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The New Criterion

The New Criterion is probably more consistently worth reading than any other magazine in English.
- The Times Literary Supplement



Music from discord

by Eric C. Simpson

Posted: Mar 02, 2015 12:42 PM

Julian Wachner

I heard an ambitious concert at Carnegie Hall a Saturday ago: Julian Wachner, who commands the musical forces of Trinity Wall Street and the Washington Chorus, brought just about every musician at his disposal to perform two comparatively rare works.

About the first, Charles Ives’s Symphony No. 4, I won’t say much other than that it is a strong (if somewhat scattered) piece that received a strong (if somewhat scattered) performance.

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In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Feb 27, 2015 03:25 PM

Edgar Degas, Two Dancers at Rest or Dancers in Blue, c.1898


Recent links of note:

ISIS Destroys Mosum Museum Collection and Ancient Assyrian Statues
Benjamin Sutton, Hyperallergic
Luckily, many of the statues were replicas, but the group has moved on to burning books and ancient manuscripts.

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Theatre of war

by James Bowman

Posted: Feb 27, 2015 12:34 PM

Ewan Donald as Malcolm in Dunsinane. Photo by Jason Ma.

Is it just me or has the theatrical culture of the English-speaking world gone into a terminal decline? I would think that perception a sign of my advancing age but for the occasional straws in the wind to suggest that I am not entirely alone. Janice Turner in The Times of London, for example, writes that she recently walked out of Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie Inherent Vice.

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A capital night of Rossini at the Met

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Feb 24, 2015 12:34 PM

Joyce DiDonato as Elena and Juan Diego Flórez as Giacomo V in La donna del lago

The Metropolitan Opera is now presenting La donna del lago, by Rossini. It has never done so before. That title, in English, is The Lady of the Lake. Sir Walter Scott wrote his narrative poem in 1810, and Rossini made an opera out of it within the decade.

It is one of his magnificent works. It has two famous arias, including the one that it ends with: “Tanti affetti.” There is no greater showpiece aria in bel canto. The other famous aria is “Mura felici,” slain by Marilyn Horne, among others.

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Cold comfort

by Natasha Simons

Posted: Feb 23, 2015 12:44 PM

Photo Credit: Richard Termine

The Iceman Cometh is one of those plays that many feel they have to see only once—and perhaps not even quite that many times. Edgar Allen Poe, a gifted literary critic as well as a powerful creative force, wrote that any work of literary art must observe the "limit of a single sitting.” I can say with some certainty that Eugene O'Neill was not concerned with that limit when he wrote Iceman, an endurance test of approximately five hours. As a matter of principle, any review of the play must come back to the facticity of its length; it is a difficult and taxing experience no matter the excellence of the acting, design, or directing—which, luckily, is all there in the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s recent staging of the 2012 Goodman Theatre production.

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Sisyphus ascendant

by Eric C. Simpson

Posted: Feb 20, 2015 04:15 PM

Vince B. Vincent in Sisyphus; photo by Reuben Radding

I won’t attempt to give you a plot summary of Sisyphus, an opera I attended last Friday, if only because a linear plot isn’t part of the creative team’s objective. The titular mythological figure is represented, albeit as a self-obsessed club kahuna. Present too is the nymph Aegina, whose fling with Zeus, given a flippant treatment at first, later serves as the basis for the opera’s brightest poetry. In the corner alone is Brianna, an artist struggling almost as much to find inspiration as she is to find romance. All of these scenes fit together somehow, though the exact configuration is neither clear nor terribly important.

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In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Feb 20, 2015 11:05 AM

Tomas Balaztena, Winter in Quaker Ridge, 2012. 

It's cold outside. 


Recent links of note:

What Must We Think About When We Think About Politics?
Myron Magnet, City Journal
Data isn't enough. 

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The New Criterion

About ArmaVirumque


( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)


In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.


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