Quotes by: Terry Teachout
It's said that most Americans under the age of 30 reflexively dislike movies made before 1970, especially those that were shot in black and white. If this is so, I suspect it's because such films portray an America that no longer exists.
It may well be, of course, that America's pop culture is on balance better than our high art. I don't think so, but you can certainly make a case that the best of it aspires to a degree of aesthetic and emotional seriousness that is directly comparable to all but the very greatest works of high art.
Instrumental music is nonverbal and thus radically ambiguous. It doesn't lend itself to what might be called content-oriented analysis, though plenty of intellectuals have tried to analyze it in precisely that way.
Unlike film and TV, theater is a luxury object, but one that ordinary middle-class people can still afford. Above all, it isn't a mass medium: Live theater is a small-scale, handmade art form. Intimacy is what makes it special.
'Man and Superman,' first performed in 1905, is by common consent one of George Bernard Shaw's greatest and most significant plays, yet hardly anybody performs it today, for the understandable reason that an uncut performance runs for about five hours.
Not only are most of our citizens fathomlessly ignorant of the glories of American literature, a fast-growing percentage of our students are no longer taught much about any works of American art, be they novels, paintings, symphonies or ballets.
One reason why Shakespeare's plays remain so popular is that they're now regularly presented in updated stagings with a contemporary flavor.
If you're looking for light entertainment, you can't get much lighter than 'Bye Bye Birdie,' a flyweight farce about the coming of rock n' roll to small-town America.
If I ever see another Shakespeare production where somebody drives a Jeep on stage, I'm going to run screaming up the aisle.
It's certainly no secret that American students are taught less and less about the canonical literary masterpieces of the past, and there is no shortage of people who believe that what little they're required to learn in school is still too much.
Everybody in America was talking about TV early in 1949, though comparatively few Americans owned a set of their own.
The only thing that surprised me about 'Lincoln' is that most of the critics who reviewed the film seem not to have grasped what should have been apparent right from the start, which is that 'Lincoln' is at bottom a play with pictures, not a screenplay.
No, I don't know how to get young people to start listening to jazz again. But I do know this: Any symphony orchestra that thinks it can appeal to under-30 listeners by suggesting that they 'should' like Schubert and Stravinsky has already lost the battle.
Most of us remember Nat King Cole as a vocalist. His warm, grainy baritone is still so closely identified with such familiar ballads as 'Stardust' and 'The Christmas Song' that it's hard to imagine anyone else performing them.
Unlike film, live theater is an anti-naturalistic medium in which character is mainly illuminated through speech and movement.
Americans of all ages embraced TV unhesitatingly. They felt no loyalty to network radio, the medium that had entertained and informed them for a quarter-century. When something came along that they deemed superior, they switched off their radios without a second thought.
For the critic, the word 'best' is like a grenade without a pin: Toss it around too freely, and you're likely to get your hand blown off.
No cowboy songs, no hoedowns. It's a more serious piece. Yet every bar of 'Appalachian Spring' is clear, clean, tonal, intelligible - great music that anyone can grasp at first hearing.
I became a professional musician and played all kinds of music. I played bluegrass, I played classical music, and for many years, I played jazz.
The backstage play, in which the private lives of theater people are put onstage for the world to see, is one of the diciest of dramatic genres.
I've always loved opera; it never occurred to me that I would write a proper libretto.
I don't know of any American playwrights who earn the bulk of their living writing plays. Many of the older ones teach, while a growing number of younger ones write for series television.
Copland was one of the first American composers to forge a truly modern style of American classical music while also making use of American popular music - including jazz.
Few of us boggle - though we should - at the fact that Louis Armstrong sang and played trumpet with similar panache, or that Leonard Bernstein and Benjamin Britten were equally adept as composers, conductors and pianists.