Tuesday, November 25, 2014 Kislev 3, 5775
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Like most teenagers, I was distressingly opinionated and unwilling to bend when it came to my judgments concerning most artistic matters. For example, I was particularly sniffy when it came to the accomplishments -- or not -- of Leonard Bernstein. It didn't matter whether I was discussing his music (classical or otherwise) or his conducting. To a young...
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SPEAKING VOLUMES The older I get, the more difficult it is for me to imagine what my father's young life, especially his most formative years, was like. What I know of him is like a faint outline: He was American-born, the oldest of three children, and his parents were both Russian immigrants who met here. Raised in South Philadelphia, it...
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Whatever happened to other works from two great masters?
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SPEAKING VOLUMES The history of 20th-century literature is littered with famous writer's blocks. Two of the most documented and analyzed were suffered by a Jewish American, Henry Roth, and an African-American, Ralph Ellison. Both novelists wrote a single -- and singular -- work, and then seemingly fell silent. With Roth, the first work was Call It Sleep , which has...
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How the French got in step with the Nazis during World War II
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Until the release of Marcel Ophuls' four-hour documentary The Sorrow and the Pity in 1971, the conventional wisdom about France during World War II was that it may have been a country swiftly defeated by the Nazis, then brutally occupied, but no matter what, it never grew complaisant -- nor did it ever misunderstand its true mission under...
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Songwriter supplies his lyrics, plus thoughts on what swayed him melodically
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SPEAKING VOLUMES I have no objectivity when it comes to Finishing the Hat , Stephen Sondheim's collected lyrics covering the years 1954-1981, recently published by Alfred A. Knopf. How could I, when the musicals discussed in these pages, beginning with Gypsy , which I saw during its Philadelphia tryout in 1959, have made up some of the most memorable moments...
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