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The Fromm Players at Harvard present ‘Resistance and Hope’


first_imgWalter Bigelow Rosen Professor Chaya Czernowin’s choices of composers and works for this year’s Fromm concert centers on individuality, integrity, and artistic focus. Some of this year’s Fromm program is, clearly, ostentatiously political. The Prince Myshkins — whose inclusion on this concert is, to say the least, an innovation — feed on the Orwellian absurdity of our power structures, skewering with pointed humor and intricate songwriting. The three other composers here epitomize the single-minded pursuit of an artistic vision and the creative life, in the face of misunderstanding, mistrust, and indifference, and regardless of external, traditional notions of success. But there’s also a subtle connection here — the folk/protest song underpinnings of the Myshkins resonate with the folk-music basis of Ben Johnston’s String Quartet No. 5. That piece, incidentally, is performed here by the Kepler Quartet, which was formed in 2002 for the purpose of performing and recording Johnston’s string quartets. Their immersion in this repertoire brings unmatched breadth and richness to their interpretations.The Fromm Players at Harvard, a professional ensemble dedicated to the performance of contemporary music, play works organized around a strong theme that add something unique to new music in Boston. The Prince Myshkins are a satirical songwriting/performing duo named after the protagonist of Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot,” a holy fool whose noble but often naïve intentions are at odds with outside forces. The Myshkins’ socially conscious and technically sophisticated songwriting and theatricality of performance has its ancestry in Brecht and Weill (Tom Lehrer could be an American cousin).Graciela Paraskevaidis’ (1940-1917) work “algún sonido de la vida” (“any sound out of life”) seems to seek to make of two oboes and performers one event or musical source. The complex, unpredictable passing of sound from one instrument to the other, which happens frequently in the first movement, creates illusory and real overlapping and melding of the sound.The American composer Ben Johnston (b.1926) remained musically tied to the American vernacular traditions. Johnston wrote his Fifth Quartet in 1979; it uses as a cantus the folk tune “Lonesome Valley.” Johnston compared the structure of the Fifth Quartet to Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.”Galina Ustvolskaya’s (1919-2006)  Symphony No. 2, “True and Eternal Bliss!” is scored for piano with an orchestra of woodwinds, brass, and percussion, plus reciter; the composer calls the piano’s central role “almost a solo.” The reciter’s part in the Second is marked at its start with the description “A scream into space,” which is also the title of a 2005 documentary about the Dutch premiere of the symphony. In that film, Ustvolskaya spoke of the piece as being about a man sinking into oblivion and crying out to God as he submerges.“Resistance and Hope” takes place on Saturday, March 31 at 7 p.m. at the John Knowles Paine Concert Hall, 3 Oxford St., Cambridge, Mass. Free and open to the public. Free parking in Broadway Garage, corner of Felton St. and Broadway. Please visit https://music.fas.harvard.edu for more information, or contact by phone at 617-495-2791 or via email at [email protected] Read Full Storylast_img read more


