Let's pause - listen, and thankfully reconnect

By Tim Smith

Where ARTS Thou?

Est: January 2006

“…in all arts it is training that brings art to perfection.” (Mark Twain)

Music brings me great comfort during challenging times, and like a surprise gift, I have been newly acquainted with the violin brilliance of Anne-Sophie Mutter, especially in collaboration with noted film composer John Williams.

I have been waiting for the release of their latest collaboration, John Williams – Anne-Sophie Mutter: Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Selected Film Themes: (With the) Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Released by Deutsche Grammophon, its arrival at my doorstep was a sign that life would soon get just a bit calmer and much, much richer.

From the liner notes:

“John Williams’ Violin Concerto No 2 is the result of several years of collaboration and friendship between two of the world’s most celebrated musical artists. In requesting it from Williams, Anne-Sophie Mutter added to the already remarkable, stylistically varied series of works written for or dedicated to her by (other) composers…The present recording was made shortly after the world premiere of Williams’ concerto. . . at Tanglewood on July 24, 2021.”

Mr. Williams offers: “I can only think of this piece as being about Anne-Sophie Mutter, and the violin itself-that unsurpassed product of the luthier’s art. With so much great music already written for the instrument, much of it recently for Anne-Sophie, I wondered what further contribution I could possibly make. But I took my inspiration and energy directly from this great artist herself.”

Williams then adds: “And while music has many purposes and functions, I’ve always believed that, in the end, it ought to be free to be interpreted through the prism of every listener’s own personal history, prior exposures and cultural background. One man’s sunken cathedral might be another woman’s mist at the dawning. The meaning must therefore reside, if you’ll forgive me, in the 'ear of the beholder.'”

Now to the screen: With the release of the new Disney+ Star Wars mini-series, (while I am in Mr. Williams’ universe), Obi-Wan-Kenobi, starring Ewan McGregor in the title role, we have had to return to the original nine Star Wars film canon for an update on the epic’s continuity.

When one considers that the original series began “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . .” or 1977 and ending in 2019, there is a great deal that must be retained simply to make “any new sense” going forward. Yes, there apparently is no end to the stories contained within this “galaxy, so very, very close at hand.”

Assisting in our return, we have enjoyed the background story/supplemental features, Rogue One, Solo, and the additional mini-series, The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.

New technologies have enhanced the storytelling presentation; however, the overall experience, especially with the mini-series’, has been met with a lukewarm reception, at least from this viewer.

Overextended technology weakens the story and they are dangerously close to losing the element of surprise and inherent mystery, hard enough to keep secret behind the social media/streaming doors of today.

Lifeless, nearly stilted acting is also becoming a hinderance.

Locally inspirational: We visited Bridgeport, TX and the Cool Creek Fine Art Gallery, located in its well-appointed “Main Street” shopping and dining area, and enjoyed a most enlightening conversation with one of the artists who was working on a clay (mold) for her pending bronze sculpture.

A well-known artesian, an exact replica of one of her most famous pieces was next to the work area and it was stunning.

“Service Above Self”: The Rotary Motto: Congratulations to the members of the Pauls Valley Rotary Club, who gathered last evening to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the club’s founding. Along with reviewing historical milestones and timelines, members who had 50-year memberships were saluted.

“Because that’s what we storytellers do, we restore order with imagination, we instill hope again, and again and again.”

[Tom Hanks as Walt Disney: Saving Mr. Banks]

God Bless America, and God Bless Texas


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