Archive for November, 2012

the bach project ~ andras schiff

In a recent interview with Fred Child on Performance Today, legendary pianist Andras Schiff spoke eloquently about his life-long journey with Bach and his most recent recording of the Well-Tempered Clavier…after hearing a small excerpt in my car, I quickly searched for the complete interview on my computer…with each listen, I discover something new and inspiring…so much so, I just had to share the link with you, along with some of my favorite moments…may you be enlightened by Schiff’s brilliant insights and by the sheer beauty and genius of Bach

To learn more about Andras Schiff and The Bach Project, click here…to hear the complete interview on Performance Today, click here

Introduction by Fred Child ~ ” In 1986 and 87, when he was in his early 30’s, pianist Andras Schiff made recordings of the collection of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier…it’s actually two collections of Preludes and Fugues in every possible key, Major and minor…Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier has been tremendously influential both in the science and in the art of music, exploring the sound and the feeling of every key as never before, showing that a single instrument could even do such a thing and doing it with unmatched inventiveness and touching beauty as well…now 25 years after his first recordings of these works, Andras Schiff has again recorded the complete Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach as part of a massive undertaking he’s calling his Bach Project in 2012 and 2013.”

Fred Child ~ “Why come back to the Well-Tempered Clavier 25 years after those first recordings?”

Andras Schiff ~ “I never left the Well-Tempered Clavier…and every day of my life, I start with playing Bach, usually a couple of preludes and fugues from this collection, for about an hour…many of my friends and I myself notice that I’m playing these pieces, somehow not drastically different from 25 years ago, but it’s not the same thing, you see a wider horizon there…so it’s a work in progress and with the passing of 25 years I noticed that I arrived at the next station…and hopefully there will be many more because as long as I live, and I’m lucky to be in good health, I want to continue to explore the mysteries of this music.”

“I developed the theory about colors basically to explain the unexplainable to myself…(it’s) to say that music is not just a sequence of notes and symbols, it’s not that abstract…and colors do help here because how do you define C Major? c minor? d minor? D Major? I thought that this would be very nice to describe this with colors…that when I start on the white keys with C Major, then we are white…not just because of the white keys, but there are no accidentals, and to me this is pure innocence.” ~ AS

“For me, I am still in the middle of my journey…there is no way to get to the end of this, it’s too great and it’s too complex…there are an incredible number of layers here that you have to discover, you can go deeper and deeper and it’s very profound.” ~ AS

“Somehow from Bach’s music I can only see his humility and modesty…very, very important…that he has absolutely no ego, this concept of I, is non-existent in Bach…the way I see it, he’s writing it for us…I would loved just to have heard him play on the organ, and improvise on the organ…if I had one wish in life, that I could ask for, that would be to hear Bach play on the organ.” ~ AS

“Bach gives me immense pleasure…the joy of freedom, the joy of movement…it gives me emotional, intellectual, and physical pleasure, and satisfaction…so what more can you ask for…” ~ AS

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gold and silver

If you’re searching for elegant & innovative holiday decorating ideas, look no further than the 2012 November/December issue of Veranda! My personal favorite is the Bedford, NY home of designer Stephen Sills, thoughtfully adorned with natural materials in a sublime palette of green, white, gold and silver…his gilded creations blend seamlessly with his refined collection of art and antiques, and rather than play the starring role, they support and elevate the beauty of his prized possessions…the first three images are a small sampling from Veranda, while the rest of the photos hail from Mezonin, a Russian interiors magazine that featured this jewel of a home back in 2011…I thought you might enjoy a look at this remarkable decorative transformation!

“Nothing celebrates the richness of the season like gold and silver.” ~ Stephen Sills

first three photos by Max Kim-Bee for Veranda, all other photos from Mezonin

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happy thanksgiving!

For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Feast Day in Knokke ~ Camille Pissarro, 1891

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Hoping these lovely vignettes offer you some artful inspiration as you head down the home stretch! Keep breathing!

photos from Lonny Magazine and The Gifts of Life

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the changing seasons

fall to winter…

bare branches prepare for the coming of old man winter…a brisk walk in the cool moist air reveals the glorious scent of pine and a neighbors wood burning fire…favorite wool sweaters and throws take center stage once again…and like old friends, they offer familiar warmth and comfort during this festive time of year…

photos from The Gifts of Life

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joe wright’s anna karenina

Last night, in a poetic interview with Charlie Rose, director Joe Wright described his work on Anna Karenina as the film that is closest to his own aesthetic ~ “it comes from having grown up in a puppet theater, it comes from a sense of the world being sort of magical, it comes from a sense of the world being more than is presented on the surface.” It is with this unique perspective he gives Tolstoy’s epic novel new life…he offers us a modern vision ~ two distinct stories set in two expressive cinematic settings…Anna’s fictional story takes place in a grand theater, while Levin’s autobiographical story is set in the “real world”…how wonderful to imagine this heavily adorned, surreal set opening up to reveal a wide expanse of sunlit landscape!

I can’t wait to experience this refreshingly beautiful interpretation of a classic love story! Opens in the states today! Happy weekend!

Anna Karenina 

Novel by Leo Tolstoy

Screenplay by Sir Tom Stoppard

Directed by Joe Wright

Original Music by Dario Marianelli

Keira Knightly as Anna Karenina and Jude Law as Karenin

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought you might enjoy a post dedicated to beautiful dining rooms…

I adore the relaxed refinement of a humble burlap table cloth mixing with fine china and silver…or the inventive tablescapes featuring purple artichokes and sculptural gourds to reflect the beauty and bounty of the season…too many brilliant ideas to mention! Please enjoy!

photos from Lonny Magazine

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Song by Seamus Heaney


A rowan like a lipsticked girl.

Between the by-road and the main road

Alder trees at a wet and dripping distance

Stand off among the rushes.


There are the mud-flowers of a dialect

And the immortelles of perfect pitch

And that moment when the bird sings very close

To the music of what happens.

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stone from delphi

What happens when the best of the best collaborate? Something truly extraordinary is achieved…a unison passion for the classical past is embraced and reborn…


For her latest project, plein air artist Wendy Artin created 16 original watercolor paintings for Arion Press‘s ninety-sixth publication, Stone from Delphi, a collection of poems with classical themes by Seamus Heaney, selected and presented by Helen Vendler. The watercolors, realized especially for this book and printed at actual size, were inspired by Greek and Roman statues whose subjects appear in Heaney’s writings. The paintings for Stone from Delphi will be on display from November 12th till January 30th at the gallery of Arion Press, 1802 Hays Street, The Presidio, San Francisco, telephone: 415-668-2542.

Hercules and Antaeus


Temple of Asclepius

Aeneas and Anchises

Eurydice and Orpheus

Original watercolor paintings by Wendy Artin for Stone from Delphi

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taxi ride

washington dc as seen through the window of a taxi cab…my thoughts are with the nation’s capital on this very important day…please, don’t forget to vote!

photography by danielle boudrot for a thoughtful eye

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