The Corner


Caring and Sharing

George Gershwin (Bain Collection / Library of Congress)

The other day, I was writing about the political wars — and waging them a bit myself — when the question of who cares came up. “Who cares” as in “Who’s got a heart? Who gives a damn about the downtrodden?” There are always people in life who say that they care while you don’t. (Of course, sometimes you don’t!)

Anyway, this put a song in my head, one of my favorites: “Who Cares?,” the Gershwin number. Gershwin wrote a piano arrangement of it (piano only, that is, no singing). I lead my new Music for a While with that. I also close this episode with “Who Cares?” — different version, in which Ella Fitzgerald and André Previn collaborate, along with a double-bass player who rejoiced in the name of — hold on to your socks — Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen.

In between the “Who Cares?”es, I have music by Bach, Fauré, and others. Among the others is Offenbach. Do you remember, by chance, what Shostakovich quipped? “I love all of music, from Bach to Offenbach.” He did, too.

I have Bach played by Arcadi Volodos, than whom there is no better pianist in the world. And by Samuil Feinberg, one of his great Russian predecessors. A prominent Russian pianist of today, Sergei Babayan, put me on to Feinberg. (Babayan is Russian-trained, I should say.) He was right, too, and I owe him.

Anyway, a meal of music, bracketed by Gershwin.

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