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Letter from the Editor

Essays

Added 15.09.2017

Every working day, GPs in the UK diagnose almost 1,000 people with type 2 diabetes. It is one of the commonest and most expensive diseases.

Added 14.09.2017

I had my complete genome sequenced a few years ago – all six billion base pairs of it.

Added 12.09.2017

The claim that Eskimos have 50 words for snow may be apocryphal, but it neatly illustrates the truism that our vocabulary becomes more extensive and nuanced for phenomena we encounter frequently.

Added 04.09.2017

1. The Christian Science Monitor says that in 2016, US solar businesses employed 260,077 workers – up 25 percent from 2015.

Added 04.09.2017

There is growing evidence that inflammation – already known to be a cause of many whole-body diseases – is also involved in diseases of the brain, including psychiatric conditions like depression.

Added 29.08.2017

HAMDEN, CONNECTICUT – Stephen Bannon may be out, but don’t breathe a sigh of relief. His exit poses a new, more fundamental danger for liberals worldwide.

Added 29.08.2017

Dementia is by no means an inevitable result of ageing. In fact, one in three dementia cases can be prevented, according to new findings published in The Lancet.

Added 29.08.2017

Research into how we can keep our brains healthy as we age has gained momentum in recent years.

Added 27.08.2017

Let’s try you. Read the title above once, then cover it and write down word for word what you remember. Having difficulties? How well you do may be down to which country you live in.

Added 27.08.2017

Despite Trump having pulled the US out of the Paris Climate accord, there is reason to think that the US will nevertheless meet its obligations to reduce deadly carbon dioxide emissions.

Added 13.08.2017

Stress is bad for our physical and mental health.

Added 05.08.2017

Psychologist Sigmund Freud famously proposed that our personal development is pretty much determined by events in our early childhood.

Added 04.08.2017

Obesity is a risk factor for numerous disorders that afflict the human race, so understanding how to maintain a healthy body weight is one of the most urgent issues facing society.

Added 04.08.2017

The 2001 discovery of the seven million-year-old Sahelanthropus, the first known upright ape-like creatures, was yet more proof of humanity’s place among the great apes.

Added 29.07.2017

The Telegraph reports that Royal Dutch Shell, the massive oil company, has abruptly decided that petroleum prices are likely to remain low “forever,” given the rise of the electric vehic

Added 29.07.2017

If you are reading this and you don’t smoke, then your major risk factor for dying is probably your age. That’s because we have nearly eliminated mortality in early life, thanks to advances in science and engineering.

Added 25.07.2017

There are lots of productive ways to analyse Brexit – why it happened, how it’s developing, and how it might turn out.

Added 25.07.2017

Tesla’s stock price recently took a hit because of concerns about its delivery capabilities and about increasing competition from carmakers who are switching their product lines to electric.

Added 20.07.2017

The Sound of Sleat is a body of water in western Scotland, between the mainland and the Isle of Skye. The Sound of Sleat is the best book I have ever read about an American painter.

Literary Essays

Music Reviews

Added 26.11.2015

Pianist Arcadi Volodos, one of the most impressive virtuosos to emerge from the Russian School in the past few decades, captivated a Bordeaux audience last night (Wednesday, Nov. 25) with a program of Brahms and Schubert. The program climaxed with four sparkling encores and a standing ovation.

Added 18.11.2015

The Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang left his Bordeaux audience somewhat nonplussed Tuesday night (Nov. 17) by opening his recital with 45 minutes of shallow salon music, Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons”.

Added 01.11.2015

At what point did Pierre Boulez say his teacher’s music made him want to vomit? The teacher, of course, was the great French composer Olivier Messiaen, and Boulez was his ex-student. Scholars have been trying to track down that unkind cut for decades but details remain clouded.

Added 28.10.2015
A decade ago, any mention of a choir would probably have brought Sunday morning hymns to mind. But there’s been a revolution in attitudes towards joining the local choir.
Added 24.10.2015

The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra opened its season this week with rousing performances of two works that had never before been combined on a program for Boston audiences – Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” and Richard Strauss’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra”.

Added 18.10.2015

Morton Feldman’s delicate, will o’ the wisp compositions demand of the listener a special mental and spiritual investment, a belief in music’s potential to pervade human consciousness.

Added 09.10.2015

Boston is that most musical of American cities, so there is never a shortage of recital and concert to choose from. I visit Boston twice and year and partake freely of the offerings.  Boston’s talented performers are the equal of New Yorkers, Parisians, even Berliners.

Added 06.09.2015

Not to brag, but I've stood upon some pretty rarified podiums: I've conducted "New York, New York" for Frank, "The Candy Man" for Sammy, and "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie," for Don McLean.

Added 05.09.2015

Frank Castorf’s maintained his anti-romantic stance with his production of “Götterdämmerung” at Bayreuth on Wednesday, August 26th, and went further by giving the heroic music of Siegfried’s Funeral March and the final measures of the opera to Hagen.

Added 03.09.2015

Perhaps Frank Castorf was in a bad mood when he conceived his production of “Siegfried” for the Bayreuth Festival –or he was just mischievous.

Added 31.08.2015

The decadence of the Nordic gods continued to be a major theme in Bayreuth’s “Die Walküre” as envisioned by Frank Castorf, who grew up in East Germany with the Marxist view of the world.

Added 30.08.2015

Two outstanding young pianists – one from Hungary, one from Italy – have been selected to become the first Oberlin-Como Fellows, two tuition-free years of study in a new partnership of the International Piano Academy Lake Como and the U.S. Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Added 26.08.2015

In the Frank Castorf production of “Das Rheingold” that I saw in Bayreuth on Friday (August 21), Wotan and company have their god-like powers, but they are just a bunch of gangster types in a low-life setting.

Added 14.08.2015

Some stage directors probably would say that it’s insane to take a full-sized orchestra out of the pit and put it on stage during an opera performance, but that didn’t stop director François Racine from doing it for Seattle Opera’s production of Verdi’s “Nabucco.” Racine also had the company cov

Added 05.08.2015

What originally got Philip Glass going as a composer was the realization that he was “living in a world where all the composers were dead. Even the living ones were dead.” He decided to do something about it.

Added 04.08.2015

WHEN I TOLD a snarky friend I was writing about the new Philip Glass autobiography, Words Without Music, she asked, “Does it go like this: I, I, I, I, I, I, was, was, was, was, was, born, born, born, born …?” Snarky.

Added 02.07.2015

The International Tchaikovsky Competition in St. Petersburg and Moscow ended last night (July 1) in a virtual American sweep in the piano category, with gold and bronze prizes going to American-trained Russian boys and the silver to a Chinese-American player from Boston.

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