Too many byways divert the magic

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					10   SA JEWISH REPORT                                                                                                                                                              04 - 11 February 2011

 ARTS MATTERS                                                   TAPESTRY
       COMPILED BY
      ROBYN SASSEN                                        ART, BOOKS, DANCE, FILM, THEATRE
     Call 084-319-7844 or
 info@frodo.co.za at least one
   week prior to publication      Two maestros conduct
AVA Gallery, Cape Town:
“The Space Between”, a solo
exhibition by Dale
                                  minor masterpieces
Washkansky, until February        PAUL BOEKKOOI                              Anichenko, last year’s Belorussian
18, (021) 424-7436.                                                          Unisa String Competition winner in        The men who will lead the JPO’s first season this year:
                                  THERE IS a prominent overarching           the ‘cello section, will perform the      Bernhard Gueller (PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY WWW.COLBERTARTISTS.COM) and
Gold of Africa Barbier            theme found in the Johannesburg            Concerto in D major. The only
Mueller Museum, Cape                                                                                                   Emil Tabakov. (PHOTOGRAPH BY VASILKA BALEVSKA, COURTESY FLICKR.COM)
                                  Philharmonic Orchestra’s First             showstopper-concerto this season
Town: “Earth is Watching          Symphony Season of 2011, although          will be Tchaikovsky’s Piano               cipal guest conductor Bernhard             & Juliet Overture (Tchaikovsky);
Us”, an exhibition by             it was not necessarily planned that        Concerto No 1, performed by the           Gueller leading the final three.           Tzigane (Ravel); Introduction and
Threads of Africa project,        way. We are hearing many of the            Taiwanese pianist Ching-Yun Hu.             Three concerts will be repeated in       Rondo Capriccioso (Saint-Saëns);
until March 31, (021) 405-1540.   minor masterpieces of major com-             On the romantic symphonic fields        the ZK Matthews Great Hall, Unisa          Capriccio     Espagnole      (Rimsky-
                                  posers, a refreshing break from            it is charm driving this season:          main campus, Pretoria, on Sunday           Korsakov).
Goodman Gallery,                  hackneyed warhorses.                       Bizet’s Symphony in C, Dvorák’s           afternoons at 15:00, while all six pro-      March 2 and 3 (Jhb) – Conductor:
Rosebank, Johannesburg:              Take Mozart: We’re presented            Symphony No 6 and Mahler’s                grammes       can    be    heard    on     Gueller. Soloist: Natalia Navrova,
“Broomberg and Chanarin”          with the wonderfully refined Sym-          Symphony No 4, the last and most          Wednesdays and Thursdays at 20:00          piano. Programme: Ancient Dances
until February 12, (011) 788-     phony No 36, the “Linz”, his first         approachable in his “Wunderhorn”          in the Linder Auditorium, Parktown,        and Arias for the Lute, Suite I
1113.                             major piano concerto, the No 9,            set, with the soprano in the finale       Johannesburg.                              (Respighi); Piano Concerto No 9 –
                                  known as the “Jeunehomme” (a tan-          reflecting a child’s vision of heaven.      The full details for the season run-     Jeunehomme (Mozart); Symphony
iArt Gallery, Wembley,            talisingly original work), as well as      Our own Kelebogile Boikanyo will          ning from February 9 to March 17,          in C major (Bizet).
Cape Town: “To skip the last      his Impresario Overture, an instru-        do the honours.                           are:                                         March 9, 10 (Jhb) and 13 (Pta) –
step”, a solo exhibition by       mental rat-race with pin-pointed del-        The first half of this programme          February 9, 10 (Jhb) and 13 (Pta) –      Conductor: Gueller. Soloist: Ching-
Beth Armstrong, in honour         icacy.                                     is devoted to instrumental music          Conductor: Tabakov. Soloist: Michael       Yun Hu, piano. Programme: Eight
of late Mark Hipper, until           Take Beethoven: Both the                from Wagner’s “Tristan und                Roll, piano. Programme: Semiramide         Russian Folk Songs (Liadov); Piano
February 23, (021) 424-5150.      Symphony No 4 and Piano Concerto           Isolde”.                                  Overture (Rossini); Piano Concerto         Concerto No 1 (Tchaikovsky);
                                  No 4 is on the programme. For many           The Bulgarian violinist Svetlin         No 4 (Beethoven); Symphony No 36 –         Symphony No 6 (Dvorák).
