Skip to content

Category Archives: Music

The Journals of Jean Sibelius.


At a certain point in my college career I stopped worrying very much about my classes, and decided to get my education directly from the university library.  One of the books I read at the time was Erik Tawaststjerna’s monumental three-volume biography of Sibelius.  I often find that great musicians can also write, but Sibelius […]

Temples The Shape of the Sky


I don’t quite remember the year or the date, but at some point I saw on PBS Mikis Theodorakis’s oratorio To Axion Esti. The force of the performance, however, I do remember. It started with a bit of orchestral chaos, and then a chord, and something that sounded like the voice of a lonely, mournful […]

Tangled Up in Thucydides.


The third piece I’ve written for Eidolon, this one about Bob Dylan’s apparent discovery of a new book by Pericles (or his general confusion about the Classics).

Bob Dylan, Conscience of a Generation.


A few weeks ago I was cleaning up after a party at my house and came upon a paper bag full of books which a guest had apparently left as a gift.  They were all recent books, the kind of stuff that makes me hate being in bookstores – I always feel like I have […]

Against The Queen of Pentacles.


Suzanne Vega put an album out in 2014, “Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles,” which is at least one (and probably two) too many prepositional phrases, but the concept of the album is intriguing: Pentacles, she explains, in the Tarot deck are the suit of the material world; of comforts, the earth […]

La Boheme in Bloombergia.


Pauperibus vates ego sum, quia pauper amavi; cum dare non possem munera, verba dabam. “I am the bard of the poor, because I have been a poor man in love; when I had no gifts to give, I gave words.” – Ovid As we get older, I think we all fear for the things we really […]

Talk About Damning With Faint Praise


“The best written musical autobiography since Bob Dylan’s Chronicles.” – The Telegraph describing Morrissey’s Autobiography.

Music is politics.


Today in Ohio there will be a concert at the Board of Elections during early voting.  John Legend is headlining the concert.  Do you think John Legend might be pulling a slightly different crowd to the polls than, say, Randy Owen?

Searching for Sugar Man.


Recognition depends to a great extent on chance, but given enough time, chance produces fairly reliable results. In general, however, a single human lifetime is not long enough. And so there will always be people whose excellence goes unrecognized in their lifetimes. Van Gogh is the most extreme example, the painter who never sold a […]

Sibelius’s Back Catalog.


My father’s idea of a good evening was to sit in the half-darkness getting drunk and listening to classical music; he had us kids turn the record or tape over for him.  I always had preferences for some of the music above others – when I was five I conceived such a passion for “The […]