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Letter from the Editor

Music Reviews

Added 26.03.2018

Johann Sebastian Bach’s B Minor Mass, performed at Symphony Hall on Friday (March 23) and again on Sunday (March 25), was delivered in impressive Baroque style by the Handel+Haydn Society orchestra and chorus.

Added 15.03.2018

The Brahms Scherzo Op. 4 opens with a delicate and playful theme, then carries us along on waves of emotion swinging from the filigree, to the lyrical, the thunderous, and back to the delicate.

Added 09.03.2018

Perhaps enough time has passed since the death of the famous French pedagogue Nadia Boulanger to step back and question her musical sainthood. After all, she was only human. 

Added 21.02.2018

A new “electronic opera” from Ireland, “Heresy”, broke new ground in contemporary opera a couple of years ago, bringing together Irish vocal talent and the synthesized music of much-decorated composer Roger Doyle.

Added 04.02.2018

Elegant, poised and deeply musical Ran Jia has brought a new freshness to the Franz Schubert piano sonatas, a phenomenal achievement considering how often they have been performed by the greatest pianists of the past 75 years.

Added 31.01.2018

American expat pianist David Lively found happiness in Paris as a teen-aged piano prodigy and got so busy performing and studying  -- with an Alfred  Cortot associate -- that he ended up making his life in France, a “different planet” culturally, he says, compared to that of his native land. 

Added 26.01.2018

When young French pianist François Dumont appeared at the Salle Gaveau in Paris recently, the critics embraced him without reserve. One wrote that his recital “confirmed his place in the family of the best musicians in France”.

Added 13.01.2018

Nearly two hours of Debussy’s solo piano music at one sitting can be, for some, too much impressionistic color to digest. And indeed a woman beside me fell asleep during the twelve Préludes, Book One.

Added 30.12.2017

If I were to help a new listener grapple with Charles Ives’s Piano Sonata No. 2, “Concord, Mass., 1840-1860”, I would share my story of first seeing the score’s opening page.

Added 29.11.2017

Piano practice is like having a dog. If one has lived long enough with such an unnecessary but at the same time critical circumstance, one wonders how others live without it.

Added 29.11.2017

In the world of classical music trios, there are few combinations as natural as the cello, guitar and piano. Operating mostly in the same register, attacking and retreating equally, the instruments can blend beautifully if played with discipline and heart. 

Added 03.11.2017

A California polymath has electrified the music world with his images of classical music in visual form, capturing more than 165 million hits on his Internet postings in just a few years.  Only pop singers or weird videos do better. 

Added 30.10.2017

Ukrainian-born Evgeny Ukhanov, based in Australia for the past 20 years, is an established performer of new music originating in his adopted homeland. Now he has teamed up with friend and Melbourne composer Alan Griffiths on a new CD of selections regrouped under the title “Introspection”. 

Added 09.09.2017
 

If music makes you happy or sad, you are probably an average listener. If it leaves you indifferent, you might be considered insensitive. But if it gives you goosebumps you are in a very special group with connections in your brain anatomy that others may never feel.

Added 31.08.2017

Lake Como, known as the “magic lake” of Italy, has inspired writers and composers for centuries with natural surroundings so conducive to creative expression.

Added 16.08.2017
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Much of the mythology that surrounds Elvis Presley, who died 40 yea

Added 02.08.2017

Katia and Marielle Labèque -- the glamorous French keyboard siblings -- have achieved a solid legacy of exuberant performances in the two-piano repertoire, ranging from experimental contemporary works to traditional classical-romantic composers.

Added 24.06.2017

I was flipping through my copy of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 6 recently and spotted his two “col pugno” markings. My memory took me back many years to the day I first encountered these violent directions. At the time, I didn’t know what to think.

Literary Essays

by Michael Johnson
Added 03.04.2018

Serious readers like to see a review or two about big, complicated novels before deciding whether to devote their life to them.  The thousand-page Russian classics all seem to carry this warning flag. 

by Jack Kohl
Added 23.02.2018
For two years I was president of a member group of the Road Runners Club of America. I enjoyed my service, but I did not seek a second term.
by William A. Gleason
Added 23.09.2017

PRINCETON – This summer, at literary festivals and bookstores around the world, readers celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the debut of the first book in J.K.

by Mary L. Tabor
Added 22.08.2017
by Jack Kohl
Added 09.06.2017

As a pianist, I have spent a lifetime reading interviews with other pianists. But I would know, above all, what it is precisely that others think about when they play. People often ask me that question.

by Jack Kohl
Added 06.02.2017

During all of my adult life as an author and pianist, Ralph Waldo Emerson has been for me the supreme and unremitting guide to the Western canon.

by Michael Johnson
Added 01.02.2017

Rarely does a musician with a Juilliard background and a Ph.D. in piano performance find the energy, much less the time, to conceive, plot, write and publish a series of well-constructed novels.

