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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 March 11, 2014 / 9 Adar II, 5774

Playing tonight: Mahler

By Paul Greenberg




JewishWorldReview.com | Tuesday night's chamber music concert at the Clinton Library, which have become a mainstay for music lovers here in Little Rock, included a Mahler piano quartet. Good choice. At some point in his travels, Gustav Mahler would naturally have come to America, mother of exiles. He already had an impressive record in Vienna, where he'd come from his East European shtetl to attend its famous conservatory. Ah, turn of the century Vienna, brimming with new music and old charm, good coffee and your choice of newspapers -- one for every taste from cosmopolitan to barbaric. A haven for both the latest Hungarian arriviste and the last Habsburg.

Mahler must have been ecstatic, almost as happy as he was ambitious. The pattern for his career was set young: the eternal wunderkind alternately impressing his elders and outraging them. In Vienna he would become a celebrated conductor, arranger, composer and producer when he wasn't offending philistines of all persuasions, whether defenders of German Kultur or peddlers of prejudice, not that it was always easy to tell the difference.

Mahler would be an exile musically long before he became one geographically, arriving in New York at the beginning of 1908 to conduct the already well-known Metropolitan Opera (opened, 1883) as a visiting star.

Whatever spectaculars Mahler produced at the Met, he would remain his own man, a perfectionist who treated his musicians the way a lion tamer does the lions, unbending in his devotion to his own conception of the music, whether Wagner's or Mozart's.

Tonight's Mahler is his short but popular Piano Quartet in A minor, a product of his teenage years, and a calm preface not just to the chamber music at the Clinton Library this evening, but to his tempestuous life. It is regular, reasonable, respectable -- high-Viennese and high-spirited -- but still restrained. Nicht zu schnell, not too fast, is the composer's only instruction for the players, and they follow it tonight with admirable discipline, but not so much as to hide their considerable talent.

Tonight's quartet is composed of the always charming (when his musicianship isn't just plain fascinating) Geoffrey Robson on the violin, the always competent David Gerstein on cello, with Julie Cheek at the piano and Tatiana Kotcherguina on viola. This isn't a collaboration so much as a shared labor of love.

The young Mahler's saving sense of reason shines through. In the middle of the busy world speeding by on the interstate just outside the Clinton Library's expanse of clear glass, an island of reason is created -- a small sandbar in the turbulent stream of ephemera waiting for us just outside. It offers succor, health, rest. Fifteen minutes not of fame but beauty, which is far more valuable. And lasting. Well played.

Then comes the avalanche. Jagged slabs of modernity fall on old Vienna in the form of Alban Berg's "Lyric Suite," which is less lyric than lumpen, more numerology than music. But none of it is as bad as the overlong Music Appreciation Course that one of the performers feels obliged to inflict on the innocent audience, which has done nothing to deserve such cruel and inhuman punishment. Except to support the Quapaw Quartet here in Little Rock, whose music is so much better than this profuse explanation of it.

Once again I am proud of the South, for surely only a well behaved, ever polite audience of ladies and gentlemen would sit still, literally, for such abuse.

But all this is to overlook Part V of the suite, which has a frenetic appeal even to lovers of Mozartian order. It could be a film score for a Hitchcock murder mystery or the Coen Brothers' latest mix of the comic and homicidal. I'd love to hear it again. If I didn't have to abide Parts I, II, III, IV and VI of the six-part work.

The instructions that accompany Part V read Presto Delirando -- Tenebroso. According to my pidgin Italian, that means fast and furious, a raving delirium full of violent contrasts. Think of it as chiaroscuro with malice. If that's the way it was supposed to be played, it was. Thank you, musicians. Well and ominously played.

Then, after a much needed intermission to catch our breath, comes the headliner: Dvorak's Piano Trio No. 3 in F minor. I can feel my insides relax. Civilization will now return. I think -- but I've thought too soon.

Maybe, between Mahler and Dvorak, tonight was supposed to be Bohemian Night. A good idea. It would have made even better music -- if one of the musicians, Tatiana Roitman, hadn't banged her flashy way through Dvorak's finely wrought composition like some Tyrannosaurus Rex loosed in a luscious garden intended for fawns.

Let's just say that, in the never humble opinion of this rank amateur of a music critic -- very rank -- the sweetness of the piece would have come through whole if Ms. Roitman hadn't been so inexplicably heavy-handed. As if she were there not to complement the other players but to crush them -- and the audience -- into submission.



David Gerstein did his usual dependable job on the cello, and violinist Meredith Maddox Hicks captured the delicate yet strong shadings of a classic work. If only we could have heard her over the hammer touch of the pianist.

. . .

There is no piece of music, however sensitive, whose quality is not dependent on the sensitivities (or absence thereof) of those who play it. Miraculously, and there is indeed something miraculous about music written in one century coming alive in another, some of Dvorak's magic did manage to survive. What a pity more of it didn't.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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