This week, a widely shared Facebook post by Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe has asked people thinking about joining one of the Palestine solidarity demonstrations occurring worldwide to reconsider. Jaffe’s post, with 656 shares at the time of writing, isn’t quite viral, but I would like to respond to it in detail for three reasons:

  1. It’s formatted as a list of questions, which seem to be intended as rhetorical or leading questions, but I would be happy to respond to them all in earnest.
  2. It contains several inaccurate claims that ought to be corrected.
  3. It conveniently assembles a list of hasbara clichés…

György Ligeti’s Piano Concerto, first conceived in the late 1970s but written in earnest during the years 1985–1988, is one of the composer’s most overwhelming and, if I can enter a highly subjective claim, entertaining works. Consisting of five short movements totaling about 23 minutes, the piece never stops surprising and disorienting the listener with layer upon layer of highly organized yet unpredictable material.

This concerto is a quintessential example of what the composer referred to in 1978 as his “wildly gesticulating, hectic style.”¹ While this tendency is more associated with Ligeti’s later works, a partition running through his…

Forget the unabating spike in Covid-19 infections, the pandemic’s crushing toll on Britain’s poor and middle classes, Boris Johnson’s continuing misrule coupled with a historically weak Labour Party, and, of course, all those pesky issues like climate change which existed before the pandemic but have since been relegated to the back burner.

Labour Leader Keir Starmer won’t be distracted by such petty matters when he has better ways to spend his limited supply of political capital—like suspending his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn from the party, reigniting Labour infighting, and sending a clear message of hostility to the new constituencies that Corbyn’s…

I want to talk about an album that I see not only as the best album to date by bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, but as one of the best albums of the 2010s from any artist.

Esperanza Spalding’s Emily’s D+Evolution (pronounced by Spalding as “D plus evolution”) is simultaneously a tour de force in groove-heavy, sophisticated yet broadly appealing songwriting, and also a concept album rich in theatricality and lyrical metaphors.

It appealed to Spalding’s jazz fans while continuing to grow her already diverse audience. It also has a deeply personal, at times even autobiographical perspective.

Album art by Holly Andres and Lawrence Azerrad

Over the course…

Lately, I’ve been returning to the Pink Floyd obsession of my early teens. Like many fans, I was enamored of The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, but felt clever for insisting their best album was actually Animals.

For the past couple months, my Pink Floyd phase has returned in full force, but I haven’t listened to any of the three above-mentioned albums much at all. Instead, I’ve been digging deep into their early work for the first time.

As a kid, I never really understood why so many fans focused on the band’s original frontman Syd Barrett…

Matthew Waterman

I’m a writer, musician, and theatre artist from the US, currently located in Norway.

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