Arts & Letters Daily has been on our blogroll for awhile now and is always worth a visit for any elitist looking for a good read in the arts, humanities or social sciences. Several Holde Kunst posts and discussions have been kicked off by articles found there. (Yep, it’s so elitist that it’s a service of the Chronicle of Higher Ed.)
I thought I’d spend a few minutes taking note of the classical music items currently gracing AL Daily. Among them are some topics I’d love to write about but don’t know when I’ll get the time.
Jonathan Yardley reviews and old book: Arthur Rubinstein’s My Young Years, an autobiography of the pianist’s first 30 years.
Tenor Ian Bostridge, in the Times Literary Supplement, reviews The Rest Is Noise with special attention to Alex Ross’s discussion of music under fascism.
Owen Hatherly reviews the Prokofiev diaries.
Hugh Wood, also in the TLS, reviews several books on Edward Elgar and discusses the changing critical reception of Elgar
Tim Black reviews Peter Gay’s book Modernism, in one of those reviews that’s itself an engaging read, clearly telling the reader what to expect while making his subject seem like a must-read:
As Gay makes clear in his opening chapter, ‘the manifestation of modernism’ ought to be treated as ‘a single historical epoch’. This, he says elsewhere, ‘dates roughly from Baudelaire and Flaubert to Beckett and beyond to Pop Art and other dangerous blessings’. What the artists, writers, composers and architects share is not only a ‘climate of thought, feeling and opinions’ but two principles in particular: ‘the lure of heresy that impelled their action as they confronted conventional sensibilities’ and a commitment to ‘principled self-scrutiny’.
With these two elements marshalling his interpretation of a vast array of cultural artefacts, Gay proceeds to present a narrative of modernism, tracing its history through periods of pugnacious self-confidence and impending defeat. Each artist, each grouping – be it Picasso, the disparagingly named Fauves, or the Hitler-worshipping, Nobel prize-winning Knut Hamsum – becomes a character, better still, a hero in Gay’s epic tale of modernist derring-do.
Some books discussed: