Sunday’s edition of The New York Times included a new article by Richard Taruskin, this year’s guest at the Lloyd Old and Constance Old lecture series. The article, which is part literary book review, part contextual history of the novel’s setting, has been stimulating the kind of pointed discussion that one has come to expect in Taruskin’s wake. It concerns the recent novel by Jeremy Barnes, The Noise of Time, which features a certain Dmitry Shostakovich as its protagonist. The novel (which you can learn more about in the official NYT book review) presents Shostakovich in his oft-mythologized form as a martyr of Soviet oppression. Taruskin argues that far from being a martyr, Shostakovich was a pragmatist who navigated a difficult political climate as necessary for his own survival and was not above some mud slinging himself.
The issue features two extensive new interviews with Griffith and a substantial selection of his writing, nearly all of which is previously unpublished. You can purchase the issue directly from Music & Literature for only $20.
Did you miss Griffith’s lecture for Music in 21st-Century Society? Watch it here!
The New York Review of Books recently published an engaging review of Roger Scruton’s new book, Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left (Bloomsbury, 2016). The always provocative Scruton, as you will no doubt recall, was the guest speaker for the 2015 Lloyd Old and Constant Old lecture. He has written nearly fifty books, and the author of the review, Samuel Freeman, writes that Scruton is “after Richard Wollheim, the most significant British philosopher of aesthetics of the past fifty years.” Scruton’s new book is about modern schools of political thought, rather than music or architecture, but his political ideologies are never far from his aesthetics. Scruton engages what he considers to be the foundations of society, as Freeman notes, and music is a part of our foundational cultural institutions. Click the link above to read Freeman’s thoughtful criticism.
To our great honor, Charles Rosen was the inaugural guest of the Lloyd Old and Constance Old lecture series. This lecture, on April 18, 2012, was his final public appearance, before his passing in December of that year. Winter notes Rosen’s sharpness of mind, even to the end. Though his review concerns Rosen’s work and reception as a pianist, he writes, “A mind of insatiable curiosity produced one of the greatest writers about music from any era.” It was in this capacity that he was invited to speak with Music in 21st-Century Society, and we are grateful that we were able to contribute one small piece to the archive of his impressive career.
Watch Rosen’s final lecture at Music in 21st-Century Society below: