Handel

By Richard P. Townsend George Frideric Handel’s operas, instrumental music, and oratorios together form one of the pinnacles of Western culture. They are among—along with that of J.S. Bach, Franz Josef Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart—the highest musical expressions of the 18th century. But Handel’s music lives on especially because it marries elegance and virtuosic […]

John

By Richard P. Townsend None other than a saint, Philip Neri himself—founder of the Oratorian order and so-called “Apostle of Rome”— used to sit “rapt in the sweetest ecstasy” in front of Federico Barocci’s altarpiece The Visitation in his order’s mother church, the Chiesa Nuova in Rome. Centuries later, a young art history student wept […]

Guernica

By Richard P. Townsend We all know the saying about “truth in advertising,” and in truth Picasso Black and White, the exhibition recently at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (where I viewed it) and currently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is not quite what it says it is… It is an important retrospective […]

Viola

By Richard P. Townsend John Adams’ most recent music continues to underscore his place as one of today’s most important composers, as work after new work demonstrates not only his musical significance and sophistication but his ability to capture and hold the attention of the listening public. He combines musical relevance and incisive narrative with […]