Recent links of note:
“The Sistine Chapel as you’ve never seen it before”
Rosie Millard, The Spectator
If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed will have to go to the mountain, or so the saying goes. For those chomping at the bit to see the art of the Sistine Chapel, the conventional wisdom no longer applies. A new, three-volume set of books retailing for £16,500 offers unprecedented 1:1 scale reproductions of the entirety of the Sistine Chapel’s wall and ceiling paintings. The result, it seems, is equal parts absurd and enticing, and an immense tribute to the work of the artists. But is such a recontextualization fair to their vision? Michelangelo’s fierce, thick brushstrokes might appear “expressionistic” when held at arm’s length, but as opening a book like this reveals, so much is dependent on our own manipulations of perspective and context. Rosie Millard explores more on this theme in a review for The Spectator.
“Doing Justice to William Walton”
Terry Teachout, Commentary
When the British composers William Walton (1902–83) and Benjamin Britten (1913–76) met for the first time, the junior Britten recorded in his diary that he was charmed to meet Walton, but that “he is so obviously the head prefect of English music, whereas I’m the promising new boy.” Soon enough the new boy himself had usurped the head prefect’s chair, and it is to Britten’s legacy that music historians nod first when chronicling the revival of British classical music in the twentieth century. Terry Teachout makes a case for Walton, a composer of neo-romantic symphonies and concertos tinged with turbulent modernist energy, in an article for Commentary.
“Casting Pearls Before Repetilovs”
Gary Saul Morson, The New York Review of Books
Alexander Griboedov (1795–1829) lived long enough to publish one work of note, the verse comedy Woe from Wit. As Gary Saul Morson writes for The New York Review of Books, it captured the hearts of Russians like no other play before or since. Griboedov met his end on a diplomatic mission to Persia, killed in a daring last-ditch defense of the Russian embassy in Tehran against an angry mob. In a twist of fate, the care of Griboedov’s grave and legacy was entrusted to the citizens of Tbilisi, Georgia. I lived on what is now called Griboedov Square, from which I would sometimes stroll to visit his final resting place, a tomb enshrined in the middle of the Pantheon on Mtatsminda, the holy mountain that overlooks the city.
“Music for a While #42: From a toast to a prayer.”
Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion’s music critic, talks music—but, more important, plays music.
“A fourth B,” by Jay Nordlinger. On Peter G. Davis & Hector Berlioz.