The New Yorker does a fine job, usually, of deciding which feature articles to give out free on its website. Their logic seems obvious enough: if the story is of broad political or social importance, make it free. Keep all the other stuff--about the arts, food, sports, or other "soft" stories--behind the pay wall.
For subscribers to Harper's, there's a fantastic essay by Christopher Beha about his stint as a City Opera "super." Read it, a must. Beha, an editor at the magazine, reports on the comical, often infuriating but ultimately riveting experience of being an extra ("super") in the City Opera's 2009 production of Hugo Weisgall's "Esther."
This week I wrote an essay about how Jewish culture will change in light of the coming e-book revoluion. I talked to at least a dozen Jewish book experts, from scholars and publishers, to readers and rabbis, and there was clearly no consensus about what might happen--only unanimous agreement that something important will.
If you haven't heard the pianist Mitsuko Uchida play, do. She's performing tonight at Carnegie Hall -- solo works by Schumann, Chopin and Beethoven -- but even if you miss it, check out some of her albums online.
This week I wrote about the minimalist composer Steve Reich, whose groundbreaking Jewish chorale piece "Tehillim" (1981) is being performed by the teenage new music ensemble Face the Music next Thursday at Le Poisson Rouge. (They'll perform "Tehillim" at other locations over the next few months as well.)
A classical music program that includes works by Haydn may not strike you as radical. After all Haydn--friend of Mozart, teacher of Beethoven--virtually invented the classical symphony as we know it. When newcomers think "classical music," it is probably the sounds of Haydn they hear in their head.
This week I wrote about Mark Kurlansky's seemingly strange inclusion in "Haiti Noir," a collection of short stories written mostly by Haitians. You're not wrong for wondering whether Kurlansky's Haitian--he's not--but he did once have a long career reporting from the island in the 1980s. But the story begs the question, are there other good Jewish Haitian stories we should know about?
The star pianist Yefim Bronfman performs in New York often, but I have never seen him. That was rectified last night: I caught him in the first of three concerts with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall. He was remarkable. Performing Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2, he captured the full range of emotions in the piece--its subtle bits of humor, the breezy wistfulness, the heroic ambition--without drawing much attention to himself.