Inside Llewyn Davis

January 18, 2014

In The Folk Song Army the satirist Tom Lehrer took aim at the folk revival that swept the United States in the early 1960s. “You have to admire people who sing these songs,” he said. “It takes a certain amount of courage to get up in a coffee-house or a college auditorium and come out … More

Great Expectations & Performance

March 16, 2013

In making the umpteenth version of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, British director, Mike Newell, resisted doing something ‘bold and audacious’ just for the novelty value. So far, so good, because the greatest crimes against the classics are committed when directors allow the preoccupations of our own age to disfigure those stories that have become part … More

Paul Kelly: Stories of Me

November 3, 2012

Archie Roach reckons Paul Kelly is Australia’s “bard”. It’s what people used to say about Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson back in the days when poetry was a popular art. But for every man-in the-street who could recite parts of The Man from Snowy River in the 1890s, there must be thousands today who can … More

In Search of Haydn

March 24, 2012

“Anybody can see just by looking at me that I’m a nice sort of fellow,” said Joseph Haydn. Indeed, one could tell simply from listening to the playful first bars of his Piano Sonata No. 56 in D major. Only a nice fellow could write that. The impression of niceness is reinforced by every talking … More