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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, center, with her chamber group; from left, Soye Kim, Joshua Klein, Robert Battey and Lawrence Wallace. The group plays as often as every other week.
The New York Times
Condoleezza Rice on Piano
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI
Published: April 9, 2006
WASHINGTON — Two weeks ago on Sunday, Condoleezza Rice got up at 4 a.m. so she could fit in her daily exercise regimen — weights and the treadmill — and still have time to prepare for interviews on three morning news programs. Just a few hours later, on "Meet the Press," Tim Russert confronted her with recent reports that shortly after the invasion of Iraq, the Russians had given intelligence on American troop movements to the Iraqis. Even on the normally sympathetic "Fox News Sunday," Chris Wallace asked her why Americans should not be outraged that United States troops continue to fight and die while Iraqi politicians haggle over jobs.
When Yo-Yo Ma received a National Medal of the Arts in 2002, he requested that Condoleezza Rice accompany him.
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
Ms. Rice's parents gave her this toy piano when she was an infant.
Toward the end of the program, questions about her future plans predictably arose. Just as predictably, she stated that despite urgings from highly placed Republicans, thank you, no, she would not pursue the presidency.
For most people, let alone a secretary of state grappling with an increasingly unpopular war, this would have been enough exertion for the traditional day of rest.
But late that afternoon, Ms. Rice was back home in her comfortable apartment in the Watergate complex for one of her frequent sessions of chamber music with four friends, lawyers by profession and dedicated amateur string players.
Ms. Rice is an accomplished pianist. At 15 she performed Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, her prize for winning a student competition. Until college she intended to pursue music professionally. Now 51, she plays as often as every other week with this group, which convened three years ago. Until now it was a realm of her very public life that she kept private.
People often ask her, Ms. Rice said that day, whether playing chamber music is relaxing. "It's not exactly relaxing if you are struggling to play Brahms," she explained. "But it is transporting. When you're playing there is only room for Brahms or Shostakovich. It's the time I'm most away from myself, and I treasure it."
She is not the only secretary of state to pursue amateur music-making. Thomas Jefferson, the first to hold the office, was an excellent violinist who played chamber music, especially Baroque trio sonatas, throughout his political career. But back then, playing music at home was commonplace.
Not so today, in the era of recording technology, when you can hear almost any piece from the entire history of music by switching on an iPod. The trade-off is that so few people know the personal joy of making music. Whatever else she is to political supporters and opponents, Ms. Rice may be the most prominent amateur musician in the world right now, which is big news for classical music.
THE amateurs in Ms. Rice's ensemble do have some professional credentials. Two of the players had successful musical careers before switching to law. Soye Kim, the first violinist, who has two degrees from the Juilliard School, spent busy years studying in Europe and freelancing in New York before she entered law school at 39. Robert Battey was a professor of cello at the University of Missouri for 12 years, and still sometimes coaches.
Though Lawrence Wallace, the violist, now retired, is a former law school professor who served as a deputy solicitor general under eight presidents, he used to moonlight as a musician. Joshua Klein, the second violinist and the youngest member of the ensemble, who clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor last term, studied violin seriously during college and law school.
"I don't make money playing the piano," Ms. Rice said, with the pride of a honorable amateur.
"No," Mr. Battey replied, "though you have gotten some pretty nice dinners out of it."
He was referring to a concert the group played two years ago at the British Embassy for an audience of 100. After the performance, which lasted just over an hour, the British ambassador presented an elegant dinner.
In 2003, the group also gave a private concert at Ms. Rice's apartment, which attracted an overflow bipartisan audience, including Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court, Alan Greenspan and Harriet Miers, classical music lovers all. Ms. Rice's ample living room has a nook in a corner, which accommodates her midsize grand piano, a Chickering, a cherished gift from her parents when she was a teenager.
On this Sunday, once the musicians had settled down and tuned up, they began by playing through the ebullient first movement of Schumann's Piano Quintet in E flat. The piano part has fancy runs and elaborate flourishes, especially in a tempestuous contrasting development section, alive with intricate counterpoint.
