Blasts from the Past: 40 Overlooked Masters Who Still Stire our Souls

Louise Brooks (1906?1985)
Silent film siren Louise Brooks was as scorchingly sexy as any
screen goddess who followed, but unlike most of her imitators, she
remained her own woman. Brooks spurned the Hollywood star system
and made her biggest pictures, Pandora?s Box and Diary of a Lost
Girl, in Germany. Nor did she worship at her own altar: Instead of
burning out on drink and drugs (or fading away on yogurt and yoga),
Brooks retired from the screen to write witty and intelligent
essays on the film industry. (Book: Lulu in Hollywood, by Louise
Brooks; University of Minnesota Press, 2000,)
?Joseph Hart

Joseph Beuys (1921?1986)
If the spirit of Andy Warhol rules the ?cool? side of contemporary
art, this German artist still influences the more mystical and
mysterious side. Beuys?one of the founders of the German Green
Party?fashioned crude, compelling objects from fat, felt, and wax,
and performed visceral rituals that often involved living and dead
animals. Serious to the point of solemnity (he called the frequent
political lectures he gave in the gallery ?social sculpture?), he
served as the earthbound conscience of an art world all too prone
to camp and hyperintellectuality. (Book: Joseph Beuys: Mapping the
Legacy, ed. by Gene Ray; Distributed Art Publishers, 2001) ?Jon
Spayde

Maya Deren (1917?1961)
The surreal mysteries that excite and perturb audiences of today?s
avant-garde films, from David Lynch?s to Matthew Barney?s, owe
their existence to Maya Deren?s pioneering work of the 1940s and
1950s. A Russian immigrant to New York, Deren adapted the
techniques of European surrealist film?haunting repetitive rhythms,
strange juxtapositions, abrupt discontinuities, mysterious objects
that appear and disappear?to create a new American theater of the
mind. In so doing, she virtually invented our underground cinema.
Plunging even deeper into mystery, she later became a scholar and
initiate of voudoun, Haiti?s African-inspired religion. (Video:
Maya Deren: Experimental Films; Mystic Fire Video)
?Abbie Jarman

Arrested Development (1992?1996)
At the height of the
gangsta-rap craze and
fast on the heels of the Rodney King riots in 1992, Arrested
Development hit the charts with a single called ?Tennessee? that
was?of all things?a hip-hop prayer. The band pioneered a funky,
southern-folk beat and promoted an upbeat black pride message
charged with spirituality. They split up in 1996, but visionary
front man Speech (Todd Thomas) is still recording. (CD: The Best of
Arrested Development; EMI-Capitol, 1998) ?Joseph Hart

Marie Taglioni (1804?1884) and Fanny Elssler (1810?1884)
One of the principal artistic fault lines of the
19th century was between the ethereal ballerina Taglioni and her
archrival, the earthy and sensual Elssler (left). (Their loyal fans
came to blows when the two appeared simultaneously in Paris.)
Taglioni pioneered the romantic ballet as we know it; she was one
of the first dancers on pointe, and the first to wear leotard,
tights, and tutu; Elssler was the first to incorporate folk dance
into ballet.
The gamine/earth mother contrast was reflected in their lives, too:
Taglioni was trained, managed, and dominated by her tyrannical
father, who squandered her income and left her penniless. The
shrewd Elssler toured America and amassed a fortune. Taglioni
suffered a painful divorce; Elssler had several warm love affairs
and two children. Popular passion for the divas only increased
after they died: Russian fans of Taglioni consumed a sauce made
from one of her ballet slippers, and Elssler?s devotees purchased
ceramic copies of her hand. (Book: Ballerina: The Art of Women in
Classical Ballet, by
Mary Clarke; Princeton Book Co., 1988)
?Joseph Hart

Rabindranath Tagore (1861?1941)
Once as famous as Einstein, with whom he publicly discussed the
meaning of life, this Nobel Prize?winning poet, dramatist,
novelist, and thinker led a literary renaissance in his native
Bengal and presented a modern version of the wisdom of India to the
West. Tagore was a shrewd idealist who felt that East and West had
much to teach each other on the road to a better world for all;
openly admiring elements of British culture, he could still
denounce imperialism in ringing words. (Book: Tagore: An Anthology;
ed. by Krishna Dutta; St. Martin?s, 1997)
?Jon Spayde

