Do you read your reviews?

Kipling

I’ve been reading soprano Barbara Hendricks‘s memoir, Lifting My Voice, and it’s led me not only to a rewarding reacquaintance with her singing but to some thinking about the relationship between the artist and the critic. Hendricks spills a suspicious amount of ink over how she doesn’t pay any attention to critics (whose opinions of her […]

Who would we put on our walls?

BlaineHall

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Kirk and I went to see Marilyn Horne give a masterclass at Harvard. The location was incidental, as the event was actually sponsored by Oberlin, where Horne is Distinguished Professor of Voice, and the four singers had all worked with her there. (Many thanks to Oberlin alum Elissa, who scored us […]

Can I believe the magic of your sighs?

220px-Carole_King_-_Tapestry

Did you know it was Gerry Goffin, not Carole King, who wrote the lyrics to “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”? That’s just one of the fun facts I’ve picked up in listening to King’s new autobiography called, what else, A Natural Woman. Her stories about working for hit factory Aldon Music (not in the Brill […]

>Gratuitous or essential?

>Watching the Grammys the other night and finally succumbing to the hook they seemed to be playing over and over (reminding me of the night, now and forever, the Tonys would not let go of “Midnight . . . all the kitties are sleeping . . .”), I became curious about the apparently runaway success […]

>And slept, on the bus, through the Superbowl

> Back from a weekend in New York–Lost in the Stars at Encores! (terribly worthy and high-minded), Billy Elliot (LOTS of fun) and a double-dip at MOMA with Andy Warhol’s movies and the Abstract Expressionists (my favorite pictured, Jackson Pollock’s Easter and the Totem). I wonder when we learn to be willingly (if grudgingly) edified. […]

>Practice, practice, practice

>So whadda we think about Tiger Mom? It’s funny how meta everything gets so quickly now–outrage over Amy Chua’s article rapidly devolving into debate over the outrage, answered by Chua’s emendations and demurrals . . . . I wonder if she lets her kids read from the Newbery shelf only. “I don’t see a sticker […]

>Can I buy an umlaut?

>I love it when my second-favorite magazine meets the interests of my first: “The young miller is naive, vulnerable and over-enthusiastic, with a poetic imagination, but not psychotic! As to the cycle’s ending, his death in the brook makes me think of the Philip Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials. Pullman imagines death as a dispersal […]

>An object lesson in metaphorical consonance

>

>Dasher, Dancer, Dunder and Jesus

>More Christmas sadness–“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” got temporarily yanked for its “religious overtones.” (That must be the Mongolian throat-singing version.)

>Star bar

>My favorite curmudgeonly critic Norman Lebrecht offers his point of view about the ever-increasing trend toward using stars as critical shorthand:Of all the devices that devalue the function of criticism, the bar of stars is among the most pernicious. It suggests that artistic creation can be ticked off like a school essay and subjected to […]