This week: Italian Futurism at the Guggenheim, Patrick Leigh Fermor's final book, and Hilton Kramer on the man behind MOMA.
If you like your President, you can keep him. Period. But what if you don’t? Stephen Blackwood, the President of the fledging Ralston College in Savannah, Georgia, has a sad, infuriating piece about his mother’s experience with Obamacare this morning in The Wall Street Journal. We’ve all heard stories—but not as frequently as we ought [...]
The other day, I was reading Roger Kimball on “that awful word ‘social’”—the word that will corrupt almost any word it is put in front of. Hayek once compiled a list. Roger wrote about it in a 2007 essay, here.
At the same time I was reading Roger’s recent column, I was swimming in the life of Mussolini (for reasons I could explain). You will remember that the government Hitler set him up with, at Salò, was called “la Repubblica Sociale Italiana”—the Italian Social Republic. This is the kind of thing that makes the blood of some of us run cold when we see or hear the word “social.”
Jonas Kaufmann, the starry German tenor, gave a recital in Carnegie Hall on Thursday night. He was accompanied by Helmut Deutsch, the veteran Austrian pianist. Deutsch has accompanied anyone and everyone—including the late Hermann Prey, for twelve years.
Kaufmann has been singing the title role of Massenet’s Werther at the Metropolitan Opera. And here he was, giving a recital. A tenor recital is not a common event. Years ago, John Pfeiffer wrote the following, in liner notes for a recital recording of Jussi Bjoerling: “The opera tenor who ventures onto the recital stage inevitably recalls Dr. Samuel Johnson’s observation about lady preachers: ‘Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.’”
by James Bowman
One problem with being the proud possessor, as so many people are these days, of a change-the-world ideology of your very own, is that you come to think of the world as having already been changed in accordance with your ideology’s specifications — which can lead to further problems. Charles Krauthammer called attention to the phenomenon in yesterday’s Washington Post when he ridiculed the claim of the President of the United States that what we are now supposed to call "climate change" is "settled science" and therefore no longer open to question or doubt by anyone who doesn’t want to get on the wrong side of science. "There is nothing more anti- scientific," wrote Dr. Krauthammer, himself a trained physician, "than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge."
Our Edmund Burke Award Gala is fast approaching! On April 23, The New Criterion will honor Professor Donald Kagan as the recipient of the second Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society at a black-tie dinner at an exclusive club in New York City. Space is limited, so reserve your ticket here.
E-mail to friend
Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch in Werther at the Metropolitan Opera; photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
It was not his favorite work by any means, but Goethe once remarked of his novella The Sorrows of Young Werther that "it would be a bad thing if, once in his life, everyone did not have a period in which he felt that Werther had been written exclusively for him." Jules Massenet was certainly moved by the story, turning it into one of the most moving and expressive operas to come out of the French tradition. For all its power, the piece is just on the fringe of the core operatic repertoire, and while Richard Eyre's new production comes up short, to hear Massenet's score again when the opera opened at the Met on Tuesday was a gift:
by James Bowman
In the forthcoming number of The New Criterion, I return to my theme in the magazine of last December and October of 2012, when I discussed the growing penchant in our political culture for each side to make frivolous, reckless and often quite unfounded accusations of bad faith against the other. This is true on both sides of the political divide, but more ingrained, perhaps, on the left after eight years of its remarkable fulminations against the last Bush administration. Now, in a mailing I have received from The Nation magazine, I see that such gratuitous belligerence — and I am old enough to remember when the question, "Are you calling me a liar?" was invariably the prelude either to a retraction or to a fist-fight — appears to have become part of what nowadays we call the left-wing "brand."
This week: Loren Munk paints art-history, a new biography of E. E. Cummings, and Werther comes to the Met.
Christian Zacharias; photo by Marc Vanappelghem
Christian Zacharias, the German pianist, gave a recital in Alice Tully Hall on Thursday night. (He is also a conductor, but he was engaged in his primary occupation on Thursday night.) Zacharias had a strange program—or rather, a program in a strange order: an earlyish Beethoven sonata; Schubert’s Moments musicaux; Schumann’s Kreisleriana; then another earlyish Beethoven sonata.
( 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:
To contact The New Criterion by email, write to:Contact
March 11, 2014
Friends and Young Friends Event: Book Launch Party with Roger Scruton
March 25, 2014
Friends and Young Friends Event: A conference on "Preserving an Open Society in a Perilous World"
April 01, 2014
Friends and Young Friends Event: Piano Recital with Simone DinnersteinMore events >