Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Wednesday January 21, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:28 AM


This is the first anniversary of the death of Irene Diamond, patron of the arts, for whom the New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project is named.  (See last year’s entries for January 20-23.)

Since tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the birth of George Balanchine (according to the Gregorian, or “new style,” calendar), it seems appropriate to recall his ballet Diamonds, though it has no apparent connection with Irene.

Diamonds is the conclusion of a three-part work titled Jewels. (The first two parts are Emeralds, with music by Fauré, and Rubies, with music by Stravinsky.)

” ‘And then for the finale, Diamonds, I move to Tchaikovsky-always Tchaikovsky for dancing.’

Balanchine chose to use Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 in D major, gracefully cutting the first movement of the piece (by some accounts because it was too long, and by others because he felt it just wasn’t suitable for dancing).”

Jeannine Potter, notes on Jewels 

In other words, Balanchine “cut” Diamonds. For another use of this metaphor, see The Diamond Project.  The following remark on the first movement seems appropriate on this, the anniversary of Irene Diamond’s death.

“The introduction to the first movement of the symphony is marked Moderato assai, Tempo di marcia funebre, the funeral march proceeding with increased pace….”

—  Symphony No. 3 in D Major

The following link to a part of Irene’s year-long funeral march seems appropriate:

Longtime Juilliard Benefactor Dies.

Whether her good deeds made her, like Christ and Gerard Manley Hopkins, an immortal Diamond, I do not know.  Let us hope so.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Monday January 27, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:47 PM

As promised last December 6…

Leadbelly Under the Volcano

From a website on Malcolm Lowry’s novel Under the Volcano:

“This image of impending doom recurs in the movie at the local theater, ‘Los Manos De Orlac’ or ‘The Hands of Orlac’ — the classic film about a pianist….”

Today’s site music, “Good Night, Irene,” by Leadbelly, is for the Diamond Project of the New York City Ballet, named for Irene Diamond, who died January 21. (See entry of that date.)

See also the obituary of John Browning, pianist, who died January 26.

Historical postscript: Huddie Ledbetter (“Leadbelly”) was, according to some accounts, born on January 21, the date of Irene Diamond‘s death.  He died on December 6, the feast day of Saint Nicholas.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Tuesday January 21, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:09 PM

Diablo Ballet

Thanks to Meghan for the following:

not going, not coming,
rooted, deep and still
not reaching out, not reaching in
just resting, at the center
a single jewel, the flawless crystal drop
in the blaze of its brilliance
the way beyond.

— Shih Te (c. 730)

It turns out that Shih Te (“Foundling”) was the sidekick of Han Shan (“Cold Mountain”).  Here are some relevant links:

Thoughts of Robert Frost (see past two days’ entries) lead to “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” which in turn leads to Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder splitting wood in The Dharma Bums.

This in turn leads, via a search on “Kerouac” and “axe,” to the sentence

“There’s the grace of an axe handle 
 as good as an Eglevsky ballet,”

in Big Sur

Kerouac taught me when I was 16 and he is still teaching me now that I am 60.

Searching for “Eglevsky ballet” leads to this site on André Eglevsky, his work, his life, and his children.  A further search leads to his daughter Marina Eglevsky, who stages dance for the Diablo Ballet.

Born to Dance

Marina Eglevsky and
the Diablo Ballet —
a rare and gifted
pas de deux

Those who feel the above is too “arty” for them may nevertheless appreciate the movie by the same name: “Born to Dance” (1936), starring Eleanor Powell and James Stewart.

In the larger metaphorical sense, of course, Powell and Eglevsky are both part of the same dance… at the “still point” described so well by Shih Te. 

“just resting, at the center
a single jewel…”

“At the still point,
there the dance is.”
— T. S. Eliot

From Marshall’s Jewelers, Tucson —

A Diamond-Cutter Sutra:

The ideal cut is a mathematical formula for cutting diamonds to precise angles and proportions to maximize the reflection and refraction of light. In addition to these ideal proportions, the polish and symmetry of the diamond is done to the highest standards also. Only then does it qualify to receive the American Gem Society (AGS) “triple zero” rating. A “zero” rating is the most perfect rating that the AGS gives evaluating the cut, polish, and symmetry of the diamond.

When a diamond receives the “zero” rating for each of these areas, (cut, polish, and symmetry), it gets three “zeros,” hence the “triple zero” rating. Because of this attention to detail, it takes up to four times longer to cut a diamond to these standards than an “average” diamond.

You may choose to compromise on color or clarity but to ensure the most brilliant diamond you should not compromise on cut….

The “triple zero” ideal cut guarantees you a magnificent balance of brilliance, sparkle, and fire.

Postscript of 1/25/03:

See also the obituary of Irene Diamond, ballet patron, for whom the New York City Ballet’s “Diamond Project” is named.  Diamond died on January 21, 2003, the date of the above weblog entry.

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