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27 November 2011

In Memoriam

Lux Feminæ: Montserrat Figueras 1942-2011

On November 23, 2011 the world lost the presence of the magical Catalan chanteuse Montserrat Figueras, wife of Jordi Savall and co-founder with him of Hesperion XXI, interpreter par excellence of the Early Music vocal repertoire—especially those haunting, exotic sounds she called up from the ancient sibyls and female saints, but also Sephardic grandmothers and Baroque composers. Her and Jordi’s label currently features her visage and voice on their home page:

My wife and I had the good fortune to see the two of them at Ravinia a few summers ago, and she was (unlike so many others) even more powerfully haunting and gently commanding on stage than on their magical discs. While she left a raft of recordings that will comfort us as long as they last, she is one of those few artists about whom those who love them feel as if they know them somehow, and I for one will miss her like a dear friend. No doubt her equally brilliant and compelling husband is wracked with emotions no one else can comprehend, but for those of us who have followed them at least since the film Tous Les Matins du Monde there is the sense that M. Sainte Colombe embodied a presence of that loss.

The angels have gained a voice only the earth could generate.

16 November 2011

Not to Praise, But to Bury

In response to some of the conference supporters who questioned my questioning of the conference Reconsidering Postmodernism, I offer this from Architectural Record:

Old Debates for a New Era at Postmodernism Conference

November 14, 2011

An aesthetic that mined the past gets a historical consideration of its own at a New York City symposium.

By Fred A. Bernstein

“Lumping the classicists together with Robert Venturi—whose use of columns and architraves, even its supporters concede, can be superficial and ironic—seems a disservice to both.

Yet several speakers claimed that postmodernism made it possible for classical architecture to flourish in the United States and England. “Postmodernism allowed for that opening; you have to be thankful for that,” said the London classicist Demetri Porphyrios. But it seems likely that the opposite is also true—that postmodernism, as popularized by Venturi, Charles Moore, and Philip Johnson, made any use of classical orders suspect.”

I rest my case.