Saturday, February 14, 2009

Volume 10. Roma

Welcome back Dear Readers to what I hope you will find to be another fine edition of Global Around Town. This week we're heading to Rome for a very special concert of the music of a very interesting man. American composer Rhys Chatham tuned pianos for Glenn Gould and

LaMonte Young. He studied music with electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnik. As a teen he became the first Music Director at the Kitchen in Manhattan. During those early years he worked with many greats including: Robert Ashley, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, John Lurie, Fred Frith and Robert Longo. Influenced by punk rock and No Wave music, Chatham began composing music for large guitar ensembles. It is a work for large guitar ensemble that brings us to Rome this week. Tuesday February 17th at 9:00, Auditoreum Parco della Musica, Sala Petrassi is the place to be. The peformance... "A Secret Rose: Concerto for 100 electric guitars Orchestra Contemporanea, conducted by Rhys Chatam, a multimedia event. Described as "an imaginary jam session with John Cale, Tony Conrad and the Ramones," created by post-minimalist Rhys Chatam, founder with Lou Reed, of the Velvet Underground, a disciple of Morton Subotnik and LaMonte Young. The work, actually scored for 100 electric guitars, an ensemble of Rome's best guitarists and students from the best music schools in the city. With video designed for the work by Robert Longo."

I can't imagine what a piece for 100 guitars would sound like. I'd really love to be there to hear this piece. Here's what Byron Coley of The Wire had to say about one of Chatham's pieces for 100 guitars:

As An Angel Moves Too Fast To See unfolds, it develops an extended sense of grandeur that should be obvious to anyone. If some segments function very well as art rock, others really transcend all known genres - just huge wallows in oceans of sound. This [is] the music on which his reputation rests and which almost slid through the fingers of history. And the music is, well, angelic. Really.”

I am thrilled that Chatham has been touring Europe with his 100-guitar orchestra. Thrilled too that Paris, Chatham's adopted homeland, is hip enough to have commissioned him to write a composition for 400 electric guitars! So if you are anywhere near Rome this week, get your tickets for this monumentous performance now.

If you can't make it to Rome this week perhaps you can grab a bottle of 1997 MASI "MAZZANO" Amarone and whip together some papparadelle with duck ragu. While you're at it you may want to pop in a copy of this.


There are many other concerts you might enjoy in Rome this week.

Italian jazz drummer Roberto Gatto will be performing with Paolo Fresu, Stefano Bollani and friends at Auditorium Parco della Musica, Sala Sinopoli - Monday February 16, 9 PM.

Catch "NYC Scene": Miguel Zenon Quartet - at Viale di Porta Ardeatina, 55 (near the Baths of Caracalla) - Thursday, February 19, 9PM.

Wednesday night you can go see Madame Butterfly. Thursday follow that up with a performance of Tosca. Both "pocket size" versions at 8 PM at Teatro Flaiano.

The culinary scene is also an embarassment of riches. So many choices, so little time!

Head to Il Convivio for its take on alta cucina. Don't miss their bay leaf-scented pigeon "in casserole" with a blood orange sauce and a potato tartlet.

Or try Jewish/Roman cuisine at Il Piperno for all things Jerusalem Arthichoke. Particularly very delicate fritti.

Lastly, you may want to splurge on a meal at the absolutely stunning Sapori del Lord Byron. Here is one of Executive Chef Jean Luc Fruneau's recipes to tease your palette.

Beetroot carpaccio with seared king prawns and wasabi sauce

Ingredients for 2 persons:
Boiled beetroots 2
King prawns, media size 12
Buffalo ricotta cheese 100 gr
Half grated lemon
Salted anchovies 2
Garlic 1 clove
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

How to prepare: Peel the beetroots, cut them into thin slices and put the carpaccio on the plates.

Prepare the vinaigrette: whip vinegar, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and emulsionize with some water. Season the carpaccio with the vinaigrette and prepare the wasabi sauce. Sieve the ricotta, add the grated lemon, salt, pepper and the wasabi and mix well. Top the carpaccio with the wasabi sauce. Clean and shell the prawns and scald quickly. Put the prawns on the carpaccio add some salt and garnish with chive.

I am sure that you'll find many other ways to amuse yourself in Rome this week. Pizza, espresso, Art, strolling aimlessly... I wish I could be there to join you!

I wish you all the best and a
Happy Valentines Day!


  1. Like some of these pics. The one at the top caught my eye, but the plastic dude with the horns is awesome too.

  2. ... also, I'm going to watch Reprise because you advised it.

  3. Hi Dave, it took me so long to get back to you on the Brazilian music scene ... I used to like a lot of Brazilian stuff when I was living there during my teen years. Some time after that I was totally influenced by American artists because of my curiosity with the language and soon I jumped to classical and jazz genres due an influence of a erudite's fan friend. Now living in the USA I am back to roots (curious, hah?!), listening a lot Bossa Nova/Samba - Elizete Cardoso, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz, João Gilberto, Bebel Gilberto, Gal Costa, Elis Regina, Toquinho, Céu. Gosto muito dos classicos de Villa Lobos - Bachianas (I saw Brandorf Marsalis - program Marsalis Brasilianos at the Benaroya Hall Seattle, fantantic!) and some work made by Yo Yo Ma - Obrigado Brazil.

  4. Hey Viv,

    There is so much great Brazilian music. I've been listening to it for many, many years. It's always great.