Books, movies and records of the year

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Books, movies and records of the year

Post by Honorio » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:59 pm




I've been digging lately on the TSPDT (They Shoot Pictures Don't They) Top 1000 list. I've found there a list of the best movie of every year and I'm currently watching these movies in a particular order (first the years ending in 0, then in 1, so 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010, 1901, 1911, 1921, etc). Doing this I've discovered so far excellent movies ("The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," "Rashomon," "Breathless" or "In the Mood for Love") and I enjoyed again some wonderful movies I already knew and loved ("His Girl Friday," "Goodfellas" or "Citizen Kane"). Later I began to check also the "book of the year" on The Greatest Books.org and I'm right now in Combray with Marcel Proust, going Swann's way "In Search of Lost Time." So I thought... why not combine the highest positions of every year in a common thread? And here it is , this is the resultant thread combining the three best cultural meta-lists on the Internet, The Greatest Books.org, They Shoot Pictures Don't They and Acclaimed Music.net.

The Greatest Books (https://thegreatestbooks.org/) in an excellent meta-list about literature, the best resource you can find on the Internet to know the 2091 best books ever written based on 119 lists. The web page is developed and maintained by Shane Sherman (with the last update on May 24th, 2018) who states on the front page: "This list is generated from 119 "best of" book lists from a variety of great sources. An algorithm is used to create a master list based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Some lists count more than others. I generally trust "best of all time" lists voted by authors and experts over user-generated lists." The page include two different main lists, one for fiction books and another one for non-fiction books. It is a very informative page, including comments about the books, cover arts of almost every book and links to other pages to obtain more information or even buy the book. It also includes a very useful tool that allows to filter the best books for time periods.

They Shoot Pictures Don't They (http://www.theyshootpictures.com/index.htm) is another excellent meta-list, in this case about cinematography. It includes two main lists, a Top 1000 list of all-time compiled from over 9,800 film lists (with a secondary list from 1001 to 2000) and a Top 1000 of the XXI Century. It also includes other lists like Top 250 Directors and Top 1000 Noir-Films. The web page is created, developed and maintained by Bill Georgaris (with the last update on January 21st, 2019) and it's in his own words "part-time folly, with kind (and important) assistance from my partner Vicki Platt. We are both life-long film lovers based in Adelaide, Australia. TSPDT is a completely hobby-driven enterprise which merely aims to provide a reasonable cinematic resource for fellow enthusiasts." The page is absolutely fantastic, both in form and content, including an amazing selection of movie pictures and well-selected comments by critics. A very useful feature is the sortable tables for the full list and the 21st century list.

Acclaimed Music (http://www.acclaimedmusic.net/) is, as all of you know, the best meta-list on the Internet about music. It includes three main lists, a Top 3000 for albums, a Top 10000 for songs and a Top 4000 for artists. The web-page was released in 2001 by Henrik Franzon, an statician from Stockholm, Sweden. The last update on the list was made on July 15th, 2018. He uses thousands of critics lists, both all-time and end-of-year, not including readers or listeners polls. The algorithm works matching all albums/songs against each other in pairs and summarizing these match-ups into a score for each album/song (as explained on the "about" section). The layout is user-friendly, making easy to explore it by decades or years. It also includes lists by country and music genre. And it includes, of course, a lively, friendly and ever-growing forum with users from all around the world.

With these 3 wonderful sites it could have been enough but when I began compiling I quickly noticed that I should include some Classical works in order to give the proper weight to the music of the first half of the XX Century. The problem is that there is not a web page like the other three for Classical music, so I've used a poll of the Australian radio station ABC Classic FM held in 2011 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_1 ... tury_(ABC)). It's a quite good sample of Modern Classical, even if it has notable absences and questionable choices like any other readers (listeners in this case) poll.

The structure of this thread will include lists from every year from 1900 to 2018 including:
- Book of the year (plus a top 3).
- Movie of the year (plus a Top 3).
- Record of the year (plus a Top 3 for albums and a Top 3 for songs).
- Top 3 classical works of the year.
Moreover I will include lists for the decades, in this case including a Top 5 instead of a Top 3.

Every entry will include (separated by vertical bars):
a) Position on the year or decade list.
b) Name of the book, movie, record or classical work, first on the original language (with transliteration to Latin alphabet) followed by the English translation between brackets.
c) Name of the book writer, film director, music act or classical composer.
d) Nationality, the country in which the work was first published (book), produced (movie), released (record) or premiered (classical work).
e) Nationality of the writer/director/act/composer if it's different than the first.
f) Record format (album, single), only for records.
g) Year (only on decade lists).
h) Exceptions (compilations, documentaries).
i) All-time position on the source list (Greatest Books, TSPDT, Acclaimed Music, ABC Classic).

Every web page has its own criteria to select the correct year but I've chosen:
- For the books the date of the first publication on book format, while on The Greatest Books.org the publication on magazines or serial format is occasionally chosen.
- For the movies the date of the premiere, just like on TSPDT.
- For the records the date of the album or single first release, just like on Acclaimed Music.
- For the classical works the date of the premiere unlike on ABC Classic that chose the date of composition (well, at least on the Wikipedia page).

In order to give some homogeneity of the criteria I've included some restrictions to make the lists more compatible:
- On Acclaimed Music the compilations are not included but The Greatest Books include some "compilations" (I think "collections" is a more correct term talking about literature). I've decided to leave out these collections on the category of "book of the year" but it will be mentioned on the Top 3 of the year. I'm doing this because otherwise excellent books of short stories or poetry won't get mentioned. The problem with the release dates of these short stories and poetry collections is that in The Greatest Books.org the votes for the original collections are usually gathered into a wider, more inclusive, collection. As an example, the votes for Jorge Luis Borges' original "Ficciones" ("Fictions," 1944) has been assigned to "Collected Fictions" (1998), that include the complete "Fictions" along with another original collections.
- On The Greatest Books.org there are separate lists for fiction and non-fiction books while in TSPDT both fiction and documentary movies are included together. So I've decided not to include documentaries as movie of the year (something that is going to happen on 6 occasions) while it will get mentioned on the Top 3s.

Hope you enjoy the thread. My plan is to include a new year/decade every day (so it will take a few months to unfold it completely). When the complete list is posted I could include some stats. One thing I wanted to mention beforehand is that I detected differences on the bias of the critics regarding books, movies or records. While on the music list is easy to detect a bias against women and non-English speaking countries but there was no detectable bias against black musicians (I talked about this on a previous thread) on the other lists the bias change. On the book list there is a relevant amount of women writers getting the #1 position, especially on the last 50 years, while the books written in English are much more represented than the books written in other languages. On the movie list the representation of women and black filmmakers is not too high but there are movies from all around the world, with almost half of the movies of the year filmed and released in languages different to English.

The information will appear in two identical threads, this one on the "Music, music, music..." section intended to be a more participative thread and another one on the "General Discussion," a kind of "official" thread only with information intended to be linked from the three main sites. So please, feel free to include your comments but only on this thread and not on this one.

