Paul Martin: Street 'urchins,' London, UK, 1893 (Courtesy: www.phaidon.com)

Charles Dickens on Homelessness

In essay XIII of The Uncommercial Traveller, Charles Dickens writes of the prevalence of homelessness, as it was found in the London of 1860. The essays that formed the book were drawn from essays written for his weekly periodical All the Year Round, which had a circulation as high as 300,000. London at the time…

Masaki Kobayashi – Samurai Rebellion (1967)

Masaki Kobayashi’s 1967 extraordinary study of the implacability of power—in this instance represented by the absolutism of feudal power—its lack of mercy, its destruction of opposition. It is set in 1725, in the time of the Tokugawa shogunate. It is both bleak and absorbing. In the end, skill and compassion, as the viewer must anticipate,…

Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto 2 in G, Op. 44 (1880)

An underappreciated work, completed two years after the first piano concerto. It premiered not in Moscow, but in New York City. Like Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, this work was heavily cut to their detriment. For the equilibrium of the whole, the concerto must be played as the composer intended. There are some banalities in the first…

Beethoven, manuscript of the Arietta, Op. 111

Beethoven – Piano Sonata 32 in c, Op. 111 (1822)

Beethoven never repeats himself, insists András Schiff. And adds that this sonata is “one of the wonders of mankind.” It moves, and moves one, in a kind of exaltation, to borrow the word from Anton Kuerti. American musicologist Richard Taruskin, in his massive but marvellous Music in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (2010), gives an extensive…

Surviving Government – Four Seasons of Political Disarray – Hendrik Slegtenhorst (2017)

Surviving Government, a book in 27 chapters and 246 pages in length, describes four seasons of political disarray, through technical and personal commentaries from an inadvertent town manager. Publication is scheduled for the summer of 2017. The book presents an understanding of local government for the individual citizen, and how each citizen can influence, modify,…