Category Archives: The Short Version

The Short Version: A Fraud!

Lee De Forest

Briefly noting the birthday, on August 26, of an American inventor whose most familiar contributions helped make Classical MPR (and everything else on the radio) possible. Once though, he was considered something of a high-tech snake oil salesman —whose electronic elixir turned out to be everything he claimed.

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The Short Version: Unfinished

Plenty to mourn about this prodigious short-lived talent. He was short-changed in years. We’re short-changed in melodies that never were. But, strangely, that patina of poignancy need not apply to the famous, eponymous symbol of the young man’s unfinished business.

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The Short Version: Lincoln

An introduction to one of the most versatile and accomplished figures in American arts & letters. Introduction because despite his accomplishments, it’s very possible you’ve never heard of him. Yet, for Lincoln Kirstein, what’s now a major cultural institution was a just college club. And the first of a series of essential ballet scores by Aaron Copland? His idea.

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The Short Version: Making the Mummy Dance

Credit the late Thomas Hoving for the line. As director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was part of his job, he said, to breathe life into antiquities, to make the mummies dance. A Polish pianist developed a similar sense of mission when her keyboard interests turned decidedly old-school.

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The Short Version: Third Billing

Mozart was down–financially, professionally–in the last year of his life, but not out. For him, a young man with immense talent, time was on his side. His current straits would become the briefest of dips in the market. But we, who can see the past’s future, have a different perspective, and sigh for what’s ahead.

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