This week: Chatsworth, Brahms, Independence & more.

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire standing beside two paintings by Canaletto. Photo courtesy Sotheby’s.

Nonfiction:

­Brian O’Doherty: Collected Essays, edited by Liam Kelly (University of California Press): Brian O’Doherty began his career as an art critic while a medical student in 1950s Dublin, after coming upon Vasari and Jacob Burkhardt in his spare time and beginning correspondence with various poets and art historians. After moving to America, O’Doherty became a noted interviewer and writer for The New York Times, and he eventually charted alternative careers as a conceptual artist and bureaucrat at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he created and developed such programs as American Masters and Great Performances. The present volume of this polymath’s criticism is perhaps most notable for its collection of O’Doherty’s writings on Edward Hopper and Mark Rothko, two painters whom the writer befriended and knew well. It also contains his latest word on the “white cube” (he coined the now-ubiquitous phrase) from 2009, an update to his influential 1976 Inside the White Cube, an early critique of institutional Modernism. —AS

Art:

Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of an Old Man, 1651Oil on canvas. Photo courtesy Devonshire Collection. Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees

“Treasures from Chatsworth,” at Sotheby’s (through September 18): Prime Minister H. H. Asquith’s son Raymond, the golden boy who died young in the First World War, didn’t like Chatsworth, the Derbyshire stately home of the Dukes of Devonshire. “How you would loathe the place! It crushes one by its size and is full of smart shrivelled up people. . . . and there is only one bathroom in the house, which is kept for the King,” he wrote to his future wife, Katherine Horner, in 1906, the year before they were married. Others have been more impressed; Daniel Defoe, visiting in the 1720s, declared the house and grounds “the most delightful Valley, with the most pleasant Garden, and most beautiful Palace in the World.” This summer, Sotheby’s has brought together more than forty objects from the house, including state livery, jewels, a Canaletto or two, and a Rembrandt. While those will eventually return to England, the auction house is simultaneously holding a “selling exhibition” called “Inspired by Chatsworth” with eighty-seven works of art that, once installed, might give the owner a semblance of the famed country house look. —BR

Music:

Elmira Darvarova, Violin, & Zhen Chen, Piano at Weill Recital Hall (July 3): Brahms aficionados and amateurs alike should consider heading to Weill Recital Hall a half-hour before 7 p.m. this Wednesday, or even earlier: the New York Chamber Music Festival and Carnegie Hall have conspired to host a free concert featuring all three of the composer’s sonatas for violin, with tickets available at the box office prior to the event. The Violinist Elmira Darvarova, the first female concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera, will be seconded by the pianist Zhen Chen; the two released a recording of the Brahms sonatas earlier this year. Listeners can look forward to a spirited and melodically precise interpretation of the sonatas, as well as Brahms’s Scherzo in C Minor (which, incidentally, served as his contribution to the collaborative F-A-E Sonata, with the other movements written by his contemporaries Robert Schumann and Albert Dietrich). Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so concertgoing hopefuls would do well to arrive on the earlier side. —RE

Other:

“The American Revolution: Dawn of Independence” walking tour (July 4): While most culture is on hold for the July 4 holiday, those looking for enrichment do have options. The adventurous and early rising might skip all the way downtown to take in a walking tour of Lower Manhattan focusing on the area’s role in the American Revolution. As a bonus, the price of the tour includes admission to Fraunces Tavern Museum, where General Washington bade farewell to his officers. —BR

From the archive: “The rise of the vocal recital,” by Patrick J. Smith (May 2003). On a recent development in vocal performance.

From the current issue: “Moore & Moore,” by Eric Gibson. On “Henry Moore: The Helmet Heads” at the Wallace Collection, London, and “Henry Moore Drawings: The Art of Seeing” at the Henry Moore Foundation.

Broadcast: “Music for a While: A tute or two,” by Jay Nordlinger.

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