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The 1890s

Post by Honorio » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:41 am

The 1890s



Book of the 1890s | Heart of Darkness | Joseph Conrad | UK | 1899 | all time #24
"Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. It is widely regarded as a significant work of English literature and part of the Western canon. The story tells of Charles Marlow, an Englishman who took a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness exposes the myth behind colonization while exploring the three levels of darkness that the protagonist, Marlow, encounters--the darkness of the Congo wilderness, the darkness of the European's cruel treatment of the natives, and the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil." (Publisher)

Movie of the 1890s | L'arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat (The Arrival of a Train) | Auguste Lumière/Louis Lumière | France | 1896 | all time #978
"Today, we cannot comprehend the terror that gripped the 1895 audience facing the Lumière brothers' arriving train—this first film with which they gave birth to documentary film. Louis Lumière's film Arrival of the Train shows, in only fifty seconds, an everyday occurrence, a familiar experience for spectators: a train pulls into a station, the passengers go back and forth on the platform. Despite its brevity and the banality of its subject matter, this film has attained fame, entering film history as an icon of the medium's origins." (Martin Loiperdinger, Cinema's Founding Myth)

Record of the 1890s | Stars and Stripes Forever | Sousa's Band | USA | 78 rpm single | 1897 | all time #4121
"Sousa composed well over 100 marches, and the best known of all those is the patriotic The Stars and Stripes Forever. The piece was an immediate success, and, from the time of its publication until his death 35 years later, Sousa and his band performed it at most of their concerts. As with most Sousa marches, The Stars and Stripes Forever begins with a short, rousing introduction, followed by three contrasting melodies of varied moods. The boldest of those melodies is restated grandly along with a formidable piccolo solo in the finale." (Betsy Schwarm, Encyclopaedia Britannica)


Books of the 1890s:
1 | Heart of Darkness | Joseph Conrad | UK | 1899 | #24
2 | Tess of the d'Urbervilles | Thomas Hardy | UK | 1891 | #99
3 | Jude the Obscure | Thomas Hardy | UK | 1895 | #172
4 | Sult (Hunger) | Knut Hamsun | Norway | 1890 | #180
5 | The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde | UK | 1891 | #189


Movies of the 1890s:
1 | L'arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat (The Arrival of a Train) | Auguste Lumière/Louis Lumière | France | documentary | 1896 | #956
2 | La sortie de l'usine Lumière à Lyon (Employees Leaving the Lumière Factory) | Louis Lumière | France | documentary | 1895 | #1122


Song of the 1890s | Stars and Stripes Forever | Sousa's Band | USA | 1897 | #4121


Classical works of the 1890s:
1 | Symfonie č. 9 9 e moll, "Z nového světa" (Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World") | Antonín Dvořák | USA | Austria-Hungary | 1893 | #6
2 | Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma Variations) | Edward Elgar | UK | 1899 | #24
3 | Messe de Requiem en ré mineur (Requiem in D minor) | Gabriel Fauré | France | 1890 | #26
4 | Simfonija № 6 Si minor, "Patetičeskaja" (Symphony No. 6 in B minor, "Pathétique") | Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky | Russian Empire | 1893 | #28
5 | 2. Sinfonie in c-Moll, "Auferstehungssinfonie" (Symphony No. 2 in C minor, "Resurrection") | Gustav Mahler | German Empire | Austria-Hungary | 1895 | #43

Notes:
On this first week we have two exceptions to the rules described on the previous post:
"Heart of Darkness" was first published in 1899 as a three-part serial story in Blackwood's Magazine and the first publication in book format was in 1902 as part of a collection called "Youth: a Narrative, and Two Other Stories." So having to choose between the first release as part of a collection and the first release on serial format I chose the latter as a first (and hopefully last) exception.
"The Arrival of a Train" is a documentary but I've made an exception labelling it as "movie of the decade" for its historical significance.

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1900

Post by Honorio » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:49 am

1900



Book of 1900 | Lord Jim | Joseph Conrad | UK | all time #145
"Conrad's great novel of guilt and redemption follows the first mate on board the Patna, a raw youth with dreams of heroism who, in an act of cowardice, abandons his ship. His unbearable guilt and its consequences are shaped by Conrad into a narrative of immeasurable richness. Joseph Conrad launches the story into both an exercise of his technical prowess and a delicately crafted picture of a character who reaches the status of a literary hero." (Publisher)


Books of 1900:
1 | Lord Jim | Joseph Conrad | UK | #145
2 | Sister Carrie | Theodore Dreiser | USA | #450
3 | The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | L. Frank Baum | USA | #551


Classical works of 1900:
1 | Finlandia | Jean Sibelius | Russian Empire | #15
2 | Tosca | Giacomo Puccini | Italy | #28
3 | The Dream of Gerontius | Edward Elgar | UK | #88

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1901

Post by Honorio » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:14 pm

1901



Book of 1901 | Buddenbrooks (Buddenbrooks) | Thomas Mann | German Empire | all time #129
"Buddenbrooks was Thomas Mann's first novel, published in 1901 when he was twenty-six years old. It portrays the downfall (already announced in the subtitle, Decline of a Family) of a wealthy mercantile family of Lübeck over four generations. The book is generally understood as a portrait of the German bourgeois society throughout several decades of the 19th century. The book displays Mann's characteristic detailed style, and it was this novel which won Mann the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929." (Publisher)


Books of 1901:
1 | Buddenbrooks (Buddenbrooks) | Thomas Mann | German Empire | #129
2 | Kim | Rudyard Kipling | UK | #243
3 | Tri sestry (Three Sisters) | Anton Chekhov | Russian Empire | #595


Classical works of 1901:
1 | Koncert dlja fortepiano s orkestrom № 2 do minor (Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor) | Sergei Rachmaninoff | Russian Empire | #5
2 | Pomp and Circumstance (March No. 1 in D major) | Edward Elgar | UK | #21
3 | 4. Sinfonie in G-Dur (Symphony No. 4 in G major) | Gustav Mahler | German Empire | Austria-Hungary | #61

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1902

Post by Honorio » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:44 pm

1902



Movie of 1902 | Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) | Georges Méliès | France | all time #357
"Partly inspired by Jules Verne's early work of science fiction De la terre à la lune (1865) and by H. G. Wells's prophetic novel The First Men in the Moon (1901), Georges Méliès's Le voyage dans la lune (1902) is remarkable for its imaginative, and continually diverting, narrative development. The serious, didactic purpose of the literary antecedents is ignored to provide an engaging entertainment… Méliès was director, producer, set designer, and leading actor. In his exuberant narrative Méliès successfully mixes traditional stage-craft with his extensive repertory of special effects." (R.F. Cousins, Film Reference)

Book of 1902 | The Hound of the Baskervilles | Arthur Conan Doyle | UK | all time #260
"The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of the crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialized in the Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set mainly on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country but the beginning is set in London. It tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome hound. Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson investigate the case." (Publisher)


Books of 1902:
1 | The Hound of the Baskervilles | Arthur Conan Doyle | UK | #260
2 | The Wings of the Dove | Henry James | UK | USA | #344
3 | The Tale of Peter Rabbit | Beatrix Potter | UK | #647


Movie of 1902 | Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) | Georges Méliès | France | #357


Classical works of 1902:
1 | Sinfonia nro 2 D-duuri (Symphony No. 2 in D major) | Jean Sibelius | Russian Empire | #27
2 | Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) | Arnold Schoenberg | Austria-Hungary | #63

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1903

Post by Honorio » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:20 pm

1903



Book of 1903 | The Call of the Wild | Jack London | USA | all time #133
"The plot concerns a previously domesticated and even somewhat pampered dog named Buck, whose primordial instincts return after a series of events finds him serving as a sled dog in the treacherous, frigid Yukon during the days of the 19th-century Klondike Gold Rushes in which sled dogs were bought at generous prices. Published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is one of London's most-read books, and it is generally considered one of his best. Because the protagonist is a dog, it is sometimes classified as a juvenile novel, suitable for children, but it is dark in tone and contains numerous scenes of cruelty and violence." (Publisher)

