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Books, Arts & Manners

Sweet Vindication

Anna Netrebko, furious, as Adriana Lecouvreur at the Metropolitan Opera (Ken Howard / Met Opera)

If you’re in the mood for music — at least some writing about music — I have a few links for you. Adriana Lecouvreur is playing at the Metropolitan Opera. For my review at The New Criterion, go here. Paavo Järvi has been guest-conducting the New York Philharmonic (with Gautier Capuçon serving as cello soloist). For my review, go here.

If you’d like a proper essay — kind of interesting — I have one in the current issue of National Review: “Bon-Bons for All,” about encores in the concert hall and opera house. I got an e-mail from a reader I would like to share. But first, allow me to quote a paragraph from the essay:

“Encore” means, literally, “again.” In Europe, they often say “Bis!” Give it to me a second time. In our modern era, an encore is usually something else, something in addition. But it occasionally is the same piece again, a true encore, if you will. In the course of a recent recital, Hilary Hahn played Bach’s Violin Partita in D minor, which includes the much loved, transcendental Chaconne. At the end of her recital, she said, “Do you want to hear the Chaconne again?” They did.

Okay, the aforementioned e-mail from a reader:

When I was about seven years old, I played in a piano recital. When I was done, the teacher asked if I would like to do an encore. I said, “No, but I’d like to play another song instead.” People laughed. But, based on your article 75 years later, I was correct and those bastards who laughed are all dead.

Well said, Dad.

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