Little Theatre, Cape Town:        the latter work is the most refined,       Roussev chose two shortish virtu-         Linz (Mozart).                               March 16 and 17 (Jhb) Conductor:
“The Great Gatsby”, directed      searching and in the finale the most       oso pieces instead of a full-blown          February 16 and 17 (Jhb) –               Gueller. Soloist: Kelebogile Boikanyo,
by Luke Ellenbogen, until         delectable of his five concertos,          concerto. He’ll perform Ravel’s           Conductor: Tabakov. Soloist: Georgi        soprano. Programme: Prelude and
February 19, (021) 480-7129.      notwithstanding the heroics associ-        gypsy-inspired “Tzigane” and the          Anichenko, ‘cello. Programme: The          Liebestod & Nachtgesang from
                                  ated with his “Emperor Concerto”,          brilliantly showy “Introduction and       Impresario Overture (Mozart); ‘Cello       Tristan und Isolde (Wagner);
Linder Auditorium,                the No 5.                                  Rondo Capriccioso” by Saint-Saëns.        Concerto in D major (Haydn);               Symphony No 4 (Mahler).
Parktown: Mozart Festival            These two composers didn’t write          Two well-known maestros are             Symphony No 4 (Beethoven).
ends February 13, (011) 447-      ‘cello concertos. That’s where Haydn       sharing the podium: Emil Tabakov,           February 23, 24 (Jhb) and 27 (Pta) –        • For subscriptions, phone Neville
9264. On February 9 and 10,       comes in. It is always a special treat     Turkish born, will conduct the first      Conductor: Tabakov. Soloist: Svetlin       Pritchard at (011) 789-2733. Single
the JPO begins 2011 with          to hear any of them. Georgi                three concerts, with the JPO’s prin-      Roussev, violin. Programme: Romeo          tickets: Computicket.
Rossini’s overture from
“Semiramide”, Beethoven’s
4th Piano Concerto and
Mozart’s “Linz” Symphony.
Soloist: Michael Roll (piano),
                                  Death camps trigger Washkansky photo exhibition
                                  MOIRA SCHNEIDER              discourse around it. The fact that graphing his own landscapes at the what it means to be ‘other’ – those fig-
Conductor: Emil Tabakov,
                                  CAPE TOWN                    survivor’s testimony is becoming camps, he decided to work from ures became like archetypes for me
(011) 789-2733.
                                  PHOTOGRAPHS: DALE WASHKANSKY increasingly important due to the them, as opposed to the “more dis- to invest in and play around with.”
                                                                             time lapse - I feel that now’s the time   tant experience”.                            Washkansky has also created some
Market, Newtown: In the
                                  THE NAME Louis Washkansky will             to really hold onto those stories and        “I think that personal encounter        pieces incorporating the printmak-
Barney Simon, James
                                  forever be associated with the             see that they don’t peter out.”           transformed the project. Before, I         ing and embroidery traditions which
Ngcobo’s “Sunjata”, ends on
                                  world’s first heart transplant that          The project was also a vehicle to       didn’t know how to enter the spaces -      are part of the exhibition. “I translat-
March 6. In the Laager,
                                  was performed here in 1967 by Prof         explore his Jewish identity, particu-     that experience of them allowed me         ed documentary (Holocaust) images
Fugard’s “Sizwe Banzi is
                                  Christiaan Barnard. Now the recipi-        larly regarding the way it was repre-     to do that.                                into cross-stitch and tapestry - it
Dead”, directed by Monageng
                                  ent’s grandson, Dale, is blazing his       sented during the Nazi era. “I was           “I chose the two sites quite specifi-   tapped into the femininity of the two
Motshabi, ends February 20.
