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Letter from the Editor

Essays

Added 06.02.2018

NEW YORK – Chuck Close is an American artist, famous for painting large portraits. Severely paralyzed, Close is confined to a wheelchair. Former models have accused him of asking them to take their clothes off and of using sexual language that made them feel harassed.

Added 01.02.2018

There is a widespread perception that mental ill health is on the rise in the West, in tandem with a prolonged decline in collective well-being.

Added 24.01.2018

People over the age of 65 make up a larger percentage of the global population than ever before.

Added 21.01.2018

Donald Trump has been under constant fire from critics since he began his campaign in the summer of 2015, and his presidency has so far been perhaps the most chaotic and bizarre in recent decades.

Added 17.01.2018

PRINCETON – Last month, an Egyptian court sentenced Laura Plummer, a 33-year old English shop worker, to three years in prison for smuggling 320 doses of tramadol into the country. Tramadol is a prescription opioid available in the United Kingdom for pain relief.

Added 09.01.2018

Two American academics who lost relatives in the liquidation of Western Ukrainian political prisoners in World War II have compiled the first exhaustive account of this little-known Soviet killing spree. What happened?

Added 09.01.2018

When people experience stress, the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys release a steroid hormone called cortisol.

Added 07.01.2018

It’s January, so it’s likely that you have set yourself goals to be more physically active and less stressed in 2018. Paradoxically, better goals would be to stop worrying about how much exercise you’re getting and to stop worrying about being too stressed.

Added 06.01.2018
Paul Valéry met Edgar Degas in 1896, and the two were friends for the two decades that remained in Degas’ life – the poet, almost 30 years younger, was in awe of the older painter, whom he considered a genius, and the painter was clearly flattered by the interest of the brilliant young poet. Valéry early had the idea of writing a book about Degas, but Degas was too cantankerous to agree to the project. In the event it was not until 20 years after Degas’ death that Valéry published his reflections and recollections in a small book he titled Degas Dance Dessin. Now, on the hundredth anniversary of Degas’ death the Musee D'Orsay honors the painter with an exhibition of his art seen through the lens of his relationship with Valéry, and the themes of the poet's book.
Added 04.01.2018

Whether you get mesmerised by Vincent van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night or Albert Einstein’s theories about spacetime, you’ll probably agree that both pieces of work are products of mindblowing creativity.

Added 03.01.2018

Ever since we learned that eighty percent of self-described "born-again" Christians supported Donald Trump's candidacy for president, there has been a discussion about how these Christians define their faith.

Added 17.12.2017

Happiness is the subject of countless quotations, slogans, self-help books and personal choices.

Added 12.12.2017

President Trump’s announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 6 that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel received widespread criticism.

Added 08.12.2017

In the wake of the deluge of news about sexual harassment and alleged assaults by several high-profile and powerful men, it is important to look at the causes and consequences of forced sex in the workplace – but also in intimate relationships.

Added 05.12.2017

A place of spacious dimensions, and large population, with fine bazaars. It contains numerous mosques, and there is no wall around it.

Added 29.11.2017

The announcement that Prince Harry is set to marry American actress Meghan Markle provoked a flurry of articles about the British royal family becoming multicultural.

Added 29.11.2017

People discuss their problems with friends in the hope that they’ll gain some insight into how to solve them. And even if they don’t find a way to solve their problems, it feels good to let off some steam. Indeed, having close friends to confide in is a good buffer against poor mental health.

Added 23.11.2017

Everyone knows what it feels like to have consciousness: it’s that self-evident sense of personal awareness, which gives us a feeling of ownership and control over the thoughts, emotions and experiences that we have every day.

Added 21.11.2017

Paul Cézanne painted his uncle Dominique Aubert at least 9 times in 1866, when the artist was 27 years old.

