Patti Smith and Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize


This Bob Dylan music video from the USA is called A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall {Live at Town Hall 1963}.

The song has often been interpreted, including by Dylan himself, as about the danger of nuclear war.

On the other hand, Dylan later claimed the song was really about ‘all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers‘.

From Rolling Stone in the USA, 5 December 2016:

Bob Dylan to Provide Nobel Prize Speech, Patti Smith to Perform

Smith to cover “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at Nobel gala

Bob Dylan, this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature honoree, will not attend the December 10th gala in Stockholm, but his music will still be performed. On Monday, Nobel organizers announced that Rock Hall singer-songwriter Patti Smith, who was previously set to perform her own song, will cover Dylan‘s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at the ceremony.

This music video is called Patti Smith Greatest Hits [Full Album] || Patti Smith’s 25 Biggest Songs.

The Nobel Prize committee announced Monday morning that Smith would fill in for Dylan at the Stockholm gala, with Smith also taking part in the Nobel Week Dialogue event the day before on December 9th, where she’ll discuss the “importance of role models.”

While Dylan won’t attend the Nobel ceremony due to “other commitments” that “make it unfortunately impossible,” the Nobel committee tweeted Monday that Dylan has “provided a speech which will be read at the Nobel banquet” on December 10th; organizers tell Rolling Stone that they do not know who will read the “speech of thanks” at the gala as of press time. A rep for the event declined to comment further.

Smith tells Rolling Stone that organizers approached her in September to sing at the ceremony, prior to the announcement of this year’s award recipients. “I had planned to perform one of my own songs with the orchestra,” Smith tells Rolling Stone. “But after Bob Dylan was announced as the winner and he accepted it, It seemed appropriate to set my own song aside and choose one of his. I chose ‘A Hard Rain’ because it is one of his most beautiful songs. It combines his Rimbaudian mastery of language with a deep understanding of the causes of suffering and ultimately human resilience.

“I have been following him since I was a teenager, half a century to be exact,” Smith adds. “His influence has been broad and I owe him a great debt for that. I had not anticipated singing a Bob Dylan song on December 10th, but I am very proud to be doing so and will approach the task with a sense of gratitude for having him as our distant, but present, cultural shepherd.”

After Dylan announced that he could not receive the Nobel honor in person, the Swedish Academy said in a statement that they have “decided not to organize an alternative plan for the Nobel Lecture traditionally held on December 7th. There is a chance that Bob Dylan will be performing in Stockholm next year, possibly in the spring, in which case he will have a perfect opportunity to deliver his lecture.”

Each Nobel laureate is required to deliver a speech “on a subject connected with the work for which the prize has been awarded.” “We are looking forward to Bob Dylan’s Nobel lecture, which he must hold, according to the requirements, within six months [from December 10th],” the Swedish Academy said at the time. It’s unclear whether the Dylan-penned gala speech fulfills that requirement.

Nobel spokeswoman Annika Pontikis said that Dylan’s Nobel diploma and medal will be handed over at a later date that hasn’t been determined yet.

After not initially acknowledging the Nobel distinction, which drew the ire of some Swedish Academy members, Dylan finally said of receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature, “The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless. I appreciate the honor so much.”

Actress Glenda Jackson in Shakespeare’s King Lear


This video from England says about itself:

27 October 2016

Glenda Jackson and Antony Sher both play Shakespeare‘s King Lear this winter in London. The only question is which one you’ll see first!

By Gillian Piggott in Britain:

Thursday 17th November 2016

GILLIAN PIGGOTT sees Glenda Jackson give one of the great tragic performances in a flawed production of King Lear

King Lear
Old Vic, London SE1
3/5

IN THIS King Lear, Glenda Jackson makes a storming return to the theatre after more than two decades in British politics and her monumental performance shows just how much politics’ gain has been the stage’s loss.

Lear is the perfect choice for the wiry Jackson, whose elderly body, beautiful and androgynous, fascinates. The question of a female playing a fading old man does not even arise. She completely inhabits the role.

Jackson’s greatest asset always was, and still is, her mellifluous voice and meticulous articulation. That vocal range, moving effortlessly from gentle lower register to harsh higher notes paints Lear’s journey in bright colours and affords us the chance to relish the poetry.

