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18 May 2000
Franz Liszt. Vol. III: The Final Years, 1861-86 
by Alan Walker.
Faber, 594 pp., £45, February 1998, 0 571 19034 0
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The Romantic Generation 
by Charles Rosen.
HarperCollins, 720 pp., £14.99, March 1999, 0 00 255712 6
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Franz Liszt: Selected Letters 
edited by Adrian Williams.
Oxford, 1063 pp., £70, January 1999, 0 19 816688 5
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... the one about Liszt the lady-killer. In reality, Liszt was more of a Cary Grant than a Clark Gable, more Don Ottavio than Don Giovanni – although he did play the latter on stage. According to CharlesRosen: ‘With his international reputation for erotic conquest already set’, Liszt must have known that the public would take Réminiscences de Don Juan (1841) ‘as a self-portrait in sound, just ...

The Great Business

Nicholas Penny

21 March 1985
Art of the 19th Century: Painting and Sculpture 
by Robert Rosenblum and H.W. Janson.
Thames and Hudson, 527 pp., £25, March 1984, 0 500 23385 3
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Romanticism and Realism: The Mythology of 19th-Century Art 
by Charles Rosen and Henri Zerner.
Faber, 244 pp., £15, October 1984, 0 571 13332 0
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Géricault: His Life and Work 
by Lorenz Eitner.
Orbis, 376 pp., £40, March 1983, 0 85613 384 1
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Tradition and Desire: From David to Delacroix 
by Norman Bryson.
Cambridge, 277 pp., £27.50, August 1984, 0 521 24193 6
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... Ingres mysteriously fighting on both sides), and that Géricault has been turned into Courbet, Delacroix into Van Gogh, Corot into Pissarro, Constable into Monet – and Monet into Jackson Pollock. CharlesRosen and Henri Zerner in Romanticism and Realism, a book based on articles written in the course of recent years for the New York Review of Books, are anxious to defend the idea of a ‘modern ...
19 March 1987
The Revenge of the Philistines 
by Hilton Kramer.
Secker, 445 pp., £12.50, July 1986, 0 436 23687 7
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Gilbert and George 
by Carter Ratcliff.
Thames and Hudson, 271 pp., £14.95, November 1986, 0 500 27443 6
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British Art in the 20th Century 
edited by Susan Compton.
Prestel-Verlag (Munich), 460 pp., £16.90, January 1987, 3 7913 0798 3
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... this sort of painting, is also going to have to be recognised as one of the classics of our art. In a piece first published in the third volume of Art of Our Time (as the catalogue of the Doris and Charles Saatchi collection is so portentously entitled) he welcomes the way that, with Schnabel, painting has become ‘grave, mysterious and messy again’. As former critic of the New York Times, now ...

A, E♭, C, B

Paul Driver: Robert Schumann

21 February 2008
Robert Schumann: Life and Death of a Musician 
by John Worthen.
Yale, 496 pp., £25, July 2007, 978 0 300 11160 6
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The Cambridge Companion to Schumann 
edited by Beate Perrey.
Cambridge, 302 pp., £19.99, June 2007, 978 0 521 78950 9
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Schumann’s Late Style 
by Laura Tunbridge.
Cambridge, 246 pp., £50, October 2007, 978 0 521 87168 6
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... indictment of Schumann, in which he represented the music as ‘baroque originality combined with unlimited contradictions’. Two of the most stylish essays are by John Daverio, who drowned in the Charles River in Boston in March 2003, a death that may have been accidental but eerily echoes Schumann’s plunge into the Rhine at a similar time of year. His first essay surveys Schumann’s early piano ...

The Faster the Better

Paul Driver: Anatomising Mendelssohn

3 February 2005
Mendelssohn: A Life in Music 
by Larry Todd.
Oxford, 683 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 19 511043 9
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... more of counterpoint than of train oil and seagulls and salt fish – and it ought to be exactly the reverse.’ Todd does resist, with the result that his Mendelssohn is the stuffy, spoiled, Prince Charles-ish stereotype of aloofness that I’m sure he’s trying to get away from. Todd’s Mendelssohn is seen through the wrong end of a telescope, and everything else is peered at under a microscope. One ...


