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.

Books
10:56 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
11:50 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

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
11:35 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

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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Movies
9:47 am
Thu August 9, 2012

60 Years Later, Still 'Singin' In The Rain'

Gene Kelly stars as Don Lockwood in Singin' in the Rain. In celebration of the 1952 musical's 60th birthday, a newly restored print was released in theaters for a one-night public screening, and a new edition has been released on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Warner Home Video

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 12:37 pm

Hollywood is often at its best when it's making fun of itself, and few movies are funnier or more fun than Singin' in the Rain, the broadly satirical musical comedy about the transition from silent movies to sound.

Gene Kelly, who co-directed the film with Stanley Donen, stars as the stuntman turned matinee idol who falls in love with adorable Debbie Reynolds. He even gets to parody his own swashbuckling in MGM's Technicolor Three Musketeers.

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Music Reviews
10:56 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Tanglewood Celebrates 75th With Free Web Stream

The scene at Tanglewood.
courtesy of Tanglewood

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 8:53 am

On July 20, 1958, at Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — pianist Leon Fleisher played an electrifying Brahms First Piano Concerto with the orchestra under its former music director, Pierre Monteux. This remarkable teaming has not been heard since then.

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Music Reviews
9:51 am
Tue July 10, 2012

'St. Matthew Passion': A Monumental Bach Feast

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the St. Matthew Passion in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra.
Getty Digital

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 10:25 am

Facing Bach's St. Matthew Passion, I often feel a combination of anticipation and dread. It's a great work, profound in its humanity and spirituality, with sublimely beautiful music. But it's a long haul, and if it's not a good performance, well, I'm stuck. And it can be not-good in various ways: either too solemnly pious or too much an exercise in musical style rather than emotional drama. A new DVD recorded in 2010 at Berlin's great concert hall, the Philharmonie, would be of major interest under any circumstances.

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Television
9:53 am
Fri June 15, 2012

'Car 54' Re-Release Drives An Old Fan To Reminisce

NYPD officers Gunther Toody (Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (Fred Gwynne) patrolled the Bronx in the 1960s sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?
Shanachie Entertainment

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 4:24 pm

I grew up in New York City, but I didn't watch Car 54, Where Are You? until I got hooked on it in syndication long after it was originally aired. So I was very happy to see the complete series of 60 episodes released on two DVD boxed sets. The episode in Season 2 titled "I Hate Capt. Block," about trying to teach a recalcitrant parrot to talk and the way people are not much smarter than parrots, is one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen on television, maybe as inspired as Sid Caesar's foreign film parodies or Carol Burnett's version of Gone with the Wind.

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Movie Reviews
9:23 am
Fri May 4, 2012

A Gershwin Biopic That Ain't Necessarily So True

George Gershwin's most famous works include Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris and the opera Porgy and Bess.
Warner Archives

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 1:58 pm

The movie Rhapsody in Blue, a biography of George Gershwin, was released only eight years after his death from a brain tumor at the age of 38. It's a good subject: Gershwin wrote some of the best popular songs ever produced in this country, but he also had ambitions to be a serious classical composer and wrote symphonic music, concertos and an opera — all of which are still performed.

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Fine Art
9:43 am
Mon December 5, 2011

At MoMA, A Look At De Kooning's Shifts In Style

de Kooning: A Retrospective. The exhibit is on display at the Museum of Modern Art through Jan. 9, 2012." href="/post/moma-look-de-koonings-shifts-style" class="noexit lightbox">
Woman I (1950-52) is one of the works featured in de Kooning: A Retrospective. The exhibit is on display at the Museum of Modern Art through Jan. 9, 2012.
John Wronn Museum of Modern Art

In 2010, the Museum of Modern Art was criticized for its skimpy representation of the Dutch-American painter Willem de Kooning in its huge abstract expressionist show. The museum has now made up for that with an astounding de Kooning retrospective, the first of its kind: some 200 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures that trace de Kooning's career beginning at age 12, when he was working for a graphic designer in his native Rotterdam and painting remarkable imitations of Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Gorky.

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Fine Art
8:59 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Degas' Nudes Depict The Awkwardness Of Real Life

Many of Degas' nudes have their backs turned to the viewer. Above, Degas' pastel work, After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Neck, 1886-95.
Photo Musee d'Orsay/rmn Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 12:32 pm

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris have two of the world's best collections of the work of the French postimpressionist Edgar Degas. The two museums have collaborated on an important show called Degas and the Nude, which includes pieces from major museums and private collections all over the world. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz, who lives in Boston, was moved by the show, which also triggered a sweet personal memory.

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Music Reviews
11:41 am
Mon August 29, 2011

Wilhelm Furtwaengler: A Complex German Conductor

German conductor and composer Wilhelm Furtwaengler.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:59 am

Note: Wilhelm Furtwangler's last name is typically spelled with an umlaut over the 'a' character. The npr website does not support characters with umlauts over characters. A variation of Furtwangler's name without the umlaut is spelled Furtwaengler.

Wilhelm Furtwaengler's name may be hard for Americans to pronounce, but the reason this great conductor isn't so well-remembered here is that he chose to remain in Germany during WWII, though he was never a member of the Nazi Party, and was exonerated by a postwar tribunal.

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