Charles Isherwood Was Bored. Why? Discuss.

The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood proclaimed his boredom with Tom Stoppard’s “Coast of Utopia” trilogy in a Sunday essay published mere days into previews of Part 3. With the play having opened, Michael Feingold asks, “What causes Charles’s boredom? Having now seen Salvage, The Coast of Utopia’s closing chapter, and having been less actively bored than Charles, but less enthralled than many others, I think I can offer some tentative explanations.”

Music Industry Coming After Online Sheet Music

The next round of the ongoing war over free (and illegal) music online may not have anything to do with MP3s. The distribution of sheet music and guitar tablatures over the internet has become a widespread practice, and “a concerted legal effort in the United States, which is about to gather pace, could spell the beginning of the end for free music on the Web.”

Piano, Plagiarism, & Personality

Denis Dutton says that the scandal over Joyce Hatto’s years of plagiarized piano recordings reveals much about the problems of objective music criticism. “Music isn’t just about sound; it is about achievement in a larger human sense. If you think an interpretation is by a 74-year-old pianist at the end of her life, it won’t sound quite the same to you as if you think it’s by a 24-year-old piano-competition winner who is just starting out. Beyond all the pretty notes, we want creative engagement and communication from music, we want music to be a bridge to another personality.”

Oh, So It’s Henry Miller’s Fault That You Don’t Like Him

Literary critics, particularly those with blogs, have seemingly been shaken loose from the traditional need to bow and scrape at the altar of the classics. Some find this to be a positive development – after all, why should everyone have to love Chaucer? But Stephen Moss says that it amounts to the dumbing down of what should be a serious examination of literature, and shows a distinct lack of intellectual curiosity.

As If A Dutch Grease Wasn’t Bizarre Enough

A Dutch production of the musical Grease went horribly awry in Amsterdam this weekend, when a car carrying the two leads in a key scene went out of control and slammed into the orchestra pit. Both actors were injured, although not critically. None of the orchestra musicians were hurt. The whole sorry episode will presumably be up on YouTube in the next day or so…

Did The Departed Really Deserve All That?

It was a big Oscar night for Martin Scorsese, who finally won best director, and his latest film, The Departed, which took home the best picture trophy. But there’s been much talk within the business that Scorsese’s win amounts to a lifetime achievement award, rather than a real reflection of The Departed‘s quality as a stand-alone film. But as a genre film, Departed is likely to stand the test of time.

Oscars Take On An International Flavor

“If anyone needed definitive proof that Hollywood has gone international, the Academy Awards provided it. Never in the ceremony’s 79 years have so many artists from other lands been among the nominees… While directing, best picture and most acting awards went to Americans, international artists had a strong presence in many categories. [Helen] Mirren led the way with her win for best actress.”