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Grand Old Sod

Paul Driver: William Walton, 12 December 2002

The Selected Letters of William Walton 
edited by Malcolm Hayes.
Faber, 526 pp., £30, January 2002, 0 571 20105 9
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William Walton: Muse of Fire 
by Stephen Lloyd.
Boydell, 332 pp., £45, June 2001, 9780851158037
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William Walton, the Romantic Loner: A Centenary Portrait Album 
by Humphrey Burton and Maureen Murray.
Oxford, 182 pp., £25, January 2002, 0 19 816235 9
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... Malcolm Hayes tells us that the letters he has selected are merely a quarter of a fifth of those so far available, but one would not want the volume longer. William Walton is no prose stylist, not much of an anecdotalist, and his letters reveal remarkably little about him. They are nearly always utilitarian – money, advice, favours to be sought, contracts to be finalised, parts to be corrected, a libretto to be endlessly rejigged, practicalities of life on an Italian island to be discussed – and not infrequently duplicitous ...

Most people think birds just go pi-pi-pi

James Fletcher, 4 April 1996

The Messiaen Companion 
edited by Peter Hill.
Faber, 581 pp., £40, March 1995, 0 571 17033 1
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Olivier Messiaen: Music and Colour. Conversations with Claude Samuel 
translated by Thomas Glasow.
Amadeus, 296 pp., $29.95, May 1994, 0 931340 67 5
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... homage’ to the angel of Revelation 10.6 who said that there shall be time no longer.’ But Malcolm Hayes is surely right that the title has a more immediate meaning: ‘We know now that Messiaen was not to stay in captivity in a German prisoner-of-war camp for years to come, perhaps even to die there. He himself did not know that at the ...

Got to go make that dollar

Alex Abramovich: Otis Redding, 3 January 2019

Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life 
by Jonathan Gould.
Crown, 544 pp., £12.99, May 2018, 978 0 307 45395 2
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... had died, but because events since his death – the marches from Selma; the assassination of Malcolm X – had changed the national mood. This is what gives Redding’s coda such force. ‘There’s been times when I thought I couldn’t last for long,’ are the last lines Cooke sang: But now I think I’m able to carry on It’s been a long, a long ...

On Cortney Lamar Charleston

Stephanie Burt, 21 October 2021

... Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks, but to contemporary Black poets: Elizabeth Alexander and Terrance Hayes; Harryette Mullen, Reginald Dwayne Betts and Evie Shockley. (He is one of the few young poets who has learned from Hayes without copying him.) But if Charleston represents a new generation of Black writers, he faces ...

War within wars

Paul Addison, 5 November 1992

War, Strategy and International Politics: Essays in Honour of Sir Michael Howard 
edited by Lawrence Freedman, Paul Hayes and Robert O’Neill.
Oxford, 322 pp., £35, July 1992, 0 19 822292 0
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... be employed for the protection of merchant shipping. The Admiralty also comes out badly from Paul Hayes’s analysis of its pre-1914 plans for a sudden descent on Germany. But for the resistance these plans encountered, he writes, ‘the catastrophe of the Gallipoli campaign might instead have been enacted in Friesland. The effects on morale, prestige and on ...

Very like St Paul

Ian Sansom: Johnny Cash, 9 March 2006

The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend 
by Steve Turner.
Bloomsbury, 363 pp., £8.99, February 2006, 0 7475 8079 0
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Walk the Line 
directed by James Mangold.
November 2005
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... with Cash in the late 1960s. ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Boy Named Sue’ and ‘The Ballad of Ira Hayes’ were all written by others; likewise, cover versions of Cash’s songs are often an improvement on the originals; see, for example, Waylon Jennings’s unsurpassable up-tempo ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ (from Heartaches by the Numbers), or Nick Cave’s ...

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