More on the Neal Cassady letter
14 hours ago
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Noel Coward writes a precis of his life in "To Thine Own Self, Be True!" The author of Bittersweet propounds a rather bittersweet worldview:I guess I could best sum up what I have tried and am still trying to get out of success by saying that it truly gives me a good feeling to bring people closer together through music.
Another delightful moment is when Jack Benny addresses the subject "How well do I play the violin?" His modest answer might do for many amateur musicians: "Not so badly as I often sound, but no as well as I would like." From here he goes on the extoll the "amateur" - someone who "does something for the love of it, not necessarily badly."As to myself, I am optimistic. As to life, I am pessimistic. I explain this duality this way: I amuse myself and I am happy, being first of all disposed to mirth. But I detest the follies and stupidities of the human race.
The job of the critic is not to be “right” (especially not when “right” means “in sync with someone else’s opinion”), but to make his or her case persuasively and with conviction. Shaw did that every week.Here, Mr. Kosman also makes his case persuasively and with conviction. But, of course, you need not take a critic's word for any of this. You can go to the sources to read and evaluate the works of both men yourself. The Library awaits with a number of books collecting the writings of George Shaw and Virgil Thomson. While here you can also check out the writing many contemporary music critics like Alex Ross, Alan Rich, Kyle Gann, and Tim Page.