by Eric Simpson
The Tokyo String Quartet; Photo: Henry J. Fair
This year marks the end of the Tokyo String Quartet's remarkable forty-four year run, following the announcement that its two longest-tenured members, Kikuei Ikeda and Kazuhide Isomura, will retire at the end of the season. Though they have a handful of concerts to go—concluding with a recital at the Norfolk Festival in Connecticut—on Saturday night they made their final New York appearance, with a sentimental program of final—or nearly final—compositions at the 92nd Street Y.
by Peter Wood
Paul Du Chaillu was the young man who ventured inland from the coast of Gabon in 1856 on a quest to be the first European to encounter the njena, the supposedly ferocious beast we now call the gorilla. That same year, William Henry Edwards, grandson of Jonathan Edwards, decided as “to go down the butterfly path,” which would lead in time to his becoming (according to a later scholar) “the greatest butterfly student which this country has ever produced or probably ever will.”
by James Panero
Last year, the London-based Frieze Art Fair came to New York, pitched a tent on Randalls Island, and it was cool. The sophomore effort, on view through Monday, keeps much of the formula from a year ago. The 250,000 square-foot custom tent by SO-IL is back with sweeping views of the East River. (All photographs by James Panero).
Gertrude Stein once asked: “What do writers want?” Her heartfelt answer (this was one thing she really knew about): “Praise, praise, praise.” Truer words, etc., etc. I’ve had occasion to ponder the fathomless vanity of writers recently. I won’t go into the particulars, except to say that it is an untidy subject, mournful and [...]
Image from the Onassis Foundation
We are delighted to draw attention to “After Thermopylae: How Wars are Concluded and Commemorated,” a panel discussion on June 4th at The Morgan Library & Museum featuring TNC contributor Bruce Cole. The event, sponsored by the Onassis Cultural Center, marks the publication of Professor Paul Cartledge’s new Oxford University Press title, After Thermopylae: The Oath of Palatea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars, and will focus on “how wars end and how they are remembered, drawing examples from the Graeco-Persian War, the Great War, and the War on Terror.”
Get all the details and reserve a spot here.
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In case you haven’t heard, the latest film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby will be released across the U.S. tomorrow. With an all-star cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton), acclaimed director (Baz Luhrmann, Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge), and $127 million budget, it’s sure to draw crowds. While some are bracing themselves for Jay-Z’s soundtrack with Gatsby-inspired cocktails, it can’t hurt to brush up on the actual book before buying a ticket. To get you started, here’s a collection of the best articles from our archives about the man behind the book:
Sunday marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Danish philosopher, theologian, critic, and poet Søren Kierkegaard. What better way to commemorate it than with an essay from the archives of The New Criterion? In a long, considered piece from 2001, Roger Kimball explored the life and thought of the great Christian existentialist thinker, and described what he thought was Kierkegaard’s greatest contribution:
by Eric Simpson
Maurizio Pollini; Photo: Mathias Bothor/Deutsche Grammophon
On Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Hall, the reverend Maurizio Pollini sought to remind listeners of why he has had such a remarkable recital career. For the most part he succeeded admirably, performing a bold program of four Beethoven sonatas. As has to be expected at this point, there were some technical flaws, but the sage brilliance of his artistry shone through.
He opened with Sonata No. 8 in C minor, the “Pathétique.” The first movement is marked by its stark contrasts, and in Pollini's rendition these were understated. It was a contained and stately performance, with stray notes here and there. In the allegro con brio section the tempo was not perfectly steady, often creating the feeling that he was just a hair's breadth from losing control. The music should be furious here, but letting it approach “frenetic” is taking it too far. For this recital he chose a piano with a dark sound that particularly fit the grave sections. His playing was very sensitive to color and texture, and he frequently took his time to let some of Beethoven's more pungent harmonies ferment. The second movement was a bit on the heavy side, and the closing Rondo was again rather messy, as well as being very straightforward.
. . . comes from the New York Times. “Professors at San Jose State Criticize Online Courses.” Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Someone told me the story that Larry Ellison, genius loci of Oracle Corporation was slumming recently. He was, the story goes, giving a talk at a big meeting of the American Association of [...]
by James Panero
James Little paints like no other artist. His unique wax medium and labor-intensive process have developed over decades in the studio. Recently, I visited him in his walk-up space in East Williamsburg to see his latest work before it heads out to June Kelly Gallery, where his next solo show will open on May 16. (All photographs by James Panero)
( 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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