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Celibidache - You Don'T Do Anything - You Let It Evolve
Celibidache - You Don'T Do Anything - You Let It Evolve
DVD ~ Sergiu Celibidache
Prix : EUR 29,24

5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 reference for music lovers and Celibidache's (future) fans, alike, 26 mai 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Celibidache - You Don'T Do Anything - You Let It Evolve (DVD)
Being the happy owner/re-viewer of the great Celibidache, I came to this film with a certain amount of apprehension. Indeed, considering the bounty of music&wisdom of the former owed something to the conductor's son, as director of that production, I had thought another film on the subject could not even come close. If you happen to share such concerns, lay them to rest. This film does not follow as tight a narrative as the other, being a mosaic of smaller pieces (some published before), yet it is enlightening enough to become of reference for music lovers and Celibidache's (future) fans, alike.

The late Romanian conductor Celibidache does a superb job at revealing several elements of truth about music and its philosophy, through the inspired film of Jan Schmidt-Garre. For those familiar with Celibidache's views, music and music making are being approached through the lenses of eastern philosophy and phenomenology. Accordingly, music has to end where it begins, and truth in music cannot be explained, but experienced. Music happens at the intersection of sound and one's inner experience. The composer has to start with an experience, which he transposes into notes, whereas the interprets start with the notes and then strive to re-create the (composer's) experience. Technique, as such, is assumed and subsumed to the more generous goal of turning sound into music. A similar perspective on technique is shared by Nadia Boulanger.

As elements of Celibiadache's technique of conducting, I gathered from this film (and reading this book:Conversations With Nadia Boulanger) that the good musician reads the score until its theme(s) emerges, and then each instrument comes and goes only to support the particular musical line. Several instances illustrate this point throughout the film. For example, in Bruckner's Mass in F major, Celibidache makes a whole orchestra segment go pianissimo so that the flute, and a theme, can be heard. Obviously, Bruckner made no such suggestion/requirement in the score. So, based on this film, a partial checklist of Celibidache's technique may read like this: a) One aims to understand the context round the musical text at the time it was composed; b) One reads the score until the whole emerges, with all its supporting theme(s); c) Finally, one works with the orchestra, going through a thousand NOs to reach that single/final YES, when the end reaches the beginning and sound turns into music.

If familiar at all with Celibidache's critics (too slow tempi, etc.), you'll find an interesting story about Celibidache's learning from Furtwangler how to pace oneself through a piece of music, neither fast nor slow, just right relative to what the music says. And, if you pay enough attention to how the music comes alive, however shortly on this DVD, you understand that Celibidache had firm musical convictions pegged to high musical standards, a musical personality no creator should apologize for, and results to match. To me, he could turn an orchestra into an instrument, or small chamber ensemble. These supreme musical achievements are hard to miss, unless too small unit of analysis, or a certain amount of malevolence, were to be employed.

As the cost of this DVD is rather high, one would have expected higher quality of the video transfer--the original is obviously some tape(s) that lost its lustre.


JVC EX-A10 - Micro chaîne
JVC EX-A10 - Micro chaîne

Aucun internaute (sur 1) n'a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
3.0 étoiles sur 5 I prefer instead the JVC EXD5. And so may you!, 16 mai 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : JVC EX-A10 - Micro chaîne (Appareils électroniques)
Being so happy an owner of JVC EXD5, I decided to upgrade to JVC EX-A10 as soon as the price of this unit was a little less than halved. This was about twice as much as I paid for its predecessor so on paper I was happily looking forward to at least twice as much.

A few extra watts of power output, DVD+ playback, the supposedly enhanced CC sound, discrete player and amplifier/radio components, AND a digital BI-AMP driving TWO wood-cone speakers in a larger rose-wood cabinet seemed in the eyes/ears of the folks at JVC like what's needed to have us pay that much more. Upon installing and playing many an hour worth of audio and video content on my JVC EX-A10, I can say that it is not up to my expectations--per price, mostly that is. Indeed, the transport in the player is almost as noisy as JVC EXD5's, the wi-fi connection is gone, and the size almost doubled. Moreover, and more importantly, my expectations of a bi-amp/two-speaker per cabinet came at the expense of twice as much wiring as before, too much tinkering with the amp-levels leading in the end to an elusive improvement in sound quality over the EXD5. And, since I don't care that much about playing back mp3 audio, I perceive the CC-enhancement as being rather distracting.

