Suffering from a deafness which plagued him over the final three decades of his life, Ludwig van Beethoven explored new and innovative areas of musical theory which sometimes left him in controversial straits with critics. Having already composed countless quartets and sonatas as well as several symphonies, Beethoven continued to push the bounds of sound through his late period, often incorporating the influences of Bach, Handel and his immediate predecessor as foremost composer in the world, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Until his death in 1827, Beethoven strove to perfect the sounds and styles of the time which produced him.
On Sunday, two NBA title contenders, each by an MVP candidate, met in Houston for the second and final time in the regular season. The team that prevailed, the Houston Rockets, did so in much the same fashion as they have done all year: by adhering to their particular brand of the NBA’s prevailing style, launching as many threes as possible and, when that wasn’t available, getting to the rim for high percentage shots and foul opportunities. At the eye of the Rockets’ storm is James Harden, high-volume wing-turned-obscenely efficient point guard, a scoring machine in either case.
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Alright, settle down. Have a seat, take a five. Can we just take a five, please? Put your feet up for a while and relax. Especially you, Kobe. You’ve had more than enough to last you a lifetime. Now that the NBA’s regular season has drawn to a close, we all have a moment to catch our collective breath and reflect on what has just happened, which: what has just happened?
The Golden State Warriors have reset our perceptions of what basketball is and what can be accomplished within its strict confines. In particular, Steph Curry has been a supernova among supernovas; along with seemingly every other forum featuring a human being, a pair of eyes, a computer and a relative understanding of the game of basketball, we have covered them both extensively here already. The single most emblematic action this team routinely commits is the very play setting the standard for the league as it is now, the three-point shot.
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By 1924, American popular music was undergoing a systematic shift. Going were the days of classical dance hall music, with it the borrowed waltzes and concertos which had for so long dominated musical thought and exploration. Polyrhythms and improvisation found their way into compositions with alarming regularity via the African influences from port cities like New Orleans, which many cite as the birthplace of jazz. Perhaps the most emblematic composition of that time, and one which stakes a claim as the most important piece° of American music ever, arrived via George Gershwin, sans his brother Ira, in the form of a commissioned work that, if the composer is to be believed, was written in only three weeks’ time.
“Rhapsody in Blue” opened on February 12, 1924 in a concert at New York’s Aeolian Hall. Mainstream critics left the afternoon showcase confused, with New York Tribune critic Lawrence Gilman saying of the piece, “Weep over the lifelessness of the melody and harmony, so derivative, so stale, so inexpressive!” By 1927, the recording from Paul Whiteman’s band had sold over one million copies. Perhaps related, the Tribune went under in 1966.