Chronicles Magazine Music

Our Culture of Narcissism

Most Chronicles readers will no doubt recall the sordid Jussie Smollett hoax, which played out over the course of almost three months early this year in a scenario that might have been scripted for reality TV. Given the media’s...

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  • The Music Column

    The Pavarotti Effect

    I have been told that there is something called the “Pavarotti Effect,” and that this phenomenon is observable and definable. Perhaps sometimes the Pavarotti Effect was an affect, or perhaps it was subsumed by the “Superstar Effect,” as Sherwin...

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  • The Music Column

    Simon Pure and Impure

    The other day I came across the pianist Simon Barere on YouTube, and I was glad to see him there—the recognition he has received is certainly deserved, though it is hard to know what would be the appropriate reward to a performer who never got...

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  • The Music Column

    Adolf Busch & Colleagues

    Some two decades ago, I found myself preparing for a trip to Niagara Falls, where I was to meet a lady. I had not been to Niagara Falls before, though I was familiar with the movie Niagara (Hathaway, 1953), which has sometimes been called the...

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  • Correspondence

    John di Martino

    In the early days of his career in 1982, jazz pianist John di Martino was a member of the house trio accompanying such internationally famous vocalists as Billy Daniels and Keely Smith at Steve’s Lounge and Elaine’s Lounge, two of the show rooms...

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  • The Music Column

    Get in Deep

    Although music doesn’t have an obvious link with golf, I say it does, so that I can contradict myself immediately. The late Sam Snead was and still is well known for his beautiful swing, which he related explicitly to waltz-time, and more than...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Jimmy Rowles

    Given his devil-may-care nature, it’s easy to overlook Jimmy Rowles’ status as one of the most gifted and technically versatile pianists of his generation. His initial inspirations were Tatum, Mary Lou Williams, and Teddy Wilson, and he once...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Herman Foster

    Late in 1961 the pop-jazz singer Gloria Lynne was booked into one of New York City’s top jazz supper clubs, Basin Street East, on Manhattan’s East 48th Street, where she was to record her first live album.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Mick Jagger at 70

    But whether out of morbid curiosity or genuine love of the music, audiences around the world still flock to share the same space as the old devils for a couple of hours. In the case of Keith Richards, the more decrepit he looks, the more fans he...

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  • Sins of Omission

    Music That Stirs the Soul

    A favorite time for me at John Randolph Club annual meetings is the songfest. Invariably, there is someone in attendance who can sit down at the piano and play all the great, old American tunes that were once familiar to several generations of...

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  • NEWS

    Attack the Symbols

    By any chalk, Pussy Riot are marginal extremists. The pregnant woman, Nadezhda Tolokhinnova, now convicted, has a disturbing look in her pretty eyes, which suggests either drug abuse or a personality disorder: The scene with the cockroaches is...

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  • Correspondence

    Get Back

    For some time now, I’ve had it in mind to write a book called Everything You Know Is Wrong. Among other areas, it would visit various modern celebrities whose fame, it could be said, is more a function of lurid self-projection, and the...

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  • Perspective

    Dead Stars,Black Holes

    The word tragedy is no longer applied to the death of worthy people who made mistakes or even to young people in fatal traffic accidents. Now it is a tragedy when someone who has been seeking death for years—through drugs or alcohol or obsessive...

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  • European Diary

    Aere Perennius

    “Who?” This was said in a tone of voice that could only be described as doubtful. I was on the phone with an Italian friend in London, explaining that I could not call him back later that evening because I was off to a concert. “It’s Gergiev,...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Bruce Springsteen

    For the life of me, I can’t see why anyone under the age of, say, 55 would want to listen to Bruce Springsteen, never mind revere him as a deep and important artist, or pay upward of $200 to be crammed into a football stadium to attend one of his...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Rockin’ in the 50’s

    When the mode of music changes, Plato remarked, the walls of the city shake. When the mode of music changed back in the 1950’s, the denizens of Plato’s Pad and their peers saw more fingers than walls shaking: The music they were listening to,...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Remembering Casals

    Talking to musicians or composers has its values, but it seldom adds much to what we know of music. Mozart's letters to his father give you a few insights into the creative process, but Beethoven's are merely a peep into his psyche.

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  • REVIEWS

    Volodya Again

    The stores are still vending the recordings of Vladimir Horowitz, the imposing pianist whose career is now as lucrative as it was during his lifetime. Nearly all of his work is out on compact disc, from sources dating back to the 1920's.

