Category Archives: Books & Literature

Beethoven 250: ethnic music

This blog expands on something I proposed November 20th when I talked about Beethoven’s multiple incarnations. Everyone has dimensions or facets to their personality. I hope that’s not a radical idea. There are things we proudly show off, other things … Continue reading

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Lithgow’s Trumpty Dumpty

John Lithgow is one of the most theatrical personalities I can think of. Yes he acts in film & television, but perhaps more importantly, he is an ostentatious performer. He’s not subtle. Not only is he a big man with … Continue reading

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Sky Gilbert’s remarkable new book Shakespeare Beyond Science: When Poetry Was the World

I am on my third read-through of Sky Gilbert’s Shakespeare Beyond Science: When Poetry Was the World. It is the best book I’ve read this year, one of the most interesting books I’ve ever encountered. I’ve been dancing around this … Continue reading

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Sounds like hell Mr Adès: Looking in the mirror of The Exterminating Angel

I wasn’t sure I’d have the nerve to go through with it, watching an opera that seems to show us exactly the predicament we face. Based on the surreal film from Luis Bunuel, The Exterminating Angel was today’s free Metropolitan … Continue reading

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Beethoven 250: interpreting Sonata #9

There are at least two ways to understand music. We listen. Perhaps you hear a performance on some device such as your smartphone, your TV or a computer, or even in a live setting such as a concert or a … Continue reading

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Le tombeau de Couperin: Ravel’s Six Remembrance Monuments

In the first days of November we remember. November 1st is All Saints’ Day, the celebration that gave rise to Halloween, even if modern culture pays more attention to the edgy rebellion implicit in October 31st than the day that … Continue reading

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Beethoven 250: his double life

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born in 1770, almost 250 years ago. The Heiligenstadt Testament was addressed to the composer’s two brothers, Carl & Johann, as a last will and testament. Written in October 1802 as the composer approached his … Continue reading

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Woodward and Cohen: odd couple

They’re an odd pair, Bob Woodward & Michael Cohen. Or more properly, their books make an odd couple. One man uses four letter words for his titles, the other book has a title with a sub-title followed by a sub-subtitle … Continue reading

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Aversion to the e-version

Confession: this is a meta-review, a preamble to what’s ahead. I’ve been reading lots of books, and will write about them in the next little while. Once again the pandemic seems to be changing our rules. I saw Singin’ in … Continue reading

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Debating debates

Is it time to re-think debates? We have lived for quite a long time in a culture here in the western world, where the consensus is often unspoken. While there may have been something friendly & cordial in our past, … Continue reading

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