Posted inI Know But

I Know, But: The “1812 Overture”

When Tolstoy began working on what would become War and Peace, his 1869 opus that moves fluidly between historical novel and philosophical treatise, he initially had a completely different story in mind. Rather than craft a constellation of parallel and intersecting histories between 1805 and 1820 (with a particular focus on Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of […]

Posted inRankings & Roundups

Every Schubert Song, Ranked

In her 2019 review-cum-retrospective of John Updike, writer Patricia Lockwood noted that her assignment felt “like a flamboyant completist stunt, like one of those Buzzfeed articles where someone ranks every episode of the original Care Bears cartoons.” I would like to situate this ranking of every Schubert song in the same hallowed pantheon as the […]

Posted inProfile

Once More Unto the Breach

On New Year’s Eve, 1991, the Berlin Philharmonic gave its annual New Year’s concert in the city’s Schauspielhaus. The Wall was still fresh in the minds of Berliners from both the former West and East; the two cities had only resorbed as one a little over a year earlier. Under the baton of Claudio Abbado, […]