"We generally like to start off with a nice finger-buster for the secretary," Mr. Battey said. That way, he explained, she's warmed up when they really get to work.
Ms. Rice's long, thin fingers are nimble indeed, especially for someone who doesn't have much time to practice. Her touch has lightness and subtlety, yet she plays with crisp clarity and, when called for, robust sound.
They played right through the first movement. When things got a little tangled in the difficult development section, they had the collective wit to forge ahead and let things untangle.
It was wonderful to hear chamber music as it was meant to be: played by friends for their own enjoyment, in the confines of a living room, which makes the sound seem enveloping. Playing chamber music is a bonding experience. During an earlier interview at the State Department, Ms. Rice said the members of her group had become "like my best friends."
"We are like family," she added.
Traditionally, playing chamber music has also been a great equalizer. But do these string players really feel free to critique their pianist? Mr. Wallace answered, "I just assumed from the beginning that it wouldn't be any fun for her if we were deferential."
Though the Schumann went well, Ms. Rice felt that things had become shaky in the exuberant push to the coda. "Can we try the ending again," she asked, "just for our pride?" So they did, and they played it with more solidity and just as much spirit.
But the real give-and-take began when they turned to the first movement of Shostakovich's Piano Quintet in G minor, a piece they are still learning. The music is episodic, moody and — as so often in Shostakovich — elusive. Are the evocations of Bach-like counterpoint to be taken at face value? Are the grim outbursts ironic?
The players began the somberly oracular opening section and soon fell out of sync. "My tempo is not your tempo," Ms. Rice told her colleagues, when they stopped to regroup. As a musician she is a palpably attentive listener. As they tried again, the opening section emerged in a more cohesive arc, and they segued smoothly into a faster episode with curious triplet figures in the piano, which Ms. Rice infused with a stealthy character.
When they failed to coalesce in an up-tempo section of the movement, Ms. Rice blamed herself. "I don't know this passage coming up," she said. "So I hesitated to turn the page." She stared at her printed score and said, almost to herself, "I'll get that fixed." There was no doubting it.
Ms. Kim commented on the articulate way Ms. Rice played a series of thick chords. "You're playing them really short, Condi," she said. "I hadn't thought of that," she added, warming to the idea.
"I like them separated," Ms. Rice replied. "Not too short, maybe kind of sticky." Everyone knew what she meant.
After the Shostakovich, they turned to Brahms's Piano Quintet in F minor: "Condi's piece," as Mr. Battey called it. This intense, intricate and extremely difficult work is one of Ms. Rice's favorites. She reveres Brahms, she said, because the music is "passionate but not sentimental." In the scherzo, the players set a breakneck pace. Sometimes notes splattered and coordination teetered on the brink. It hardly mattered. The music-making was risky and vital.
MS. RICE, an only child, is a fourth-generation pianist on her mother's side. Her mother, Angelena Rice, who died of cancer in 1985, taught music and science at an industrial high school in a black suburb of Birmingham, Ala. "My mother was a church musician, and she read music beautifully, but she didn't play classically that much," Ms. Rice said during the earlier interview. "But she had a marvelously improvisational ear, which I don't have."
Her father, John Rice, who succeeded his father, a son of slaves, as minister at a Presbyterian church in Birmingham, also loved music, especially big-band jazz. (John Rice died on Christmas Eve in 2000, days after learning that Ms. Rice had been appointed national security adviser.) When she was an infant, Ms. Rice's parents gave her a tiny toy piano. "They had a plan," she said. Today that gift is prominently displayed on the coffee table in her apartment.
But it was her maternal grandmother, Mattie Ray, who proved the decisive musical influence in her life. Because both Ms. Rice's parents worked, she was dropped off each day at the house of her grandmother, who taught piano privately and sensed her eagerness and talent. Lessons started when she was 3. "I don't remember learning to read music — you know, the lines and spaces and all that," Ms. Rice said. "From my point of view I could always read music."
Classical music became her passion from the day her mother bought her a recording of Verdi's "Aida," and she listened, "my little eyes like saucers," she said, to the brassy and stirring "Triumphal March."
