Stephen Hough, composer, pianist and culture blogger for London's The Daily Telegraph, has been in Houston recently covering the Symphony, and he has praised the orchestra, calling it "well-known as one of the great American [ones]."
But he has even higher praise for Jones Hall.
While waiting on his flight to Denver today, Hough blogged, "Every time I left the front door of the Lancaster Hotel where I was staying I faced this wonderful building with its twenty-eight frozen pillars boxed around a seductive, meltingly curvaceous inner structure."
Hough is the second arts dignitary in the past few years to praise Jones Hall. In June 2009, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, who had just performed in Houston, also Hough offering a mini-review of the 1960s minimalist structure that made us want to go kiss and grope some marble. Read the following with an inner-British accent (it's pronounced 'dahnce').
Hough offering a mini-review of the 1960s minimalist structure that made us want to go kiss and grope some marble.
Read the following with an inner-British accent (it's pronounced 'dahnce').
"It conveys the mood of the times in eloquent stone - that sense of sweeping away redundant, fussy traditions. At its worst this aesthetic resulted in 19th century glories being torn to the ground with blinding arrogance; but at its best it encouraged architecture to embrace the sky itself as the only limit of imagination. Jones Hall represents the best, partly because the travertine marble facade is in mint condition and reflects the sun in a constant dance of shapes as the stone bends around the bend of the city block. But its visual allure has a lot to do with the contrast of rigidity in the pillars with flexibility in the building itself. It has a tunefulness about it - a counterpoint of shape which tickles the eye from every angle."
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Thanks Stephen, that was lovely.
Hough's only gripe with the building concerned the elevator, which he described as a "creaky old box, shuddering from floor to floor with arthritic hesitation."
We tried wearing the proverbial Houston-shoulder-chip and wracked our brains over the metaphorical implications of Hough's critique--what it might possibly say about Houston itself, but it was too depressing.
So we'll just take the compliment, dammit.