Doing some more reading online, I've learned that bi-amps, while "solving" a theoretical problem, create another set of problems on their own. Ideally, all should be captured in one single speaker, and EXD5 remains as close to that ideal for me as they come.

Addressing the lack of advanced video connectivity/output, yes, I do think that at this price JVC EX-A10 should not only have HDMI, but also a Faroudja chip--they sell for double digit prices. As for the transport, fo'get'bout-it! All in all, I could see this unit selling for no more than four_hundred. Maybe that's why Amazon does not even list it when searching for "wood cone," preferring instead the JVC EXD5. And so should you!


The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
par Niall Ferguson
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 24,38

19 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 If Harvard leadership amounts to this much we deserve it all and much more to come, 16 mai 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (Relié)
Ferguson comes up again as an unabashed defender of empire(s), especially those espousing financial capitalism as modus operandi. So much so that he touches revisionist overtones at times.

Had this been just a history book, however partial, Ascent of Money would have been only half bad. However, Ferguson's ideological positions only add insult to the periodic injury produced by financial capitalism.

Staying with history for a while, the book makes for a quick traversal of modern financial instruments and some of the supporting institutions and ideologies. Assuming the role of historian of finance, Ferguson doesn't seem to worry about proving anything; a narrative from the perspective of the victors, in (t)his case, the Anglo-Saxon financial elites, might do just as well. One comes away with the idea that financial capitalism is better, necessary, and almost always self-sufficient. Moreover, the welfare state should be viewed not only as a half-baked idea of capitalists, but also past its due date by now.

Here are few examples of missing pieces from Ferguson's take one the rise of financial capitalism: Nowhere is the goal of financial capitalism explicitly stated. I would posit that financial markets are supposed to help/guide us to do the best resource allocation (read, optimal) with the idea of maximizing social welfare. The "us" above is the state and voting citizenry, and not the financial elites alone. Without any compass at work, it's easy for the author to ignore the societal costs of financial capitalism--in the UK/US case, the disappearance of production followed by de-professionalization, and misallocation of resources during, and in the aftermath of, bubbles. In other words, if we look only at what financial capitalism creates, in isolation from other countries or its own side effects, Ferguson's book is right on the money. Otherwise, the market as compass is just as accurate as communism.

Ferguson doesn't seem to make much of his own statistics on how much more we spend on, let's say, healthcare and education for much lower returns. In fact, Schumpeter himself, one of the apostles of capitalism, once said that one of our problems in the US was the professional quality, or lack thereof, of our government employees. Hmm, could this have anything to do with how financial capitalism allocates human resources and/or how a society worships the high priests of finance?

In any case, fear not the current crisis, for Ferguson has embarked into the next expedition of financial capitalism as charted by the Harvard behavioral finance-, and MIT's Andrew Lo's financial evolutionist/adaptive markets-hypotheses. He does so by means of the last chapter in the book, a veritable illustration of plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. In plain English, it's just the tools and possibly the actors that needed change, provided that the masters, ideology and the fools remain the same.

Rating this book is not easy. It should take 4 stars for the historic part, 2 stars for ideology, and 0 stars for partiality. All in all, for a 2-star book the interested reader may do better to borrow. And, yes, it reads fast and there is plenty of detail surrounded by historical context that make Ascent of Money a decent read.

Nota Bene: Why is it that, in this book, Niall Ferguson writes so dismissively about George Soros' ideas on financial markets reflexivity? Soros has built his fortune also by leveraging the reflexivity he recommends be tamed by adequate understanding and regulation of the financial markets. Unfortunately, Ascent of Money contributes only partially to that understating, and reads little about financial markets regulation.
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Decoding Ferran Adria DVD: Hosted by Anthony Bourdain
Decoding Ferran Adria DVD: Hosted by Anthony Bourdain
par Anthony Bourdain
Edition : DVD-Rom
Prix : EUR 23,83

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Eulogy for a chefs' chef, 16 mai 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Decoding Ferran Adria DVD: Hosted by Anthony Bourdain (DVD-Rom)
While it's obvious Bourdain is a chef, as time goes on, one can tell he's neither a narrator nor a film-maker. Now, one should keep in perspective that the subject of this rather short film is Ferran Adria, a chef himself, or rather a chefs' chef. So, this is not film as usual, but rather kitchen affair.

