January 30, 2009
"The apprentice and the master love the master in different ways."
Friedrich Nietzsche, Mixed Opinions and Maxims
Posted January 30, 2009 12:00 AM
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A list of new things we've liked (subject to unexpected and wildly capricious updating). CD CABARET BOOK CD PLAY
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This is a blog about the arts in New York City and the rest of America, written by Terry Teachout, Laura Demanski (otherwise known as Our Girl in Chicago, or "OGIC" for short), and Carrie Frye (who signs her postings "CAAF"). Terry, who lives in New York, is the drama critic of The Wall Street Journal and the music critic of Commentary.
Terry's latest book, Pops: The Life of Louis Armstrong, will be published by Harcourt in the fall of 2009. One of his essays is included in Robert Gottlieb's Reading Dance, just out from Pantheon. He contributed an essay to Coudal Partners' Field-Tested Books (as did OGIC) and wrote the introductions to William Bailey on Canvas and the paperback edition of Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado.
To watch Terry's wsj.com review of Shrek the Musical, go here.
Terry is collaborating with Paul Moravec on The Letter, an operatic version of Somerset Maugham's 1927 play. It was commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera and will open there on July 25, 2009. Here is an ongoing series of progress reports on the writing and production of The Letter.
Lend me your ears (and eyes)
Men at work
Men at work (II)
Men at work (III)
Men at work (IV)
For better and worse
Men at work (V)
Men (and women) at work (VI)
Notes from an unkept diary
The case for lower-case opera
The envelope, please
Right turn at Albuquerque
Men at work (VII)
Scene stealing (I)
Scene stealing (II)
Becoming an artist
In one piece
Among the brethren
By the clock
No, but I heard the movie
The Doctor is in
A doll's house
Free at last
Looking for trouble
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Jerry Junkin and the Dallas Wind Symphony, Lincolnshire Posy: Music for Band by Percy Grainger (Reference). An exquisitely well-played collection of Grainger's folk-flavored compositions and arrangements for concert band. Lincolnshire Posy, his six-movement masterpiece, is performed in a manner comparable in quality to the long-celebrated 1958 recording by Frederick Fennell and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. That version remains the gold standard, but it's out of print, and this one has the advantage of being coupled with such delectable miniatures as "Shepherd's Hey," "Spoon River," "The Duke of Marlborough Fanfare," and the deservedly ever-popular "Irish Tune from County Derry" (that's "Danny Boy" to you). Grainger's way with a folksong was both charming and brilliantly imaginative, and what he didn't know about scoring for concert band wasn't worth knowing. This might just be the best Grainger album to come along since Benjamin Britten's 1969 Salute to Percy Grainger (TT).
Mary Foster Conklin (Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22, Feb. 6 and 7, 7:30 both nights). My favorite cabaret singer serves up "songs of salty days and sultry nights." Says her self-penned press release: "I hate New York winters with a passion, and I realized that over the years, I've been collecting specific music that takes me far away from all that. The time has finally come to share it." I'm there! If you can't make it, order a copy of Conklin's most recent CD, Blues for Breakfast, and eat your heart out (TT).
Brad Gooch, Flannery: A Life (Little, Brown, $30, out Feb. 25). The first full-length biography of Flannery O'Connor is now available for pre-ordering. Flannery is lucidly written, sympathetic yet detached, thorough but not overly detailed. Among Gooch's more startling revelations: "Good Country People" is autobiographical, more or less. Don't expect too, many shockers, but don't worry about it, either. Surprising or not, this is the book O'Connor's admirers have been waiting for, and it does her justice (TT).
Jim Hall and Bill Frisell, Hemispheres (ArtistShare, two CDs). An unprecedented collaboration between two guitarists whose sharply contrasting styles have more in common than you might suppose. The first disc is devoted to duets, the second to quartet performances featuring Scott Colley on bass and Joey Baron on drums. The fare varies from pop and jazz standards to challenging free improvisations in which Frisell lays down avant-garde "sonic landscapes" (his phrase) on top of which Hall soliloquizes with arresting eloquence. Rich, complex, involving (TT).
The Cripple of Inishmaan (Atlantic, 336 W. 20, extended through March 1). Galway's Druid Theatre Company brings its letter-perfect revival of Martin McDonagh's 1997 comedy to New York. What would you be waiting for? This soot-black portrayal of Irish village life at its most claustrophobic is immaculately cast and exquisitely staged by Garry Hynes. Yes, it's a comedy, and a touching one--but be careful where you touch it or you're liable to come away with burnt fingers. Anyone who's allergic to stage-Irish clichés will revel in the wildly funny savagery with which McDonagh skewers them through and through (TT).
Out of the Past
The King and I. Now that TV screens are growing bigger and brighter, it's becoming possible--just--to appreciate the glories of wide-screen musicals without seeing them in a theater. Even if you don't much care for Rodgers and Hammerstein, the 1956 CinemaScope film of their musical version of Anna and the King of Siam is of the first importance because of Jerome Robbins' dances--especially since Robbins personally supervised their filming. "The Small House of Uncle Thomas," his Asian-flavored retelling of Uncle Tom's Cabin, looks cramped and illegible on a conventional TV, but to watch it on a HDTV-friendly screen is to be astonished anew by the endless ingenuity and unaffected freshness of Robbins' choreographic storytelling (TT).
Walker Percy, The Moviegoer. Percy's first novel, published in 1961, is a startlingly rich and unsettling portrait of anomie under the aspect of modernity, seen through the eyes of a young man from New Orleans who flees from his fear of the meaninglessness of life by going to the movies and chasing his secretaries. Alienation is to American literature what love is to Italian opera, but The Moviegoer makes something enduringly new and relevant out of the old, old story (TT).
AJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Rebuilding Gulf Culture after Katrina
Douglas McLennan's blog
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Martha Bayles on Film...
Drew McManus on orchestra management
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jerome Weeks on Books
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
ABOUT TERRY'S BOOKS SEE TERRY TALK ABOUT TERRY'S OPERA TERRY'S TWITTERS
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ABOUT TERRY'S OPERA
Archive 5588 entries and counting
A list of new things we've liked (subject to unexpected and wildly capricious updating).
Not new, but still worth a look or listen (and no less subject to change without notice).