This week was joyous for me because I filled my heart and soul with quenching music and art.
It started with Sunday Jazz Brunch at beautiful Robert on Columbus Circle. It was a foggy day so the view of Central Park from top of the Museum of Art and Design (where Robert is housed) was ethereal and misty.
The holiday decorations were still up and the jazz set was performed by bassist Rob Dugay’s trio Songevity. The pianist was Justin Kauflin and the drummer Nadav Snir-Zelniker. It was a particularly good set with lots of energy, smoothness and cohesive interaction between the musicians.
They clearly enjoyed the standards they played with each other and so did we.
Later in the week I was fortunate to attend the New York Philharmonic conducted by our own music director Alan Gilbert with the exquisite violin soloist Lisa Batiashvili.
The concert was like a grab bag of musical genres.
Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture was first followed by the electric and seamless performance of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No.1. I am generally not a fan of music that is less than melodic, but the extreme sensitivity and deeply resonant notes of Ms. Batiashvili violin amazed and moved me. Her performance seemed effortless despite the obvious difficulty of the solos.
What I loved about Alan Gilbert’s conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 was Alan Gilbert. He is jubilant, expressively using his whole body and hands to conduct the entire program without one piece of sheet music to guide him.
What finally astonished me was the performance of George Gershwin’s An American In Paris. I have never heard it live and while Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron flashed in my mind’s eye the subtlety of the interplay of the rhythms and instruments were so very exciting. I had chills all over my body. Wow, I didn’t expect that!
Finally, after months of watching the lines outside of the Frick Collection (located across the street from where I frequently enter Central Park) I finally got tickets to see the special exhibit Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting From The Mauritshuis.
What I realized when I saw this exhibit and later went on to see old favorites of mine from the permanent Frick collection is that “live” art- the masterpieces themselves, touch me energetically in ways that reproductions simply don’t.
I have wonderful memories of visiting this jewel of a museum as a child on Sundays with my parents. There is a marble central courtyard adjacent to the gilded organ that used to be played while we meandered through the exhibition rooms.
It was here that I first fell in love with the portraits painted by Romney, Renoir and Gainsborough.
Just as in musical performances, some of the very minute nuances in the energy and visuals of a painting fall short in reproduction.
The simple point is that the majesty of the humanity and divinity that the painting masters capture touches me in ways that are difficult to describe.
In this week’s slide show there are a few left over holiday pictures of small shops and houses, Christmas carolers, the red snail sculptures in Central Park and Columbus Circle, a picture of Santas, strolling down my street on Santacom, the 67th Street Armory garlands, views of Jazz Sunday Brunch at Robert, and a flash of Vermeer’s Girl with The Pearl Earring at the Frick.