                                  own trail with a photographic exhibi-      interested in notions around the          cally,” Washkansky adds, “because          characters (mentioned above), and
In the Theatre, “Songs of
                                  tion at the AVA Gallery until              Jewish body and in my work I often        they represented some sort of polar-       (also) relates to how one has access to
Migration” ends February 13,
                                  February 18.                               reference connections to the Aryan        ity of bodies between (the notorious       these images through the digital
(011) 832-1641.
                                     A Space Between is his first solo       body and the disparity between the        commandant’s wife) Ilse Koch at            media and how, though they are still
                                  show and consists of the body of           two in the ideology.”                     Buchenwald and the imprisoned              horrific, they enter into the domestic
Maynardeville, Cape
                                  work he submitted for his MA in fine         The 30-year-old always intended         women at Ravensbrück, that I want-         realm quite readily, becoming ‘every-
Town: Shakespeare’s
                                  arts at UCT, all of which he says          the Holocaust to be the focus of this     ed to enquire into. It honed in on my      day’.”
“Taming of the Shrew”,
                                  stems from his experience at the sites     body of work but it was “a little bit     intentions of seeing that ‘otherness’        The AVA Gallery is at 35 Church
directed by Roy Sargent,
                                  of the Ravensbrück and Buchenwald          undefined” to start with. “I knew that    of the Jewish body and determining         Street, Cape Town, (021) 424-7436.
until February 19, (021) 451-
                                  concentration camps in 2008.               I wanted to explore old photographic
7695.                                                                                                                                                                            A black-and-white
                                     “(The title) refers to my relation-     processes because I enjoy experi-
                                  ship to the Holocaust and the sense of     menting with photography.”                                                                          painted image of the
Montecasino, Fourways: In
                                  distance that is happening through           Five of the images, in fact, employ                                                               photographer col-
the Pieter Toerien, the
                                  time and space,” the former Herzlian       the old cyanotype process, drawing a                                                                laged onto a
British comedy trio
                                  explains. “My aim is to try and move       connection to Zyklon B, the cyanide-                                                                Holocaust photo-
“Fascinating Aïda”, until
                                  beyond that and create an experience       based pesticide used in the gas cham-
February 13; in the Studio,                                                                                                                                                      graph, tying in with
                                  that transcends memorialising, to          bers.
Alan Swerdlow directs “Mass                                                                                                                                                      the Nazi propaganda
                                  keep it as a living history, to maintain     “At first I was using found
Appeal”, until March 27, (011)                                                                                                                                                   connecting Jews to
                                  its presence.                              imagery (sourced images from other
511-1818. In Teatro,
                                     “We are in a time now where it’s        photographers) doing crude col-                                                                     Negroes and jazz
“Riverdance” until February
                                  crucial to maintain dialogue and           lages,” he says. But after photo-                                                                   players.
20, (011) 510-7472.

Old Mutual Theatre on the                                                                    pressures of artistic perfection.                       Portman is superb as the fragile dancer who
Square, Sandton: “Casual
Sax” with Barbara-Anne
                                                 FELDMAN                                        It is a dark side which Portman unveils here
                                                                                             in a production that is handled with depth, wit
                                                                                                                                                   is overtaken by unsettling fantasies and eerie
                                                                                                                                                   events as she prepares for the greatest role of
Puren until February 19. The
Friday concerts feature
                                                 ON FILM                                     and intelligence.
                                                                                                The role that Nina obsesses about more than
                                                                                                                                                   her young life. She is complemented by a strik-
                                                                                                                                                   ing group of fellow players, the vibrant Mila
Kristel Birkholtz (violin) and
                                                 Peter Feldman                               any other is that of the Swan Queen in a sexy         Kunis as her rival, Lily, introducing elements of
Ashlea Martin (piano) on                                                                     re-imagining of the ballet Swan Lake by artis-        brashness and dark charm to her role as the
February 4; and Malané                            PICK OF THE WEEK                           tic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel).           overly ambitious newcomer.
