Thursday, June 14, 2007

Six Degrees of Henry Wallace

What? The new party game for mid-20s urban, loft-dwelling hipsters? Franklin Roosevelt's vice president? No. Well, yes to that last bit. Just an easy way to connect Henry Wallace to Stravinsky's riotous Sacre du printemps premiere. The ever-informative Alex Ross gives us a story from his forthcoming book in more depth. An excerpt:

Roerich was a Russian symbolist painter who had come to America in the twenties and set himself up as a mystical guru of the Theosophist type. In the early thirties, he succeeded in ingratiating himself not only with Wallace but also with Roosevelt himself, whom he met on at least one occasion. The President took a fancy to Roerich’s proposal for a “banner of peace,” which was designed to fly over artistic monuments around the world to protect them from aerial bombardment. The idea was apparently forgotten by the time of the infernal Allied bombings of 1944 and 1945.

Yes, it is that interesting. You might want to read Gore Vidal's series on United States history for an equally engaging look at American history, such as it is.

This is, moreover, another reason why I am waiting anxiously for his book. If it's half as good as his blog, and it will be at the very least that, then it will be the best music book of the year. That's right, I pre-reviewed it. So sure am I of its quality that I'm just going to give it a good review now. That, and Mr. Ross has been so kind as to give us an excerpt. It will be a keeper. Mark my words.

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