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From Leon LIVSHIN:

 

Dear Friends,
Perhaps, each of us, sooner or later in life, faces the fact that a ‘love triangle’ transcends a philosophical abstraction and becomes part of our real experience. For me, this theme is not just a theoretical concept but, fortunately or unfortunately, a part of my past.

A love triangle is not just a social conflict or a plot for a soap opera. Exploring love triangles through the prism of the lives and creativity of such genius figures as Wagner, Mahler, Wolf, and Schiele, we can try to unravel the mystery of true love, honor, and dignity.

Wagner found himself involved in a love triangle more than once. Initially, his feelings for Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of his benefactor, remained platonic (at least, that is the belief), but then his relationship with Cosima von Bülow, the daughter of Franz Liszt and the wife of his friend Hans von Bülow, developed into a true passion and led to marriage. These relationships caused scandals, but for Wagner, they were an expression of true love and striving for harmony - both in music and in life.

Gustav Mahler, in turn, who fully dedicated himself to music, essentially relegated his wife Alma to the background, limiting her creative ambitions. Alma, whose desire to express herself through music was suppressed, found consolation and self-realization in the arms of other men. Was this to be seen as her sacrifice in the name of art or an injustice that spawned even more passions?

Hugo Wolf, having fallen in love with the wife of his benefactor, found himself in a complex emotional trap where his feelings collided with duty and gratitude. This secret affair, invisible on the surface but reflected in his music, raises questions about where the line between personal happiness and loyalty lies.

Even more scandalous love triangle formed in the milieu of Viennese Modernism between Gustav Klimt (who also had a brief affair with Alma Mahler), his student Egon Schiele, and their common muse Wally Neuzil. The relationship between the teacher and the student, both of whom shared a passion for exploring human emotions (both were accused of promoting pornography!) and relationships through art, adds an extra layer of complexity to their creative and personal lives. Egon Schiele, in particular, left us portraits filled with emotion and tragedy, reflecting his deep contemplation of the dark side of love - both as erotically destructive and as a purifying and elevating force.

These stories show how love triangles can be not only a source of personal drama but also a path to self-discovery, to understanding the eternal values of love, honor, and dignity. On this path to self-discovery, I will be aided by the delightful German-Austrian singer Ute Gfrerer, the magnificent artist and filmmaker Ilya Kalnitsky, and excerpts from the film by the outstanding Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni.

Musically yours,
Leon

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From Leon LIVSHIN:

 

Dear Friends,

Let me begin by saying that the amazing fashion show by our amateur dandies and quaintrelles (a female-dandy) at the last concert was truly inspiring. It was a real pleasure to see such avid participation from the salon’s audience. It proves that our concept and ideas truly resonate with you - during both our concerts and our somewhat "heated" discussions.

So, let’s continue to engage, contribute and provoke! As Oscar Wilde said: “Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth.” So, please bring your mask (or your inner mask?), your attire (costume), and your spirit, but if any of you choose to participate by not participating (in a true dandy’s tradition) - you are welcome to do so as well!
 

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On May 14th, yet again, we combineD a story, music, and movies in an effort to unfold the enigmatic life of Maurice Ravel. Once again, I was privileged to work with fantastic musicians: a brilliant  Dmitry Berlinsky (violin), poetic and virtuosic Sergey Antonov (cello), a renaissance film-performer Inessa Gordeiko, and, last but not least, our charming aspiring architect/actor and a dandy-in-the-making, Daniel Berlinsky.

We played the ecstatic and powerful Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor, and also a composer’s jewel Pavane Pour une Infante Défunte.

This concert was an effort to intimately explore Ravel - the man and his music. A deeply moving novella about Ravel by a wonderful novelist Jean Echenoz helped us hear Ravel’s music in a new light. The novella opens in 1928 as Maurice Ravel - a dandy, an eccentric, and a curmudgeon - crosses the Atlantic to begin his triumphant grand tour of the United States.

”To live is the rarest thing in the word. Most people just exist” (Oscar Wilde)

So let’s live!!! Here was your playful chance to expose (or perhaps even seduce?) Ravel  - by either reserve or provocation; picked your strategy, found an appropriate attire, weared it well and … tried to UN-RAVEL!

 

Musically yours, 
Leon Livshin

 
Cinema & Painting
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Formula of Popularity
Homer, Tarantino, Picasso, Schubert and ???

During this performance we try to figure out the phenomena of popularity. We are not going to limit ourselves to our times only. Quite the opposite! What if we, like Odyssey,  went on voyages to various times and to the hearts of various civilizations?

We begin with Ancient Greece... We create a time bridge between ourselves and Homer and recite his poems in Greek but  … in rap style.

Our next voyage is to the Renaissance era. We travel in Tempo a la Tarkovsky through the “hits” of paintings: Leonardo, Durer, Bruegel, Rublev, and perhaps see all of their masterpieces in the new light? For this voyage through the old masters paintings we used all seven of Tarkovsky ‘s films, but the resulting collage is infused with new resonance.

After that you hear the biggest hit of the 19th century - Schubert Serenade. We try to figure out the secret of its popularity by "recreating" the piece as if we were preparing a meal in front of the audience.

And after, we will travel through the labyrinths of the art of film and will trace the development of film from silent to Hitchcock, Chaplin and Tarantino…