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Robert Walser — Modernism’s Mystery Man

March 10, 2009
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By Bill Marx Susan Bernofsky’s translation of Robert Walser’s 1908 novel won her a 2007 PEN Translation Fund Award. She’s followed that up by translating the Swiss writer’s first novel, “The Tanners.” A recent World Books podcast explores two recent translations from the German of novels by the mysterious Swiss writer Robert Walser, an author…

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Theater Review: ‘42nd Street’ via Youngsters

March 5, 2009
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By Caldwell Titcomb Some of the dancing feet in a scene from the Boston Conservatory production of “42nd Street.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a sucker for tapdancing – whether the unsurpassed solo hoofing of the late Gregory Hines (1946-2003) or an entire stage of unison clickety-clacking. Tapdancing was a stage…

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Film Commentary: Spoiling “Oil!”

March 5, 2009
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By Gary Schwartz Director Paul Thomas Anderson is no Upton Sinclair. Half an hour into Paul Thomas Anderson’s film There Will be Blood, shown on Dutch television the other night, I told Loekie how intensely happy I was that the film existed. A few months ago I read the book on which the film is…

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“Waltz With Bashir” — First a Film, Now a Graphic Novel

March 3, 2009
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By Bill Marx David Polonsky, Art Director of “Waltz With Bashir.” Recently, the World Books podcast got about as close to Hollywood as it is probably ever going to get. I talk to Israeli artist David Polonsky about the acclaimed animated documentary “Waltz With Bashir,” directed by Ari Folman.

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Classical Music Review: Lang Lang Returns to Boston

March 3, 2009
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By Caldwell Titcomb Chinese pianist Lang Lang can play the heck out of Chopin. When I first heard Chinese pianist Lang Lang, he was a teenager. He displayed plenty of virtuosity, but without an idea in his head – and the music chosen was not worth anyone’s time. He had begun lessons at three and…

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Kafka Fragments: Sublime Claustrophobia

February 26, 2009
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By Bill Marx Soprano Aliana de la Guardia and violinist Gabriela Diaz performing selections of “Kafka Fragments” at a WGBH studio. A recent World Books podcast serves up a literary/musical treat. A Boston company, Ludovoco Ensemble, presented a performance of “Kafka Fragments,” a short chamber work composed by György Kurtág for soprano and violin in…

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Classical Music Review: Angela Hewitt’s Boston Debut

February 25, 2009
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By Caldwell Titcomb Pianist Angela Hewitt is welcome to visit Boston whenever she chooses. For some years professional musicians in London have been urging me to get acquainted with the pianism of Angela Hewitt. I was finally able to catch up last Sunday when she made her Boston debut at Jordan Hall under the auspices…

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Visual Arts: The Humanist Meets the Exorcist

February 21, 2009
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by Gary Schwartz Albrecht Dürer, Erasmus, 1521 The recently closed exhibition Images of Erasmus at the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam rightly introduced Hieronymus Bosch into Erasmus’s sphere. Here are some unsuspected truths – well, at least possible truths – about the two of them.

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Margellos World Republic of Letters

February 18, 2009
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By Bill Marx “Five Spice Street” is the second book in the new series the Margellos World Republic of Letters, which features foreign literature in translation. Given all the gloomy publishing news I wanted the podcast to focus on a positive development for books in translations. So in this World Books podcast I talk to…

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Jazz Review: Mimi Rabson Premieres ‘The Berklee Violin Solos’

February 17, 2009
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By J. R. Carroll Violinists are a fortunate lot. Granted, many years of painstaking study and practice are required to master the instrument, but once achieved, that mastery can be taken in almost any direction–or in many directions. As part of what she describes as her “never-ending quest for new vocabulary,” Mimi Rabson has headed…

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