Ms. Rice, not quite 9, was sitting in her father's church on the Sunday morning in 1963 when, two miles away, bombs went off at a Baptist church and four black girls were killed, one of them a childhood playmate of hers. During this period of protests, fire hoses and bombs in Birmingham, she found comfort taking music classes at a local conservatory that had boldly opened its doors to black children. In 1969, the family moved to Denver, and Ms. Rice, having skipped the first and seventh grades, entered the University of Denver at 15 as a music major.
At 17, she attended the prestigious summer school at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado and came to believe that though she was a very good pianist, she was "not great," she said. "That was the really the revelation," she added. "And it wasn't just that experience. You start noticing prodigies, and you realize that I'm never going to play that way." There is "just some intangible" in music, she said. Whatever it was, she said she felt she didn't have it. She decided to major in international relations instead, focusing on the Soviet Union.
As her career in higher education and government prospered, she began to let her music slip. Feeling the loss in 1993, when she became the youngest provost in the history of Stanford University, she applied herself again on the piano and took regular lessons with a faculty member, George Barth. It was he who encouraged her to immerse herself in chamber music.
A couple of times in recent years she has ventured onto a concert stage for special occasions. In 2002, when the cellist Yo-Yo Ma received a National Medal of the Arts, he requested that Ms. Rice accompany him in a piece during the ceremony at Constitution Hall. They played the slow movement of Brahms's Violin Sonata in D minor in an arrangement for cello and piano. A photo showing her playing with Mr. Ma that night has pride of place in her living room.
Ms. Rice has only just begun to see the potential of music as a diplomatic tool, notably last February, when she delivered a speech in Paris about American rapprochement with Europe in the face of vehement disagreements over the invasion of Iraq. During the trip, she visited the Hector Berlioz Conservatory in Paris, where she attended a children's music class and watched young ensembles perform. As cameras caught her listening, she seemed deeply affected by the fledgling musicians.
At the time, there were "whole questions about U.S.-French relations and so forth," she said, "and I think it was just nice to connect with the French kids." Asked to play something, she declined, but promised to come back sometime with her chamber group.
Her fellow players would surely be eager to go. At the Sunday session, after their hellbent rendition of the Brahms scherzo, they segued without a break from the fortissimo final chords of that movement to the mysterious introductory section of the finale, a minor-mode Allegro with a touch of a Gypsy dance. Connecting these two movements is a bold interpretive stroke.
"The scherzo has such an odd and abrupt ending," Ms. Rice said. So plunging right into the slow introduction that follows "seemed like a good idea," she said. Wanting credit, Mr. Battey said, "It was my idea." His colleagues laughed and said, "Yeah, yeah."
As the session ended, the string players packed up their instruments and took places around the coffee table for their traditional postrehearsal reward: white wine and cheese. As they chatted, Ms. Rice's friends spoke of how touched they had been to be invited to her swearing-in as secretary of state and to her 50th-birthday celebration, attended by President and Mrs. Bush.
Ms. Rice, who lives a short walk from the Kennedy Center, said she was looking forward to attending the Washington National Opera's new production of Wagner's "Rheingold" when she returned from an overseas trip. In February she took in the Kirov's production of Puccini's "Turandot," when the company visited the capital. She spoke of how impressed she had been by the innovative staging. By the music, too.
"That's about the only Puccini opera I can take," she said. A couple of us, led by this Puccini lover, stuck up for him. But Ms. Rice is not alone in her opinion.
Her favorite opera is Mussorgsky's epic "Khovanshchina," not surprising, given her expertise in Russian culture, language and history. It may have special resonance today: it tells of bloody factional strife at the time of the ascension of Peter the Great, made worse by the intransigence of the Old Believers, a fundamentalist Orthodox group opposed to reform.
These days, Ms. Rice finds chamber music so fulfilling that she has almost no desire to play solo works, she said. But she does have her eyes on a particular prize of the piano repertory.
"Before I leave this earth, I'm somehow going to learn the Brahms Second Piano Concerto," she said, "which is the most beautiful piece of music." It is also dauntingly hard.
Whether Condoleezza Rice some day becomes commissioner of the National Football League, president of Stanford or president of whatever is anyone's guess. But don't bet against her learning Brahms's Second Concerto.
