage look like a wispy ghost. Only occasionally do the overly artsy moments grate. I enjoyed the French dandy who is the narrator's cohort for most of the film but ymmv. Technically, the film astounds with its single 90+ minute take.

Leif Ove Andsnes
Piano Recital at Spivey HallFeb. 23, 2003
We in Atlanta are fortunate to have Spivey Hall, a counterpart to London's Wigmore Hall, both equally famous for their acoustics and their programming. Andsnes has been talked about much as a young performer both in the press and in especially since he bridges the older tradition of playing the canon and the newer tradition of playing everything but the canon. His performance of Chopin's Polonaise-Fantasie was very musical and playful although I prefer Argerich's ferocity. His Debussy was skilfully coloristic. The Miyoshi piece with its angular motif led into a convincing performance of the angular B minor sonata by Chopin. The concluding encores by Chopin, Grieg, and Scriabin were an added Romantic treat.


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