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Der Blindensturz (Fiction, Poetry & Drama) (German
That's the title in English of the excellent translation by Christopher Middleton of this novella by Gert Hofmann, a German writer born in 1931. Gert is the father of the poet and translator Michael Hofmann, …
Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions)
... and possibly re-read one of Theodore Dreiser's novels, probably "The Financier" or "The Titan", his exposés of the shaky ethical mentality of the American Self-Made Man. The stimulus for doing so …
We Love Glenda So Much and A Chance of Light
This paperback combines two disparate sorts of writing by the Argentine exile-to-France Julio Cortázar, one of the most interesting writers ever to emerge from South America. The first portion of the …
reviewed Silvius Leopold Weiss: Concerto for T.... August 13, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Silvius Leopold Weiss: Concerto for Two Lutes;
The music of Silvius Weiss will be a glorious discovery for YOU if this is the first you hear of him, but my review title refers to the discovery of a manuscript, from the family library of a castle in …
reviewed Injinji Tetrasok Nuwool Outdoor Serie.... August 13, 2010
Injinji Tetrasok Nuwool Outdoor Series Crew Toesox
... you'll save the price of these socks in a week of hiking or backpacking, just in the cost of moleskin and assorted blister pads! Your feet will also be more comfortable during and after the hike than …
reviewed The Lazarus Project. August 12, 2010
The Lazarus Project
"Nothing at all depends on you seeing it or not seeing it."  Oh yeah! Take that, epistemologists! That line is part of a harangue from the inveterate self-mythologizer Rora to the obsessive …
reviewed Schubert: Impromptus Op. 142, Sonata .... August 12, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Schubert: Impromptus Op. 142, Sonata D894
The "Hammerklavier" of Haydn's and Beethoven's era was essentially a harpsichord with zither mallets instead of plectra, a 'hammer harpsichord' in basic shape and stringing. The hammers were wood covered …
reviewed Adaptation (movie). August 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Adaptation (Superbit Collection) (2003)
... why I don't hate this film! It's pretentious, meandering, self-indulgent, self-referential -- everything that typifies post-modernist literature -- and plot-driven without a plot. But hate it I don't. …
reviewed Vergeltung. August 09, 2010
Earthquake? Hurricane? Tornado? Flood? I've made it through all of those, though not the worst examples of any of them. My own worst would be the uncontrollable Berkeley/Oakland fire that almost trapped …
In the Cage and The Beast in the Jungle
Not this book, that's for sure! The cover shows a young man dressed for violent adventure, perhaps for a battle for survival against a literal beast in a cage or a jungle. It has amusingly absolutely …
reviewed Imperium. August 09, 2010
.... or is it the Impressionist as Historian? With Ryzsard Kapuscinski, the two modes are inseparably fused. One senses his painterly involvement in every factual account, but then one detects his historian's …
reviewed The Hangover. August 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Comedy movie
...stupidity, vulgarity, and the enjoyment of cruelty. If well-filmed, well-paced, fairly original ugliness, stupidity, vulgarity, and the enjoyment of cruelty is "your thing", you'll find plenty to like …
reviewed Roderick Hudson. August 05, 2010
Roderick Hudson
... or the apotheosis of the American Romance! "Roderick Hudson" was Henry James's second published full-length novel and his last, I would say, in the shared literary idiom of his 19th predecessors. …
reviewed Humanita E Lucifero. August 05, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Humanita E Lucifero
I've already reviewed the original 1995 release, but I'd forgotten it. I have a shamefully large collection of CDs. I'm only moderately annoyed at buying a CD I already own, since this one will make a …
reviewed Bass Cantatas. August 04, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Bass Cantatas
... of Georg Phillipp Telemann (1681-1767) and Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759)! [But don't look at me! I'm a tootler, not a scribbler. Besides, I'm as indolent as an ichthyosaur in a fossil bed.] Not …
reviewed Puccini - Manon Lescaut. August 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Puccini - Manon Lescaut
... to rescue the music of Manon Lescaut, Puccini's earliest success, from mediocrity. I had hopes that John Eliot Gardiner, with the London Philharmonia and the Glyndebourne Chorus, could make me revise …
The Power of Many: Values for Success in Business
Meg Whitman could certainly assert that she's been a success in life, and it's on the paramount value of individual success, defined her way, that she is basing her attempt to buy the governorship of …
reviewed The Film Explainer. August 02, 2010
The Film Explainer
Gert Hofmann (I suppose we can call him 'Gert", though he never declares his name in his first-person narrative) is a small boy, living with his unwed mother and his maternal grandparents in the shabby …
reviewed Haydn in London. August 01, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Haydn in London
If that riddle seems too self-evident, let me ask in another way? Which came first, the piano or piano music? And tightening the focus, which came first, the fortepiano or the music composed by Joseph …
reviewed Oxo SteeL Kitchen Tool and Utensil Rack. July 31, 2010
Oxo SteeL Kitchen Tool and Utensil Rack
.... in a utensil rack. Now, I realize that your hopes may aim higher than mere utility and convenience. I once aspired to artistry myself. But now, at least at the kitchen stove, I'm finely and fairly …
reviewed O'Horten (2007). July 31, 2010
O'Horten (2007)
.... unless you're Scandinavian. No, limit that to Norwegian or Swedish, or Minnesotan. Even a Dane wouldn't crack a smile at most of the quirky humor of "O'Horten". But it doesn't matter so much. It …
