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It operates as a refuge for a civilizing element in short supply in contemporary America: honest criticism
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In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Oct 10, 2014 01:44 PM


Money in the abstract: the back of the new Norwegian 100 kroner bill, designed by Snøhetta (all images via norges-bank.no)

 

Links of interest from the past week:

Confessions of an Aesthete: “To be an aesthete in an idea-driven age is to run the risk of being dismissed as irrelevant by those who prefer ideas to beauty.”

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Science by hand

by Bria Sandford

Posted: Oct 09, 2014 11:16 AM


Johann Friederich Wilhelm Herbst (German, 1743-1807). Illustration of Cancer reticulatus from Versuch einer Naturgeschichte der Krabben und Krebse… (Attempt at a natural history of crabs and crayfish…)

Sometimes the human eye, a good aesthetic sense, and a steady hand are the best scientific tools. During the late 1700s, the German churchman-turned-naturalist Johann Herbst demonstrated this when he produced a three-volume encyclopedia of crabs and crayfish. A skilled artist, he engraved and hand-tinted meticulous drawings of each species he identified, most notably of Cancer reticulatus and Cancer cedonulli. Later scientists, dismissing as overzealous Herbst's careful differentiation of the crabs' coloring, concluded that the two species were really one. They were wrong. DNA testing eventually vindicated Herbst's powers of observation; his classification had been correct all along. 

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In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Oct 03, 2014 02:58 PM


From Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River, by W. O. Dement for Harold Fisk (1944)

 

Choral music not heard since era of Henry VIII has been played for first time in 500 years
A book of songs given to Henry VIII was unearthed in the vaults of the British Library; it has now been brought to life with a choir and period instruments. ("One died, one survived..." is not one of the tunes).

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Opening Night at Carnegie: Who could forget Dohr?!

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Oct 02, 2014 01:48 PM


Sir Simon Rattle; photo by Jim Rakete

Outside Carnegie Hall last night, there was a red carpet. Not just for celebs, but for everybody. It was Opening Night. Inside the hall, there were red flowers. Critics with horticultural skills could tell you what they were. Let me say they were poinsettia-like, sort of.

The orchestra last night was the Berlin Philharmonic. The conductor was the BPO’s longtime music director, Sir Simon Rattle. And the soloist was Anne-Sophie Mutter, the starry German violinist.

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Mozartean and Da Pontesque

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Sep 30, 2014 10:43 AM


Isabel Leonard and Marlis Petersen in Le Nozze di Figaro; photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

When James Levine appeared in the pit on Saturday night, the crowd at the Metropolitan Opera went nuts. They were happy to see him, because the conductor has had a host of health problems, and is back in action. Of course, they were happy to see him even before these problems set in. On Saturday night, he waved at the audience for a good long time, expressing his appreciation. Then he got down to work.

His work was The Marriage of Figaro, the Mozart–Da Ponte opera. The overture was not Levine’s crispest or most stylish. But it was plenty good. So was his conducting of the rest of the opera. I have often spoken of Levine’s “just rightness,” especially in Mozart: a sure sense of tempo, phrasing, weight, and overall spirit. I have also spoken of a “natural law” of Mozart—a law to which all good Mozarteans conform. At his best, Levine conveys a sense of inevitability and inarguability: “This is not interpretation. This is the way it goes, period, according to the law.”

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Ho-hum, It’s Turner Prize Time Again

by Roger Kimball | from PJ Media

Posted: Sep 30, 2014 07:31 AM


I had almost forgotten about the Turner Prize, one of the art world’s longest running and most boring bad jokes.  You remember the Turner Prize: it’s Britain’s tired adolescent effort to show that the avant garde is not dead, it just has nothing to do with art. Begun in 1984, the TP is 30 this […]

go to PJ Media



The EU vs. Apple

by Roger Kimball | from PJ Media

Posted: Sep 29, 2014 08:05 AM


 London. A story in The Financial Times today reveals that the EU, in its hyper-regulatory wisdom, has set its sights on Apple, which it accuses of profiting from “illegal” deals with Ireland.  I put quotation marks around “illegal” because the case is far from proved. But as far as Brussels is concerned, Apple’s real sin […]

go to PJ Media


The fate of free speech

by Roger Kimball | from PJ Media

Posted: Sep 28, 2014 09:15 AM


Yesterday, I came back to London from Winchester, where I was at a conference about “threats to free speech.”  We’ll be publishing edited versions of the papers this winter in The New Criterion. In the meantime, I wanted to underscore the oddity of our topic.  “Threats to free speech”?  Haven’t waged, and won, that battle?  […]

go to PJ Media


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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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Events

November 04, 2014

Friends and Young Friends Event: Election Night Party


November 12, 2014

Friends and Young Friends Event: Book Launch Party with Andrew Roberts


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