Sunday, August 30, 2009

ダフニスとクロエ - Daphnis et Chloé

鎌倉の美術館でシャガールの「ダフニスとクロエ」を見て以来、その画集はないかと捜していたのだが、岩波のものが古書で高額取引されているだけだと判った。結局英語版を米国から買うことにしたが、最近日本で入手難のアイテムをこうした形で海外発注することが多い。Amazonサイトで見た書店から$3.83、送料込み$12.81で届いたのだから文句の付け所がない。この物語は世界最古のHow to Sex教則本みたいなお伽話なのでその詳細を活字で読む読まないは二の次、あくまでも42枚のシャガールのリトグラフ集を手元に置けるのが有り難い。

Since I saw “Daphnis and Chloe” in Kamakura Museum, I was looking for a book copy of this Chagall's work to consequently realize that the old issue by Iwanami Publishing could be traded in used bookstores at a premium price locally. My decision was to import an American edition in this case again. I repeat such procedures recently quite often for things difficult or costly to get in Japan. It was $3.83 at a bookstore in Amazon and the total charge including delivery was $12.81 therefore nothing to complain. In addition, I do not care much about the story to read because this pastoral tale is something like the world’s most ancient textbook discussing how to sex, and my only concern was to have 42 lithographs by Chagall handy.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

自民党の崩壊前夜 – Night before LDP collapses


To the instigation to “smash Liberal Democratic Party” that Junichiro Koizumi cleverly stirred up, many people dansed without much thought, and after a long detour, the promise is finally about to be executed. The rotation of Prime Ministers by Abe, Fukuda and Aso with no consent by voters and their totally unreliable outcome made almost everybody say “enough is enough”. The attitude of current LDP is exactly like a hopeless opposition party that only spends time in criticizing others. It might be still what Koizumi did that we owe this historical transition of politics ultimately. It is without saying that the challenge for victorious Democratic Party is their ability of administration after the election tomorrow.

タメルラーノ - Tamerlano


Another opera by Handel and its story can be considered as the original that might have inspired Mozart’s “Entführung aus dem Serail”.
I did not mark it when I saw the information in the satellite broadcast program schedule just because it carried the name of Domingo. I happened to see the broadcast and I got struck in front of TV for a while. The orchestra was outstanding. It was Spanish and an Englishman, Paul McCreesh, conducted Teatro Real Madrid. He establish Gabrieli Consort and my impression was very vague when I listened to his Bach a while ago. Based on this Handel, I would watch his future development with further interest. The stage interpretation was purely simple as if the dishes at El Bulli presenting the contemporary Spanish sense of beauty. Domingo seemed doing a good job while Sara Mingardo playing Andronico was not so much. I felt the role could be by an able counter-tenor instead of an alto.

Friday, August 28, 2009

アマディージ – Amadigi di Gaula


I recently keep trying Handel’s operas that I have never listened to, and among them this CD album was so far the most impressive discovery. I’ve never thought of Spanish orchestras as an excellent option before, but this team of the incredible ensemble and vocalists fascinated me. Ayre Español was established in 1988 by Eduardo Banzo, the conductor. I look forward to their “Rodrigo” next. Through my visits to Spain twice, it is most interesting country for me to revisit for the moment. Gardiner may have good reasons to make concert tours quite often to Spain, too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

逗子花火大会 - Fireworks in Zushi


Fireworks in Zushi took place today toward end August, and it was actually good as an event to flip the page of this summer over. We enjoyed the dynamic view wide open to the sea that continued for 30 minutes.

カストラート – Farinelli, Il Castrato

我が家で良く観て楽しんだ音楽映画のことをもうひとつ。カミさんが「カストラート」を見たいというのだが、レーザーディスクはもう接続していないし、この際DVDを買い直そうと思って探し始めたら、廃盤のディスクに1万円以上のプレミアムが付いている。状況は米国も同様で、僕は調査の手をAmazon Franceに広げてみた。何せこの映画はルセ監督のフランス映画なのだ。するとどういうことだろう、フランスでは人気がないのだろうか?ただ同然の数ユーロで売り物がぞろぞろある。僕は送料込みで1800円に満たない出費で一枚発注した。