Tina Modotti (1896?1942)
A still life with guitar, bullets, and sickle; an achingly
beautiful portrait of a pregnant farmworker holding a
child?Modottti?s ostensibly leftist photography captures the
sensuous details of real human lives caught up in revolution and
fuses the personal with the political in powerful ways. In 1923 she
went to Mexico with her lover (and photography mentor) Edward
Weston and became friends with artist Frida Kahlo and her circle. A
photographer for only seven years, Modotti abandoned her art to
serve the Communist Party in Europe. (Book: Tina Modotti: Radical
Photographer, by Margaret Hooks; Da Capo, 2000) ?Karen Olson

Johnny Hodges (1906?1970)
Many midcentury jazz greats were honored with authoritative
nicknames like Duke, Count, and Pres, so it?s easy to dismiss a
saxophonist known to his friends as Rabbit. But don?t do it.
Soulful and sensuous on the alto sax, Johnny Hodges shone brightly
during four decades in Duke Ellington?s horn section, and on smooth
and sultry recordings of his own. ?Our band will never sound the
same,? Ellington said when Hodges died. (CD: Johnny Hodges: Verve
Jazz Masters; Verve, 1994)
?Jay Walljasper

Little Walter (1930?1968)
Marion Walter Jacobs virtually reinvented the harmonica by playing
right into a handheld microphone, transforming his down-home folk
instrument into the ?Mississippi saxophone.? He made his name as a
sideman on Muddy Waters? Chicago blues classics, but his own ?50s
recordings match the very best of Muddy?s. Rocking hard, with jazz
and swing undertones, they offer the perfect setting for his
slow-burning vocals. (CD: Little Walter: His Best; Chess/MCA, 1997;
Book: Blues With a Feeling: The Little Walter Story, by Tony
Glover, Scott Dirks, and Ward Gaines; Routledge, 2002)
?Jay Walljasper

Jack Smith (1932?1989)
His notorious Flaming Creatures (1963), a sweet-natured polysexual
carnival of cavorting bodies, made Smith a father of underground
cinema, but his offbeat live performances, passion for old
Hollywood films, and taste for dumpster-and-thrift-shop
fabulousness were equally important
in shaping a gay aesthetic that?s influenced everybody from
filmmaker John Waters to playwright-director Charles Ludlam. Best
of all, Smith was a permission-giver. ?Make perfect art and you
will be admired,? he wrote. ?Make imperfect art and you will be
loved.? (Book: On Jack Smith?s Flaming Creatures and Other Secret
Flix of Cinemaroc, by J. Hoberman; Granary Books, 2001)
?Jon Spayde

Eubie Blake (1883?1983)
Joints always jumped when Eubie Blake played, and his buoyant piano
rags still roll through our collective consciousness, even if a
chap named Joplin gets much of the credit for ragtime. Blake (at
right, above) helped pave the way for jazz with his free-spirited
playing.
He also brought black culture to Broadway with his revues written
with Noble Sissle, and helped fuel th
e Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Blake lived for a full century
and never tired of playing or promoting his spirited, syncopated
music. (CD: Memories of
You; Biograph, 1990)
?Keith Goetzman

The Pogues (1982?1996)
If Bob Dylan had been born 15 years later somewhere in the vicinity
of Ireland and met up with the Clash, his music might have sounded
something like the Pogues?. An intoxicating blend of punk energy
and Celtic soul, they took London by storm in the mid-1980s,
reintroducing folk-rock to a new generation. (CD: If I Should Fall
from Grace with God; Phantom, 1997)
?Jay Walljasper

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749?1832)
No writer of any era had a more dynamic view of the
interrelationships of all phenomena, from the tiniest microorganism
to the sweep of history?or more faith in life?s potential?than
Germany?s great 18th-century poet, dramatist, critic, novelist, and
scientist. His play Faust may be too complex and crowded for easy
staging, but it is a compelling, dreamlike exploration of the
energies of existence, and his life and opinions are fascinating.
Always ready to redefine himself and stretch his work in new
directions, Goethe explored many visions over a long life. (Book:
Goethe: A Critical Introduction, by Ronald Gray; Cambridge
University Press, 1967)
?Jon Spayde