Movie of 1903 | The Great Train Robbery | Edwin S. Porter | USA | all time #1889
"Director Edwin S. Porter created film history when he completed the 13 sequences for the Great Train Robbery, released in 1903 but based on an 1896 story by Scott Marble. Outstanding for the first parallel development of separate, simultaneous scenes (intercutting), and the first close-up (of an outlaw firing off a shot right at the audience), The Great Train Robbery is among the earliest narrative films with a "Western" setting - although when it was released it was considered a part of the violent crime genre that dominated the movie screens. "Westerns" would come later." (Rotten Tomatoes)


Books of 1903:
1 | The Call of the Wild | Jack London | USA | #133
2 | The Ambassadors | Henry James | UK | USA | #149
3 | The Way of All Flesh | Samuel Butler | UK | #354


Movie of 1903 | The Great Train Robbery | Edwin S. Porter | USA | #1889

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1904

Post by Honorio » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:04 pm

1904



Book of 1904 | Nostromo | Joseph Conrad | UK | all time #120
"Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard is a 1904 novel by Joseph Conrad, set in the fictional South American republic of "Costaguana." F. Scott Fitzgerald said: "I'd rather have written Nostromo than any other novel." In his evocation of the Costaguana Republic, framed in the exotic and grandiose landscape of South America, Conrad reveals not only the lives and destinies of his characters but also the physical and political composition of an entire country." (Publisher)


Books of 1904:
1 | Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard | Joseph Conrad | UK | #120
2 | Vishnyovyi sad (The Cherry Orchard) | Anton Chekhov | Russian Empire | #535
3 | Hadrian the Seventh | Baron Corvo | UK | #718


Classical works of 1904:
1 | Madama Butterfly | Giacomo Puccini | Italy | #17
2 | Viulukonsertto d-molli (Violin Concerto in D minor) | Jean Sibelius | Russian Empire | #23
3 | 5. Sinfonie in cis-Moll (Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor) | Gustav Mahler | German Empire | Austria-Hungary | #25

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1905

Post by Honorio » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:38 pm

1905



Book of 1905 | The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton | USA | all time #176
"A black comedy about vast wealth and a woman who can define herself only through the perceptions of others. The beautiful Lily Bart lives among the nouveaux riches of New York City – people whose millions were made in railroads, shipping, land speculation and banking. In this morally and aesthetically bankrupt world, Lily, age twenty-nine, seeks a husband who can satisfy her cravings for endless admiration and all the trappings of wealth. But her quest comes to a scandalous end when she is accused of being the mistress of a wealthy man. Exiled from her familiar world of artificial conventions, Lily finds life impossible." (Publisher)

Record of 1905 | Give My Regards to Broadway | Billy Murray | USA | phonograph cylinder | all time #8938
"This great favorite was introduced by George M. Cohan in his production of Little Johnny Jones, his very first musical play. Sung many times over in film, on record and TV, the song is one of those enduring favorites that never gets old or outdated. The music and melody seem to fit any era and transcend fads and styles to stand as an example of the permanence of a well written song. From its introduction, the song has been heard almost continuously." (Parlor Songs Academy)


Books of 1905:
1 | The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton | USA | #176
2 | Professor Unrat (Small Town Tyrant) | Heinrich Mann | German Empire | #695
3 | Doktor Glas (Doctor Glas) | Hjalmar Söderberg | Sweden | #1647


Song of 1905 | Give My Regards to Broadway | Billy Murray | USA | #8938


Classical works of 1905:
1 | La mer (The Sea) | Claude Debussy | France | #34
2 | Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow) | Franz Lehár | Austria-Hungary | #89

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1906

Post by Honorio » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:35 pm

1906



Book of 1906 | Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß (The Confusions of Young Törless) | Robert Musil | Austria-Hungary | all time #256
"Like his contemporary and rival Sigmund Freud, Robert Musil boldly explored the dark, irrational undercurrents of humanity. The Confusions of Young Törless, published in 1906 while he was a student, uncovers the bullying, snobbery, and vicious homoerotic violence at an elite boys academy. Unsparingly honest in its depiction of the author's tangled feelings about his mother, other women, and male bonding, it also vividly illustrates the crisis of a whole society, where the breakdown of traditional values and the cult of pitiless masculine strength were soon to lead to the cataclysm of the First World War and the rise of fascism. More than a century later, Musil's first novel still retains its shocking, prophetic power." (Publisher)


Books of 1906:
1 | Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß (The Confusions of Young Törless) | Robert Musil | Austria-Hungary | #256
2 | The Man of Property | John Galsworthy | UK | #268
3 | The Jungle | Upton Sinclair | USA | #291


Classical work of 1906 | 6. Sinfonie in a-Moll, "Tragische" (Symphony No. 6 in A minor, "Tragic") | Gustav Mahler | German Empire | Austria-Hungary | #73

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1907

Post by Honorio » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:31 pm

1907



Book of 1907 | The Secret Agent | Joseph Conrad | UK | all time #441
"Secret agent Mr. Adolph Verloc operates from a seedy Soho shop, where he deals in pornography and espionage. When Verloc is assigned to plant a bomb at Greenwich Observatory, his plans go terribly awry, and his family has to deal with the tragic repercussions of his actions. Joseph Conrad's dark satire on English society, while rooted in the Edwardian period, remains strikingly contemporary. Presenting a corrupt London underworld of terrorists, grotesques, and fanatics, Conrad's savagely ironic voice is concerned not just with politics but with the desperate fates of ordinary people." (Publisher)

Record of 1907 | Pagliacci - Vesti la giubba | Enrico Caruso | USA | Italy | 78 rpm single | all time #6170
"Italian tenor Enrico Caruso was the first gramophone star to sell more than a million copies with his recording of Vesti la giubba from the opera Pagliacci (Clowns) by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Vesti la giubba (English: Put on the costume) is regarded as one of the most moving arias in the operatic repertoire. It is sung at the conclusion of the first act, when Canio discovers his wife’s infidelity, but must nevertheless prepare for his performance as Pagliaccio the clown because "The show must go on." The pain of Canio (Caruso) is portrayed in the aria and exemplifies the entire notion of the 'tragic clown': smiling on the outside but crying on the inside." (Dors Venabili, andantemoderato.com)


Books of 1907:
1 | The Secret Agent | Joseph Conrad | UK | #441
2 | Mat' (Mother) | Maxim Gorky | Russian Empire | #1068


Song of 1907 | Pagliacci - Vesti la giubba | Enrico Caruso | USA | Italy | #6170

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1908

Post by Honorio » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:47 pm

1908



Book of 1908 | The Wind in the Willows | Kenneth Grahame | UK | all time #123
"The Wind in the Willows is a children's novel by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animals in a pastoral version of England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames valley. This book has it all: excitement, sentiment, destruction of private property (plenty of that), paganism, and a happy ending." (Publisher)

Record of 1908 | Take Me Out to the Ball Game | Haydn Quartet | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #9814
"On the 2nd of May, 1908, the United States Copyright Office received two copies of a new song titled Take Me Out to the Ball Game, submitted by composer Albert von Tilzer and lyricist Jack Norworth. This musical work, affectionately referred to over the century as the "other" national anthem, baseball's national anthem, has become the grand-slam of all baseball songs. It has been ranked in survey polls as one of the top ten songs of the twentieth century and is second only to "Happy Birthday" and "The Star Spangled Banner" as the most easily recognized songs in America." (Library of Congress)