Robinson Jeffers: Selected Poems
Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) was an outspoken, vitriolic isolationist during World War II; that stance has colored his reputation as a poet and a human forevermore. But his 'isolation' was more than merely …
reviewed Complete Live at the Bohemia. July 30, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Complete Live at the Bohemia
On old-time sailing ships, when a shipmate crossed the equator for the first time, it was an occasion for festivity and a rite of initiation. There could well have been such a rite of passage celebrated …
reviewed Eve's Ransom. July 30, 2010
Eve's Ransom
It's not an accident, nor a pre-Freudian slip, that the heroine of this novel is named Eve, and it's not by chance that the final meeting of the male and female principals of "Eve's Ransom" takes place …
The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories
No homework!  No plot summary! There's a plot against plotting, or plodding, on The Street of Crocodiles!  No exegesis! Except perhaps (6aR,9R)- N,N- diethyl- 7-methyl- 4,6,6a,7,8,9- …
reviewed Schubert: Trio, Op. 99 / Nocturne, Op.... July 29, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Schubert: Trio, Op. 99 / Nocturne, Op. 148
"Little Mushroom" - Schwammerl - was one of Franz Schubert's nicknames among his cafe-crawler friends. Little Franz was a bit of a carouser, possibly a heavy drinker, certainly a highly sociable guy who …
reviewed Schubert: The 6 Latin Masses. July 28, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Schubert: The 6 Latin Masses
Unbelievably bad, that is! The sound quality is hideous, as if the single microphone had been swathed in compost. The instruments, when they can be distinguished from the general rumble, are nearly unrecognizable. …
reviewed Schubert: Grand Duo Variations D813. July 28, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Schubert: Grand Duo Variations D813
... although an instrument requiring both hands of two players? Franz Schubert's 'Grand Duo' is often described as such, so I deliberately sat still and listened to hear whether the description is apt. …
Total Fears Letters to Dubenka
... and a Great Human Being! Only a great human being could be so honest about himself, so openly ashamed and humiliated by a life of fear, proudly apologetic for a life of carousing, honestly diffident …
reviewed Schubert: Die Winterreise / Fischer-D.... July 27, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Schubert: Die Winterreise / Fischer-Dieskau
... to the acclaim Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau garnered for his performances and recordings of Schubert Lieder during his lifetime, or the adulation he still receives from listeners who weren't even born …
reviewed Schubert: Alfonso und Estrella (2009). July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Schubert: Alfonso und Estrella (2009)
Amazingly, there are now two DVDs available of an opera that was never staged, or even given a full concert performance, in the lifetime of its composer! Nor in the century after his death! Plus several …
reviewed The Reverberator. July 26, 2010
The Reverberator
The 'Reverberator' is not, as some readers might feverishly suppose, a hand-held device for erotic auto-stimulation, nor is it one of those fashionable quivery armchairs. No, it's the name on the masthead …
A London Life and The Reverberator (Oxford World's
What passes for Conversation in our witless era, when talk-radio rant is regarded as public discourse, would send Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, or Oscar Wilde into catatonia. Add Henry James to that list …
reviewed Schubert: The Complete Symphonies. July 25, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Schubert: The Complete Symphonies
That's what Franz Schubert (1797-1828) produced in his scant 31 years. I'm speaking only of his symphonies; his masterpieces in other genres number in the dozens. The GREAT Schubert symphonies are #6 …
reviewed Vivaldi: Complete Works for Italian Lute. July 25, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Vivaldi: Complete Works for Italian Lute
... and it still sounds completely HIP. Jakob Lindberg is as fine a lutenist as any alive today, and if lutenists of the 18th C played better than he does, we've all been cheated by Father Time! But Lindberg …
reviewed Hadyn Baryton Trios. July 24, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Hadyn Baryton Trios
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) composed his 126 trios for baryton and other instruments expressly to gratify his patron Prince Miklos Esterhazy, who played the instrument himself. Esterhazy was one of the richest …
reviewed Bach: Cello Suites 4-6. July 24, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Bach: Cello Suites 4-6
Wow! The only previous reviewer, "Mr JB", calls this performance of the 4-5-6 cello suites his "favorite", yet gives it only four stars! Uf ta, there's no grade inflation where he lives. Bach's six suites …
reviewed Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique · Her.... July 23, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique · Herminie
By the time I first encountered French as a spoken language, I'd already studied Latin and mastered Italian, and I thought French sounded like someone speaking those languages with a serious head cold. …
reviewed Franz Schubert: Trio in Es-Dur, Op. 1.... July 22, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Franz Schubert: Trio in Es-Dur, Op. 100; Sonate in
Franz Schubert's Trio in Es-Dur, op. 100, for fortepiano, violin and cello, I mean. Oh, I suppose you think you know it well enough, since it's a staple of the piano trio repertoire. You may have encountered …
reviewed Schutz: Edition IV. July 22, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Schutz: Edition IV
... I might not find Eternity such a horrifying prospect!    This is the fourth box of Brilliant Classics' "Heinrich Schütz" Edition", all performed by Cappella Augustana, and this …
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