April 6, 2009
TT: Look to the right
Lots of new stuff in the right-hand column. Take a peek.
Posted April 6, 2009 12:00 AM
ABOUT "ABOUT LAST NIGHT" AND ITS AUTHORS ABOUT TERRY'S BOOKS SEE TERRY TALK ABOUT TERRY'S OPERA TERRY'S TWITTERS
5737 entries and counting
A list of new things we've liked (subject to unexpected and wildly capricious updating). GALLERY PLAY CD BOOK BOOK
Not new, but still worth a look or listen (and no less subject to change without notice). NOVEL FILM
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: A Life of Louis Armstrong, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in December. One of his essays is included in Robert Gottlieb's Reading Dance, published last year by 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 Guys and Dolls, 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
Step away from the car, sir
follow me on Twitter
Jane Freilicher: Changing Scenes (Tibor de Nagy, 724 Fifth Ave, up through April 18). New and old work by one of my favorite American modernists, a chronically underrrated painter whose soft-spoken still lifes and landscapes reflect the influence of Pierre Bonnard and the cubists yet remain unmistakably American (TT).
Our Town (Barrow Street Theater, 27 Barrow St.). David Cromer's revival of Thornton Wilder's greatest play, which is still going strong two months into its off-Broadway run, is the best show in New York--if not America. Arrestingly and incisively unsentimental, it cuts to the heart of Wilder's familiar tale of a small New England town and makes it as fresh as a news flash. I'm not normally fond of surprise endings, but Cromer has tucked one into this production, and it packs the punch of a bolt of lightning. Do not miss this show for any reason whatsoever (TT).
Blossom Dearie, Four Classic Albums Plus (Avid, two CDs). Readers of my recent tribute to "the hippest person in the world" should hasten to snag this British import, which couples her first three Verve LPs, Blossom Dearie, Give Him the Ooh-La-La, and Once Upon a Summertime, with an ultra-rare instrumental trio album from 1955 that shows why Dearie's crystalline piano playing was as widely admired as her fey, delicately swinging vocals. The three Verve albums are accompanied by Ray Brown on bass, Herb Ellis or Mundell Lowe on guitar, and Jo Jones or Ed Thigpen on drums, which is maximally cool (TT).
Steven Suskin, The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations (Oxford, $55). Part history, part handbook, this staggeringly well-informed study of Robert Russell Bennett, Don Walker, Sid Ramin, and the other virtuoso technicians who scored the classic musicals of the pre-rock era is long overdue. If you read my posting about how The Letter was scored and want to know more about the mysterious process of turning a black-and-white piano part into a full-color orchestration, The Sound of Broadway Music will walk you through the drill with a minimum of technical obfuscation (TT).
Richard Stark, The Mourner/The Score/The Jugger (University of Chicago, $14 each). The University of Chicago Press has just published the second batch of titles in its ongoing uniform edition of the early Parker novels of Richard Stark (that's Donald Westlake to you). Regular readers of this blog know all about Parker, the toughest career criminal ever to inhabit the pages of a paperback, so suffice it to say that if you have yet to make his acquaintance, now's the time. When it comes to crime fiction, these hard, laconic novels are as good as it gets (TT).
Out of the Past
Stewart O'Nan, Last Night at the Lobster. I don't know how this tough, no-nonsense 2007 novella about the closing of a suburban chain restaurant got past me, but now that I've finally caught up with it, Stewart O'Nan is going straight to the top of my catch-up list of contemporary novelists. At first glance there doesn't seem to be much to it, but before long you realize that you're reading a deeply serious moral tale whose protagonist, a Red Lobster manager whose marriage is in trouble, is one of the most memorable fictional characters to come to my attention in recent years. Short and wholly to the point, Last Night at the Lobster is a minor masterpiece (TT).
The Devil and Daniel Webster. William Dieterle's bracingly dark 1941 screen version of Stephen Vincent Benét's once-popular short story about a New England farmer who makes a Faustian bargain isn't exactly forgotten--the Criterion Collection released a deluxe version in 2003--but it's not nearly as well known as it ought to be. The cast, especially Walter Huston and Edward Arnold, is superb, and the atmospheric black-and-white cinematography borders on the miraculous. As for Bernard Herrmann's score, which won him his only Oscar, it's identical in quality to the music he wrote for Citizen Kane in the same year. If you missed this one on TCM the other day, pick up a copy of the DVD and revel in a first-class piece of work (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
SEE TERRY TALK
ABOUT TERRY'S OPERA
Archive 5737 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).