Monday, February 27, 2012

Diamonds in the Desert, 3 -- Rembrandt, Orchestra Hall

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!

The same could be said for the musician wanting to get to Detroit's Max Fisher Hall (aka Orchestra Hall), home of the Detroit Symphony.

We didn't get back to the hotel from the DIA till after 5:30, because our tickets to the Rembrandt exhibit weren't until late in the day. There was plenty to see and savor in this exhibit showing how Rembrandt changed in his interpretation of painting Jesus.

Photos weren't allowed in the exhibit. Most of these are from an excellent Time slideshow; one is from the DIA website.

The idea of the exhibit was to show how Rembrandt was one of the first European artists to focus on Jesus as a compassionate, good, young and kind person -- to find his humanity.

To do so, he chose models who were Jewish and who lived in the same Jewish quarter of Amsterdam as he did.

Interestingly enough, Rembrandt's religious art may have been as much a commercial as spiritual endeavor. During that period in the Netherlands, the Calvinist religion promoted a great desire to have images of Jesus in the home. Rembrandt whipped out his pieces for quick sale to his fellow Amsterdam citizens. It was the copious records from his later bankruptcy that provided the provenance for many of his works.

(I have to admit, it sort of freaked me out that he was the equivalent of the Thomas Kincade of the day.)

The exhibit also had wonderful models of Amsterdam during that time and excellent multimedia features. If it is headed to a city near you, I recommend it.

And, for a short and very interesting review of the exhibition catalogue by Lloyd DeWitt, reviewed by WKAR's Lev Raphael, please listen to THIS LINK. Raphael makes excellent points about the impact of seeing the illustrations in the catalogue and savoring each image and accessible sections of text over time, versus the still-thrilling, but sometimes frustrating, of experiencing such a powerful exhibition in a crowd. Makes me wish I'd bought the catalogue!

But all that art viewing set us off course for dinner! And remember a few posts ago, I mentioned the restaurant at the hotel? Not an option for dinner! So, we found a Japanese restaurant near the DIA, wolfed down some noodles and rice and were off to the symphony.

To walk into Orchestra Hall is truly a grand experience. Our seats were on the first floor, under the balcony. Perfect for seeing every bit of the concert, titled "Ravishing Rachmaninoff."

Leonard Slatkin conducts the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and he is one of the most renowned conductors in the world. The first piece was an interesting new piece by a woman named Cynthia McTee called "Einstein's Dream" -- not quite my cup of "tea." But the second was the Shoshtokovich Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 99, with a violinist named Julian Rachlin. There were plenty of tricky and intricate passages in the four movements and he was masterful, getting the standing ovation he deserved from an appreciative audience.

During intermission, we headed to the balcony for photos and then down front.

You can get an idea of the scale of the hall, yet it felt rather intimate.

And the architectural details were lovely.

The second act, Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, Op. 45. I loved this piece, filled with energy, power, lightness and quieter moments. And yes, another ovation.

The Rachmaninoff was being recorded by the DSO -- I have a feeling I'll be getting that CD!

Then it was back to the hotel (where the restaurant bar had closed before we arrived at 10:30. No glass of wine for us that night!

But we did pass by a couple of Detroit's other "diamonds" -- The Fox Theatre (above) and Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. (It will never replace the original Tiger stadium in my mind, though!)

Next: A brunch to die for in a converted mansion. And, for some great illustrations and a look at a treasured children's book I've loved since 1958, visit Chopsticks and String HERE.


Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Oh Jeanie, what a time you're having.
Rembrandt, Rachmaninoff and such a wondrous concert hall - beauty that is oh so good for the soul.
I'm a great follower of the Arts too and always come out of a concert just floating on air and feeling as though I'm quite a different person!!

Thank you Jeanie, I feel as tho I've almost been there with you dear!!

Wishing you a new week full of all life's pleasures!


Retired English Teacher said...

This was so much fun. I loved reading about the Rembrandt paintings. I also was surprised to read that he was the Thomas Kincaid of his day. I will look to see if he is coming to Denver.

The Detroit Orchestra Hall truly is a treasure. I just love it! What a treat it was for you to go there.

You really did have a wonderful trip to Detroit.

Arti said...

What wonderful experiences, art and music, R & R, and then some more. I love that last painting you post here, the light against the dark is just mesmerizing, isn't it? And the Orchestra Hall... simply magnificent! I'm curious to know what's for brunch!

Joanne Huffman said...

I really love the photos of the Orchestra Hall. My mind is boggling at the idea that Thomas Kincaid might achieve Rembrandt like status in a few centuries. Also, I find it very strange that a hotel bar would close at 10:30.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Ooo, Rachmaninoff is one of my favorite composers! I love going to concerts. Our Orchestra Hall is not nearly as grand (or really all that grand at all, it's a modern building), but I still love going to concerts there. But the beauty of that Orchestra Hall is stunning!

Leann said...

Hey Jeanie

You sure are on a roll. Everything is just so beautiful. Hope that you are feeling well these days.


~*~Patty S said...

what a wonderful evening..thanks for taking us along ;)

Beth said...

As usual you are on another adventure in this post and it looked so amazing. Always Love to catch up on your blog!

Rosa said...

How gorgeous! But not as gorgeous as you! You always just radiate. xo (why are the robot words getting as long as paragraphs? urchasto csoutun?)

Marilyn said...

What a beautiful concert hall. I can almost hear the music. There is nothing like a live concert in a special concert hall.

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