Lady Murasaki Shikibu (c. 978?1031)
In the hyperrefined imperial court of 11th-century Japan, Murasaki
was a wallflower: shy, ill-tempered, and, worst of all for a
female, bookish (her unconventional father had let her read the
Chinese classics as a girl). What Murasaki was doing all alone in
her room was writing the world?s first novel, The Tale of Genji, a
brilliant story of love and feminine psychology that anticipates
Proust by a thousand years and has become a classic of world
literature. Arthur Waley?s sensitive 1920s translation is a gem of
English literature, too. (Book: The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki
Shikibu; Modern Library/ Random House, 1993)
?Jon Spayde

Dorothea Tanning (1910?)
Born in Illinois, this painter joined the New York circle of ?migr?
European artists in the 1930s. In 1942 surrealist legend Max Ernst
encountered her self-portrait, Birthday, in which she depicts
herself as a somnambulistic wanderer down mysterious corridors, and
fell in love with both painting and painter. Refusing to be
overshadowed by her partner, Tanning went on making images of
occult female power, among the most technically accomplished and
haunting paintings in the surrealist tradition. Still active at 92,
she now paints gigantic imaginary flowers in dreamlike colors.
(Book: Between Lives: An Artist and Her World, by Dorothea Tanning;
W.W. Norton, 2001)
?Jon Spayde

Umm Kulthumm (1904?1975)
The greatest diva who ever lived? Any cab driver in Cairo will tell
you it was Umm Kulthumm, the turbo-throated Egyptian beauty whose
voice still resonates from radios and tape decks wherever the Arab
diaspora has spread. Kulthumm (or Kalsoum, or
Kalthum?transcriptions vary) went from peasant girl to singing
stateswoman for Egypt and the Arab world, partly because of her
populist appeal and quick embrace of new media?radio, TV, film?but
mainly because of her incredible voice. She became, and remains,
the ?Voice of Egypt.? (CD: Umm Kalthum 2000; Piranha, 2001)
?Keith Goetzman

Kabir (1440?1518)
Born a Muslim in northern India, Kabir studied with a Hindu
guru?but in his rough-hewn spiritual verse he declares independence
from both faiths, praising a God beyond sects and slamming greedy
gurus and pompous imams alike. With the fierceness of a Zen master,
he encourages seekers to shun illusion and embrace their own truth:
?I?ve burned my own house down,? he sings. ?Now I?ll burn down the
house of anyone / Who wants to follow me.? (Book: The Kabir Book,
translated by Robert Bly; Beacon Press, 1993)
?Jon Spayde

Th?odore G?ricault (1791?1824)
A chaotic genius, G?ricault helped overthrow the chilly
neoclassicism that dominated art at the beginning of the 19th
century. His most celebrated work, The Raft of the ?Medusa,? upset
the canons of French art by using the gigantic scale of history
paintings to tell a tale right out of the newspapers: a
scandal-tinged shipwreck. The sensation that this overwhelmingly
dramatic and up-to-the-minute painting caused blew fresh air into
the art establishment and helped set the stage for the triumph of
romanticism. Later, he plumbed psychological depths in his
portraits of the insane patients of a doctor friend. G?ricault
rejected formal art training, studying instead in galleries of the
Louvre (until he was banned for fighting); he had an affair?and a
child?with his own aunt; and he died young after a fall from his
horse. (Book: G?ricault: His Life and Work, by Lorenz Eitne;
Cornell University Press, 1983) ?Joseph Hart

Henry Cowell (1897?1965)
A playful innovator who followed his own ear rather than
convention, Henry Cowell composed enduring modern classical works.
He taught himself the piano as a boy, and despite his extensive
later musical training, his compositions retain the sense of
playful discovery?ranging from sensual, atonal works for scratched,
rubbed, and plucked piano strings, to charming and intricate little
songs. His fascination with rhythm and international musical
traditions keeps his music approachable and intellectually
engaging. A formidable theorist, he invented new notations and
explored topics ranging from the then new ?mechanical recording? to
music theory. Cowell published scores of essays (with his
uncredited wife, Sidney Hawkins Robertson Cowell) that helped turn
obscure contemporaries and disciples like Charles Ives and John
Cage into luminaries. (Book: Essential Cowell: Selected Writings on
Music, by Henry Cowell; McPherson & Co., 2002)
?Joseph Hart

Julia Morgan (1872?1957)
According to legend, William Randolph Hearst plucked Julia Morgan
out of obscurity and set her to work designing the strange, vast,
faux-Spanish mansion in San Simeon, California, that came to be
known as Hearst Castle. Not so. The architect had been the first
woman admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris (after two
years of trying); then she?d established a thriving practice in
California that (thanks in part to the 1906 San Francisco
earthquake) eventually produced nearly 800 buildings. (Web site:
www.hearstcastle.org) ?Joseph Hart