Hofmeyr-Burger (flute),                                                                         However, while Nina’s technical proficiency          French actor Vincent Cassel portrays the
Andrea Erasmus (viola) and                             Black Swan                            makes her the perfect choice for the White            Machiavellian Thomas Leroy, the artistic direc-
Ventura Rosenthal (harp) on                                                                  Swan, she lacks the spontaneity and seductive-        tor who is all about the art and is not too con-
February 11, (011) 883-8606.          Cast: Natalie Portman; Mila Kunis; Vincent             ness necessary for the Black Swan. Perfect for        cerned about the victims he leaves behind.
                                                Cassel; Winona Ryder                         that role is Lily (Mila Kunis), a newcomer from         Barbara Hershey, who hasn’t graced cinema
SA Jewish Museum, Cape                       Director: Darren Aronofsky                      San Francisco who oozes sexuality.                    screens for a while, rockets back as Nina’s con-
Town: “Kith, Kin and                                                                            Ultimately, Leroy selects Nina over Lily with      trol-freak mother, Erica, a woman who forsook
Khaya”, photographs by             Natalie Portman, a fine, sensitive actress, gets          the hope that his new top performer will grow         her own ballet career to have a child, something
David Goldblatt, until             the role of a lifetime with Black Swan, where             into the role. But Nina is a psychological            she throws into Nina’s face during one heated
February 11, (021) 465-1546.       she carves this horror-drama hybrid into a chal-          wreck.                                                argument.
                                   lenging web of competitive intrigue. She’s been              A fascinating aspect of Black Swan is the            Another rare appearance is that of Winona
Wits University,                   nominated for an Oscar for the role, one of sev-          many facets within Andrés Heinz’s story and           Ryder, as Beth, whose shining star as principal
Braamfontein: In the               eral the film has garnered.                               there is a little something in it for all, whether    ballerina of the company has dimmed to such a
Downstairs Theatre,                  Under the artful direction of Darren Aro-               one’s tastes run to vulgarity or elegance, or         degree that she goes off the rails. It a small part,
“Anatomy of Weather”, a            nofsky (The Wrestler and Requiem for a                    whether one prefers horror to ballet.                 but her scenes are telling ones.
dance-work choreographed           Dream), this psychological thriller set in the               Aronofsky returns to some of his favourite           Black Swan has been likened to a cross
by Bailey Snyman and Nicola        world of the New York City ballet, focuses on a           themes, such as monster mothers and female            between All About Eve and The Red Shoes, with
Haskins until February 5,          disturbed ballerina, Nina Sayers, and her                 hysteria, and applies some deft touches in exe-       a pinch of Brian de Palma and David
(011) 717-1380.                    descent into madness, brought about by the                cuting his vision.                                    Cronenberg.
04 - 11 February 2011                                                                                                                                                      SA JEWISH REPORT    11


                                                                                           TAPESTRY
                                                                                     ART, BOOKS, DANCE, FILM, THEATRE




Bach will rock for as long as music is alive
      The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin                                                                  part biography and part literary mys-          one’s sound system and play the Cello
          (Harvill Secker, R145)                                                                       tery, it cleverly combines these elements      Suites for oneself.
