Some Holiday Joy

Chris Lydon’s Open Source has been one of my favorite podcasts for the past two years. The host has a passion for culture and politics; his intellect is about as wide-ranging as that of the great American critics Wilson, Trilling, Kazin and Howe. My favorite episodes have both featured Bach; the first a tribute to conductor/pianist Craig Smith, the latest an interview with pianist Andrew Rangell. The Rangell interview focuses on

the perfect nest of piano masterpieces that Daniel Barenboim and others refer to as the Old Testament, the 48 preludes and fugues conceived in 1722 and refined over the last 28 years of Bach’s life, the set known as The Well-Tempered Clavier.

The Smith show captures, in the words of Russell Sherman, an extraordinary “way to live:”

“Everything he touched he cherished, and relished with an incredible tenderness, conviction, and belief. . . Everything he did, he did with flair, a cherubic smile, and a Mozartean sense of absolute pleasure and happiness in the task itself.”

Many thanks to Lydon for bringing both these gifts to us.

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