Sign in  |  Register

The New Criterion

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

Weblog

 


In Review: The Handel and Haydn Society’s All-Haydn Program

by Dominic Green

Posted: Jan 28, 2015 05:23 PM


Harry Christophers on Sunday night, photo credit James Doyle

This year is the bicentennial of America's oldest living arts ensemble, the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston. One of the Society's founders, Gottfried Graupner, had played oboe in the orchestra that premiered Haydn's first set of London symphonies. The Society was founded on March 24, 1815, a few days after Napoleon, tiring of exile on Elba, had returned to Paris. The next morning, the other European powers promised to field 150,000 soldiers against France. Since then, the "H. and H." has avoided several Waterloos both fiscal and critical, as well as giving the American premieres of Handel's Messiah, Haydn's Creation, Verdi's Requiem and Bach's St. Matthew Passion. Under Christopher Hogwood, director from 1986 to 2001, the Handel and Haydn became America's premier period instrument orchestra and chorus.

Read more


The real thing

by James Bowman

Posted: Jan 27, 2015 12:08 AM


 

One thing you may have noticed, as I did, about the media’s coverage of President Obama’s State of the Union Address last week, is how often the President’s grip on reality was called into question. This is nothing new coming from Republicans like Karl Rove, who wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the speech “was disconnected from economic reality.” Likewise, Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary noticed that the speech had "a tone that was [...] divorced from the reality of Obama’s six years in office.” But even the massively pro-Obama media may be beginning to think this or similar views of the matter worth reporting if not wholeheartedly endorsing. Thus Peter Baker in The New York Times wrote that the President “made no reference at all to the midterm elections, offered no concessions about his own leadership and proposed no compromises to accommodate the political reality.”

Read more



The concert hall as warzone

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Jan 26, 2015 10:47 AM


Vengerov at the Philharmonic, via NYT

Frankly, I wasn’t sure I would ever hear Maxim Vengerov play again. I was afraid the great Russian violinist was through. I knew he had suffered some injury, and I also heard rumors about a loss of interest in the violin. Or a loss of heart. Or something. Moreover, he had turned to conducting. That wasn’t rumor but fact.

The loss of Maxim Vengerov to the violin world would be … I don’t know, something like the loss of Tiger Woods to the golf world (which has just about happened).

Read more


In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Jan 23, 2015 11:29 AM


Nave of Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

 

Recent links of note:

Chile Will Erect Antoni Gaudí’s First Building Outside of Spain
Laura C. Mallonee, Hyperallergic
La Sagrada Familia still isn't finished, but a chapel the Catalan architect designed in 1915 is finally coming to life.

Read more



A tenor, lent

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Jan 19, 2015 11:52 AM


Vittorio Grigolo in the title role of Offenbach's "Les Contes d’Hoffmann"

Over the years, I have used a funny term: “performance-dependent.” Some works of music, I believe, are performance-dependent. They depend on a good performance, for their worth to be brought out. The worth of other pieces comes through, in performances good and bad.

My classic example of a performance-dependent work is Der Rosenkavalier, the Strauss opera. Performed badly, the work can be deathly dull. Performed well, it is sheer magic.

Read more


In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Jan 16, 2015 11:20 AM


Claude Monet, Les Peupliers à Giverny, 1887

Recent links of note:

MoMA's Monet Fire Sale
Jerry Saltz, Vulture
"Is it really worth trading a Monet for a slice of Koons's hanging locomotive?" You can probably guess what we think. 

Read more


Dvorak’s stinkeroo

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Jan 16, 2015 10:23 AM


Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall

Here’s a parlor game for you—or rather, a parlor question: What’s the poorest piece of music ever written by a great or near-great composer? And minuets and other ditties don’t count. Let me rephrase the question: What’s the poorest major piece of music ever written by a great or near-great composer?

I have often snoozed or seethed through Mozart’s concerto for flute and harp. But, as (the conductor) Trevor Pinnock once pointed out to me in an interview, “It would be hard not to love that slow movement, wouldn’t it?” Yes, it would.

Read more


Michael Spence wins the 2015 New Criterion Poetry Prize

by Christine Emba

Posted: Jan 14, 2015 06:16 PM


The New Criterion is pleased to announce that Michael Spence’s Umbilical has been selected as the winner of the 2015 New Criterion Poetry Prize.

 

After earning his B.A. in English from the University of Washington, Michael Spence served four years as a naval officer aboard the USS John F. Kennedy. Soon afterwards, he began his three-decade career as a driver of public-transit buses in the Seattle area. His poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Sewanee Review, Tar River Poetry, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, and The New York Quarterly; he has published four previous collections of poetry: The SpineAdam ChoosesCrush Depth, and The Bus Driver's Threnody. Spence has also been featured in Limbs of the Pine, Peaks of the RangeMany Trails to the Summit; and other anthologies.

Read more


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.

 

Follow us on Twitter:


 

Shortcut

www.armavirumque.org

 

To contact The New Criterion by email, write to:

  Contact

 

Subscribe to our newsletter!

* indicates required