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  • Originally published 05/11/2013

    Why Historians' Memoirs are So Valuable

    Historians of 'Past and Present' by Stephen Frederick Godfrey Farthing, 1999. National Portrait Gallery, London. John Elliott is one of the sitters.Cross-posted from the Weekly Standard.

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    One man's memoir of 9/11 becomes another's symphony

    Mohammed Fairouz has never been shy about using his musical platform to explore political and social issues. Nor is the young New York-based composer allergic to popular culture in its most colorful forms. So for his latest work, "Symphony No. 4, In the Shadow of No Towers," which will make its world premiere Tuesday at Carnegie Hall, he is grappling with the aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by adapting the 2004 graphic novel "In the Shadow of No Towers" by Art Spiegelman.Mr. Fairouz, who is 27 and grew up in New York and London, said he was initially attracted both to the book's structure and to its contemplative treatment of the events. "Graphic novels have a kind of architecture that is musical," he said. "I thought the way that it dealt with the event and its aftermath wasn't overly sentimental, but at the same time was respectful."But when he pitched the "No Towers" idea to Mr. Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and illustrator of "Maus" was hesitant. A previous effort by another composer to create a multimedia production had yielded mixed results, so the artist's expectations were tempered. After hearing Mr. Fairouz's completed symphony, though, he was moved....

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