This week: the British monarchy, family business, Lois Dodd, the State Ballet of Georgia, coronation music & more.
A Brief History of the British Monarchy: From the Iron Age to King Charles III, by Jeremy Black (Robinson): As the coronation of King Charles III draws near, those interested in matters monarchical could profitably brush up with Jeremy Black’s new book, A Brief History of the British Monarchy. Short in pages but long on detail, this title is a model reference work (the family trees are particularly useful) on a topic that seems never far from the news cycle. —BR
Sons in the Shadow: Surviving the Family Business as an SOB (Son of the Boss), by Roy H. Park Jr. (Elderberry Press): The oldest and most widespread business model is that of the family. Such businesses embody the virtues of good old-fashioned American entrepreneurship, yet the tension between parent and child in a business context can be fraught with stress. In his book Sons in the Shadow: Surviving the Family Business as an SOB (Son of the Boss), Roy H. Park Jr. explores the ins and outs of working for a family business. In a book that is at once biographical and autobiographical, Park tells the compelling story behind the rise of his father’s media empire—whose advertisements at one time reached 25 percent of the American public—and his own perspective of the highs and lows during the seventeen years he spent working for him. A newly revised edition of Sons in the Shadow will be released later this year. —JW
“Lois Dodd: Natural Order,” at the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut (through May 28): The New York School graduated more than just one kind of artist. Some of the most interesting were the painters who turned to representation. Lois Dodd came of age at the very heart of the Tenth Street avant-garde scene. Born in Montclair, New Jersey, in 1927, she studied at the Cooper Union in the 1940s. In 1952, she was one of the founding members of the cooperative Tanager Gallery, next door to the studio of Willem de Kooning. Yet like the Tanager artists Philip Pearlstein and Alex Katz, Dodd lived in the world of Abstract Expressionism but was not of it. She took an abstract feeling for paint and applied it to representing the subtleties of the world around her. The Bruce Museum, in Greenwich, Connecticut, has now mounted the largest survey of her work to date. Featuring almost eighty paintings spanning nearly her entire career, from the mid-1950s to 2021, “Lois Dodd: Natural Order” reveals this living master in her quiet greatness. —JP
Handel’s coronation anthems and more, performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall (April 13): If a quick jaunt over to Charles III’s coronation in London on May 6 is out of the question, consider instead a subway ride and a ticket to Carnegie Hall this Thursday—there, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s will perform George Frideric Handel’s four great coronation anthems, which he composed for the 1727 accession of George II, Charles’s seven-times-great-grandfather. This was just after George II’s father, shortly before dying, had encouraged a special Act of Parliament to naturalize the beloved German immigrant. What splendid thank-you gifts Handel tendered: Zadok the Priest, Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened, The King Shall Rejoice, and My Heart is Inditing, perennial favorites of choral orchestral music at Westminster Abbey and on the concert stage ever since. Hear them conducted by Bernard Labadie, together with Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks and Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne. —IS
The State Ballet of Georgia, at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, New York (April 16): In the Republic of Georgia, a habit of singing in complex polyphony around the feasting table has long helped breed great opera singers; a tradition of village ritual ball-sport has even fostered a top-ranked national rugby team. Their native folkways serve them well. Consider high-flying Georgian folk dancing—men and women, birdlike, kick and jump across the stage (or village square), and even the men go en pointe—an idiom that has encouraged a strong pedigree of Georgian ballet over the last century. To name a few figures of Georgian dance: Vakhtang Chabukiani, Nina Ananiashvili, and, of course, Georgiy Balanchivadze—or as we know him better, George Balanchine. This Sunday, Americans will get a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to see the Georgian State Ballet onstage at New York’s Lehman Center, directed by Ananiashvili herself. Balanchine’s choreography of Tchaikovsky (Serenade) and Bach (Concerto Barocco) will be performed, as well as the contemporary Ukrainian choreographer Yuri Possokhov’s setting of some of those polyphonic songs. Look for Jane Coombs’s upcoming review on Dispatch. —IS
By the Editors:
“Saving the Arts from Politics and Presentism.” How philanthropy can support the arts in an age of activism.
James Panero, Philanthropy Roundtable
“Music for a While #73: Happy Easter.” Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion’s music critic, talks music—but, more important, plays music.
From the Archives:
“How did Dostoevsky know?” by Gary Saul Morson (May 1999). On totalitarianism, evil & intellectuals.
“Waugh’s last cruel novel” by John P. Rossi. On The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh.