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Happy Birthday, Samuel Barber

Happy Birthday, Samuel Barber

His 100th. Though he died in 1981, it’s good to see his centenary has sparked some renewed interest in his work, and perhaps a reevaluation. No longer is he seen by so many critics as behind the times. No longer is he seen as incapable of experimentation and modern innovations. Beyond the critical wars, staring down at us from within the notes of the music of the spheres, Barber can watch and listen with a wry smile, or stretch his…

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Polly Jean, Punk Noir Princess

Polly Jean, Punk Noir Princess

If you’re a great artist, you’re going to be misunderstood. That’s all but guaranteed. Much depends, though, on the degree of your own complicity, your own attempts to evolve, wear masks, repudiate old passions and personnas. Much depends upon how often you “put on” others and then take those put-ons back. Few musicians have undergone as many incarnations, in so short a time span, as Polly Jean Harvey, better known as PJ. She’s been a vamp, a tramp, a chanteuse,…

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