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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 26, 2013/ 16 Adar 5773

Program notes

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is customary now to go to a concert of classical music and hear ... a talk.

The custom long ago spread to the Clinton Presidential Library here in Little Rock, unfortunately. That's where chamber music is regularly served up by a select group of the Arkansas Symphony -- for which we in these parts are just as regularly grateful.

For a starter this evening, we get a condensed Music Appreciation course delivered in a tone that would be suitable for an assemblage of small children, or maybe gentle idiots. How come those who go to rock concerts or an evening of jazz don't have to suffer through an explanatory lecture first? Maybe it's because they know music speaks for itself, or should.

Listening to musicians talk about a piece of classical music -- its background, composer, formation, technique and other addenda -- is almost as stultifying as listening to writers talk about writing (the word processor versus longhand) or an actor being interviewed after a performance. Reduced to writing his own lines, he decides to enlighten us with his views about the Great Political and Ideological Issues of the Day, heaven help us.

The actor who's as interesting off the stage as on is the rare exception to a dismal rule. (The names Richard Burton and Louise Brooks, the vamp of the silent screen, spring to mind.)

Tonight, instead of music that soothes the savage breast, we begin with a mini-TED presentation. Luckily, not even all the talk tonight can put a damper on the musicianship of the Rockefeller Quartet, aka The Rocks. This is their 10th anniversary concert, and their opening number -- Mendelssohn's String Quartet No. 3 in D Major -- was worth waiting 10 years for. The quartet played more than well. They played in that realm where words fail, where they would only get in the way.

At the end, the audience leaps to its feet. I don't remember getting up; the music must have lifted me. Afterward, looking at my program, which is where I scrawl notes on the concert, I see only one: "I am so happy."

Then it's time to go from the sublime to ... Philip Glass, the minimalist composer, and the more minimal my exposure to his work, the better. His natural metier, if you'll forgive my French, is background music for movies like "The Truman Show" -- something that maintains a constant tension without really going anywhere. Much like modernity itself.

If there is a single word to describe both the best and worst of Philip Glass's work, it is cinematic, and both his best and worst have the same skittish quality about them. They make me nervous.

Perhaps seeking distraction, any distraction, I hear the sound of the air-conditioning turning on in the hall, and for a moment wonder if it's part of the composition. It would be just like Philip Glass. With him, you have to wonder: Is this his music or just the metronome?

But there are those who love Glass, and can't wait for his latest composition, which to my ear sounds like all the rest -- like a prelude to some impending disaster, but without the relief disaster might afford.

Maybe I just haven't heard enough Glass, but I'm not about to. A little of his music goes an awfully long way. It never seems to end, just stop.

Then, mercifully, it's time for a reprieve. I mean intermission. It's followed by Tchaikovsky's String Quartet No. 1 in D Major. It's played expertly -- you wouldn't expect less of the Rockefeller Quartet. Nothing wrong with its execution, though a critic's ear might detect something here or there. No, it's not the execution that's off but the conception. Where is the Russian melancholy that looms behind Tchaikovky's even gayest pieces?

Instead, this rendition makes his music sound ... almost sweet. Like one blini after another, each served with a different accompaniment -- sour cream, caviar, apple sauce, maybe maple syrup. The effect of the whole is enough to make you a little queasy, or at least eager to leave while the Mendelssohn still lingers in the air and mind.

We do. And I'm still happy. Thank you, Rocks.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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