Ladies Against Women (LAW) (founded 1981)
They gained widespread notice at the 1984 Republican convention
when, dressed as ?50s housewives, these satirical Ladies (and a few
cross-dressed men) waved banners reading ?Born to Clean? and ?Ban
the Poor.? Under the direction of their always ladylike leader,
Mrs. Chester Cholesterol (Gail Ann Williams), the San
Francisco?
based performance-art pranksters wreaked polite havoc during the
Reagan era, demanding repeal of women?s suffrage (?Suffering, not
suffrage, keeps us on our pedestals?) and abolition of the
environment (?It takes up too much space, and is almost impossible
to keep clean?). (Web site: www.well.com/user/gail/ladies) ?Laine
Bergeson

Plastic People of the Universe (founded 1968)
A lot of rock bands have sung about
revolution, but the Plastic People of the Universe actually helped
bring one about. All hopped up on smuggled Frank Zappa and Velvet
Underground records, the dissident Czech experimentalists jammed
their way into history as the house band of Czechoslovakia?s
emerging ?velvet revolution.? Harassed, banned, and sometimes
imprisoned, they persevered until their friend, avant-garde
playwright Vaclav Havel, became president. Now that?s rock and
roll. (Book: The Plastic People of the Universe, ed. by Jaroslav
Riedel; Mat?a, 1999)
?Keith Goetzman

Mildred Wirt Benson (Carolyn Keene) (1905?2002)
An accidental foremother of grrl power, Benson was the original
author of the Nancy Drew novels, writing under the pseudonym
Carolyn Keene. She eventually penned 23 sagas of the plucky,
resourceful, and cool-headed young sleuth. Though she denied any
political agenda as a writer (?I don?t align [Nancy] with the
feminist movement,? she insisted), Benson herself was a living
example of empowered womanhood; she flew airplanes into her 80s and
once got lost alone in the Amazon jungle. She set precedents as a
businesswoman, too, leaving the series during the Depression
because she wouldn?t work for reduced pay from the publisher.
(Books: Nancy Drew series published by Aladdin Paperbacks)
?Laine Bergeson

d.a. levy (1942?1968)
Proudly lower-case like e.e. cummings, levy was Cleveland?s wild
man of poetry in the 1960s. A supercharged cross between William
Blake and Lenny Bruce, levy wrote blazing visionary verse, created
dense collages, published an underground paper called The Buddhist
Third-Class Junkmail Oracle, and did everything he could to
scandalize Ohio authorities and prove that the fires of revolt
burned bright in flyover country. (Book: The Buddhist Third-Class
Junkmail Oracle: The Art and Poetry of d.a. levy, ed. by Mike
Golden; Seven Stories, 1999)
?Jon Spayde

Floyd Dell (1887?1969)
You could call him the bohemian version of F. Scott Fitzgerald: a
bright young Midwesterner who chronicled the social and psychic
forces that powered early-20th-century America?but from a
working-class, radical perspective. Dell made his name as an editor
of the legendary leftist magazine The Masses, as an eloquent
advocate for feminism and psychotherapy, and as a leading light of
both the Chicago literary renaissance and Greenwich Village. His
unjustly forgotten fiction and essays chronicle the heyday of
America?s first counterculture. (Book: Floyd Dell: The Life and
Times of an American Radical, by Douglas Clayton; Ivan R. Dee,
1994)
?Jay Walljasper

Halldor Laxness (1902?1998)
Despite writing his books in Icelandic and espousing outspoken
socialist views, Laxness managed to win the wider literary world?s
attention, and eventually the Nobel Prize, in 1955. While the lives
of sheep farmers near the Arctic Circle and domestic servants in
Reykjavik may seem remote, his portraits of these people evoke the
human resilience that redeems us all, in prose widely hailed for
its simple, transcendent beauty. (Book: Independent People, by
Halldor Laxness; Vintage, 1997)
?Jay Walljasper

