Remembering Berio

“Luciano Berio, a composer whose work included orchestral pieces, electronic experiments, a series of famous works for solo instruments, operas and chamber works, viewed music in the broadest of historical perspectives. He used the phrase “remembering the future” to describe his musical philosophy. He made his name as an avant-gardist and he remained a Modernist throughout his career, but he also saw himself as reinventing the past.”

Won’t Someone Please Sponsor The Met?

Richard Cohen is a lifelong listener to weekly radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera. But the broadcast’s sponsor dropped the program after 63 years. “All the accounts of why ChevronTexaco decided to drop the Met mentioned that the company has come upon hard times. Its CEO, David J. O’Reilly, has taken a 45 percent pay cut, and the stock price has dropped. Still, the company made $1.132 billion last year; $7 million represents less than 1 percent of its profits. Put that way, its decision to drop the broadcasts is a bit harder to understand.”

Guthrie Gets Money Together For New Home

It looks like Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theatre has put together money to build its new home after the Minnesota legislature struck a deal to include money for the Guthrie in a bonding bill. The Guthrie has “gathered $64.5 million toward its internal fundraising goal of $75 million. The final price tag of the new three-stage Guthrie on the River is $125 million. The theater’s board plans to borrow $15 million, so the $25 million from the state leaves a $10 million gap. Last session, the Legislature approved $24 million for the Guthrie. That appropriation fell to then-Gov. Jesse Ventura’s veto pen.”

Iraq’s Archaeological Treasures Are Being Plundered

Iraqi’s say widespread looting of archaeological sites is continuing, despite please for help to the Americans. “On a visit Sunday, three sites near here were pocked with freshly dug holes and littered with hastily abandoned shovels, indicating looting in the last day or two. At one spot, about two dozen people ran off when they saw approaching trucks. At Isan Bakhriat, site of the ancient city of Isin to the north of here, more than 100 looters were openly digging out and selling urns, sculptures and cuneiform tablets. ‘It’s happening at almost every site. They are smart. They take the antiquities that they know have value, and they know how to get them out of the country’.”

A Digital Library To Preserve Artifact Records

The recent looting at the Iraq Museum has bolstered a project to digitize images of ancient artifacts. The looting “has graphically shown the need to make images of these tablets. The digital library is arguably the most important project in our field. Digital initiatives should be used aggressively to buffer ourselves against natural or man-made catastrophes. What happened in the Iraq museum is really an object lesson in why it is important.”

Poor Artist? Lemme Help

Most artists are poor. “Imagine the dissonance your average starving poet feels surrounded by moneyed book-lovers and big-wig sponsors at your local writer’s festival. Or the supreme weirdness of the novelist nominated for a glitzy award like the Giller Prize, with its debauched evening of champagne, tuxes and gowns. I have heard the experience likened to being a street-level prostitute, yanked into a limo by a group of corporate man-gods, and treated to the good life for one queenly booze-and-bonbon-addled night. Before, of course, a bouquet is shoved into your arms as you are simultaneously shoved back into the street to face cold, familiar reality.” Lynn Coady proposes a small “corrective measure” to help.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys….What You Gonna Do?

Okay, so we all enjoy a good scandal book to one degree or another. But will disgraced New York Times reporter Jayson Blair make his fortune on a tell-all book? “The success of a mea culpa manuscript is as much a case of where as of who, how, or when. ‘A story about someone who’s been in a scandal or any sort of bad experience of whatever kind, for it to be an effective story the person has to have come out on the other side. The problem with Jayson Blair, he’s still right in the middle of whatever he’s going through. Clearly, he’s thrashing around. To be an effective story, a book has to have a post-thrash perspective.”

Mounting Tate Modern

Vincente TodolĂ­ is the Tate Modern’s new leader. “I have come from a small corner of Europe to a great metropolis and an institution which must talk not only to the local community but to the world. That is exciting for me. In Valencia [where he was director of the Institute for Modern Art from 1988 to 1996] and in Porto I was a one-man orchestra – conductor, soloist, back-up vocals. But I have left my ego behind. Now I want dialogue, confrontation, to be part of a team, which is what Tate is all about.”

Can Books Compete With Big Entertainment?

Publishers meet to discuss how to revive their waning business. “Consumers now occupy some 300 more hours per year with ‘entertainment’ activities, compared to 15 years ago. It’s a full plate of entertainment choices. Not surprisingly, consumers have an attention span of ‘maybe 10 days,’ which might explain why big authors aren’t selling as well as in past years. The public is increasingly disenchanted earlier, and then rushes off to the next new thing. Consumers are no longer loyal to products or channels.”

Tower Records For Sale

The troubled Tower Records is looking for a buyer. “Tower has been particularly hard hit by the decline in sales of recorded music. For the six-month period ended January 31, Tower’s sales fell 8.2%, to $306.9 million, and the company had a loss from continuing operations of $33 million, compared to a loss of $10.7 million in the first half of fiscal 2002.”