Lloyd Schwartz | WYPR

Lloyd Schwartz

Lloyd Schwartz is the classical music critic for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

In addition to his role on Fresh Air, Schwartz is the Senior Editor of Classical Music for the web-journal New York Arts and Contributing Arts Critic for WBUR's the ARTery. He is the author of four volumes of poems: These People; Goodnight, Gracie; Cairo Traffic; and Little Kisses (University of Chicago Press, 2017). A selection of his Fresh Air reviews appears in the volume Music In—and On—the Air. He is the co-editor of the Library of the America's Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters and the editor of the centennial edition of Elizabeth Bishop's Prose, published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in 2011.

In 1994, Schwartz was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He is the Frederick S. Troy Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston and teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing.

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Broadway had never seen anything like it when Show Boat arrived at the Ziegfeld Theatre in 1927. The score was unforgettable and the story tackled complex racial issues. There have been three movie versions, but the best one — James Whale's 1936 production — has only just been released on DVD.

Show Boat was the first great serious Broadway musical. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, who wrote the songs, and Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., who produced it, departed from typical musical comedy material, with its chorus lines and songs showcasing star performers.

One of the most unsettling rooms in an important art exhibit at New York's Neue Galerie is a room in which numerous empty frames are hanging, with guesses about which paintings might have been in them. The paintings themselves were all lost or destroyed by the Nazis. Encouraged by Hitler, most Nazis (Joseph Goebbels was the rare exception) considered everything but the most hidebound, traditionally realistic paintings and sculptures to be "degenerate," a threat to the Aryan ideals of German culture.

Some years ago, I wrote a poem called "Why I Love Vermeer," which ends "I've never lived in a city without a Vermeer." I could say that until 1990, when Vermeer's exquisite painting The Concert was one of the masterpieces stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It's still missing.