Judson Dance Theater
(founded 1962)
In the early ?60s, the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village
became the incubator of avant-garde dance in America. Here,
disciples of choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer, poet, and
all-
purpose innovator John Cage staged experimental performances in
which dance lost its formal pretensions?at times becoming
indistinguishable from walking, or morphing into acrobatic
roller-skating. Among the corps who redefined contemporary dance
forever at Judson was multi-art diva Meredith Monk, who, like
Cunningham, is still active today. (Book: Democracy?s Body: Judson
Dance Theater 1962?1964, by Sally Banes, Duke University Press,
1993)
?Joseph Hart

Paul Goodman (1911?1972)
For those perplexed by what anarchism is and isn?t, and what it can
mean for all of us, the political and literary works of Paul
Goodman are a path toward clarity. Author of the classic social
critique Growing Up Absurd, as well as many works of poetry,
fiction, and literary criticism, Goodman had broad intellectual
reach and considerable political courage. And at a time of
stultified social mores, he was an authentic bohemian who flaunted
his bisexuality and challenged fellow ?radicals? to live their
ideals. (Book: Creator Spirit Come!, by Paul Goodman; Free Life
Editions, 1977)
?Craig Cox

The Rascals (1965?1972)
Perhaps the least celebrated of great ?60s rock groups, the Rascals
made music that sounds remarkably fresh and full today. They were
pioneers of blue-eyed soul and were so good at it that R&B star
Otis Redding is said to have once stuck his head into their
recording studio to say, ?I just wanted to see for myself if you
guys were really white.? Their raucous, uplifting 1968 testament
?People Got to Be Free? proved that the band?s cross-racial
solidarity was political as well as musical. Indeed, the Rascals
combined the two best things about the ?60s?an idealistic social
ethos and a good-time spirit. (CD: The Very Best of the Rascals;
Rhino, 1993)
?Jay Walljasper

Muriel Rukeyser (1913?1980)
Poet, biographer, essayist, translator, playwright, children?s
author, and tireless champion of the underclasses, Muriel Rukeyser
is a model of the engaged writer. She wrote dense, resonant poetry
that was determinedly high-cultural, but refused a poet?s
detachment; her most famous act of poetic activism was an
investigation and commemoration of the deaths of hundreds of
workers poisoned by silica dust on a West Virginia hydroelectric
project. Rukeyser was a ?daring visionary,? wrote critic Florence
Howe, ?ahead of her time in thinking about the arts, their
connection to science, their function in an increasingly merciless
world.? (Book: A Muriel Rukeyser Reader; ed. by Jan Heller Levi;
W.W. Norton, 1994)
?Joseph Hart

John Ruskin (1819?1900)
An odd man who lived a sheltered and sad life, Ruskin changed the
world?s mind about the value of landscape painting, Gothic
architecture, and medieval cities. As modern industrialism took
ferocious hold in Victorian England, his lyrical and thoughtful
books reminded the public about the pleasures and achievements of
the past. A social critic as well as an artistic one, he also spoke
out against the misuse of wealth and abuse of the working class.
(Book: Selected Writings; ed. by Kenneth Clark; Penguin Classics,
1992) ?Jay Walljasper

Johann Stamitz (1717?1757)
The Czech-born director of the court orchestra at Mannheim,
Germany, was one of the quiet transformers of classical music.
Stamitz created a more complex version of the sonata form, with
more intricate bass parts, and his demanding performance standards
insured a new level of virtuosity and helped the Mannheim ensemble
develop a ?bigger? and more beautiful sound than typical baroque
players. His innovations charted a path to the classical symphony
as practiced by Mozart. (CD: Johann Stamitz, Symphonies Vol. 1;
Naxos, 1996)
?Jon Spayde

Wolfgang Koeppen (1906?1996)
West German writers, led by Gnter Grass, began facing up to the
Nazi legacy in the 1960s. One novelist preceded them by a decade,
and paid dearly for it. Koeppen?s novels of the 1950s portrayed
?good Germans? as still ruinously infected with Nazism. Critics
savaged him, and he was unread for decades. While other German
writers experimented with fragmentation, Koeppen presented his
haunted characters in a rich, ironic language redolent of the old
high culture of Wagner and Goethe. The result: books that don?t
just indict Germany?they call a whole civilization to account.
(Books: The Hothouse and Death in Rome; by Wolfgang Koeppen; both
W.W. Norton, 2001) ?Jon Spayde

