by Jay Nordlinger

Impromptus today is a Nebraska journal (Part I). I’d like to add a musical note, here in the Corner. In the journal, I quote a friend of mine about Billy the Kid: “He’s often thought of as a romantic hero. But he was a really bad guy.” I comment, “Was he. One of the less attractive traits of our popular culture, I think, is that it makes heroes out of people who were thoroughgoing villains, people who would slit your innocent throat without blinking.”

Okay, the music: Barbara Bonney is a famous American soprano (who lives in Salzburg, incidentally). She believes that she may be related to Billy the Kid (a.k.a. William H. Bonney). In the mid-’90s, André Previn composed a piece for her: Sallie Chisum Remembers Billy the Kid. (Chisum was one of the women who knew him. Whether Biblically, I’m not sure.)

A golf note, to follow a musical note? I can handle it: The daughter of a golf pro, Barbara Bonney is a crack golfer herself. I once asked her whether golf and singing were similar (as every singer-golfer says). She answered, “No, they’re the same.”

There is an essay to be written on that subject. Maybe someone has already done it — I’ll have to check.

The Corner

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