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  • REVIEWS

    La Prima Donna

    Undoubtedly the greatest singer in the world in her time and since, Maria Callas (1923-1977) needs no introduction. What she does need is the highly intelligent and discriminating attention that Michael Scott has devoted to her. It is Mr. Scott...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Tune In, Turn On, Turn Out

    "Please visit all the booths, sign X your name where needed, and look up to the sky and enjoy yourself," said Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, just before his group finished performing at the seven-band Lollapalooza concert festival in...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Rock Music Lives On

    Camille Paglia, current official Court Enemy of America's East Coast intellectual mafia, recently went on record in the New York Times encouraging federal support of the allegedly endangered American art form of rock music.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    The New Musical Order

    In order to recycle the familiar repertory, the music industry must seek new markets through various gimmicks: celebrity status, special occasions, and even styles more familiar on the street than in the salon.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    The Art of Ignaz Friedman

    The digitalization of recorded sound proceeds apace, and one of the best results is the refurbishment of old recordings. The Edison cylinders and 78's of our grandparents' and great-grandparents' world are being processed into compact discs,...

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  • REVIEWS

    Fiddling Around

    All of the enchantment of the violin and its repertory, the provenance of Russia and specifically of Odessa, the pedagogy of Leopold Auer (who also taught Jascha Heifetz, Efrem Zimbalist, and Toscha Seidel), and decades of international...

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  • REVIEWS

    A Musical Colossus

    Herbert von Karajan's sixty years of conducting have left their mark not only in the memories of generations of concertgoers, but in the holdings of record collectors all over the world.

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  • Correspondence

    A Mess of Greens

    When my secesh batteries need recharging, as they do every once in a while, I go hang out with someone like my Alabama friends Ward and Peggy. When I visited them last April, we went on a pilgrimage to the First White House of the Confederacy.

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  • Correspondence

    Another Country

    Most of my news this month has to do, one way or another, with country music. In a roundabout way, a story out of South Carolina last fall got me thinking about that particular contribution of the South to world civilization.

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  • REVIEWS

    Gradus Ad Parnassum

    How neglectful of David Dubai not to write the great book on the piano, especially considering what a fine position he was in to do so! So let's get the unpleasantness out of the way first, before reviewing the merits of his study.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Adverpop Rock

    Doctors are prohibited from hawking products in television commercials. It's a question of ethics. So, since the real ones can't do it, stand-ins are asked to fill the prescription. Marcus Welby was never jumpy, so Robert Young became a very...

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  • Correspondence

    Songs of the South

    I like that old-time rock and roll. I'm sure nostalgia has a lot to do with it: the older I get the better the 50's look. But there's more to it than that. I like what the music says about America, and especially about the South. Let me explain.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Surfin' Safari

    Mike Love's churlish behavior at the third Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies should not have come as a surprise to anyone. His outlash against everyone from Paul McCartney to Diana Ross could have been predicted by Nancy Reagan's...

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  • VIEWS

    Name That Tune

    First things first. In the briefly intersecting histories of rock and roll and Pentecostalism, it is recorded that Jerry Lee Lewis, at age 15, was expelled from Southwestern Bible Institute in Waxahachie, Texas, for unrepentantly playing a boogie...

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  • REVIEWS

    Greek Jive

    War Music, called by its author, Christopher Logue, an "account" of four books of the Iliad of Homer, is not a minor event. Its reception both in its native England, and now here, has been enthusiastic.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Meistersinger

    To an opera lover, a guided excursion through the mysterious world of the opera singer is irresistibly appealing. Are opera singers merely brainless, egotistical voices? Do voice teachers and vocal techniques make a difference?

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  • REVIEWS

    Still, Sad Music

    Something happened. The juice went out of it, the largest joy. There may arise figures analogous to Emily Dickinson, or even to John Clare, but no experienced lover of poetry expects a new Keats or a new Shelley or Hardy to appear in our generations.

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  • Imported

    Music

    One facet of music that's often un­acknowledged is that technology has a large effect on it, not merely on the creation of music (i.e., through the development of new or somehow mod­ified instruments), but on it's reception.

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  • Opinions & Views

    Video Clones

    Television created a subgenre of music a few years ago that can be designated as "artificial, nonexistent, techno-pop," which must be differentiated from the succeeding, garden variety of techno-pop aired today by the human/machine combinations...

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  • Opinions & Views

    Old & Old as New

    On the back cover of Volume Ill, the entire Preservation Hall crew is grouped around a table on which is mounted a feast of classic Creole New Orleans food. For an insider of this kind of festivities, one glimpse at the jambalaya, sausage, rice,...

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