Articles by Michael Johnson
Years after his death, Olivier Messiaen remains a divisive figure. Michael Johnson explores the controversial composer’s imprint on modern music.
John Cage’s controversial music is his best-known legacy, but his voluminous writings and artwork, equally inventive, have been unfairly neglected. It’s time to right this wrong.
Putin’s Soviet predecessors were masters of doublespeak. As Ukraine suffers again, it’s clear that their descendents are now in charge.
Raintree County may be the greatest American novel nobody has ever read. When Michael Johnson pulled it off his shelf, he was instantly hooked: maybe it’s time for a revival.
The Russian dissident writers are largely unknown in the West today, but their work was an inspiration at a time when their compatriots were forbidden to dream different dreams.
Every correspondent in Moscow wanted to be the first to find Solzhenitsyn after he won the Nobel Prize in 1970. Michael Johson had that honor – but the great Russian writer wasn’t altogether pleased so see him.
Many composers and musicians believe we are in a golden age of experimental creativity in composition. So why does the general concert-going public hate the results?
The media just won’t leave old man Voltaire alone! We run a transcript of the latest interview.
Sviatoslav Richter called Pictures at an Exhibition the “best Russian work for piano, amen”; many know it best through Ravel’s lush orchestration, which Richter considered “an abomination.” This beloved piece becomes even more resonant when you know its genesis in Mussorgsky’s friendship with the architect-artist Viktor Hartmann.
Joseph Epstein has a cult following as a sharp-tongued critic and essayist. His latest collection showcases his love of words and ideas as well as his caustic wit.
Say “Evgeny Onegin” to any educated Russian and you will trigger the first stanza or two of Pushkin’s great novel in verse. Now Russia’s national poet is finally coming into his own in the West as well.