Books of 1908:
1 | The Wind in the Willows | Kenneth Grahame | UK | #123
2 | A Room with a View | E.M. Forster | UK | #166
3 | The Old Wives' Tale | Arnold Bennett | UK | #385


Song of 1908 | Take Me Out to the Ball Game | Haydn Quartet | USA | all time #9814


Classical works of 1908:
1 | Simfonija № 2 mi minor (Symphony No. 2 in E minor) | Sergei Rachmaninoff | Russian Empire | #44
2 | Symphony No. 1 in A-flat major | Edward Elgar | UK | #78

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1909

Post by Honorio » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:42 am

1909



Book of 1909 | Jakob von Gunten (Jakob von Gunten) | Robert Walser | German Empire | Switzerland | all time #375
"The Swiss writer Robert Walser is one of the quiet geniuses of twentieth-century literature. Largely self-taught and altogether indifferent to worldly success, Walser wrote a range of short stories, essays, as well as four novels, of which Jakob von Gunten is widely recognized as the finest. The book is a young man's inquisitive and irreverent account of life in what turns out to be the most uncanny of schools. It is the work of an outsider artist, a writer of uncompromising originality and disconcerting humor, whose beautiful sentences have the simplicity and strangeness of a painting by Henri Rousseau." (Publisher)

Movie of 1909 | A Corner in Wheat | D.W. Griffith | USA | all time #1606
"The most notable aspect of A Corner in Wheat is its audacious use of parallel editing (also known as crosscutting or intercutting), the technique of cutting back and forth between two locations in order to suggest simultaneous action. Although parallel editing has become so commonplace that it appears in the vast majority of movies made today, this wasn’t always the case. Griffith uses the technique for the purposes of ironic counterpoint, cutting in order to contrast characters in starkly different milieus – and thereby delivering a damning social critique." (Michael Glover Smith, White City Cinema)


Books of 1909:
1 | Jakob von Gunten (Jakob von Gunten) | Robert Walser | German Empire | Switzerland | #317
2 | Three Lives | Gertrude Stein | USA | #733
3 | Solitud (Solitude) | Victor Català | Spain | #957


Movie of 1909 | A Corner in Wheat | D.W. Griffith | USA | #1606


Classical work of 1909 | Koncert dlja fortepiano s orkestrom № 3 re minor (Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor) | Sergei Rachmaninoff | USA | Russian Empire | #19

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The 1990s

Post by Honorio » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:03 pm

The 1900s



Book of the 1900s | Nostromo | Joseph Conrad | UK | all time #128
"Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard is a 1904 novel by Joseph Conrad, set in the fictional South American republic of "Costaguana." F. Scott Fitzgerald said: "I'd rather have written Nostromo than any other novel." In his evocation of the Costaguana Republic, framed in the exotic and grandiose landscape of South America, Conrad reveals not only the lives and destinies of his characters but also the physical and political composition of an entire country." (Publisher)

Movie of the 1900s | Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) | Georges Méliès | France | 1902 | all time #357
"Partly inspired by Jules Verne's early work of science fiction De la terre à la lune (1865) and by H. G. Wells's prophetic novel The First Men in the Moon (1901), Georges Méliès's Le voyage dans la lune (1902) is remarkable for its imaginative, and continually diverting, narrative development. The serious, didactic purpose of the literary antecedents is ignored to provide an engaging entertainment… Méliès was director, producer, set designer, and leading actor. In his exuberant narrative Méliès successfully mixes traditional stage-craft with his extensive repertory of special effects." (R.F. Cousins, Film Reference)

Record of the 1900s | Pagliacci - Vesti la giubba | Enrico Caruso | USA | Italy | 78 rpm single | 1907 | all time #6170
"Italian tenor Enrico Caruso was the first gramophone star to sell more than a million copies with his recording of Vesti la giubba from the opera Pagliacci (Clowns) by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Vesti la giubba (English: Put on the costume) is regarded as one of the most moving arias in the operatic repertoire. It is sung at the conclusion of the first act, when Canio discovers his wife’s infidelity, but must nevertheless prepare for his performance as Pagliaccio the clown because "The show must go on." The pain of Canio (Caruso) is portrayed in the aria and exemplifies the entire notion of the 'tragic clown': smiling on the outside but crying on the inside." (Dors Venabili, andantemoderato.com)


Books of the 1900s:
1 | Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard | Joseph Conrad | UK | 1904 | #120
2 | Buddenbrooks (Buddenbrooks) | Thomas Mann | German Empire | 1901 | #129
3 | The Call of the Wild | Jack London | USA | 1903 | #133
4 | Lord Jim | Joseph Conrad | UK | 1900 | #145
5 | The Ambassadors | Henry James | UK | USA | #149


Movies of the 1900s:
1 | Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) | Georges Méliès | France | 1902 | #357
2 | A Corner in Wheat | D.W. Griffith | USA | 1909 | #1606
3 | The Great Train Robbery | Edwin S. Porter | USA | 1903 | #1889


Songs of the 1900s:
1 | Pagliacci - Vesti la giubba | Enrico Caruso | USA | Italy | 1907 | #6170
2 | Give My Regards to Broadway | Billy Murray | USA | 1905 | #8938
3 | Take Me Out to the Ball Game | Haydn Quartet | USA | 1908 | #9814


Classical works of the 1900s:
1 | Koncert dlja fortepiano s orkestrom № 2 do minor (Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor) | Sergei Rachmaninoff | Russian Empire | 1901 | #5
2 | Finlandia | Jean Sibelius | Russian Empire | 1900 | #15
3 | Madama Butterfly | Giacomo Puccini | Italy | 1904 | #17
4 | Koncert dlja fortepiano s orkestrom № 3 re minor (Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor) | Sergei Rachmaninoff | USA | Russian Empire | 1909 | #19
5 | Pomp and Circumstance (March No. 1 in D major) | Edward Elgar | UK | 1901 | #21

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1910

Post by Honorio » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:47 pm

1910



Book of 1910 | Howards End | E. M. Forster | UK | all time #111
"Only Connect," Forster's key aphorism, informs this novel about an English country house, Howards End, and its influence on the lives of the wealthy and materialistic Wilcoxes; the cultured, idealistic Schlegel sisters; and the poor bank clerk Leonard Bast. Bringing together people from different classes and nations by way of sympathetic insight and understanding, Howards End eloquently addresses the question "Who shall inherit England?" (Lionel Trilling, as quoted on the Publisher notes).