Stepmothering: A Noble & Difficult Act for Woman & Child


first_imgMothers are special. This core belief is a strongly and lovingly held universal one.  When one chooses to describe a relationship with a female by stating, ‘she is/was like a mother to me,’ no further explanation is needed.  The listener immediately understands that there is an unbreakable bond that this relationship entails. The Mother/Child Bond In its most natural and biological form, the bond that exists between a mother and a child is incomparable to any other simply from the vantage point that the child is formed of and within the physical being of the mother.  For me this is unconditional love. The relationships we form with our mothers – whether they are supportive or strained – ultimately affect our relationship with ourselves and how we navigate every other relationship in the world.For this Mother’s Day, I’m choosing to reflect upon a variation of this relationship; namely the one that exists between a stepmother and a stepdaughter. The Stepmother It seems that no matter where one is from or how one chooses to worship, the dynamics in such interactions are courteous at best, and tumultuous in their darkest hour. Hardly if ever, are they easy.Why is this?  Usually, the stepmother enters the equation either through death or divorce if matrimony is a part of the equation.  Either way, chances are the offspring is experiencing some sort of grief and in some cases trauma as a result of disintegration of their family structure.  The offspring’s loss, is separate and apart from that of their father. And of course level of impact correlates directly with the age at which this change happens. Abandonment As a start, we justifiably assume that our mothers will always be there for us.  When she goes away (or is taken away from us), our foundations of trust and safety are shaken to the core.  To be abandoned and betrayed by the very person who brought forth life can sometimes feel like a curse worse than death. The child is left feeling as though they are fighting for their right to exist.  Rarely if ever, does the father (figure) allow space for the child to grieve the loss of their biological mother.  Perhaps in their own grief they lack the emotional intelligence to do so, as they too grapple with their own muddled feelings of anger, betrayal, and disappointment, hurt and such. I was 16 years old the first time I met the woman that would become my stepmother. I was asked or told – both of them meant the same in my dictatorial upbringing – ‘please get along with her because she means a lot to me.’ While one woman took an oath in sickness or in health, the other, a frightened and overweight teenager, vowed to honor her father’s words – by any means necessary.  As one who works in the business of transformation, I often meet clients who are trying to ‘iron out’ difficult relationships, especially concerning stepparents.  Remember Cinderella? At the demise of her father, she is left to be raised by her cruel stepmother and share space with her evil stepsisters.  She tries her utmost to be ‘good’ yet all of her efforts within her dysfunctional family situation are futile. Chances are you know the rest of that story.  Reflecting on Mother’s Day 2018Mother’s Day 2018 had me reflecting deeply upon the notion of being a stepmother and/or being a stepchild.  Even the term denotes some element of ‘rank and file’. In the words of one dear friend of mine who wears this weighty crown, a stepmother is required to step down, not up.  One week following this day, my father passed away, surrounded by 7 women – his beloved wife by his side held his hand until his very last breath.  As I continue to mourn the deep loss of my father, last week, while riding my bike here in Bali, a thought occurred to me, one that prompted me to re-visit this discourse and share it on this Mother’s Day. My Conclusions It is unrealistic to attempt to liken the relationship between a stepmother and a child to that of the one that a birth mother and child share.  Step-relationships are based on the conditionality of the absence of the birth mother for one reason or another.  Any attempt to try to replace one’s birth mother’s unconditional love with another woman is self-serving to the man and potentially an abject and unconscious cruelty meted out to the children involved.  I am at the age and stage in life where I have dated men with children and as such found myself in the role of potentially being a stepmother.  I have intentionally avoided meeting these men’s children until our relationship is at a level that warrants such introductions. Children require consistency, stability and love – not a parade of their father’s desires traipsing across their vulnerable landscapes. Personal experience has led me to the following conclusion:Let the woman and the child choose how they wish to address and therefore relate to each other.  This will take tremendous pressure away from both parties who rightfully feel that their respective positions ought to be honored and respected.Rather than have a relationship forced upon either one, allow both beings to come to love each other in their own way. If we let love lead, each person will find their way to love – in the right space and time.  Remember, each and every relationship promises a gift and a lesson; especially those ones that demand us to confront ourselves.  This Mother’s Day I choose to acknowledge ALL mothers, but ESPECIALLY those who from an act of selfless love, are willing to assume the responsibility of parenting children that are not their own.  A noble act indeed; one that deserves commendation.  Nadine McNeil, otherwise called Universal Empress, is a yoga teacher, life coach, women’s circle facilitator, public speaker and non-fiction writer, who lives and works Bali, Indonesia. To learn more about her, visit: www.universalempress.comlast_img read more


Costa Rica makes large drug seizure near beach where conservationist was slain


first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rican police seized 1,200 kilograms of marijuana from two drug boats on a Caribbean beach on Saturday, near the area where turtle conservationistJairo Mora was slain on May 31, the Public Security Ministry reported on Sunday.“The seizure of drug fast boats and 44 packages of ‘High Red’ marijuana (on Saturday) followed a chase and exchange of gunfire at Moín, until the boats were beached at Cieneguita Beach,” the ministry said in a press release.The suspected traffickers remain at large, although police recovered an I.D. with the last name Sevilla, a man who has a criminal record in Costa Rica.The ministry said both boats, which were confiscated by the Coast Guard, had the Costa Rican flag painted on their sides.The police operation took place close to Moín Beach, 170 kilometers east of the capital, where Mora was found beaten to death and stuffed in a turtle nest by suspected drug traffickers or turtle poachers operating in the area.Mora, 26, had reported receiving death threats before he was slain, and conservationists in Costa Rica have criticized the government for failing to respond to reports that drug traffickers and organized crime syndicates are preventing environmental workers from carrying out their jobs. Several environmental groups are offering a total of $40,000 in rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Mora’s killers. Police have made no arrests in the case.The Public Security Ministry said that four police airplanes were needed to transport the seized drugs to the capital.Earlier this year, police confiscated more than 1,700 kg of cocaine from an abandoned drug boat in the same area. Facebook Commentslast_img read more




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