‘arts’ Category

  1. The ingredients of poison

    2

    January 19, 2017 by AK

    Marina Warner’s recent post on the LRB blog has tempted me to write about Russian theater and about bobeobi, but I don’t know where to start. Let’s say the Russian theater is enjoying yet another golden, or at least gilded, age but there’s little coverage of it in the Anglophone press apart from John Freedman’s …
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  2. If Tchaikovsky had given up on E. O.

    2

    January 17, 2017 by AK

    Reviewing T. J. Binyon‘s biography of Pushkin, James Wood remarked in 2003: It is in some ways unfortunate that Tchaikovsky set Eugene Onegin to music, not Rossini, the composer of deep shallows. Pushkin, according to T.J. Binyon’s remarkable biography, became ‘addicted’ to Rossini while living in Odessa, where an Italian opera company was visiting… Yes, …
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  3. The two Moores

    10

    January 9, 2017 by AK

    Until this year, I did not realize how many Russian translations of Thomas Moore’s poetry had been produced in the 19th century, especially its first half. For details, I recommend two investigations into the subject (in Russian): Mikhail Alexeyev’s 1982 article in Literary Heritage (Volume 91, Chapter VIII [warning: a large pdf], pp. 657-824), which …
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  4. “The spirit of pure beauty does not live with us…”

    1

    January 3, 2017 by AK

    I doubt that Zhukovsky was deeply taken in by Thomas Moore’s oriental romance, with the likely exception of the Peri poem. But the “Lalla Rookh” fête in Berlin undoubtedly made a lasting impression on him, as if a furtive draft from some ethereal world had followed Princess Alexandra into this – as if, briefly reincarnated as an …
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  5. Lalla Rookh in Berlin, January 1821

    4

    December 28, 2016 by AK

    Schumann’s second oratorio, Der Rose Pilgerfahrt (The Pilgrimage of the Rose, 1851) is firmly set on European soil: it begins with elves in a round dance on Midsummer hearing a quite, plaintive voice, the voice of the Rose. In contrast, Das Paradies und die Peri (1843) is errantly Oriental, flying the listener from India to …
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  6. “What a divine thing!”

    1

    December 26, 2016 by AK

    My fondest musical memory of the year 2016 will probably be the April, 16, performance of Schumann’s oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri by the Russian National Orchestra and the Popov Academy choir directed by Mikhail Pletnev. I expected something unusual to extraordinary. The result was close to the latter thanks to Pletnev’s inordinate understanding …
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  7. Vlad: the Omnipotent Cat

    0

    December 17, 2016 by AK

    Ivan Krylov published The Mouse and the Rat in 1816. My rough translation follows, without the last quatrain, or the “moral” of the fable. “Dear neighbor, have your heard the good rumors?” Said Mouse to Rat, running in. “They say the cat has fallen into the lion’s claws? It’s time for us to have some rest.” “Don’t rejoice, …
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  8. That bitter abyss

    4

    December 12, 2016 by AK

    About a month ago I noticed that the opening two lines of T. S. Eliot’s Grishkin poem from Whispers of Immortality (1920) mimic the respective lines of Théophile Gautier’s Carmen (1852). Compare Eliot’s half-stanza Grishkin is nice: her Russian eye Is underlined for emphasis… with Gautier’s Carmen est maigre, – un trait de bistre Cerne …
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  9. Khrushchev and British brutalism

    0

    November 15, 2016 by AK

    Owen Hatherley writes of British architects active in the first post-WWII decade: In the first ten years after 1945, the pure white style of Bruno Ahrends’s Berlin had been Anglicised, but not in the direction of the monumental dissonance of Brutalism. Instead, it became a friendly, rather cutesy amalgam of Scandinavian design and the English …
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  10. Vilnius: brutalism with a human face

    0

    November 13, 2016 by AK

    In his latest LRB review, Owen Hatherley writes about Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture by Nicolas Grospierre: Grospierre puts next to each other the Vilnius House of Ritual Services (a Soviet type sometimes known as a ‘Sorrow Palace’, where funerals were held) and a jauntily angled thin concrete shell roof in Amboy, California: Roy’s Motel and …
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