Record of 1910 | Swing Low, Sweet Chariot | Fisk University Jubilee Quartet | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #4494
"We don’t know for sure who created the popular African American spiritual Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, though we do know it came to popular attention by finding itself part of the repertoire of The Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 1870s. The first known recording of the song performed in December 1909 for Victor Studios by the Fisk University Jubilee Quartet, a male foursome carrying on the legacy of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers. The 1909 recording popularised the song hugely, helping it become one of the best known African American spirituals." (Public Domain Review. com)


Books of 1910:
1 | Howards End | E. M. Forster | UK | #111
2 | Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge) | Rainer Maria Rilke | Austria-Hungary | #493
3 | Impressions d'Afrique (Impressions of Africa) | Raymond Roussel | Fance | #1112


Song of 1910 | Swing Low, Sweet Chariot | Fisk University Jubilee Quartet | USA | #4494


Classical works of 1910:
1 | Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis | Ralph Vaughan Williams | UK | #12
2 | L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird) | Igor Stravinsky | France | Russian Empire | #35
3 | 8. Sinfonie in Es-Dur, "Sinfonie der Tausend" (Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major, "Symphony of a Thousand") | Gustav Mahler | German Empire | Austria-Hungary | #58

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1911

Post by Honorio » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:58 pm

1911



Book of 1911 | Ethan Frome | Edith Wharton | USA | all time #301
"Tragic story of wasted lives, set against a bleak New England background. A poverty-stricken New England farmer, his ailing wife and a youthful housekeeper are drawn relentlessly into a deep-rooted domestic struggle in this hauntingly grim tale of thwarted love. Perhaps the best-known and most popular of Edith Wharton's novels, Ethan Frome is widely considered her masterpiece." (Publisher)

Record of 1911 | Some of These Days | Sophie Tucker | USA | phonograph cylinder | all time #3530
"It is now regarded as one of the most important songs in the Tin Pan Alley songbook, having helped to break down the barriers between the Black and White vaudeville traditions. It was still very unusual for White artists to record songs by African-American songwriters at that time- especially women. Tucker's brassy, bold take on this song is a forerunner of other loud, outrageous female performers on Broadway and beyond. The record was groundbreaking at a time when women were supposed to sing in a demure, ladylike fashion." (paddlesteamer, RateYourMusic)


Books of 1911:
1 | Ethan Frome | Edith Wharton | USA | #301
2 | Zuleika Dobson | Max Beerbohm | UK | #915
3 | The Secret Garden | Frances Hodgson Burnett | USA | #1196


Songs of 1911:
1 | Some of These Days | Sophie Tucker | USA | #3530
2 | Let Me Call You Sweetheart | Columbia Quartette | USA | #6685


Classical works of 1911:
1 | Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) | Gustav Mahler | German Empire | Austria-Hungary | #33
2 | Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose) | Richard Strauss | German Empire | #40
3 | Pétrouchka (Petrushka) | Igor Stravinsky | France | Russia | #47

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1912

Post by Honorio » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:05 pm

1912



Book of 1912 | Der Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) | Thomas Mann | German Empire | all time #311
"The novella Death in Venice was written by the German author Thomas Mann, and was first published in 1912 as Der Tod in Venedig. The plot of the work presents a great writer suffering writer's block who visits Venice and is liberated and uplifted, then increasingly obsessed, by the sight of a stunningly beautiful youth. Though he never speaks to the boy, much less touches him, the writer finds himself drawn deep into ruinous inward passion; meanwhile Venice, and finally the writer himself, succumb to a cholera plague." (Publisher)


Books of 1912:
1 | Der Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) | Thomas Mann | German Empire | #311
2 | Tarzan of the Apes | Edgar Rice Burroughs | USA | #604
3 | Den allvarsamma leken (The Serious Game) | Hjalmar Söderberg | Sweden | #1062


Classical works of 1912:
1 | 9. Sinfonie (Symphony No. 9) | Gustav Mahler | Austria-Hungary | #66
2 | Daphnis et Chloé (Daphnis et Chloé) | Maurice Ravel | France | #83

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1913

Post by Honorio » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:52 pm

1913



Book of 1913 | À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time) | Marcel Proust | France | all time #1
"Swann's Way, the first part of À la recherche du temps perdu, Marcel Proust's seven-part cycle, was published in 1913. In it, Proust introduces the themes that run through the entire work. The narrator recalls his childhood, aided by the famous madeleine; and describes M. Swann's passion for Odette. The work is incomparable. Edmund Wilson said "[Proust] has supplied for the first time in literature an equivalent in the full scale for the new theory of modern physics." Swann's Way tells two related stories, the first of which revolves around Marcel, a younger version of the narrator, and his experiences in, and memories of, the French town Combray. Inspired by the "gusts of memory" that rise up within him as he dips a madeleine into hot tea, the narrator discusses his fear of going to bed at night. He is a creature of habit and dislikes waking up in the middle of the night not knowing where he is." (Publisher)

Movie of 1913 | Fantômas (Fantomas) | Louis Feuillade | France | all time #1175
"Because Feuillade filmed mostly on the streets of Paris and, melodramatic climaxes aside, got broadly naturalistic performances from his actors, his best work is the only cinema from the 1910s which still feels startlingly immediate and 'real'. And because he rooted the magical, the dangerous and the perverse in the everyday, he not only fathered the Lang-Hitchcock-Lynch current in cinema but also predicted a century of moral mazes, art terrorism and justified paranoia." (Time Out)

Record of 1913 | When Irish Eyes Are Smiling | Chauncey Olcott | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #9116
"In 1912, tributes like this one to a romanticized Ireland were common in America as well as England. This one in particular, though, became a favorite of Irish immigrants in the pre-World War I years and has become a perennial St. Patrick’s Day fave. Amusingly, this "waltz-like tune" was written by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff Jr. with music by Ernest Ball – none of whom were Irish. Of course, many American-born citizens have Irish ancestry, including Olcott, whose mother was born in Ireland." (DaveMusicDatabase)


Books of 1913:
1 | À la recherche du temps perdu, tome 1 : Du côté de chez Swann (In Search of Lost Time, Volume One: Swann's Way) | Marcel Proust | France | #1
2 | Sons and Lovers | D. H. Lawrence | UK | #103
3 | The Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton | USA | #359


Movie of 1913 | Fantômas - À l'ombre de la guillotine (Fantomas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine) | Louis Feuillade | France | #1175


Song of 1913 | When Irish Eyes Are Smiling | Chauncey Olcott | USA | #9116


Classical work of 1913 | Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) | Igor Stravinsky | France | Russia | #9

Note:
We have the first all-time #1, the best book of all time, "À la recherche du temps perdu" by Marcel Proust. We will have to wait for almost 3 decades (28 years) to have the next #1, and then again more than two decades for the next.
]

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1914

Post by Honorio » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:41 pm

1914



Book of 1914 | Dubliners | James Joyce | UK | all time #196
"Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. The fifteen stories were meant to be a naturalistic depiction of the Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by children as protagonists, and as the stories continue, they deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This is in line with Joyce's tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence and maturity." (Publisher)


Books of 1914:
1 | Dubliners | James Joyce | UK | all time #196
2 | The Prussian Officer | D. H. Lawrence | UK | #534
3 | Kokoro (Kokoro) | Natsume Sōseki | Japan | #761

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1915

Post by Honorio » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:16 pm

1915



Book of 1915 | Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) | Franz Kafka | German Empire | Austria-Hungary | all time #69
"The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung) is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It is often cited as one of the seminal works of short fiction of the 20th century and is widely studied in colleges and universities across the western world; Elias Canetti described it as "one of the few great and perfect works of the poetic imagination written during this century". The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed into a monstrous vermin." (Publisher)

Movie of 1915 | The Birth of a Nation | D.W. Griffith | USA | all time #287
"Based on the Rev. Thomas Dixon Jr's deliriously racist The Clansman, Griffith's film is remarkable for its technical innovations and for the truly epic feel created by the carefully orchestrated, swirling masses of figures in the battle scenes… The biggest challenge the film provided for its audiences is perhaps to decide when 'ground-breaking, dedicated, serious cinematic art' must be reviled as politically reprehensible. The film's explicit glorification of the Ku Klux Klan has never tempered with time." (Martin Sutton, Time Out)