Literary Essays

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."
Added 06.09.2015

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

Added 20.08.2015

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

Added 13.08.2015

T.S. Eliot reflected that if there was one word that could be associated with classic works of art, it was maturity. He compared Shakespeare's creative life cycle to that of an exact contemporary:

Added 10.08.2015

Showing my class of children’s literature students around the child’s section of a large bookshop recently, the kindly bookseller showed us where they displayed the classics.

Added 28.07.2015

Extract:

Added 24.07.2015

The unhappy life of the classical pianist is rarely featured in modern novels.  I’ve always found this odd. The inherent drama of a career soloist should be raw meat for the writer.

Added 23.07.2015

It’s a rare medical man who can shift from his world of arcane jargon to a vigorous, earthy style suited to non-fiction novels. Once in a while, a Chekhov or a Somerset Maugham comes along to make an exception and prove the rule.

Added 23.07.2015

We are a society which, as a rule, prefers good order to bad, desires sensible laws to prevail over anarchy and proposes for all just the right amount of liberality to allow us to feel free without the inconvenience of actually being so.

Added 23.07.2015

Have we ever known him? The Will of Rosalind and Kate, Puck, Hal, Macbeth and Beatrice? And, if not really knowing Will, are these people who came mewling, laughing, raging or loving to the stage also strangers to us?

Added 23.07.2015

Bernard Shaw once observed that a biography tells more about the biographer than the subject.

Added 23.07.2015

Any person who has reached a reasonable age will probably have endured that unpleasant feeling, on waking after a satisfactory night of too much alcohol and an abundance of spirited conversation, of feeling embarrassed at things they remember saying and anxiety about w

Added 23.07.2015
I'm going to indulge myself. I'm going to forsake topics that tend towards the weighty or serious. For today I learned that Peter O'Toole has retired from acting.

Music Reviews

Added 21.06.2017

One of the world’s greatest living violinists, Maxim Vengerov, accompanied by an equally accomplished pianist Roustem Saïtkoulov, dazzled a full house at the 18th century Grand Théâtre of Bordeaux Sunday night (18 June) with a faultless concert.

Added 17.06.2017

A classical-trained German pianist working in a range of musical disciplines has just launched his most audacious experiment yet – an original piano sonata consisting almost entirely of creations from his unconscious mind.

Added 05.06.2017

The Orchestre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine added another feather to its cap last week (June 1-2) with the engagement of a leading international guest conductor, Michail Jurowski, who led the ONBA in two demanding orchestral pieces, the Shostakovich Symphony No.

Added 24.05.2017

Taking a break in gaps between a Mozart piano concerto in Izmir, Turkey, (No. 9, “Jeunehomme”), a recording session of three Mozart concertos in Rennes, France (Nos.

Added 15.04.2017

Pianist Mitsuko Uchida delivered a sparkling Mozart piano concerto No. 20 in D minor (K.466) with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons on Thursday, the eve of Easter weekend, to an enthusiastic full house at Symphony Hall. Ms.

Added 28.01.2017

The Leonard Bernstein incidental music for Voltaire’s Candide seems even fresher today than it did 60 years ago when it flopped on Broadway.

Added 17.12.2016

Veteran impresario Jacques Leiser, summing up his 60 years of toil with some of the world’s greatest performers, is worried about today’s drift in the music business.

Added 13.12.2016

Ilya Rashkovsky is a rising young Siberian pianist, now based in Paris, whose new CD injects fresh élan into Modeste Mussorgsky’s delightful Pictures at an Exhibition.

Added 18.11.2016

The Franco-American pianist Nicholas Angelich delivered a freshly crafted version of a Beethoven warhorse, Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat, Op. 73, together with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine conducted by Paul Daniel, in the Auditorium of Bordeaux Thursday evening (Nov.17).

Added 01.11.2016

Visiting star composer-pianist-conductor Thomas Adès put on a bold show of musical versatility Sunday afternoon at Jordan Hall, joining the Boston Symphony Chamber Players in selections ranging from Purcell to Stravinsky.

