Homeliness, Mystery, and Isolation: The Art of L.S. Lowry

In the September 26, 2013 issue of The New York Review, Sanford Schwartz writes about a new exhibition of the work of L.S. Lowry (1887–1976), whom he calls “Britain’s only visual artist to make industrial Lancashire, with its factories and smoke-belching chimneys and crowded streets, his or her predominant subject.”

Almost History: Plzeň, May 1991

Caleb Crain

At the end of World War II, as it became clear that Hitler was headed for defeat, Russia and the Western powers raced against each other to claim territory in Europe. Russian troops were the first to reach Warsaw, Budapest, and Vienna, and most observers expected that the Russians would also be the first to reach Prague, the capital of Czechoslovakia. It looked as if all of Eastern Europe was fated to fall under Soviet sway. At the last minute, however, it almost didn’t turn out that way. General Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized Patton to take Karlovy Vary, Plzeň, and České Budějovice, three of Czechoslovakia’s westernmost cities. Patton quickly took the cities, and he wanted to keep marching—all the way to Prague. If Eisenhower had given Patton a green light, the Iron Curtain of the next half-century would very likely have had a very different shape.

Tchaikovsky’s “Wrong” Note

Kirill Gerstein

Recently, the British pianist Stephen Hough reported on his blog that he had made “The most exciting musical discovery of [his] life: Tchaikovsky’s wrong note finally corrected.” The article questioned a note in Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, a large-scale, virtuosic piece that makes striking use of Russian folk themes. At the start of the concerto’s slow movement, the flute plays a phrase that consists of the notes A-flat, E-flat, F, A-flat. But is that F a mistake?

Arguing Over Jesus

Christopher Carroll

For all of the controversy surrounding Reza Aslan and his book Zealot, the work follows in a long tradition of study of the historical figure of Jesus—a subject that has provoked vigorous debate in The New York Review’s pages over the decades.