“Based on the music cognition literature, we propose two hypotheses for why some musical pieces are preferred over others. The first, the Absolute-Surprise Hypothesis, states that unexpected events in music directly lead to pleasure. The second, the Contrastive-Surprise Hypothesis, proposes that the juxtaposition of unexpected events and subsequent expected events leads to an overall rewarding response.”
“Testosterone Rex” is historian of science Cordelia Fine’s term for “the idea that women are driven by biology and evolution to be cautious, and men to be daring.” Fine argues that this idea is way too simplistic (unsurprising) but still undergirds way too much social science (surprising, but perhaps not to female social scientists).
“All these venues have a huge cult following. People might want to take their partner for a beer and a bit of opera, or look for a boutique experience, or just a fun night out. It’s entertainment: we want people to have a good time. In this modern age of people crafting their own experience, it will be different for everyone who goes to it.”
“Post-truth” was coined in 1992 to describe the Iran-Contra scandal and the Gulf War but the popularity of the expression has rocketed more recently, leading to its being chosen by Oxford Dictionaries as the 2016 “word of the year”. The prefix “post”, Oxford explains, means “belonging to a time in which the specified concept has become unimportant or irrelevant”. And yet everywhere the intelligentsia and the tech industry are loudly worrying about truth and how to save it. It’s as if truth, far from having become irrelevant, has shot to the top of the cultural agenda.
“The song has so much happening that when I casually listen I feel the accumulated effect, but attempting to really figure out what’s going on, I fear may take the fun out of it.” Nevertheless, Nicholas Dawidoff has a go at it, because it is, as he writes, “my idea of a perfect song. It is the epitome of The Beatles’ master building, of fitting stone upon stone, each section troweled together with such ingenuity and care that upon completion the whole thing feels seamless, a structure not built at all, but a whole that simply was.”
By the time World War II ended and Zuzana Růžičková had recovered her health, her hands were in such terrible shape that her teacher cried when she saw them. She went on to have a successful concert career, including frequent visits to the West, and became the first person ever to record Bach’s complete works for harpsichord. Now she’s 90 and no longer performing, but still active – and if you’re playing for her in a lesson and she gets bored, she’ll pick up a novel.
“Most of the discussion about race in the operatic world revolves around singers, rather than composers, of color. What this conversation risks missing is that notably inventive work, particularly work foregrounding black creators, is already being done elsewhere—namely, on the institutional margins, by companies like OperaCréole, whose smaller size affords them the opportunity for innovation.”
“Over the last four years, the California Symphony has gone from not even having a professional development line in the budget to investing more and more in talent and their development. And the growth in revenue we’ve seen far outpaces the expense. In other words, it’s an investment that’s paying off.”
“At the beginning of each session the leader gives a prompt, and, after the requisite grumbling and staring into the middle-distance, the whole group, leader included, spend 15 or 20 minutes in silence, scribbling in their notebooks. Then those who feel like it read what they’ve just written.” And feedback has to be positive, or it can’t happen at all.
HBO and the Italian state broadcaster are producing an 8-episode miniseries of the first in Elena Ferrante’s millions-selling Napolitan cycle, “My Brilliant Friend.” They hope to cast two pairs of 8- and 15-year-old girls and all of their friends as from the neighborhood. “The result is an open casting call that has already drawn 5,000 children, the vast majority of whom have never heard of Elena Ferrante, and injected a mix of hysteria and hope into parts of Naples that are poor in resources but rich in real characters.”
“Before Terminus Modern Ballet Theater even puts a pointe shoe onto a Marley floor, it is already one of the most prominent dance troupes in Atlanta. First, there’s the star power of their five company dancers — perhaps the most recognizable faces in the Atlanta dance community from their tenures at Atlanta Ballet.”
By September, 2015, online first-person writing was so abundant that Laura Bennett, at Slate, could refer to a “first-person industrial complex” in a takedown of the genre. “Every site seems to have a first person vertical and a first-person editor,” Bennett, who also cited Gould’s Times story as a turning point, wrote. The market, in Bennett’s view, had overinflated. She was right: a year and a half later, it barely exists.