                                                                                                       using the suites’ prescribed components           In one particularly poignant passage,
REVIEWED BY GWEN PODBREY                                                                               (prelude, allemande, courante, sara-           Siblin – attending a Bach Festival concert
                                                                                                       bande, minuet, gigue), so that the text        in a small Presbyterian Church hall in
OF ALL the baroque composers, Johann                                                                   alternates between Siblin’s quest to           Montreal, with conservatively dressed
Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) has had the                                                                 explore the works, Casals’ relationship        musicians and a quiet, deadly serious
worst PR. The fact that, until as recently                                                             with them – and, of course, the darkness-      audience of no more than 250 – reflects on
as the early 19th century, his works                                                                   es and light which Bach infused into           the fact that just up the road, rock group
remained largely obscure – and, even                                                                   them, drawing on his own secret heart.         U2 is doing a gig, where fireworks, strobe
once they had been discovered, were rel-                                                                  A pop musicologist by profession, with      lights, amplifiers, oversized video screens
egated to the realms of academic cham-                                                                 very little classical training, Siblin – on    and 20 000 screaming, gyrating fans will
ber music and students’ counterpoint                                                                   first hearing the suites – was instantly       help embellish the music and generate
exercises – has aggravated Bach’s case                                                                 riveted by their spectacular rhythmic          multi-million-dollar album sales.
further.                                                                                               and harmonic possibilities: no contempo-          “But will the rock band’s oeuvre still be
   This is not surprising: during his life-                                                            rary jazz musician, however much a vir-        performed three centuries from now?
time, and despite his prodigious output,                                                               tuoso, could hope to rival Bach’s improv-      And will music scholars be sifting
only 30 or so of his works were ever pub-                                                              isational and extrapolative skill on a         through old shoeboxes in search of lost
lished. In many cases, his music is con-                                                               theme. The fact is: Bach rocks.                U2 compositions?” he asks. You be the
sidered the domain of museums and                                                                         He has rocked for three centuries, and      judge.
stuffy, elitist concert halls, for these are                                                           will continue to rock for as long as music        Whether you are unfamiliar with Bach,
where it is usually played.                                                                            is alive.                                      or well acquainted with him, you will find
   Secondly, the intricate structure of                                                                   The circumstances in which the suites       no better springboard into his beauty,
baroque music, which focuses more on                                                                   were composed, after Bach had just lost        truth and musical architecture than
technical composition than on emotion,                                                                 his young wife Maria Barbara, mother of        Siblin’s passionate, fulsome account.
has given rise to the notion that it is                                                                his eldest four children, may have had a
devoid of feeling, cold, mechanical and                                                                lot to do with them.
uncomfortably mathematical for audi-                                                                      The opening bars of the first suite -
ences more attuned to romanticism and                                                                  sonorous, mournful, contemplative –
simplex, easily discernible melodic lines.                                                             evoke unmistakable grief. “One can
   Then, too, the prevailing image of Bach                                                             almost hear the scene… The dread that
in the world’s imagination, thanks to the         taken a Jew to introduce Germany to its              begins the (second) prelude in a minor
famous portrait by Elias Gottlob Haus-            most impressive liturgical music.)                   key follows an initial suite – a lifetime –
mann, depicts a dour, bewigged, decided-             The suites are near-miraculous in their           of joy,” writes Siblin.
ly bilious burgher with no glimmer of             contrapuntal interplay, their intricate                 “The last measures of the prelude
humour or warmth.                                 tonal relationships, their energy and their          could well depict Bach entering his
   Yet nothing could be further from the          harmony, whether overt or implied. Since             home, heart racing, anticipation modu-
truth – as Siblin is at pains to tell us. The     a cello is a comparatively limited instru-           lating into panic. What has happened?
first time he heard Bach’s six Cello              ment, allowing no more than two strings              Where is she? And then a young child, a
Suites, composed in 1720 and entirely             to be bowed simultaneously, chords                   shadow of his or her former rambunc-
unknown until legendary Spanish cellist           (which comprise three notes played at                tious self – small, alone, a broken chord.
