Monday, September 28, 2009

Midori w/Pacific Symphony & Botero at Bowers

My concept of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto was shaped when I was in college and bought a recording of David Oistrakh performing it--passionate, loud, emphatic, even bombastic. What a world of difference hearing the legendary Midori perform it with the PSO on Saturday night. It had passion tempered with delicacy, fireworks balanced by sweetness--nothing I had ever imagined the piece to be. The concert began with a short piece by PSO favorite composer Frank Ticheli (PSO commissioned it a number of years ago) and ended with the Brahms Symphony No. 1. This is not a Brahms piece I would choose to listen to--its first two movements are completely tedious to my ears, only beginning to perk up in the third, and with a fourth movement that begins to show why we should take it seriously. But it's a symphony that allows the conductor to show off certain principal players, and as such is justifiable for a season opening concert like this.

Botero's chubby people may now be cliche to many in the art world, but they continue to delight museum goers at the Bowers Museum which has just opened up the first major exhibition of his work in many years. Up close, the paintings are gargantuan, doubling or tripling the impact of his audacious convention--now in place for 50 years. But interestingly, the Columbian artist's works from 1959 show his penchant for large size canvases and larger-than-life figures while bathing them in an expressionistic color palate and with brush strokes suggesting pastels instead of oil. His sculptural pieces actually work the best in my estimation--here the large size figures deliver great beauty in form. Overall, Botero's works reflect a combination of traditional Latin American art themes (Day of the Dead) and locales (jungles thick with fruit) while delivering the classical knowledge he possessed from living in Spain and in Paris. There are hints of Picasso, Magritte and Leger, but ultimately Botero remains a one-of-a-kind artist.

1 comment:

topmomblog said...

I went to opening day of the Botero exhibit -loved it and found the film to be very informative about the origins of his style. Posted some pics on my blog along with a little Latin music courtesy of a brief UTUbe video