Lloyd Schwartz

Lloyd Schwartz is the classical music critic for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

In addition to his role on Fresh Air, Schwartz is the classical music editor of The Boston Phoenix. He is the co-editor of the Library of the America's Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters. He is also the author of three volumes of poems: These People, Goodnight, Gracie and Cairo Traffic. He's the editor of the centennial edition of Elizabeth Bishop's Prose, published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in 2011.

In 1994, Schwartz won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He is the Frederick S. Troy Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Music
11:55 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Every Composer Needs A Great Storyteller

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:39 am

The legendary German conductor Otto Klemperer was one of the most profound musicians of the 20th Century. In the 1960s, nearing the end of his career, he overcame many physical handicaps to create an astonishing body of recorded classical music. EMI has just reissued a broad spectrum of his recordings, including a box set of one of the composers he's most associated with: Gustav Mahler. Fresh Air classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz has a review of Mahler: Symphonies 2, 4, 7 & 9 / Das Lied von der Erde.

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Theater
1:19 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

1936 'Show Boat': A Multiracial, Musical Melodrama, Now Out On DVD

Allan Jones plays debonair leading man Gaylord Ravenal and Irene Dunne is the enchanting Magnolia in the 1936 film version of Show Boat, which has just been released on DVD.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 7:32 am

Broadway had never seen anything like it when Show Boat arrived at the Ziegfeld Theatre in 1927. The score was unforgettable and the story tackled complex racial issues. There have been three movie versions, but the best one — James Whale's 1936 production — has only just been released on DVD.

Show Boat was the first great serious Broadway musical. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, who wrote the songs, and Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., who produced it, departed from typical musical comedy material, with its chorus lines and songs showcasing star performers.

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Fine Art
12:18 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

'Degenerate' Exhibit Recalls Nazi War On Modern Art

The Neue Galerie exhibit's empty frames represent paintings that were lost or destroyed by the Nazis. They appear beside works that survived Nazi rule, like George Grosz's Portrait of the Writer Max Hermann-Neisse (lower right).
Courtesy of Hulya Kolabas for Neue Galerie New York

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 12:28 pm

One of the most unsettling rooms in an important art exhibit at New York's Neue Galerie is a room in which numerous empty frames are hanging, with guesses about which paintings might have been in them. The paintings themselves were all lost or destroyed by the Nazis. Encouraged by Hitler, most Nazis (Joseph Goebbels was the rare exception) considered everything but the most hidebound, traditionally realistic paintings and sculptures to be "degenerate," a threat to the Aryan ideals of German culture.

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Books
11:44 am
Wed March 12, 2014

A Poetry Reading: 'To My Oldest Friend, Whose Silence Is Like A Death'

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 12:59 pm

Fresh Air's classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz is also a poet. He recently published a poem about friendship and loss on Poets.org. It's titled "To My Oldest Friend, Whose Silence Is Like A Death:"

In today's paper, a story about our high school drama
teacher evicted from his Carnegie Hall rooftop apartment

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Music
11:38 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Review: Jonas Kaufmann Sings Wagner And Verdi

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 2:28 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. At 44, the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann may be the most popular tenor of his generation and one of the most versatile. Music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews two of his recordings this year, dedicated to both Verdi and Wagner, celebrating the bicentennials of their birth.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Fine Art
12:56 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

'Pearl Earring' Is The Crown Jewel Of The Frick's Dutch Exhibit

Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of 15 17th century Dutch paintings on view at New York's Frick Collection through early 2014.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 5:48 pm

Some years ago, I wrote a poem called "Why I Love Vermeer," which ends "I've never lived in a city without a Vermeer." I could say that until 1990, when Vermeer's exquisite painting The Concert was one of the masterpieces stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It's still missing.

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Music Reviews
9:16 am
Tue November 26, 2013

After Ailing, A Favorite Conductor Stages His Comeback

Conductor James Levine in rehearsal with Russian virtuoso Evgeny Kissin.
Cory Weaver Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 2:15 pm

An extended ovation greeted conductor James Levine last May when he returned to performing after a two-year absence. In 2011, he resigned as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and cancelled his performances at the Metropolitan Opera. He'd been plagued by health problems, injuries and operations, and it was painful for him to move. Many of his admirers, even he himself, feared he might never conduct again.

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Music Reviews
11:58 am
Fri October 4, 2013

This Opera Will Eat Your Heart Out

Barbara Hannigan and Bejun Mehta in the Festival at Aix production of Written on Skin.
Pascal Victor ArtComArt

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:05 am

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Music Reviews
11:32 am
Thu August 15, 2013

A Forgotten Quartet, Reissued And Reevaluated

A new collection of Brahms and Mozart recordings by the Stuyvesant Quartet from 1947 conveys a kind of inward grace.
Jay Shulman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 11:50 am

A movie last year called A Late Quartet told the traumatic story of what happens when a famous string quartet has to change personnel. But, in fact, most string quartets — like symphony orchestras, only more conspicuously — continually change players, because players retire, or die, or get more lucrative offers.

