Not only a wife
Though I’ve admired Sebastian Smee’s vision and his prose, I felt I was reading an eminent Victorian in today’s Lund review (“Out of body experience,” g, Dec. 7). Smee’s text and image caption mention the “artist Gregory Gillespie’s wife, Fran,” as if she were a Wikipedia footnote.
Frances Cohen Gillespie was a remarkable artist. Her method was excruciatingly slow and her output therefore small. She won Prix residencies in Rome, more MacDowell fellowships than just about anybody, was many times a Bunting Fellow at Harvard. Though it’s down right now, the MFA holds a large midlife painting. The Smith College Museum has a few pieces on permanent display; so does Harvard. Much of what remains is in private collections, some local.
Fran Gillespie was an extraordinary painter. She died of cancer at 62.
Her long-divorced husband was named Greg.
Playing for pleasure
I liked James Reed’s review of the Neil Young/Crazy Horse concert (“Neil Young & Crazy Horse stretch out, take fans on epic ride,” Metro, Nov. 28). “Epic” was a perfect word to describe it: long but not necessarily good and very self-indulgent. “Doesn’t this band know how to end a song?” was asked several times in my balcony section during the 13 songs in 135 minutes. It was our misfortune that the only pieces recognized by the audience were among the few under 10 minutes long.
Boston fans got a set list loaded with recent material they didn’t want to hear. Two nights prior, Ottawa heard a 12-minute “Cortez the Killer” — luck of the draw, or was he torturing us for being south of the border? On the bright side, the unfamiliar tunes were pretty good except for the ear-splitting noise hiatus in “Walk Like a Giant.” And, the guitar work was excellent.
But, hey, hey, high, high! This is Neil Young, the artist who states publicly (see the PBS David Geffen documentary) that he’s in it for his own gratification and doesn’t really care what people think. He pulls this every tour; a lukewarm reception to new songs doesn’t bother him at all, and if you don’t like it, don’t go. Judging by the number of empty seats, many fans took the cue.
Where Rudolph rates
My opinion of Robert Campbell’s opinions hit a low point after reading his article “Brutalism gets a reworking on UMass campus” (Arts, Nov. 25).
Paul Rudolph’s talents and architectural accomplishments during his prolific life rate him among the very top practitioners of our time, success gained by monumental ability and achievement. Campbell obviously doesn’t approve of his work, and he is entitled to that as an opinion. But don’t damn the fellow as fact to the public. It’s just not fair. Campbell should know that there are some of us who strongly disagree with his assessment here.
I’m one of those who is creeped out by Brutalism — too many Nazi issues there for me — but Campbell’s review of the UMass library gave me some new ways to look at and think about those structures. Yes, architects are not creators always of sacred objects, though it often for me is like burning a book to tear down special creations.
Thanks — this was a good one!
On radio, and online
David Ofsevit’s letter regarding “Classical history” (Letters, Arts, Dec. 9) brought back fond memories of an era when Boston’s classical stations truly set the bar for national excellence in broadcasting. But I would also invite Mr. Ofsevit to take a closer listen to what’s on the radio today.
If anything, the classical music scene in Boston is more active, alive, and downright interesting than any time I can recall. It is a tremendously exciting time to be sharing the work of our region’s top-rank music-makers with the world. Ron Della Chiesa’s indefatigable presence still graces our airwaves, now twice a week, thanks to adding Sunday encore broadcasts to our 60-year tradition of airing live Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts.
Beyond that, we offer all of our BSO and Tanglewood broadcasts on-demand at our website for an entire year. This means that Mr. Ofsevit and other fans of Jeremy Eichler’s BSO reviews can now hear the very programs he writes about.
The opera is there too: Every Sunday night “World of Opera” takes our listeners to stage performances from around the world. It may be La Scala one week; Covent Garden the next. Or Boston: WGBH productions featuring both Boston Baroque and the Boston Early Music Festival are part of the national series.
Alternatively, Mr. Ofsevit can visit our website and choose from among five online channels, ranging from Bach to our first-in-the-nation “Kids Classical Channel,” designed, to paraphrase Mr. Ofsevit’s point, to expose young listeners to this timeless art where they are now.
Bringing classical music into the lives of children — as well as to their parents and grandparents — is the reason we are in business. But our work no longer occurs solely in one dimension, nor does one flavor suffice. That’s why Classical New England represents five on-air frequencies, five online channels, a feature-rich website, iTunes podcasts, and even a YouTube channel of HD performances.
I daresay that no other classical music service reflects the vibrancy and energy of its locality more than does Classical New England, and I invite all readers to make it a part of their lives.
BENJAMIN K. ROE
Managing Director, Classical Services
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