Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer 2014

Béla Bartók
24" x 16"
oil on canvas paper, 2014
Summer was not a good time to paint. Between reconstruction of the house, the World Cup, and the heat there simply wasn’t a space for painting. Now that the roof is done, the World Cup is over (heat still here), and teaching season starting, I found my way back into the studio. The soundtrack to all this summer activity? There wasn’t one. I didn’t buy any new music and I didn’t play any music while working construction. I remotely picked up an interest in the Brazilian composer Ary Barroso, whose Aquarela do Brasil was a bit of World Cup theme song, but not enough so to claim a spot in the top 100. The few records I did play in the past few months were classical discs by East European composers. Due to my habit of shopping for records at thrift stores, I have quite a collection of classical music. So much so that I stopped buying medieval music, Maria Callas recordings, and records from the Nonesuch label. What I still pick up are records by the composers Shostakovich, Scriabin, and Bartók. I now have fourteen 33rpm discs with the music of Béla Bartók, and two more records with ethnographic recordings made by him. Some records feature Bartók himself on piano. This is not the case however in a recording of The Miraculous Mandarin by Tibo Serly and the New Symphony Orchestra of London. Still, the record is pretty close to the source with the label being Bartók Records, and Tibo Serly being an intimate associate of Bartók. The recording was made in 1951, six years after the composer died, and was one of the first recordings of the piece.

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