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Post-Brexit At The Proms

London — Like the Brits themselves the weather on the last weekend of the BBC Proms—the biggest and longest-running music festival in the world—couldn’t make up its mind. Blistering temperatures…

Confessions Of A Brexist

(London) It’s my first trip back to Britain—or England as I now make a point of calling this parcel of the disunited island kingdom—since 2015 and since the Brexit vote…

Hugh Grant & The Cult of Bad Singing

Hugh Grant & The Cult of Bad Singing

If an honest history about classical music on the big screen were to be written, the laurels for greatest performance would go to an actor many would consider undeserving of…

Olympic Jam Sessions

Music was arguably more crucial at the ancient Olympic games than at the globalized modern ones, where it not only buttresses big ritualistic moments—the opening ceremonies, the doling out of…

The Soundtracks Of Solipsism

The Soundtracks Of Solipsism

Among the countless contradictions that the Olympic Games bring into relief is that between private and public music. There is a chasm, unbreachable even by the world’s best long-jumpers and…

The Last Years of Bud Powell

The Last Years of Bud Powell

Is it a terrible thing to sound old when you are still young? Narratives of artistic development often seek greatness in late style that visionary realm explored as the struggles…

From Here To Eternity

From Here To Eternity

It’s a set-up that itself sounds like the scenario for a musical: big-time London theater-makers transplant a flop from the West End to a regional summer stage in an off-the-beaten-track…

Stuck In Houston On The Cusp Of The Apocalypse

Stuck In Houston On The Cusp Of The Apocalypse

There’s that mythic line from America’s long-abandoned manned lunar space adventures: “Houston, we have a problem.” Nearly fifty years on, I can correct that statement from my hotel room in…

Bernie & Beethoven

When Bernie Saunders informed Rolling Stone last year that he “really loves music” and that his tastes were “eclectic,” I believed what he said. In his short interview with the…

Born To Be Blue

The notion of the zeitgeist has fallen into disrepute as too metaphysical, too German. No longer does the spirit of the time manifest itself in art and culture; instead, things…

Berlin: Full of Beauty, Devoid of Virtue

When far from home in foreign cities, slowed by saddle sores or jet leg, menaced by security pat-downs or highwaymen’s pistols, the traveler is often beset by two contending impulses:…

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