Books of 1915:
1 | Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) | Franz Kafka | German Empire | Austria-Hungary | #69
2 | The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion | Ford Madox Ford | UK | #72
3 | Of Human Bondage | W. Somerset Maugham | UK | #277


Movies of 1915:
1 | The Birth of a Nation | D.W. Griffith | USA | #287
2 | Les vampires (The Vampires) | Louis Feuillade | France | #525


Classical works of 1915:
1 | Sinfonia nro 5 Es-duuri (Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major) | Jean Sibelius | Russian Empire | #30
2 | Vsénoshchnoye bdéniye (All-Night Vigil) | Sergei Rachmaninoff | Russia | #69
3 | Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony) | Richard Strauss | German Empire | #75

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1916

Post by Honorio » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:43 pm

1916



Book of 1916 | A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man | James Joyce | USA | UK | all time #45
"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce. It depicts the formative years in the life of Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and a pointed allusion to the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology, Daedalus. A Portrait is a key example of the Künstlerroman (an artist's bildungsroman) in English literature. Joyce's novel traces the intellectual and religio-philosophical awakening of young Stephen Dedalus as he begins to question and rebel against the Catholic and Irish conventions he has been brought up in." (Publisher)

Movie of 1916 | Intolerance | D.W. Griffith | USA | all time #104
"Made in 1916 and still ahead of the times, D.W. Griffith's magnificent epic intercuts four stories set in four different periods—an experiment with cinematic time and space that even the avant-garde has only recently begun to absorb. Griffith conceived the film as four rivers that "seem to flow together in one common flood of humanity." One of the great breakthroughs—the Ulysses of the cinema—and a powerful, moving experience in its own right." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)

Record of 1916 | O Sole Mio (My Sunshine) | Enrico Caruso | USA | Italy | 78 rpm single | all time #4423
"A Neapolitan song written in 1898, O Sole Mio translates literally as My Sunshine; the performance by the great Italian operatic tenor Enrico Caruso, recorded on 5 February 1916, is the definitive rendition of this magnificent song. Caruso is backed on the song by the Victor Orchestra, with Walter B. Rogers as conductor. The performance has swirling, awesomely melodic violins, clicking castanets, a habanera rhythm, and THAT VOICE. Beyond superlative." (bayard, RateYourMusic)


Books of 1916:
1 | A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man | James Joyce | USA | UK | #45
2 | Edmund Dulac's Fairy Book | Edmund Dulac | UK | #837
3 | Ghôre Baire (The Home and the World) | Rabindranath Tagore | UK (British India) | #1738


Movies of 1916:
1 | Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages | D.W. Griffith | USA | #104
2 | The Battle of the Somme | Geoffrey H. Malins | UK | documentary | #1712


Song of 1916 | O Sole Mio (My Sunshine) | Enrico Caruso | USA | Italy | #4423


Classical work of 1916 | Jerusalem | Hubert Parry | UK | #65

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1917

Post by Honorio » Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:47 pm

1917



Book of 1917 | The Shadow Line | Joseph Conrad | UK | all time #621
"The Shadow Line is a short novel based at sea by Joseph Conrad; it is one of his later works, being written from February to December 1915. It was first published in 1916 as a serial in New York's Metropolitan Magazine (September-October) in the English Review (September 1916-March 1917) and published in book form in 1917 in the UK (March) and America (April). The novella depicts the development of a young man upon taking a captaincy in the Orient, with the shadow line of the title representing the threshold of this development." (Publisher)

Movie of 1917 | Terge Vigen (A Man There Was) | Victor Sjöström | Sweden | all time #1744
"What's immediately striking about Terje Vigen, released in the US as A Man There Was, is the power of its imagery. Stripped to its bare essence, the film is a visual encomium to the sea, or rather, to a Romantic understanding of the sea's might as wedded to man's emotional state. While the word "painterly" is frequently used to describe Terje Vigen, it's painterly only in terms of composition, since its dramatic effects depend on movement, exemplified by the constantly shifting silvery glints on the sea's choppy surface." (Jay Weissberg, San Francisco Silent Film Festival)

Record of 1917 | Livery Stable Blues | Original Dixieland 'Jass' Band | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #3386
"The first ever jazz recording. Livery Stable Blues, coupled with Dixie Jass Band One Step, by the quintet of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (still called a "jass" band on the disc's release in early March), was recorded in New York on 26 February 1917. Listening to Livery Stable Blues today remains a thrilling experience. Although the politically correct view is that the ODJB were white copyists whose music was literally a pale imitation of the black styles current in New Orleans, this doesn't really hold water when you hear the marvellous music." (Phil Johnson, The Independent)


Books of 1917:
1 | The Shadow Line | Joseph Conrad | UK | #621
2 | Poesías completas (Poems by Machado) | Antonio Machado | Spain | collection | #625
3 | Markens Grøde (Growth of the Soil) | Knut Hamsun | Norway | #889
4 | Prufrock and Other Observations | T. S. Eliot | USA | #1211


Movie of 1917 | Terge Vigen (A Man There Was) | Victor Sjöström | Sweden | #1744


Songs of 1917:
1 | Livery Stable Blues | Original Dixieland 'Jass' Band | USA | #3386
2 | Over There | Nora Bayes | USA | #7967

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1918

Post by Honorio » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:40 pm

1918



Book of 1918 | My Ántonia | Willa S. Cather | USA | all time #125
"In Willa Cather's own estimation, My Ántonia, first published in 1918, was "the best thing I've ever done." Infused with a gracious passion for the land, My Ántonia embraces its uncommon subject — the hardscrabble life of the pioneer woman on the prairie — with poetic certitude, rendering a deeply moving portrait of an entire community. Through Jim Burden's endearing, smitten voice, we revisit the remarkable vicissitudes of immigrant life in the Nebraska heartland with all its insistent bonds. Holding the pastoral society's heart, of course, is the bewitching, free-spirited Antonia Shimerda." (Publisher)

Movie of 1918 | Tih Minh (Tih Mihn) | Louis Feuillade | France | all time #1327
"The most appropriate comparison for Tih Minh isn't to another silent film, but to a recent hit like The Dark Knight. Both films are about shape-shifting, disguise-donning villains and the heroes who take the law into their own hands to stop them. Both films structure themselves as a series of setpieces alternating between each party's capture and escape. Both films are allegories about the wars their countries were then fighting (Tih Minh's gang is a gaggle of foreigners; several Dark Knight characters call the Joker a terrorist)." (Aaron Cutler, Slant Magazine)

Record of 1918 | Tiger Rag | Original Dixieland Jazz Band | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #3412
"The first recording by the ODJB did not reach a wide audience, but their second version, recorded on March 25, 1918, was a huge hit and spent two weeks in the number one slot on the charts. From then on Tiger Rag was a staple of the Dixieland repertoire. Conventional wisdom has it that the ODJB, a group of white musicians, was the first to record jazz because black groups refused for fear that others would steal their ideas. That is disputed by Gene Lees in his book Cats of Any Color: Jazz, Black and White: "Black entertainers were being recorded before, during, and after the ODJB." (Sandra Burlingame, Jazz Standards)


Books of 1918:
1 | My Ántonia | Willa S. Cather | USA | #125
2 | Indian Summer of a Forsyte | John Galsworthy | UK | #330
3 | Kuángrén rìjì (A Madman's Diary) | Lu Xun | China | #411