Pablo Casals stumbled upon the only               once) must be arpeggiated into single                He won’t see Mother again.”
extant manuscript in an old music shop            notes.                                                  Siblin’s ardour for his subject is palpa-
in 1890 (and then waited 12 years before             Bach not only mastered this technique,            ble. His writing – distinctly journalistic,
he trusted his own proficiency to per-            but used it to its fullest dramatic effect. In       rather than academic – nevertheless
form them publicly) – he was smitten.             doing so, he also gave the cello – for the           draws on impeccable, lengthy research,
   The beginning of the real Bach Revival         first time – the spotlight as a solo instru-         while his easy, conversational tone
began in 1829, when a 20-year-old Felix           ment, rather than the minor orchestral               makes the book at once readable and
Mendelssohn – son of Jewish philoso-              spot it had hitherto occupied, exploring its         arresting.
pher Moses Mendelssohn – performed                astounding range and depth.                             If he occasionally lapses into arro-
and conducted the “St Matthew Passion”               This book tells a three-tiered story: the         gance, quoting himself in other publica-
to a spellbound audience. (Although his           writing of the suites, the part they played          tions (always an off-putting practice), one
family had converted to Christianity,             in Casals’ career and life, and Siblin’s own         forgives him, for the jewels he brings to
Mendelssohn noted the irony that it had           obsession with them. Part music history,             life ignite a desire to rush instantly to



Dendy shortlisted for
Thomas Pringle Award
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPH BY                    “You could look for the sputnik
SUZY BERNSTEIN                          and then follow it across the sky; it
                                        was always something magical.
JOHANNESBURG-BASED poet                 There was also the Playhouse in
Gail Dendy has been shortlisted for     Durban, with the ceiling full of
the Thomas Pringle Award, for her       stars, so somehow I connected with
short story, Venus Crossing. Aside      that.
from being a Greville Press pub-           “I find writing prose easier; I pre-
lished author (among others), she       fer working with a small canvas,           Gail Dendy and her cat.
holds five university degrees,          which the poem gives. With prose
works as an information specialist      the writing is looser. I like the tight    lucky very often. It’s got to be able
for a corporate law firm, and hav-      structure you get with poetry.             to hold up. It has to have a skele-
ing had a past career as a dancer,         “When I sketch out a new poem, it       ton.”
still dances regularly.                 is always hand-written. I can’t sit at       Being shortlisted for this award
   In Venus Crossing, an event mir-     a computer and think like that.            administered by the 50-year-old
rors a couple whose relationship           “It is always very late at night,       English Academy of South Africa,
has diverged, like the planets.         before I go to sleep… I scribble away.     was simply about validation,
Dendy has taken a historical event      I do not set a time. I just write. Very    according to Dendy. The academy
and found an interesting way of         often, I can start off when I feel real-   was established “to promote the
juxtaposing it with the existing sta-   ly uninspired. That is when the dis-       effective use of English in southern
tus quo in this relationship.           cipline comes in. You start forcing        Africa”.
   She often writes about relation-     yourself to write and then in the            “Writing is an isolating and soli-
ships: “I take from the exterior        process, that’s when the ideas start       tary experience and you don’t
world and create a micro-world. It’s    coming.                                    know if anyone is reading your
what interests me, because ulti-           “Sometimes I’ll throw out the           work,” says Dendy. “This acknowl-
mately, everything breaks down          first two stanzas. Actually that was       edgement is feedback.”
into relationships. When I formu-       almost like warming up the muscles           The winners of the Thomas
late my ideas, it comes down to         and then the poem starts taking off        Pringle Award for 2010 were
relationships.”                         from where I got inspired. And then        announced last week. Stephen
   Dendy is interested in astrono-      often in the morning, that’s the orig-     Watson’s Buiten Street and
my. “When we were small,” she           inal draft and it stays on the page        Sandisile Tshuma’s Arrested
says, “in Durban, the sky was very      and then I’ll type it up and then          Development walked away with
dark at night and on a very hot         once it’s on the computer, that’s          top honours in the short story
summer night we would sit outside       when I start fixing and editing.           category. The judges were Jo-
and watch the stars and see the            “And if I am very lucky, there is       Anne Richards, Hugh Hodge and
sputniks.                               little to do. But you don’t get that       Phakama Mbonambi.

				
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