David Matthews: How to Write a Fugue

21 September 2006
The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard 1715-50 
by Joseph Kerman.
California, 173 pp., £15.95, August 2005, 0 520 24358 7
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... fugue in Book I of Bach’s ‘48’, the six-part ricercare from his Musical Offering, and the opening fugue of Beethoven’s C sharp minor Quartet, Op. 131. In his preface, Joseph Kerman quotes CharlesRosen: The ‘pure fugue’, the meditative fugue, is basically a keyboard work for Bach … Only the performer at the keyboard is in a position to appreciate the movement of the voices, their ...

The Lobby Falters

John Mearsheimer: Charles​ Freeman speaks out

26 March 2009
... Many people in Washington were surprised when the Obama administration tapped Charles Freeman to chair the National Intelligence Council, the body that oversees the production of National Intelligence Estimates: Freeman had a distinguished 30-year career as a diplomat and Defense ...

There is no alternative to becoming Leadbeater

Nick Cohen: Charles​ Leadbeater

28 October 1999
Living on Thin Air: The New Economy 
by Charles​ Leadbeater.
Viking, 244 pp., £17.99, July 1999, 0 670 87669 0
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... halt its decline with a bold stroke. For the first time in the history of journalism a national newspaper sold itself as a think tank pamphlet. Two of those hired to fill senior editorial positions, Charles Leadbeater and Martin Jacques, were ex-Communists who had wound up their party and formed Demos, a research centre aligned to Tony Blair’s New Labour project. Geoff Mulgan, a former Trotskyist and ...

Music Lessons

Nicholas Spice

14 December 1995
by Maynard Solomon.
Hutchinson, 640 pp., £25, May 1995, 9780091747046
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... of the harmonic movement were enacted through the pressure of the fingertips. ‘Perhaps no composer used the seductive physical power of music with the intensity and the range of Mozart,’ says CharlesRosen in The Classical Style. Glenn Gould thought Mozart’s music was ‘hedonist’. The immediacy of Mozart’s music can be spooky. That simple four-note figure repeated twice, the viola motif in ...

Business as Usual

J. Hoberman: Hitler in Hollywood

19 December 2013
Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-39 
by Thomas Doherty.
Columbia, 429 pp., £24, April 2013, 978 0 231 16392 7
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The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler 
by Ben Urwand.
Harvard, 327 pp., £19.95, August 2013, 978 0 674 72474 7
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... was new? Before September 1939 and even after the Second World War began, the West was full of enablers and apologists. Hitler’s American admirers included Henry Ford, William Randolph Hearst and Charles Lindbergh. General Motors, DuPont and IBM did business with the Nazis. So did MGM. It’s no shock to see democratic politicians cosying up to Saudi autocrats, or Rupert Murdoch or the Walt Disney ...

In His Hot Head

Andrew O’Hagan: Robert Louis Stevenson

17 February 2005
Robert Louis Stevenson: A Biography 
by Claire Harman.
HarperCollins, 503 pp., £25, February 2005, 0 00 711321 8
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... Standing on the deck of the sinking Lusitania, the American theatrical manager Charles Frohman spoke his last words. ‘Why fear death?’ he was heard to say. ‘It is the most beautiful adventure in life.’ He may have been echoing J.M. Barrie, whose ‘awfully big adventure’ had ...


Robin Holloway: Donald Francis Tovey

8 August 2002
The Classics of Music: Talks, Essays and Other Writings Previously Uncollected 
by Donald Francis Tovey, edited by Michael Tilmouth.
Oxford, 821 pp., £60, September 2001, 0 19 816214 6
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... and content, and a persuasive description of how what would have seemed puerile to Bach becomes the Ursprung of Haydn’s material, where its handling is so far from childish. Here he anticipates CharlesRosen’s Classical Style, which has always seemed to be a brilliant codification and tidying up of the rich overview implicit in Tovey’s sprawling oeuvre, in which extraordinary hints and insights ...

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