Movies of 1918:
1 | Tih Minh (Tih Minh) | Louis Feuillade | France | #1327
2 | Berg-Ejvind och hans hustru (The Outlaw and His Wife) | Victor Sjöström | Sweden | #1672


Songs of 1918:
1 | Tiger Rag | Original Dixieland Jazz Band | USA | #3412
2 | Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody | Al Jolson | USA | #9367


Classical works of 1918:
1 | The Planets | Gustav Holst | UK | #2
2 | Simfonija № 1 re mažor, "Klassičeskaja" (Symphony No. 1 in D major, "The Classical") | Sergei Prokofiev | Russia | #57

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1919

Post by Honorio » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:24 pm

1919



Movie of 1919 | Broken Blossoms | D.W. Griffith | USA | all time #262
"One of D.W. Griffith's most beautiful films, about the chaste love of a Chinese man (Barthelmess) for the frail daughter (Gish) of a loutish boxer. It perfectly fuses all the elements of Griffith's style: tender drama played off against scenes of violence; a rich, operatic sense of character and emotion; and a dreamlike acting style, given particular force by the subtlety of Gish's performance and the strength of Barthelmess's. Not to be missed." (Don Druker, Chicago Reader)

Book of 1919 | Winesburg, Ohio | Sherwood Anderson | USA | all time #357
"Before Raymond Carver, John Cheever, and Richard Ford, there was Sherwood Anderson, who, with Winesburg, Ohio, charted a new direction in American fiction — evoking with lyrical simplicity quiet moments of epiphany in the lives of ordinary men and women. In a bed, elevated so that he can peer out the window, an old writer contemplates the fluttering of his heart and considers, as if viewing a pageant, the inhabitants of a small midwestern town. Their stories are about loneliness and alienation, passion and virginity, wealth and poverty, thrift and profligacy, carelessness and abandon." (Publisher)

Record of 1919 | Memphis Blues | Jim Europe's 369th Infantry "Hellfighters" Band | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #6669
"Jim Europe's band was one of the most exciting jazz bands in the world in 1919. The band consisted of players that would go on to make many important recordings throughout the Jazz Age. Having returned from active service in World War One, Europe set up one of the pioneering jazz bands of the day- a band that was instrumental in bridging the gap between ragtime and jazz. His version of the Memphis Blues is perhaps the best one I have heard recorded before 1920." (paddlesteamer, RateYourMusic)


Books of 1919:
1 | Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small-Town Life | Sherwood Anderson | USA | #357
2 | Lad: A Dog | Albert Payson Terhune | USA | #605
3 | Demian. Die Geschichte einer Jugend (Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth) | Hermann Hesse | Germany | #623


Movies of 1919:
1 | Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl | D.W. Griffith | USA | #262
2 | True Heart Susie | D.W. Griffith | USA | #1080
3 | Herr Arnes pengar (Sir Arne's Treasure) | Mauritz Stiller | Sweden | Russian Empire | #1882


Song of 1919 | Memphis Blues | Jim Europe's 369th Infantry "Hellfighters" Band | USA | #6669


Classical work of 1919 | Cello Concerto in E minor | Edward Elgar | UK | #1

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The 1910s

Post by Honorio » Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:20 pm

The 1910s



Book of the 1910s | À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time) | Marcel Proust | France | 1913 | all time #1
"Swann's Way, the first part of À la recherche du temps perdu, Marcel Proust's seven-part cycle, was published in 1913. In it, Proust introduces the themes that run through the entire work. The narrator recalls his childhood, aided by the famous madeleine; and describes M. Swann's passion for Odette. The work is incomparable. Edmund Wilson said "[Proust] has supplied for the first time in literature an equivalent in the full scale for the new theory of modern physics." Swann's Way tells two related stories, the first of which revolves around Marcel, a younger version of the narrator, and his experiences in, and memories of, the French town Combray. Inspired by the "gusts of memory" that rise up within him as he dips a madeleine into hot tea, the narrator discusses his fear of going to bed at night. He is a creature of habit and dislikes waking up in the middle of the night not knowing where he is." (Publisher)

Movie of the 1910s | Intolerance | D.W. Griffith | USA | 1916 | all time #105
"Made in 1916 and still ahead of the times, D.W. Griffith's magnificent epic intercuts four stories set in four different periods—an experiment with cinematic time and space that even the avant-garde has only recently begun to absorb. Griffith conceived the film as four rivers that "seem to flow together in one common flood of humanity." One of the great breakthroughs—the Ulysses of the cinema—and a powerful, moving experience in its own right." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)

Record of the 1910s | Livery Stable Blues | Original Dixieland 'Jass' Band | USA | 78 rpm single | 1917 | all time #3386
"The first ever jazz recording. Livery Stable Blues, coupled with Dixie Jass Band One Step, by the quintet of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (still called a "jass" band on the disc's release in early March), was recorded in New York on 26 February 1917. Listening to Livery Stable Blues today remains a thrilling experience. Although the politically correct view is that the ODJB were white copyists whose music was literally a pale imitation of the black styles current in New Orleans, this doesn't really hold water when you hear the marvellous music." (Phil Johnson, The Independent)


Books of the 1910s:
1 | À la recherche du temps perdu, tome 1 : Du côté de chez Swann (In Search of Lost Time, Volume One: Swann's Way) | Marcel Proust | France | 1913 | #1
2 | A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man | James Joyce | USA | UK | 1916 | #45
3 | Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) | Franz Kafka | German Empire | Austria-Hungary | 1915 | #69
4 | The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion | Ford Madox Ford | UK | 1915 | #72
5 | Sons and Lovers | D. H. Lawrence | UK | 1913 | #103


Movies of the 1910s:
1 | Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages | D.W. Griffith | USA | 1916 | #104
2 | Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl | D.W. Griffith | USA | 1919 | #262
3 | The Birth of a Nation | D.W. Griffith | USA | 1915 | #287
4 | Les vampires (The Vampires) | Louis Feuillade | France | 1915 | #525
5 | True Heart Susie | D.W. Griffith | USA | 1919 | #1080


Songs of the 1910s:
1 | Livery Stable Blues | Original Dixieland 'Jass' Band | USA | 1917 | #3386
2 | Tiger Rag | Original Dixieland Jazz Band | USA | 1918 | #3412
3 | Some of These Days | Sophie Tucker | USA | 1911 | #3530
4 | O Sole Mio (My Sunshine) | Enrico Caruso | USA | Italy | 1916 | #4423
5 | Swing Low, Sweet Chariot | Fisk University Jubilee Quartet | USA | 1910 | #4494


Classical works of the 1910s:
1 | Cello Concerto in E minor | Edward Elgar | UK | 1919 | #1
2 | The Planets | Gustav Holst | UK | 1918 | #2
3 | Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) | Igor Stravinsky | France | Russia | 1913 | #9
4 | Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis | Ralph Vaughan Williams | UK | 1910 | #12
5 | Sinfonia nro 5 Es-duuri (Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major) | Jean Sibelius | Russian Empire | 1915 | #30

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1920

Post by Honorio » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:29 pm

1920



Book of 1920 | The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton | USA | all time #109
"The Age of Innocence centers on one society couple's impending marriage and the introduction of a scandalous woman whose presence threatens their happiness. Though the novel questions the assumptions and mores of turn of the century New York society, it never devolves into an outright condemnation of the institution. Not to be overlooked is the author's attention to detailing the charms and customs of this caste. The novel is lauded for its accurate portrayal of how the nineteenth-century East Coast American upper class lived and this combined with the social tragedy earned Wharton a Pulitzer - the first Pulitzer awarded to a woman." (Publisher)