Added 21.10.2016

Humans have always had the desire to live forever. Even today there are those wealthy enough to have their bodies frozen in a cryogenic state and others who fervently believe that the wizards of Silicon Valley will preserve them digitally.

Added 05.10.2016

Virtually all writing, talking and thinking about American experimental music in the 20th century turns eventually to the defining genius of the era, John Cage.

Added 01.09.2016

We have come a long way since the day when female composers suffered denigration for their supposed inability to compose anything of substance. That battle is over, and the women have won. There is no longer any such thing as “women’s music,” if there ever was.

Added 30.08.2016

The new production of Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte’s classic opera Così Fan Tutte has attracted no shortage of controversy.

Added 26.08.2016

A new sound in the realm of electronic music is evolving from the mind of a transplanted Moldavan avant-garde composer now struggling to make his way in New York. He has based his recent work on “lounge electronica” but, he adds, “with a classical twist”.

Added 10.08.2016

Certain musicians or pieces of music, for one reason or another, will always carry unsavoury associations. Wagner, whose music was co-opted by the Nazi party, is the obvious example.

Movie Reviews

Added 12.03.2015
In the week following the release of Still Alice, the Oscar-winning film about early onset Alzheimer’s, the disease has again made headlines with the story of Chris Graham, a former soldier who has the disease and is already showing symptoms ag
Added 10.03.2015

Still Alice tells the story of a university professor who is diagnosed with an aggressive early-onset dementia.
Added 04.03.2015

Fresh from its success at Sundance, where the British filmmaker Kim Longinotto picked up the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award, Dreamcatcher has had its U
Added 11.02.2015
Fifty Shades of Grey film opens this Valentine’s weekend to much fanfare but, perhaps tellingly, with few press previews in the UK.
Added 28.12.2014

The Theory of Everything is a film about two people who meet at university and fall in love.
Added 25.12.2014

N.B.: Contains spoilers; if interested in the film, go see or stream it first and then read.

Added 20.12.2014

The taxi driver was mystified by the long queue waiting to go into Leeds Picturehouse cinema on a recent Sunday afternoon. He was clearly surprised when I explained that what turned out to be a capacity audience was there to see a documentary about the 1984-5 miners’ strike.

Added 11.11.2014

NEW YORK – The times we live in are often most clearly reflected in the mirror of art. Much has been written about post-communism in Russia and China.

Added 27.10.2014
The latest corner of World War II to be dramatised for the big screen is small. Cramped, even.
Added 16.10.2014

Not all British period dramas are the same. They don’t all involve servants faithfully tendering to lovable members of the aristocracy. Many do, of course, especially given the commercial imperative of appealing to affluent Americans, most of whom like Britain’s history posh.

Added 09.10.2014

So the cryptic teasers posted on Twitter by Mark Frost and David Lynch have substance: Twin Peaks will be returning to television screens 25 years after its cancellation.
Added 16.09.2014
Did watching 101 Dalmatians instill you with a burning desire to fill your home with dozens of monochrome puppies?
Added 12.09.2013

Henry Jaglom—the innovative filmmaker, director, and screenwriter—has remained independent of the so-called Hollywood studio system by ensuring that all his films, on the advice of Orson Welles, “Never need Hollywood.” In 1971, Jaglom persuaded Welles to appear in A Safe Place, and the

Added 31.07.2013

Margin Call and Moneyball, two films from 2011 with money central to the narratives, focus the camera lens on love.

Added 31.07.2013

Have you become cynical about love? Do you think there’s nowhere to meet anyone anymore, that men are still boys, that women want commitment and children and big weddings—all promised on date three? Golly, why even bother?

Added 31.07.2013

Love may not be obvious to the critics in my picks from 2011, a great year for film, but it’s the key to “getting” what makes each of these flicks great.

This list is in alphabetical order because a number has no meaning when love is the answer.