Jens Jensen (1860?1951)
A Danish immigrant, Jensen started out in the 1880s as a laborer
for the Chicago Park District and ended up leaving a mark on the
American landscape almost as distinctive as Central Park architect
Frederick Law Olmsted?s. Adapting Prairie Style architecture?s
emphasis on organic unity to the design of parks and gardens,
Jensen created masterpieces such as Garfield, Humboldt, and
Columbus parks in Chicago and The Clearing, his folk school in
Wisconsin?s Door County. He also pioneered progressive approaches
to landscape architecture: urban community gardens, neighborhood
parks and playgrounds, the use of wildflowers and other native
species in garden design, and citizen activism to preserve unique
natural settings. (Web site: www.jensjensen.org)
?Jay Walljasper

Robert Edmond Jones (1887?1954)
Nineteenth-century theatrical sets looked like elaborate oil
paintings: so visually cluttered, you could barely make out the
actors. Drawing on innovations in Europe, and working with giants
like Eugene O?Neill, Robert Edmond Jones gave American scene design
the vigor of modern art. He created stripped-down, expressive sets
bathed in subtle, emotionally rich lighting?thus adding visual
poetry to the poetry of the new drama. (Book: The Dramatic
Imagination, by Robert Edmond Jones, Methuen Theater Arts Books,
1987)
?Jon Spayde

John Dos Passos (1896?1970)
A roaring lion of ?20s and ?30s American literature who expressed
sharply radical views in acclaimed novels, Dos Passos seems now to
have left his mark only on a jazz-pop vocal group named after one
of his great works, Manhattan Transfer. This is surprising, since
his groundbreaking style?incorporating headlines, song lyrics,
historical sketches, and slice-of-life scenes in cinema-like
montages?fits so perfectly into the postmodern sensibility that
dominates the arts today. (Book: USA trilogy, by John Dos Passos;
Library of America, 1996)
?Jay Walljasper

Fran?ois Villon (1431?1463)
Bad-boy and bad-girl storytellers from Arthur Rimbaud to Public
Enemy have an ancestor in this great poet of the mean streets of
medieval Paris. Villon?s rap sheet began with a murder in 1453;
later, his adventures with thieves inspired him to write ballads in
slang. His Testaments are bitterly ironic wills, leaving his
possessions to friends and enemies. And the haunting ?Ballad of the
Hanged Men? was probably written when he himself was awaiting the
noose. (Book: Fran?ois Villon?s The Legacy and the Testament,
translated by Louis Simpson; Story Line Press, 2000)
?Jon Spayde

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759?1797)
A radical freethinker and protofeminist, Wollstonecraft hurried to
France in 1792 to observe the revolution firsthand. Back in London,
she threw in her lot with Thomas Paine, William Blake, and other
literary radicals, writing passionate accounts of the revolution,
as well as children?s books, reviews, and travelogues. Her enduring
A Vindication of the Rights of Women is a scathing critique of a
philosophy of women?s education that left women caged ?like the
feathered race, [with] nothing to do but to plume themselves, and
stalk with mock majesty from perch to perch.? (Book: A Vindication
of the Rights of Woman, by Mary Wollstonecraft; Modern Library,
2001)
?Joseph Hart

B. Traven (1890?1969)
No one knows the true story of the man behind the name, though 20
years after his death, his wife identified him as Ret Marut, a
German anarchist who fled Europe to save his life. But Ret Marut
was also an assumed name, and his true identity remains a mystery.
Even though his origins are obscure, his prose is unmistakably
clear. In dozens of stories and novels (including Treasure of the
Sierra Madre, the famous chronicle of the process by which ?man
becomes the slave of his property?), Traven?s taut, masculine style
makes Hemingway seem fussy. Yet he shows great sensitivity to the
nuances of character and a moralist?s unflinching clarity in
depicting the subtle shades of human cruelty. (Book: The Treasure
of the Sierra Madre, by B. Traven; Hill and Wang, 1996)
?Joseph Hart

Alan Hovhaness (1911?2000)
Audiences loved this astonishingly prolific composer?s lush, openly
emotional music; critics hated it. (Leonard Bernstein reportedly
dismissed Hovhaness? work as ?filthy.?) Neither an ivory-tower
intellectual nor a pandering populist, Hovhaness followed his own
path, studying firsthand the musical and spiritual traditions of
the Far East, and adapting them for many deceptively simple, richly
melodic compositions.?My purpose is to create music not for snobs,?
he said, ?but for all people . . . music which is beautiful and
healing.? (CD: Music of Alan Hovhaness; Crystal Records, 1993)
?Joseph Hart

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