“Rachmaninoff: The Complete Études-Tableaux,” featuring Asiya Korepanova, at Saint Thomas Church, New York (September 30): Rachmaninoff, whose praise David Dubal sang for us in the September issue, once broke a string during a performance of his technically demanding Études-Tableaux. Last week, the Russian pianist Asiya Korepanova earned notice in the classical music press for soldiering through a performance of them in the dark during a lightning-induced power outage in Miami. Luckily, the forecast in New York looks clear on Saturday for her performance at Saint Thomas Church of both suites of Études-Tableaux (Ops. 33 and 39), an installment in her yearlong marathon through the complete works of Rachmaninoff for piano solo. Rachmaninoff’s idiosyncratic melding in the Études-Tableaux (study-pictures) of formal experimentation with an almost painterly attempt to represent the experience of sight through sound fixes these suites as landmarks of the piano canon.
ICAA Book Club: “Home: The Residential Architecture of D. Stanley Dixon,” at the General Society Library (September 27): Differing circumstances require different buildings, something architects working in all styles understood until modernism became hegemonic in the middle of the twentieth century. The Atlanta-based architect D. Stanley Dixon’s work is a reminder of the days when genius loci was a guiding principle, as a Bermuda-style home on the east coast of Florida—all low walls and pecky cypress—or a shingled cottage in the Blue Ridge Mountains that seems to emerge out of the landscape can demonstrate. This Wednesday Dixon will be at the General Society Library on behalf of the Institute for Classical Architecture and Art to discuss his new book, Home: The Residential Architecture of D. Stanley Dixon, just out from Rizzoli. —BR
“Language Rights and Wrongs,” featuring Joshua T. Katz, presented by the Galileo Center at Columbia Law School & the Morningside Institute (September 26, October 3 & October 9): “In the beginning was the Word,” as the Gospel of John tells us, but the Bible also warns of limits on human expression; Adam can name all the animals, but it takes an act of God to find “an help meet for him” (KJV 2:23). Indeed the scriptural preoccupation with names and language, from Babel to the burning bush, reminds us that well-ordered speech is a perennial concern. For the next three Tuesdays, the indispensable Joshua T. Katz will be in New York to deliver a lecture series on “Language Rights and Wrongs,” at which the question will surely be raised whether the Bible, Homer, or Plato can tell us anything about gender pronouns or constitutionalism. (The answer: a good deal.) Co-sponsored by the Morningside Institute and the Galileo Center at Columbia Law School, the lectures are free to attend with RSVP (the form can be found on the individual event postings). —RE
“Acts of Faith: Religion and the American West,” at the New-York Historical Society (through February 25): The Wild West has been well mythologized. But what about the pious West? The popular tableau of the American plains of the nineteenth century features gunslingers and desperadoes, but it should also feature Chinese Buddhists, Mormons on the run, Jewish scholars in search of Zion, and regular folk who decided the civilized world lacked the space for their ideas about God. Before the railroads subjugated the wilds, before the gold rushes, before the land was even believed to be habitable, these god-fearing men and women ventured out to tame the frontier—and consecrate it too. The New-York Historical Society presents the escapades of these manifold pioneers in “Acts of Faith,” a thorough exhibition detailing the role of religious peoples in the West’s settling. The collection goes a long way in showing how these trailblazers made “the desert . . . blossom as the rose,” as one such pioneer declared. —LL
Wilfred M. McClay & James Panero discuss “The burden of the humanities.” Occasioned by the fifth annual Circle Lecture of The New Criterion.
“Speaking for Homer,” by John Talbot. On translation and a trio of recent versions of the Iliad.
“Lyndon Johnson’s Supreme Court machinations,” by James Piereson. On Abe Fortas and exploitations of the Court.