March 13, 2016

Birthdays and Such - March 13

One of the war horses of the solo violin repertoire, the E Minor Concerto (Op. 64) by Felix Mendelssohn, was premiered today in Leipzig in 1845.

Have a listen:

And 47 years later, in 1892  (though not implying any causality here - Post hoc ergo propter hoc) Janet Flanner was born in Indianapolis.

Who's Janet Flanner?  From the Library of Congress:
Perennial columnist for The New Yorker magazine, Janet Flanner (1892-1978) produced trenchant commentary on European politics and culture. In her mid twenties, Flanner left the United States for Paris, quickly becoming part of the group of American writers and artists who lived in the city between the world wars. In October 1925 Flanner published her first "Letter from Paris" in the then brand-new magazine, The New Yorker, launching a professional association destined to last for five decades.

Flanner's work during World War II included not only her famous "Letter from Paris" (disrupted for a period) and seminal pieces on Hitler's rise (1936) and the Nuremburg trials (1945), but a series of little-known weekly radio broadcasts for the NBC Blue Network during the months following the liberation of Paris in late 1944.
She was the Paris Correspondent for The New Yorker in the late 20s.  She was there with Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Holy crap, I have to say it again: The Paris Correspondent for the New Yorker in the 20s.

She wrote this of Hitler:
He has been studious with strange results: he says he regards liberalism as a form of tyranny, hatred and attack as part of man’s civic virtues, and equality of men as immoral and against nature. Since he is a concentrated, introspective dogmatist, he is uninformed by exterior criticism. On the other hand, he is a natural and masterly advertiser, a phenomenal propagandist within his limits, the greatest mob orator in German annals, and one of the most inventive organizers in European history. He believes in intolerance as a pragmatic principle. He accepts violence as a detail of state, he says mercy is not his affair with men, yet he is kind to dumb animals…. His moods change often, his opinions never. Since the age of twenty, they have been mainly anti-Semitic, anti-Communist, anti-suffrage, and Pan-German. He has a fine library of six thousand volumes, yet he never reads; books would do him no good—his mind is made up.
Janet Flanner, Paris Correspondent for the New Yorker, born today in 1892.  My admiration knows no bounds.

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