There was a certain predictability to the arguments that flared when Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. For the most part, they were variations of the arguments that have shadowed him from the beginning of his career, twisted echoes of a million late-night dormitory discussions about whether ...... (read more)
Anwen Crawford reviews 'Sticky Fingers: The life and times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone magazine' by Joe Hagan
Sometime in 1970, an unidentified person – perhaps a disgruntled journalist or aggrieved interviewee – scrawled the words ‘Smash “Hip” Capitalism’ onto an office wall at Rolling Stone magazine. It was an incisive piece of graffiti. Rolling Stone had begun publishing in 1967, in San Francisco, at the epicentre of the ...... (read more)
Richard Davis is admirably determined that major Australian musical artists whose careers were attenuated by illness should not fade into oblivion ...... (read more)
Jeff Buckley is a man frozen in time, not just by virtue of being elevated into the pantheon of ‘died-too-early-rock-gods’. Before his untimely drowning in 1997, Buckley appeared to exist in a sort of musical and emotional stasis: a young fogey caught among the cultural ruins and vestiges of his estranged father, who died aged twenty-eight from a heroin overdose ...
Michael Morley reviews 'The Political Orchestra: the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics during the Third Reich' by Fritz Trümpi, translated by Kenneth Kronenberg
This study, which first appeared in German in 2011, was hailed at the time as definitive: properly so, as it incorporates so many aspects from so many areas of research. It marks a significant contribution to such fields as musicology, cultural history, the relationship between art and politics – not just in the Nazi era, but the periods preceding that, which saw ...
Gareth Hipwell reviews 'Strict Rules: The iconic story of the tour that shaped Midnight Oil' by Andrew McMillan
In July 1986, an ascendant Midnight Oil joined forces with the Northern Territory’s trailblazing, predominantly Indigenous Warumpi Band and embarked on the joint ...... (read more)
Is it surprising that Jeff Sparrow should write a book on Paul Robeson, the great American singer who was also a civil rights activist, a man of the left, and the most celebrated Othello of the twentieth century? Sparrow is a broadcaster and columnist, but he is also the immediate past editor of Overland, a literary journal dedicated to a mixed diet of – ...
Finding the right teacher is always a challenge for young singers, and the relationship between student and teacher can see the formation of a lifelong bond. By the same ...... (read more)
David Larkin reviews 'Franz Liszt: Musician, celebrity, superstar' by Oliver Hilmes, translated by Stewart Spencer
A century before Beatlemania there was Lisztomania. The symptoms were similar: fans driven to near delirium by their proximity to their musical idols, this mass hysteria finding involuntary physical release during performances. The Beatles may have been mobbed during their 1964 American tour, but Liszt left Berlin in March 1842 ‘not like a king, but a ...
Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'Virtuosi Abroad: Soviet music and imperial competition during the early Cold War, 1945–1958' by Kiril Tomoff
The Soviet violinist David Oistrakh made a triumphant tour of Australia in 1959, a few years after his wildly successful New York début. Along with pianist Emil Gilels and cellist ...... (read more)