In the current issue I offered Salmagundi readership a review of a biography of the composer William Schuman, a mid-century American symphonist who also was president of the Juilliard School and Lincoln Center for a number of years. If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, where, then, does that leave writing about writing about music? As a tonic for such troubling questions, here are a smattering of Schuman materials from the far flung web:
The author of the reviewed book, Steve Swayne, has put together a terrific site with multimedia excerpts of a number of Schuman’s works. I would particularly recommend either the Third Symphony or, what is perhaps his most well-known work, the New England Triptych.
As both an institutional mover and shaker and a composer, it can be tricky to picture exactly how Schuman might have been in person. An episode of the game show What’s My Line, though, gives an impression of his charm and sense of himself, in a way that a direct interview might not.
Finally, if you would like to see Swayne himself speak at length about Schuman’s work, he lectured at the Library of Congress last year about Schuman’s Seventh Symphony. This lecture is about an hour long, but gives an impression of Swayne’s exacting readings of Schuman’s work.
In a future issue of the magazine, I’ll be writing about some recent recordings of the British composer, conductor, and pianist Thomas Adès. Adès is a reluctant interviewer, but you can get an impression of his thinking on music by watching a video about a performance of Stravinsky’s Les Noces that he conducted (with interview segments of Adès interspersed).