But while Jackson’s performance will go down as one of the great Lears, director Deborah Warner’s uneven interpretation of the play as a domestic tragedy about the indignities and injustices of old age downplays the epic dimension and political context and fails to support Jackson’s marvellous work.

Surprisingly, Warner appears not to trust the material, seeking instead to import contemporary references at every turn.

While Jackson’s androgyny reflects the current interest in gender fluidity, clunky gimmicks such as setting the play in a rehearsal room or actors simulating masturbation and copulation are distractions.

And it’s difficult to take in the wonderful “stand up for bastards” speech by Edmund (Simon Manyonda) if it is delivered while he is working out.

Celia Imrie and Jane Horrocks are good as Goneril and Regan and the sado-masochistic relationship between the latter and Cornwall (Danny Webb) works as a reading.

But no effort is made to make a case for the sisters’ cruelty and their “filial ingratitude,” lessening the dramatic texture of the characters and the play. Rhys Ifans, genuinely funny, is a fine fool.

But some of the younger cast members, far less convincing, are “severely o’erparted,” an instance being Morfydd Clark. Her excessively emotional interpretation of Cordelia renders her delivery inaudible.

Runs until December 3, box office: oldvictheatre.com.

Mozart in London theatre, historically correct?


This video says about itself:

Long-Lost Mozart Score Performed For First Time By Czech Musician

16 February 2016

After a musicologist discovered the piece in the reserve collection of the Czech national music museum, a long-lost composition by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri was performed for the first time on Tuesday.

The piece also appears to show the rivalry between the two was not especially fierce. It provides more evidence that Salieri played no role in Mozart’s death in 1791 at the age of 35. The play and Oscar-winning film “Amadeus” detailed such a murderous rivalry.

The collaborative score was written in 1785. That was during one of the most fruitful periods of Mozart’s career. He composed some of his best-known pieces then, including the operas “Don Giovanni” and “The Magic Flute.”

Ulrich Leisinger, director of research at the Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg, said, “Salieri did not poison Mozart, but they both worked in Vienna and were competitors.”

Museum officials said, the piece, titled “Per la Ricuperata Salute di Ofelia” (“For the recovered health of Ophelia”), was written to celebrate the recovery of an English singer who had performed pieces by Mozart and Salieri. They said it is unclear whether it was ever performed in public before today.

See also here.

By Yvonne Lysandrou in Britain:

Discordant notes in Mozart portrait

Tuesday 8th November 2016

Amadeus
National Theatre
3/5

IT SEEMS as if the popularity of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, which returns to the National Theatre after its triumphant premiere in 1979, has not waned. It’s already sold out until next year, although there will be live cinema screenings in February.

Over the decades, audiences have been drawn to Shaffer’s reimagining of the fractious relationship between Antonio Salieri, successful Italian composer of the Austrian court, and the wunderkind Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

His recent arrival in Vienna invokes Salieri’s tortured awareness of his own mediocrity and, apart from falterings in the play’s long opening, the verbal dexterity of Lucian Msamati as the Italian composer is impressive throughout, providing a balanced and often poignant interpretation of the conflicted musician.

The most striking feature of the production is the presence onstage of the 20-piece Southbank Sinfonia and they deliver an evocative and heightened theatrical moment, playing the various pages of Mozart’s music as they fall from the hands of the astonished and anguished Salieri.

Yet Shaffer’s portrait of Mozart (Adam Gillen) in Michael Longhurst’s production seems entirely based on the scatological letters he often wrote to his friends and family. Certainly that stark contrast between a lively, vulgar young man and the sublimity of his music intrigues but here his genius comes across as completely inexplicable.

Gillen, with simian gait, tells fart jokes accompanied by hyena laughs throughout and he’d do well to heed the advice of the original production’s director Peter Hall. “You have to make me believe you wrote that music,” he asked of Simon Callow, who played Mozart. No such caution is evident from Longhurst.

While we don’t necessarily expect historical veracity from playwrights, the fact that Salieri was a respected musician, Mozart was hardworking and his wife Constanze was not the strumpet portrayed by Karla Crome but a trained musician, does not in itself make for a great story.

But a more subtle interpretation of the relationship between Salieri and Mozart would add a great deal more interest and complexity to the overly polarised characterisations on show here.

Runs until February 1, box office: nationaltheatre.org.uk.