Watching this film, I came away with the idea that 1) one's mouth is a sexual organ; 2) ALL sex takes place in the head; 3) Ferran Adria is like Scheherazade; and 4) a dinner at elBulli is the Kama Sutra of the taste buds.

Interesting enough is how Bourdain, of French culinary persuasion, is taken by Adria's rather Japanese approach to taste--individual and discrete tastes as opposed to a mixture, texture, etc.

Areas of improvement:

Bourdain should work with a film maker, do titles instead of voice-over, slow the pace of the presentation, think more at what happens to him.
The viewer should try to read A Day at ElBulli, and get a dinner appointment with Adria('s team).


Brancusi & Romanian Folk Traditions
Brancusi & Romanian Folk Traditions
par Edith Balas
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 41,04

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Explaining a great deal of Brancusi's inspiration roots, 16 mai 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Brancusi & Romanian Folk Traditions (Relié)
The Romanian Constantin Brancusi not only brought sculpture into modernity, but arguably was also the greatest sculptor of the 20th century. Among Brancusi's western exegetes there is a growing number of theses about the origins of, and influences into, Brancusi's creativity and style, respectively.

This work of Edith Balas, Carnegie Mellon University Professor of Art History, places (rather restitutes) the origins of Brancusi's works in the Romanian folk traditions. In doing so, the author:

1) Compares Brancusi's output to Romanian folk art (employing photos of sculpture, tapestry, etc.);
2) Quotes Brancusi;
3) Places Brancusi's works, conceptually, as a reflection of Romanian fairy tales and myths.

When Balas looks at the touted influence of African art on Brancusi she does so very carefully and manages to convincingly limit the scope of such influence--in time and artistic output. I should mention that there were indeed influences of African art in the Parisian artistic milieu in the first decades of the 20th century --several surrealists acknowledging such debt.

As a footnote, the author, coming herself from Romania, shows a great level of understanding of the Brancusian formative environment.

A few notes about the book itself. It is at its 2nd, and graphically much improved, edition. The larger size, typeface, and the general appearance of this edition do justice not only to the subject itself, but also to the labor of love Professor Balas must have put in writing it. Oh, need I say that this book has footnotes, as opposed to end-notes? No, all these don't qualify this work as coffee-table material, yet somehow this book addresses the reader's mind and senses alike. And now, as advice for bibliophiles, get your copy before late for its 1st edition has been nigh impossible to obtain for a long time. I'm assuming that lovers of (Brancusi's) art need no persuasion on the last point.

Nota Bene: For a conceptual approach towards Brancusi's place in the space-time continuum called history, Mircea Eliade in his 1967 essay 'Brancusi and Mythology' (available in 'Ordeal by Labyrinth') offers great insight too.


Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the 21st Century
Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the 21st Century
par Giovanni Arrighi
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 19,68

4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 21st Century Conversation Anchor, for some time to come..., 16 mai 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the 21st Century (Broché)
For some reason (check to see if Arrighi had updated his book in the light of the 2008 financial capitalism's meltdown), this edition doesn't share the customer comments with the hardback. Thus, I'm including hre the comment I made for the hardback edition of this book, available at: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1L09BRKIOJR0Q/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

The book begins with an analysis of the differences between free markets and capitalism, and evolution scenarios of capitalism. For the first hundred-some pages, Arrighi is SLOWLY building the theoretical foundation of his argument and draws from several sources ranging from Adam Smith and Marx to Hannah Arendt and Schumpeter, from countless (non-)academic citations to his own observations.

Historically, capitalism occurs in the later stages, and at the expense, of free markets, and requires ever expansive institutions and policies. According to Arrighi, the evolution of the USA, being the latest and most expansive capitalist power, has taken the capitalist logic to its earthly limits. Indeed, the US has continued on the trajectory set by the earlier capitalist powers--the Italian Republics, Dutch Empire and British Empire--by creating more powerful capitalist frameworks, alas all this has already come to a too high of a price for itself and the planet.