2006/03/28, , 日本経済新聞 夕刊, 20ページ
チェチーリア・バルトリ（メッゾ・ソプラノ） - Universal Classics
Cecilia Bartoli - Decca Classics
県：改訂人権政策指針を作製 協働やＵＤ基本に (毎日・岡山版 2006/04/07)
E incita la folla: "Non votate a sinistra ma per la libertà. Ancora fiducia per 5 anni"
Napoli, 7 apr. (Adnkronos) - "Grazie, grazie mille a tutti, forza, forza...". Dopo l'intervento di Gianfranco Fini, Silvio Berlusconi riprende a sorpresa la parola per ringraziare la platea da piazza del Plebiscito a Napoli dove si è svolta la manifestazione di chiusura della campagna elettorale della Cdl. Il presidente del Consiglio ne approfitta per un'ultima battuta: "State sicuri che domenica e lunedì noi vinceremo perché non siamo coglioni!". E giù applausi a scena aperta.
Tutto il comizio del premier è un continuo affondo contro l'Unione. "Saluto qui l'esercito della libertà... Siamo collegati con tutta Italia, dalle Alpi alle piramidi, dall'Adriatico al Tirreno, da Bolzano a Palermo. Siete voi che dovete dire quello che volete". Così il Cavaliere saluta la platea cominciando il suo intervento. E poi giù con le accuse contro quella sinistra legata ancora all'ideologia comunista, contro le cosiddette toghe rosse e quei magistrati che usano la giustizia per eliminare gli avversari politici. Il presidente del Consiglio dà vita a una specie di sondaggio con la platea.
Berlusconi pone una serie di domande e tutti rispondono in coro. "Volete essere governati da chi ha avuto come leader Stalin, PolPot, Lenin, Mao Tse Tung e da chi ancora oggi inneggia a Fidel Castro?". "Nooo", gridano sotto il palco. "Volete essere governati da chi per tutta la vita si è sempre schierato dalla parte sbagliata, cioè un'ideologia comunista? Volete essere governati dal partito del no, dalle toghe rosse e da chi usa la magistratura per eliminare i suoi avversari politici?". "Nooo", replicano.
E ancora: "Volete consegnare il Paese a Violante, a D'Alema, a Di Pietro, a Vladimir Luxuria, a Caruso, ai no global?". La platea non ha dubbi: "Nooo". Ancora applausi. E in coro: "Chi non salta comunista è...".
"Domenica e lunedì scegliamo la nostra Italia - prosegue - scegliamo di non tornare indietro, scegliamo di andare avanti per la libertà". E rinnova l'appello di non votare la sinistra che rappresenta "l'Italia delle tasse, del pessimismo", ma "l'Italia del centrodestra, cioè quella del benessere e soprattutto della libertà"
"Il 9 aprile - dice Berlusconi - scegliamo l'Italia dei diritti, della tolleranza, del rispetto verso tutti, del benessere, un'Italia che sa anche e soprattutto amare. Questa è l'Italia della Cdl. E' una scelta di campo e di destino". "Votate - esorta il leader della Cdl - per chi vuole un Paese in cui ogni cittadino veda nelle istituzioni una sua casa e non un luogo dove ci sono dei nemici in agguato. Un Paese in cui la giustizia non venga utilizzata per cercare di eliminare gli avversari politici o per dare piena immunità a chi si schiera sotto le bandiere della sinistra. Un Paese che non colpisca con le tasse la casa e i risparmi delle famiglie. Un Paese in cui non esistono cittadini di serie A e serie B, un Paese in cui tutti possano tenere aperta la porta alla speranza".
E dunque chiede alla folla che applaude entusista "un prolungamento della loro fiducia per altri cinque anni. Un tempo che ci serve - dice il premier - per costruire l'Italia che abbiamo sempre avuto in mente. Un Paese in cui nessuno debba avere il timore che al governo vadano i suoi avversari politici. Cosa che purtroppo oggi così non è".
