In Sicilia: First Days in Siracusa

Cattedrale di Siracusa

As we’d decided not to rent a car, we traveled cross-island to Siracusa via a big, comfortable bus. In Siracusa, we were once again lucky in our lodgings: a light-filled apartment with views of the Ortigia Harbor. First on our list was on-foot exploration, with the sole required stops to see the Burial of St. Lucy, by Caravaggio (1571-1610), and to visit the local market. Continue reading

Transcendental Geometry: Contemporaneous at Murray’s 2017

It was a stroke of luck to have happened on Contemporaneous when the ensemble was still at Bard and barely six months old. That was in 2010, and it’s an ongoing cause for celebration that this treasurable rara avis, a chamber orchestra dedicated solely to new music, has not only survived, but is thriving today. Over that time, as Contemporaneous continues to amass significant musical accomplishments, we, as listeners, reap the benefit in an ongoing series of musical gifts. The April 15, 2017, concert at Murray’s in Tivoli was but the latest in a long, glittering string. Continue reading

In Sicilia: Cappella Palatina

Guy de Maupassant said of the Cappella Palatina that it was “the most beautiful that exists in the world, the most stupendous religious jewel cherished by human thought and executed by a master hand.” [Cappella Palatina Brochure] He wrote:

Upon entering our Gothic cathedrals, we experience a severe, almost sad, sensation. Their grandeur is imposing, their majesty astonishes, but does not seduce. Here, we are conquered, moved by that something, almost sensual, that color adds to the beauty of forms. [Sicily: A Literary Guide for Travelers, p.19] Continue reading

In Sicilia: Going for Baroque (Part 2)

Chiesa del Gesù

OK, it wasn’t the smartest move, I acknowledge. We’d spent the morning at the stunning Capella Palatina (more on that anon). As we strolled back to the apartment, we happened on the 16th century Chiesa del Gesù. Though we were more than a little peckish, we decided to stop in for a “quick look” prior to lunch. Continue reading