My wife asked me if she could see “Farinelli”, one of our favorite films, but the laserdisc player has been disconnected, and we thought of getting a DVD. We quickly found that the discontinued DVD title had a premium price tag exceeding 10,000 Yen in the market, and the situation in the USA was more or less the same. So I extended my research to Amazon France. To begin with, this is a French film directed by Christophe Rousset! And can you imagine what happened? I wondered if this film was not so popular in France because I saw many copies were sold for only a few Euros there. My particular order with an international delivery was less than 1800 Yen!
European region code of DVD is “2” which is identical to Japanese, but my Sony BD recorder failed to play it. Usually PC players work with such discs, and somehow my Pioneer region 1 player managed it. The picture quality was better than laserdisc, but the subtitle was the bottleneck because it provided French only, and it showed up only when the dialog was spoken in Italian. It is definitely a tough challenge to appreciate watching it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

アマデウス - Amadeus


The movie is based on the play written by Peter Shafer, and the producer Saul Zaentz is the master of Fantasy Studio which is the most reputed music studio in San Francisco Bay area. Neville Marriner supervised the music in this film, and all of these are the promise for quality production. The director Milos Foreman had teamed with Zaentz for “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, and they are the people who can create a film rich with scent of Europe unlike Hollywood.
As “Amadeus” was released in Blu-ray, I decided to get a double-disc book version, and the rumor was that the cheaper American version came with Japanese subtitle. So I made an order to Amazon USA and its delivery was quite prompt. Nothing was mentioned about Japanese language in the package, but when I played it, the opening caution was entirely in Japanese to my amazement. Its video and audio quality was 15 years old by now, but the Best Sound Oscar-winner is recorded in Dolby TrueHD in Blu-ray now.
The Director’s cut included several plots that were omitted in the release film, such as Constanze undresses in front of Salieri who demanded her a certain return for Mozart’s promotion. They help adding more detail to the story’s complexity, but I tend to find the release version of film was actually a highly complete edit with essential plots.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

草津音楽祭 – Summer Music Academy and Festival in Kusatsu


We are in Kusatsu Hotsprings this week. We sense the air of autumn here already. Kusatsu International Music Academy & Festival has started as their annual summer event, and there are some street concerts as shown along with many professional concerts in the hall. It would be more impressive if these voluntary players show better skills. For the festival, there are some frequent visitor-artists from Germany and Italy, and the concerts are intimate. For this village, the festival helps extending the high summer-season as it attracts travelers even after “Obon” which is Buddhist’s prayer holiday in mid August.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

鎌倉花火の日 - Day for Kamakura Fireworks

昨日は鎌倉花火の予定で、手ぐすね引いて待っていたら朝から大雨で早々と中止が決定された。午後からは雨も止んでいたが仕方ない。花火の撮影には欠かせない三脚も少し持ち運びやすいものを買おうと思って、あれこれお店で見比べていたが、マンフロットのmodo maxi 785Bという製品を見てほとんど衝動的にそれを選んだ。若干柔な感があるのと雲台にぐらつきがあるので精巧な製品とは言えないだろう。それでもこの軽さとこれまでのものとまるで違う操作性が魅力だと思う。

Last night there were supposed to be fireworks in Kamakura that I was waiting for, but it was poring rain from the morning and they quickly decided the cancellation. The rain actually stopped in the afternoon in vain. I had visited a camera store to prepare a new tripod for this event. I wanted one that is more convenient to carry around. In examining various products, I bought Manfrotto’s modo maxi 785B by almost a sudden impulse just in a glance of it. It looked a little less steady and the platform was loose with too much play that means the product was not meant to be a craft of real precision, but its lightness and the completely different operating mechanism were attractive enough.

Saturday, August 1, 2009



When I was working in the area of Iigura-Katamachi many years ago, AXIS Building was built in the neighborhood and in its basement was a Japanese restaurant called Kisso. It soon became my favorite place and I used it for lunches quite frequently. In the early days, Shinya Tasahi was working there as sommelier. Kisso has gone now but a store continues to function in the same floor. It is NUNO which means fabric.
They have a good collection of old yet modern Japanese fabrics, such things like those that Issei Miyake used to love using. I stopped by the store the other day after a very, very long absence, and I was terrified to have found that they still carried the same fabric coasters I bought more than 2 decades ago and it is only 336 Yen. I could not stop buying some.