Mentre Gianfranco Fini apre il suo discorso dicendosi convinto della vittoria del centrodestra perché l'aiuto verrà dal sud. "Vinceremo le elezioni e ancora una volta il contributo determinante verrà dal Meridione d'Italia". Poi conclude: "Prodi rappresenta il passato e l'Italia di ieri. Noi insieme abbiamo governato e governeremo l'Italia. Ce l'abbiamo messa tutta, ora tocca a voi in un capillare porta a porta perché se il popolo italiano si pronuncia ancora una volta per i valori in cui crede, noi vinciamo e garantiamo che l'Italia non torni indietro".
La parola poi a Pier Ferdinando Casini. "Non votiamo solo per un scontro tra persone, c'è in ballo l'idea del nostro futuro", ha ha arringato il leader dell'Udc spiegando "la legge serve per tutelare i più deboli non per sancire il diritto dei forti sui deboli. In Europa, dove governa la sinistra, succede proprio questo: in Olanda c'è l'eutanasia, in Spagna il diritto per gli omosessuali di adottare i figli. Noi diciamo di no, vogliamo difendere la nostra cultura cristiana". E ancora: "Noi non abbiamo Luxuria".
Calderoli:con Cdl famiglia basata su amore,con Unione solo sesso
venerdì, 7 aprile 2006 6.53
Versione per stampa
MILANO (Reuters) - L'ex ministro delle Riforme Roberto Calderoli riassume in una battuta su sesso e amore le differenze tra la coalizione di centrodestra e quella di centrosinistra che domenica e lunedì prossimo si sfideranno alle urne.
"Noi siamo dalla parte della famiglia, quella dell'uomo e della donna, basata sull'amore e non solo sul sesso come vorrebbero loro (centrosinistra). Loro la pensano in maniera diversa e quindi candidano (Vladimir) Luxuria, che rappresenta tutte e due le parti", ha detto Calderoli rispondendo ai giornalisti prima di salire sul palco della manifestazione elettorale conclusiva della Lega in piazza Duomo a Milano.
"Credo che gli elettori abbiano capito oggi che il centrosinistra proporrebbe dei modelli di società che fino a oggi non ci sono mai stati", ha detto.
In una piazza non piena, qualche centinaio di sostenitori attende il discorso del leader Umberto Bossi tra bandiere con il simbolo della Padania, palloncini bianco-verdi e un dirigibile blu che sorvola con la scritta "Vota Lega Nord".
Oggi, ultima giornata di comizi prima del voto, la Cdl con il premier Silvio Berlusconi è riunita in piazza Plebiscito a Napoli, mentre il centrosinistra ha organizzato una kermesse con il leader Romano Prodi in piazza del Popolo a Roma.
San Francisco may be world's gayest city - report
07 Apr 2006 23:07:37 GMT
By Adam Tanner
SAN FRANCISCO, April 7 (Reuters) - New statistics suggest San Francisco has the highest percentage of gay men among major cities in the world, with a quarter of them HIV-positive, a top city health official said on Friday.
"Despite an overall loss in the population in San Francisco in the last five years, we think there has been an absolute gain in gay men," William McFarland, head of HIV/AIDS statistics at San Francisco's Department of Public Health, said in an interview. "From all the data I have seen ... it's the gayest city in the world."
McFarland has compiled the city's first survey in five years on gay men and HIV to be presented at a meeting next week to discuss HIV/AIDS prevention.
He said it found an estimated 63,577 gay males aged 15 and above in San Francisco, a city with a total population of 764,000. That figure represents nearly one in five of the city's males above the age of 15.
0ne out of every four gay males -- 25.8 percent -- is infected with the HIV virus, giving San Francisco an estimated total of 16,401 HIV-positive men, said McFarland, an epidemiologist who has also worked on studies in Uganda, Zimbabwe and Egypt.
The survey indicates that the overall percentage of those living with HIV has dropped since the last study five years ago.
"The major changes since 2001 are that, first of all, the gay community has grown. It's largely been an influx of more HIV-negative gay men that are here," he said. "It used to be near 30 percent.
"The absolute number of gay men living with HIV has crept up partly because of ongoing transmission and partly because of improved survival with treatment," he added.