And, while the above arguments go back and forth, with factual illustrations and theoretical considerations, China is being analyzed in historical, comparative and Asian contexts. With the exception of some 150 years, at least for the past 5-600 years, China has been not only different from the West (and its capitalist models), but also very affluent. The differences come in many ways: military outlook and projection of power, trade, state institutions, relationships between the state and its citizens/other states, productivity, innovation and on and on. In fact, Arrighi seems to infer that, for the most part of that time interval, the Chinese have been as much closer to a free market system as far away from the capitalist system.

Close to the end of the book, one sees that Arrighi does not necessarily advance a comprehensive thesis to explain even the next 50 years, but leaves the reader better equipped to continue the inferential process he started. To summarize, this process consists of the study of theoretical frameworks, historical analogies between/among capitalist powers, comparative perspectives on China and the reduction of capitalist alternatives, by elimination, for the USA. Also by limiting the range of the capitalist alternative(s) in their current and historical forms, we are left to witness for ourselves the evolution, the tradeoffs, and ultimately the future of China itself.

This is a book that will most probably anchor the conversation about the 21st Century for some time to come. The wide spectrum for Arrighi's analysis provides for an integrated approach across several fields, which so far have been studied in isolation at best.

How can the reader benefit more? By tightening the argument and the text itself--maybe Arrighi needs to decide who his readers are. For the public at large, a Foreign Affairs article may do it. For the more academically inclined, it is not clear how/why the events of the last 10-15 years in the US fit Arrighi's framework. Indeed, Arrighi belongs to the school of thought dating the end of the US capitalist supremacy in the 1970s. So, if the US decline started in the '70s, how was it possible for the economical revival of the '90s? In other words, was the economic revival of the '90s in contradiction with Arrighi's earlier thesis? According to the author, Britain had also gone through a similar period of economic boom at the end of the 19th century--decline, sudden prosperity followed by decline and two world wars. Reconciling current events with-in a longue durée approach may look artificial/arbitrary/a posteriori. For example, was the Project for the New American Century historically immanent, or the result of voting accidents in Florida? On the other hand, a lot of the last 8 year events seem to follow the path indicated by Arrighi. After this book was published, even the paragons of capitalism, aka the US financial system, have entered a deep structural crisis. Moreover, if we are to consider the volume of inputs alone, the US has no place to grow unless the Chinese stumble at their own (Adam Smithian-) game. At a different level, I suspect there will be some to quarrel with Arrighi's implicit higher valuation of free markets relative to capitalism. They'll probably be quick to say that the "old" left may be redefining itself in terms of opposing capitalism with free markets instead of socialism...

All in all, the reader will be well rewarded by reading this book and perhaps follow its author all the way into the pages of the New Left Review magazine.

This book helped me crystallize a whole number of ideas, which I could well summon up into an Open Letter, for O8:

Small is Beautiful!

Small(er) enterprise is better than (quasi-)monopolies;
Universal healthcare is both good and necessary;
Let wages converge lower;
Put money into the following infrastructures: education, energy efficiency, internet, transportation;
Encourage innovation and exports;
Encourage quality;
Bring smart people in, our universities should be the Ellis Island of the 21 Century!

Addendum: Like it or not, even 20 years after the fall of Communism, Marxist critique of capitalism is still ahead in making sense out of our times.


Celibidache!
Celibidache!
par Serge Ioan Celibidachi
Edition : Broché

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
5.0 étoiles sur 5 from newtonian to yin and yang nature of music, 13 avril 2002
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Celibidache! (Broché)
the dvd is about the relationship (of unity) between master and apprentice, music and its enablers, tension and resolve.
interesting window into the personality of celibidache.
the forms through which celibidache is being explained tell us something about the youth of serge ioan. the overall statement of the package is rather remarkable--profound and honest.
the english translation for the dvd is mostly accurate--however, celibidache's opinion about the american interprets of classical music is translated as an opinon about all interprets of classical music.
rather simple book--alas mispelled. does not contribute a whole lot to the economy of the package.
watching this dvd, aka the gardens of celibidache, i became aware of the source of some unjust chracterizations of celibidache--chief amongs being lebrecht's in mastro's myth. but, not unlike most great personalities/works celi/this dvd feeds detractos as well as the rest.


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