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In Brief: May

LinksYour regular Sunday roundup of links to Blogville and beyond was on a brief hiatus.

  • The Complete Review added an assessment of one of my favorite novels, Denis Diderot's Jacques le Fataliste: "Jacques the Fatalist is a rambling novel presented largely in dialogue-form, with the author popping up occasionally to add his two cents to the proceedings. [...] This approach gives Jacques the Fatalist a very modern feel; it's no surprise that Milan Kundera is such a big fan of the work and author (and, in fact, adapted it for the stage)." [The Literary Saloon]

  • Having always hated the old saw about writing about music being like dancing about architecture, I was thrilled to read Jonathan Bellman's evisceration of the "most frequently quoted (and perniciously stupid) cliché in the arts." It is the sort of platitude believed only by those who do not have the analytical tools to understand music in an intellectual way. Bravo, Jonathan! [Dial M for Musicology]

  • Violist Roberto Díaz has been appointed as the new president of the Curtis Institute of Music. Vivien Schweitzer published an article ("Curtis Institute’s New Leader Is Set to ‘Clear the Cobwebs’," May 2) about what changes Díaz may implement at that very traditional institution, notably the alma mater of our own Michael Lodico. [New York Times]

  • First, Oprah Winfrey and now Hollywood. Rumor has it that Ridley Scott will direct the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's new novel, The Road. We like the sound of that combination. [Maud Newton]

  • Alex Ross published a great meditation on the first Peter Gelb season at the Met, including reviews of the high-definition broadcasts and the Mark Morris Orfeo. [The New Yorker]

  • Bob Shingleton wrote a nice tribute to David Munrow, a pioneer of the early music movement, on the 31st anniversary of his tragic suicide. It includes some remarks on the legacy of his recordings, some of which transformed my listening world, sparking my first interest in musicology. [On an Overgrown Path]

  • One of the unhealthy results of my living in France was the development of a taste for the occasional cigarette. A few years ago I offered a Quasi-Serious Proposal that governments should stop spending money on getting people to quit smoking and spend it instead on research to make cigarettes noncarcinogenic. It seems that the entire world, including France of all places, is in the DTs phase of writing off smoking for good. Except for David Hockney, who pledges eternal love to a pleasure that is disappearing, in a piece that is astouding, unyielding, and on the money. [The Guardian]

  • Make sure to read Steve Smith's profile of soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird, who premiered her new recital program on Thursday, at Gallerie Icosahedron in New York. [Time Out New York]

  • Steve Smith also reviewed Anne-Carolyn's recital program on Thursday, too. [Night after Night]

  • Scott Spiegelberg has updated his list of the top blogs in classical music. We are trying not to feel hurt that Ionarts slipped from No. 4 (six months ago) to a disappointing No. 9. However, Scott decided to include in his statistics some blogs that are not really about classical music, including those at No. 2 and 3. We are happy indeed to be in such excellent company. [Musical Perceptions]


Scott said...

I disagree on #3, it is about classically trained vocalists. She may not write specifically about Brahms or Prokofiev, but she is writing about performance issues that affect any musician. I debated with myself about #2, but figured that since TT is writing an opera fergawdsake, that should count for something.

Charles T. Downey said...

Scott, it's your call, obvs. I'm not saying that these sites (Violinist's Diaries might be another one) are not interesting to read. It just seems like apples and oranges to me. Then again, the whole blogging thing is so nebulous, anyway, that any definition in the traditional sense is not worth much for long.