by David Galenson
Added 24.01.2017

The Wall Street Journal has made an egregious error. I'm not talking about their coverage of Donald Trump, Russian hacking, or any other such ephemera. This concerns something much more serious: classic literature.

by Mary L. Tabor
Added 07.01.2017

A Talmudic question has much intrigued me: Two men are stranded in the desert. Only one has water. If he shares it, they both die; if he keeps it, he lives and his companion dies. What should he do? Rabbi Akiva taught that the man has the right to drink it.

by Richard Brown
Added 14.10.2016

To the surprise of many, Bob Dylan has become the first singer-songwriter to win the Nobel prize in literature.

by Pojana Maneeyingsakul
Added 13.09.2016

It is 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl – considered by many to be the world’s number one storyteller. His books have received enthusiastic responses from millions of children all around the world.

by Rob Drummond
Added 05.03.2016

Language pedants who take pleasure in policing other people’s use of grammar often have an air of respectability about them, but it’s usually a sheen hiding something more pernici

by Sarah Hudspith
Added 09.01.2016

by Mary L. Tabor
Added 08.12.2015
by Nina L. Khrushcheva
Added 23.10.2015
NEW YORK – It was 1985, and change was in the air in the Soviet Union. Aging general secretaries were dropping like flies.
by David Rudrum
Added 25.09.2015

How many novels can truly be called epoch-defining?

by Anne Fishel
Added 18.09.2015

"Rare words, those that go beyond the 3,000 most common ones, are 10 times more likely to show up in dinner conversation than in storybooks."
by Mary L. Tabor
Added 06.09.2015

Lore Segal, author of Shakespeare’s Kitchen, Her First American and Other People’s Houses, talked with Mary L.

by Valentina Bold
Added 20.08.2015

One of the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival is undoubtedly a new production of Paul Brigh

Movie Reviews

by Emma Long
Added 23.01.2018

The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government

by Stephen McVeigh
Added 27.11.2017
Casablanca, which brought together the combined star-power of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, remains one of the best-loved movies ever produced in Hollywood. But the film, which hit the silver screen on November 26 1942, is more than just a love story set in Morocco.
by Mary L. Tabor
Added 30.10.2017

The 53rd Chicago International Film festival ran 150 films from October 12-27, 2017. Directors, screenplay writers and actors attended many of the films from fifty countries.

by Stuart Messinger
Added 30.10.2017
The cinematic experience continues to be dominated by digitally led projects and audiences who increasingly expect more and more technical innovation. So it is refreshing when a mainstream cinema release consciously chooses to place traditional, artist-led techniques at its very heart.
by Fiona Handyside
Added 08.06.2017

Sofia Coppola’s triumphant win at Cannes as best director for The Beguiled is the latest in a series of notable successes for a director quietly but forcefully blazing her own tr

by Rebecca Harrison
Added 24.02.2017

Having won five BAFTAs, including coveted awards for Best Film, Best Director (Damien Chazelle) and Best Actress (Emma Stone), La La Land is likely to

by Mark Williams
Added 07.01.2017

The blogosphere has been awash this month with reviews of Martin Scorsese’s latest movie, Silence.

by Gabriele Neher
Added 16.11.2016

The Crown, Netflix’s most ambitious and expensive original drama, had a reported budget of over US$100 million.
by Ruth Penfold-Mounce
Added 25.10.2016

Violence against women in television drama has always been high.

by Andrew Dix
Added 08.08.2016

Strange to say, but Donald Trump might have been a filmmaker rather than real estate magnate.

by Clare Tebbutt
Added 02.01.2016

by Joseph Oldham
Added 30.10.2015

Daniel Craig’s entry into the Bond world was more than a change of face: he also brought in an abrupt about turn in style, from the fantastical to the gritty.
by J E Smyth
Added 29.09.2015

Life offers a brief “outtake” from one of the most famous lives to be profiled in the magazine of the same name’s history. James Dean starred in only three major Hollywood films before his death in a car crash on September 30 1955.
by Andrew Harrison
Added 19.09.2015
The latest adaptation of D H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover has predictably prompted significant media interest. Strong and contradictory reactions appeared in the newspapers weeks before it aired (on September 6).
by Victoria Anderson
Added 26.06.2015

Is there such a thing as post-racism?

That’s what Justin Simien’s film Dear White People asks us to consider. And it’s just about to hit the UK.

by William Brown
Added 07.05.2015

Girlhood, Céline Sciamma’s new film, opens with one of the most remarkable sequences that I have ever seen in a cinema.
by William Brown
Added 29.04.2015

A few moments from the end of The Emperor’s New Clothes, the new documentary made by the prolific Michael Winterbottom in collaboration with Russell Brand, t