Piano concerto in E-Flat major, K.482 by Mozart; Trittico botticelliano by Respighi and Symphony No. 96 in D major, Miracle, Hob. I 96 by Haydn: great masters always inspire new generations to infuse joy in their work…

David Geffen building–Lincoln Center /Tuesday January 7th, 2020.

This week friends, let me start firstly, by wishing everyone, a truly sunny, joyful, successful and Happy New Year!

Yay!

Secondly, welcome back; it’s been a while, so welcome this week, to the David Geffen Hall, to share with you, during this restful, joyful, and best wishing season, some wonderful chamber music and beautiful artwork; and what better way to celebrate our first week of 2020, than by listening to glorious, and moving short pieces, by three great composers and admiring great art pieces!

How about it!

And what incredible virtuoso pianist and conductor, we were given to applaud, last Tuesday, with Jeffrey Kahane; a soloist and conductor of diverse repertoire, with most major US orchestras, as well as a popular artist at many US summer festivals: a true gem!

Yay!

And of course, Mozart is always, a true joy to listen to, and I particularly enjoyed, the andante; in particular for the fun and joyful piano variations, as well as for the more languid and exquisite soft moments.

Listen and enjoy!

Ah… Mozart! always a great inspiration to many!

Capable of such longings, emotions and harmony as well, knowing just how to transcend all of life’s wonders, into beautiful melodies, and such a joyful being, despite all sorts of challenges in his life, truly a great man!

And an inspiration, I am sure, the great Mozart, to many of his peers from all eras and centuries; particularly moved by poetic and emotional storytelling which arise often from his work.

And from the 20th century, I am always extremely touched by a wonderful Italian composer, Respighi, who, as I do, not only, greatly admires Mozart, but also, is fascinated with ancient myths and tales, miniature tone poems, Uffizi gallery painters, as well as music from the distant past, almost as much as I enjoy all of the above.

And last Tuesday, I particularly loved discovering Respighi’s triptych work, inspired by venerable and awesomely talented Botticelli, who depicts beauty, like no one else; with such charm and truth; a triptych dedicated to a great early 20th century patron, Elizabeth Coolidge, who admired and underwrote, some of Respighi previous work, a few years earlier.

Yay!

Let’s start with the first short musical tonal poem inspired by Botticelli’s stunning “La Primavera”/ “Spring” piece, but let’s first, admire his famous painting.

And now, let’s listen to the wonderful music piece imagined by Respighi, filled with youthful energy and joy, at the idea of Spring renewal.

A renewal, driven by intention setting for the new year, as one often does, during the first week of January; which is often for many, a period of purification/detox after the early holiday festivities, even though some light festivities are still in order (more on that, with the second Respighi piece).

So here, let’s admire the Spring season, which has finally set in, with new blooming flora and fruit, sprouting out naturally and joyfully:

Yay!

There is so much to listen to in this musical piece; just like in Botticelli’s ‘La Primavera” painting, there is much to admire:

Let’s admire here, visually, in particular, the incredibly beautiful blossoming flowers and greenery, after a long winter, which adorn prettily, this beauty’s exquisite face:

Isn’t it just delightful?

Yay!

And now, let’s pay attention to the flowers, grown from a wonderful “Spring” deity’s own mouth, a deity who is even more beautiful and expressive than all others, in her happiness to help her other female friends glow, and mesmerize the world; thanks to the beauty of Spring’s bountiful treasures.

Yay!

So to me, she is an even more dazzling creature, than all the other characters present in the painting; because again, there are natural, pure, and generous qualities, she embodies (for me), and which I truly admire, about her:

Yay!

And now, let’s listen to the second Respighi short musical piece, which is slower and more introverted, as it describes another famous epic mythical scene, “The Adoration of the Magi”, a scene which has been portrayed by many masters in painting, from Giotto in the 13th-14th century, one of my favorite renditions, in its simplicity; so first, let’s take a look:

Yay!

Isn’t it gorgeous?

And before we listen to the Respighi’s “Adoration of the Magi”, inspired by Botticelli’s painting of the same scene, let me share two of my favorite paintings/tapestries to describe this scene; the first one, is by another Italian master from the 14th-15th century, not as famous as Botticelli, but to me, extremely talented as well, let’s now admire, Fabriano’s rendition:

Yay!

Isn’t it absolutely breathtaking?

And finally, let’s admire a 19th century tapestry by Burne-Jones of the same scene, I just love his style as well, and love, that this iconic scene which celebrates as one knows, the wonderful gift giving of three mighty kings (young Moorish Balthasar/Balthazar, middle-aged European Melchior, and old Oriental Caspar/Gaspard); kings from different ages, and different continents, gathered to celebrate the arrival of a pure deity.

How about that!

A myth/tale/religious belief that has fascinated so many other great painters, as one knows, including Da Vinci in the 15th /16th century, Rubens in the 16th/ 17th century or Murillo and Velasquez in the 17th century.

And I love that the gifts (gold, frankincense and myrrh) are all useful, precious, and worshipful; and for two out of three of them, also smell great!

Yay!

Let’s now admire Burne Jones wonderful tapestry:

Yay!

Isn’t it just jaw droopingly beautiful as well?

Let’s now listen to Respighi’s “Adoration of the Magi” based on Botticelli’s painting.

Yay!

Isn’t it charming and expressive of far away lands and myths, as well as reminiscent of Christmas carols of course?

To me, it certainly is.

But let’s get closer to water now, behind these beautiful magnolia and iris blooms.

Let’s now, admire the last piece by Respighi, “The Birth of Venus”, but before we do that, let’s admire a few of my other favorite depictions of Venus, although I must say, that Botticelli’s iconic version, is by far, my favorite one, so rich in joyful, imaginative, feminine, and awe-inducing qualities!

So first, let’s admire a few other Venuses:

I particularly like the 16th century depiction by Giorgione, which Titian finished: “Dresden Venus”, for her poise, serenity, and happiness.

Let’s now admire an exquisite 17th century version by Velasquez, “Rokeby Venus”, whose unusual view point, and various perspectives, makes her even richer, in my mind:

And now, let’s admire two other Venuses from the 19th century, whom I also particularly enjoy: Boucher’s “Venus’ Toilet” for her modesty and charm:

Yay!

Of course also, from that same 19th century, let’s revel as well in Cabanel’s “Birth of Venus” for its fun depiction of love, via charming cherubs, while she exudes classical voluptuous beauty:

Yay!

So now, let’s admire, to me, the most beautiful of all depiction of “Venus’ birth”, from Botticelli; and let’s also listen to Respighi’s take and musical description of her beauty, majesty and loving nature.

Yay!

Enjoy both the painting and the music!

Isn’t it spellbinding how Respighi imagines Venus?

I love it!

And to conclude this chamber music post, let’s listen to a movement from Haydn’s Symphony No 96 in D major, Miracle, Hob I: 96, the andante; a movement I particularly admire, which just like life, love and beauty, and music often, is mostly majestic, rich and harmonious, rich in various joyful, benevolent, happy, ever evolving, wonderfully imaginative, miraculous and energetic expressions.

Yay!

And just like I imagine that these composers were mostly of happy and joyful dispositions, let’s start the year dancing, to a fun tune from our era, which even Venus, would love as well, of course, I am sure:

Enjoy!

And again, Happy New Year!

Soft…

Fluttering ….

Joyful…

Happy…

Loving…

Eternal butterflies 😊