“In physics, it’s dangerous to assume that things ‘exist’ in any conventional sense. Instead, the deeper question is: what sorts of processes give rise to the notion (or illusion) that something exists? For example, Isaac Newton explained the physical world in terms of massive bodies that respond to forces. However, with the advent of quantum physics, the real question turned out to be the very nature and meaning of the measurements upon which the notions of mass and force depend – a question that’s still debated today.”
“This points to the effects of decades of a lack of equitable representation on the stage and media, as much as a disparaging perception of Asians generally in the ‘age of terror’. It presents some real challenges for venues, producers, funders, schools and philanthropists to make a concerted effort to draw attention to the centrality of arts in national life for everyone, not least Asians.”
“From what we can gather from statements from both parties is that the Albee Estate wanted full approval of the casting of this show. Once they saw that an African-American was cast as Nick, they requested that he be recast as a white man, when the director refuses, the shows rights are revoked. While the Albee Estate is using the ADVERTISING(probably casting notice) with a black actor as the reason they are stating a violation of the agreement, it’s pretty clear that the reason is because of the black actor who was cast as Nick. It appears as though Mr. Albee, for at least professional productions, wants that role to remain white.”
“It’s an unusual choice for a playwright, especially one prone to having his characters gush torrents of words. Speaking over the phone from London last week, Mr. Walsh said he knew early in the writing of Arlington that the middle segment had to be dance.” Brian Seibert reports.
Gasps escaped from the crowd as the final bid came in for the 1982 untitled depiction of a skull. The price is the highest ever paid at auction for a work by an American artist; indeed, it’s the sixth-highest price paid for any artwork at auction. As Jeffrey Deitch said, Basquiat is “now in the same league as Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso.”
Until about three weeks ago, the entire ensemble had been expecting to give the first concerts ever by an American orchestra in the country as part of this year’s East Asia tour. But Mongolia’s suffering through a severe economic crisis, and all that could be salvaged is a three-day visit by 18 of the Philadelphians. David Patrick Stearns (who’ll be with them) gives a preview of what’ll be happening – and explains why the Mongolians only gave three weeks’ notice that the whole orchestra couldn’t come.
“He steps into the role two months after the death of editor Robert B. Silvers, who, with Barbara Epstein, founded the publication in 1963. … This makes Buruma just the third editor in NYRB‘s history, and gives him reign [sic] over a publication that has existed throughout its entire history in the image of its creators.”
“HBO and the Italian state broadcaster RAI caught the Ferrante Fever and are producing an eight-episode mini-series inspired by [My Brilliant Friend] … In a throwback effort at authenticity, producers are looking for amateur child actors – two sets of girls in 8- and 15-year-old iterations, and then a large Annie-esque supporting cast of hard-knock lifers. The result is an open casting call that has already drawn 5,000 children, the vast majority of whom have never heard of Elena Ferrante, and injected a mix of hysteria and hope into parts of Naples that are poor in resources but rich in real characters.”
Some Home Thoughts about Angels from Abroad
Paul Levy on Tony Kushner’s Angels in America at the National Theatre in London. … read more
AJBlog: Plain English Published 2017-05-18
That Feast of St. Roch? It’s A Milestone in Contemporary Art
Tipped off by none other than Philippe de Montebello, who read my review of Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe, I learned a fascinating fact about one of the pictures in the exhibition: Canaletto’s The Procession on the Feast Day of Saint Roch is a milestone for contemporary art. … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-05-18
$110.5-Million Man: Yusaku Maezawa Buys Basquiat, Setting Auction Record for Any American Artist
Sotheby’s Contemporary auction tonight was a mostly workmanlike affair, with one shining exception: Basquiat’s vibrantly scary 1982 “Untitled” skull, the undisputed star in this week of major auctions in New York, … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-05-18
Remembering Dave Pell’s Devotion To His Hero
Saxophonist and bandleader Dave Pell, a prominent figure in the west coast jazz of the 1950s and ’60s, died on May 8. He was 92. Pell recorded extensively with his octet and … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-05-18
“The political situation is dire. Nothing really feels important right now unless it somehow connects to it, which leads to all kind of flailing around in cultural commentary. In this case, turning the problem inside out, Melamid ends up echoing the most thoughtless cliché about modern art—’my kid could do that!’—just to construct a credible way to plug art into the Conversation about Trump.”