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Movie Reviews
2:41 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Branagh Imagines Mozart's 'Magic Flute' In Wartime

Pamina (Amy Carson) and Tamino (Joseph Kaiser) in Kenneth Branagh's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute.
Revolver Group

Mozart's The Magic Flute, the last opera he lived to complete, has some of his most sublime and sublimely comic music. Technically, it's more of a musical comedy, what in German is called a Singspiel, a play with songs and spoken dialogue. I was excited to learn that it was filmed by Kenneth Branagh, whose Shakespeare movies I really admire. Mozart's mixture of fairy tale and high morality presents a great opportunity for a filmmaker; in 1975, Ingmar Bergman released a version for Swedish television that has become a beloved classic.

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Fine Art
10:40 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The Art Of Life: Claes Oldenburg At MOMA

Oldenburg's fascination with simple, everyday objects often led him to food as a subject, as with Pastry Case, I, 1961-62.
Claes Oldenburg Museum of Modern Art

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 2:05 pm

The sculptor Claes Oldenburg was born in Stockholm but grew up in Chicago, went to Yale and came to New York in 1956, where he became a key player in the pop art movement — the major counter-reaction to the abstract expressionism that dominated the 1950s. So much for art history.

Although Oldenburg is a serious artist, probably no artist in history ever created works that were more fun. In a new show at the Museum of Modern Art — really two shows — practically everyone, including myself, was walking through the galleries with a huge grin.

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Movie Reviews
11:53 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Cinerama Brought The Power Of Peripheral Vision To The Movies

A film still of New York City from 1952's This Is Cinerama. The film was meant to introduce audiences to the new Cinerama widescreen.
Flicker Alley LLC

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 12:51 pm

As early as silent film, directors attempted to create widescreen images. But in the 1950s it became a commercial necessity to give the multitude of new TV watchers what they couldn't get on a small screen. So even before CinemaScope, VistaVision, Todd-AO and Panavision, there was Cinerama — a process in which three projectors threw three simultaneous images onto a gigantic curved screen. Cinerama offered what no TV or movie screen could provide before — peripheral vision, which could make you feel as if you were really in the midst of the action.

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Movie Reviews
11:23 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Mozart's Starring Role In 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'

John Schlesinger's 1971 film Sunday Bloody Sunday has just been released on Blu-ray. The film's complex love triangle starred Peter Finch, Murray Head and Glenda Jackson.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:35 am

Sunday Bloody Sunday is one of those films that lets you into the lives of believable, complicated characters. A handsome, self-centered young artist played by the actor/rock singer Murray Head is having simultaneous affairs with both an older woman (played with infinitely nuanced self-irony by Glenda Jackson) and an older man, a Jewish doctor (the touching Peter Finch), two intelligent adults who have mutual friends and even know each other slightly.

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Music Reviews
11:52 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Cecilia Bartoli's New 'Mission' Unearths Baroque Gems

On her new album, opera star Cecilia Bartoli tackles the work of Baroque composer Agostino Steffani.
Uli Weber Decca

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 1:17 pm

I never heard of the Baroque composer Agostino Steffani until last year, when the Boston Early Music Festival presented the North American premiere of Steffani's Niobe, an opera about the mythical queen who bragged so much about her many children, the gods killed them all in revenge. One of the leading roles, Niobe's husband King Amphion, was played by the early-music superstar countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, who sang the opera's most sublime aria — a hymn to the harmony of the spheres. I couldn't wait to hear Jaroussky again, and was eager to hear more Steffani.

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Movies
11:54 am
Fri November 23, 2012

What Happened To 'Baby Jane'? She's Turning 50

Bette Davis in the role of Jane Hudson in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? The classic horror film, which has just turned 50, is being released on Blu-ray
AP

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:33 pm

Baby Jane Hudson is now 50 years old — or at least the strange and brilliant movie in which she's the main character is, just released as a beautifully remastered Blu-ray. Robert Aldrich's grotesque gothic tragedy is a cross between Gypsy, with its antithetical show-biz kid sisters, and Sunset Boulevard, with its decayed Hollywood glamour.

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Music News
12:38 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Always A Rose: Elliott Carter Remembered

Elliott Carter at Tanglewood in 2008 on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz is sitting right behind Carter.
Michael J. Lutch

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 4:02 pm

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