Chronicles Magazine Music

Remembering the Right

The featured theme of this month’s magazine is focused on a particular task, namely retrieving conservativism and conservative thinkers from the past and explaining their continued relevance to the present. The current conservative movement, as a...

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  • The Music Column

    Chopin’s Life and Times

    Alan Walker has insisted, at the very beginning of his massive new biography of Chopin, that the composer has today a unique global reputation and appeal. And when we consider the evidence that justifies his claims, we must admit that this...

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  • Correspondence

    Blowing for Elkhart

    Hobbled as I am by residual injury—I wear an ankle brace and limp a bit—and wheeling a large cornet/flugelhorn case, I was grateful when a man much younger than I held open a door for me as I entered the lobby for Elkhart’s Lerner Theatre.

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  • The Music Column

    A Tour of Overtures

    We somehow owe it to ourselves to contemplate the useful word sinfonia, one that once denoted the overture to an opera and suggested a pleasing combination of sounds. So yes—the term that denotes the tradition of symphony is derived from another...

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  • The Music Column

    The Legacy of Leon Redbone

    Leon Redbone left the scene in 2015—I don’t mean that he expired, but simply that he retired. There was mention at the time of health concerns, but he was through with television appearances and concerts and touring, and with recording as well.

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  • The Music Column

    The Vocal Scene

    Of course my account of “the vocal scene” is not by the late George Jellinek—that cultured gentleman of Hungarian background. He had an extensive, even encyclopedic knowledge of the history of singing.

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  • The Music Column

    The Romantic Revival

    The first thing to say about the Romantic Revival is that the phrase itself is a bit ambiguous, though I haven’t meant to be misleading. Romanticism originally had an aspect of revival of the medieval, as in the Gothic revival and the revival of...

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  • The Music Column

    There Will Be Brahms

    The subject of the Brahms Violin Concerto in D major (Op. 77) is fitting because we are talking about a work that is respected, which is one thing, but also loved, which is more. I had some special times with the Brahms Violin Concerto, even...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    A Master Accompanist

    Few jazz pianists are “accompanists” as gifted in knowledge, technique, and taste as Norman Simmons, able to back vocalists with consummate skill in chording, passing notes, and background lines, but also wise in the use of space.

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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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  • Cultural Revolutions

    No Apologies for Jazz

    When the 30-year-old blind British jazz pianist George Shearing came to America for good early in 1949, he ran into fellow transplanted Brit Leonard Feather, a prominent critic, producer, promoter, and songwriter, who suggested that the pianist...

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  • Correspondence

    Imagine No More Meresy

    A seven-foot bronze statue of the late Beatle John Lennon greets travelers at the international airport in Liverpool that bears his name. It’s fitting that Lennon’s impish image—hands inserted in pants pockets—is displayed at the airport...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    No More Blues

    Throughout most of its history jazz was a blues music, at least until the avant-gardists of the 1960’s tried to burn down the cathedral in their trumped-up revolution against American society, playing music unfocused in concept, unmusical in...

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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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  • VIEWS

    GOP Country: A Troubled Marriage

    Back in February, music historian J. Lester Feder published an article in the American Prospect entitled “When Country Went Right.” As Feder would have it, country music wasn’t always as “conservative” as it is today.

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  • REVIEWS

    Roll On, Beethoven

    The fate of the famous in this postmodern and even campy time is problematical. The multicultural agenda is not considerate of the distinguished or of distinctions, and "diversity" imposes quotas on what we may be permitted to admire, to enjoy,...

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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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  • 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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  • REVIEWS

    Back to the Future

    Since 19th-century music is usually the music that we know best, and often like the best, and since too this volume appears to be printed as a textbook, we may have more than one reason for wanting to read a new book that could change the...

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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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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Music of the Peers

    I recently attended a performance by the quartet known as Montreux, a group which, as you may know, records for Windham Hill. I had first seen Montreux perform a couple years back during Detroit's international jazz festival that's called,...

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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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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Train of Fools

    In the 30 years since it first gained broad popularity, rock 'n' roll has put on some show; it has been by turns entertaining, grotesque, energetic, absurd—and always "successful." There were even times when it had a good beat and you could dance...

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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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  • Comment

    Comment

    If we want a conservative culture, we shall have to think in deeper, braver, broader terms about how to bring such a culture to life.

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