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Re ‘No Gloom Today’


As Mona says, Representative Tom Cotton is really something to cheer for, and vote for, and donate to. His election to the Senate would be a splendid and helpful thing. (It’s also no sure thing. In fact, it’s an uphill race.) When I haven’t heard a particular musician in a while, I’ll think, “Is he really as good as I think he is? Have I simply aggrandized him in my memory?” And, lo, he will be just as good as I thought. Sometimes better. That’s the way I felt when listening to Tom on our podcast yesterday.

Near the end of that podcast, I think, I tell a story about Svetlana Stalin — or rather, from her. One night, she attended a concert, and sat in a box with Lazar Kaganovich, the Old Bolshevik. On the stage were an American-born violinist, Yehudi Menuhin, and an Odessa-born violinist, David Oistrakh. They were playing one of the most sublime pieces of music ever composed: Bach’s Double Concerto. (The slow movement is where you’ll find the real sublimity.)

Svetlana — who loved music, the arts, and literature — was transported by the music. In the middle of it, Kaganovich leaned over to her, winked, and said, “See how our boy is beating the American?”

The Bach Double Concerto is the music that Mona and I go out on. And it is played by Menuhin and Oistrakh (or Oistrakh and Menuhin, if you prefer). To hear them on YouTube, go here.

P.S. In London last month, I met a woman who grew up in Odessa — in the apartment once occupied by the Oistrakhs. Astounding.


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