At 40 percent, Baltimore has the highest percentage of HIV-positive men among its population in a study of five cities, with San Francisco second, according to a 2005 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
In coming up with his estimate of the number of gay men, McFarland said he took the middle point of nine previous studies.
McFarland acknowledged that it was difficult to get a precise number because of sensitivities over the issue. But he said San Francisco residents were likely to be more open about their sexuality than people in many other areas.
California braced for battle over gays in textbooks
Fri Apr 7, 2006 10:34 AM ET
By Jim Christie
SAN FRANCISCO, April 7 (Reuters) - California school textbooks would highlight the role gays have played in the history of the nation's most populous state if a new proposal that has angered conservatives passes the state Legislature.
History books record contributions by gays but their sexual orientation is often ignored, a situation gay activists say is inexcusable in California, home to a large gay population in San Francisco, a city that briefly made history in 2004 by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The proposed bill would require school textbooks to include lessons on how gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons have helped California develop.
Conservative groups say the proposal before lawmakers goes too far and promise a hard fight in California's ideologically divided Legislature. They say it is another bold political move by gay-rights advocates who last year lobbied the Democrat-led Legislature to pass a bill to allow same-sex marriages.
Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed that legislation, but has not taken a position on the new bill.
"This bill would also prohibit anything that reflects adversely on those people," said Karen England of the conservative Capitol Resource Institute.
"They're after their lifestyle to be embraced and they want to force it on kids as young as kindergarten."
If the bill by Democratic state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, the Legislature's first openly gay member, becomes law, it would have a national effect because California is the biggest U.S. market for school textbooks, England said.
Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California, a gay-rights group and supporter of Kuehl's bill, said the legislation would shed light on a community not discussed in public school books.
One figure activists say merits a place in history texts is San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official of a major U.S. city. Another city supervisor shot and killed Milk and Mayor George Moscone in 1978.
"Public schools should be teaching about all of our history and not deliberately excluding," Kors said. "What this bill does is it ensures that students get a full and complete education."
The bill would amend California's education code to revise its list of groups whose roles in the history of the state and nation are included in textbooks.
It would add "people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender" to the list, which currently includes various ethnic groups.
Kuehl was unavailable to discuss her bill, which the state Senate Judiciary Committee passed on Tuesday by a 3-1 vote with only Republican Senate leader Dick Ackerman opposed.
It still needs to win approval by the Senate and the state Assembly before being passed to Schwarzenegger.
"It's overreaching on many levels," Ackerman said, adding he expects the Democrat majority in the Senate to ensure its passage.
Calif. Bill Would Mandate Gay Studies
by Mark Worrall, 365Gay.com San Francisco Bureau
April 7, 2006 - 1:00 pm ET
(San Francisco, California) Groups already pushing for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage are girding for a major battle over legislation that would mandate the teaching of LGBT history in California schools.
The measure has already passed one Senate committee and appears likely to hit the floor later this spring. Supporters say they are measurably confident the bill will pass both houses this session.
But whether Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would sign it is unknown. He has been supportive of some LGBT rights measures but vetoed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.
The education bill was authored by Senator Shelia Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) the only openly lesbian member of the legislature.
“Students deserve an education that gives them a full and accurate picture of our history and society rather than one skewed by negative images and stereotypes,” said Kuehl.
Her bill would require that the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, like other underrepresented groups, be included in social science curriculum.
One student who testified in favor of the bill said that when students learn about the people who shaped history they seldom hear that many of those people were gay.
"I believe that many of society's values are rooted in education, and with an inclusive and more diverse curriculum, we can break down the stereotypes that are obstructing the way to acceptance for all," said Juliana Spector, a senior from Piedmont High School in Oakland.
But conservatives are demanding that the governor stand up now and voice opposition to the legislation. The Campaign for Children and Families, one of two groups pushing to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, denounced the education bill.
``We're totally opposed to inserting sexual orientation into textbooks in our schools, Karen England, executive director of the public-policy group Capital Resource Institute told the Mercury News.
Nevertheless, LGBT rights groups across the country are closely watching the progress the bill makes. If it becomes law similar legislation could be pursued in other states.