Movie of 1920 | Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) | Robert Wiene | Germany | all time #209
"Undoubtedly one of the most exciting and inspired horror movies ever made. The story is a classic sampling of expressionist paranoia about a hypnotist who uses a somnambulist to do his murders, full of the gloom and fear that prevailed in Germany as it emerged from WWI. There are plenty of extremely boring sociological/critical accounts of the film; best to avoid them and enjoy the film's extraordinary use of painted light and Veidt's marvellous performance. Incidentally, the influence of Caligari on the cinema is much more problematic than some historians suppose. Thematically it has rarely been copied, and the style only really infiltrated in dream sequences and other odd devices." (David Pirie, Time Out)

Record of 1920 | Crazy Blues | Mamie Smith and Her Jazz Hounds | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1714
"Mamie Smith's Crazy Blues, the first recording of an African-American singing the blues, revolutionized pop music. Witnesses claimed that after its release in 1920, the song could be heard coming from the open windows of virtually any black neighborhood in America. While blues music had been performed in the American South since the very beginning of the twentieth century, no one had made recordings of it before, largely due to racism and the assumption that African-Americans couldn't – or wouldn't – buy record players or 78s. Crazy Blues changed all that, sparking a mad scramble among record execs to record blues divas." (Jas Obrecht Music Archive)


Books of 1920:
1 | The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton | USA | #109
2 | Women in Love | D. H. Lawrence | UK | #150
3 | Awakening | John Galsworthy | UK | #328


Movies of 1920:
1 | Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) | Robert Wiene | Germany | #209
2 | Way Down East | D.W. Griffith | USA | #1168


Songs of 1920:
1 | Crazy Blues | Mamie Smith and Her Jazz Hounds | USA | #1714
2 | Swanee | Al Jolson | USA | #2297
3 | Whispering | Paul Whiteman and His Ambassador Orchestra | USA | #4416


Classical work of 1920 | The Lark Ascending | Ralph Vaughan Williams | UK | #4

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1921

Post by Honorio » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:17 pm

1921



Movie of 1921 | The Kid | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | all time #298
"A picture with a smile and perhaps a tear' says the opening title of Chaplin's first feature. There's no perhaps about it, what with Charlie struggling to nurture a cast-off illegitimate child in the face of unfeeling cops, doctors and orphanage workers. As always, Chaplin's opulent Victorian sentimentality is made palatable both by the amazing grace of his pantomimic skills and the balancing presence of harsh reality: the drama and the intertwining gags are played out amongst garbage, flophouses, a slum world depicted with Stroheim-like detail. As for the smiles, they're guaranteed too, although the gags don't coalesce into great sequences the way they do in later features." (Geoff Brown, Time Out)

Book of 1921 | To Let | John Galsworthy | UK | all time #332
"Old loves threaten to jeopardize a family’s future in the final installment of the Forsyte Saga. Part social satire, part melodrama, this captivating novel brings to fascinating life author John Galsworthy’s preoccupations with class, gender, and morality. To Let brings to a fitting conclusion John Galsworthy’s engrossing saga of family life and the conflicting demands of romance and social class. The Forsyte Saga is a masterpiece of British literature, as pertinent and as resonant today as it was in Edwardian England." (Publisher)


Books of 1921:
1 | To Let | John Galsworthy | UK | #332
2 | Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore (Six Characters in Search of an Author) | Luigi Pirandello | Italy | #442
3 | My Book House | Olive Beaupré Miller | USA | #720


Movies of 1921:
1 | The Kid | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | #298
2 | Körkarlen (The Phantom Carriage) | Victor Sjöström | Sweden | #952
3 | Der müde Tod (Destiny) | Fritz Lang | Germany | Austria | #1665

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1922

Post by Honorio » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:45 pm

1922



Book of 1922 | Ulysses | James Joyce | France | UK | all time #3
"Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. Ulysses chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, 16 June 1904 (the day of Joyce's first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle). The title alludes to Odysseus (Latinised into Ulysses), the hero of Homer's Odyssey, and establishes a series of parallels between characters and events in Homer's poem and Joyce's novel (e.g., the correspondence of Leopold Bloom to Odysseus, Molly Bloom to Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus to Telemachus). Joyce fans worldwide now celebrate 16 June as Bloomsday." (Publisher)

Movie of 1922 | Nosferatu (Nosferatu) | F.W. Murnau | Germany | all time #133
"A masterpiece of the German silent cinema and easily the most effective version of Dracula on record. F.W. Murnau's 1922 film follows the Bram Stoker novel fairly closely, although he neglected to purchase the screen rights—hence, the title change. But the key elements are all Murnau's own: the eerie intrusions of expressionist style on natural settings, the strong sexual subtext, and the daring use of fast-motion and negative photography." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)

Record of 1922 | Carolina Shout | James P. Johnson | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #3141
"Johnson was the undisputed master of the "Harlem stride" piano style in the 1920s and a major influence on future jazz pianists. Stride evolved out of ragtime and featured heavy improvisation and the use of blues harmonies. Carolina Shout (his most famous recording) show Johnson's stride playing at its finest. Johnson's playing sounds relaxed and easy despite the complexity of the piece, and the unexpected flourishes throughout sound natural and fluid, never coming across as gimmicky." (Bryan Mangum, Three Perfect Minutes)


Books of 1922:
1 | Ulysses | James Joyce | France | UK | #3
2 | Siddhartha (Siddhartha) | Hermann Hesse | Germany | #298
3 | Trilce (Trilce) | César Vallejo | Peru | #595


Movies of 1922:
1 | Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror) | F.W. Murnau | Germany | #133
2 | Nanook of the North | Robert J. Flaherty | USA | documentary | #218
3 | Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (Dr. Mabuse the Gambler) | Fritz Lang | Germany | #598
4 | Foolish Wives | Erich Von Stroheim | USA | Austria | #649


Songs of 1922:
1 | Carolina Shout | James P. Johnson | USA | #3141
2 | Sallie Gooden | A.C. (Eck) Robertson | USA | #4623
3 | My Man (From Ziegfield Follies of 1921) | Fanny Brice | USA | #5318

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1923

Post by Honorio » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:35 pm

1923



Book of 1923 | La coscienza di Zeno (Confessions of Zeno) | Italo Svevo | Italy | all time #170
"Italo Svevo's charming and splendidly idiosyncratic novel conducts readers deep into one hilariously hyperactive and endlessly self-deluding mind. The mind in question belongs to Zeno Cosini, a neurotic Italian businessman who is writing his confessions at the behest of his psychiatrist. Here are Zeno's interminable attempts to quit smoking, his courtship of the beautiful yet unresponsive Ada, his unexpected–and unexpectedly happy–marriage to Ada's homely sister Augusta, and his affair with a shrill-voiced aspiring singer. Relating these misadventures with wry wit and a perspicacity at once unblinking and compassionate, Zeno's Conscience is a miracle of psychological realism." (Publisher)

Movie of 1923 | Our Hospitality | Buster Keaton/Jack Blystone | USA | all time #584
"The main reason why Keaton is funnier and infinitely more 'modern' than Chaplin is that his movies are written, directed and shot as movies, never as excuses for comedy and/or pathos. This was his second feature and first full-length masterpiece, a story about the innocent inheritor of an old feud between Southern families, who carelessly starts dating the girl from the other family. The period setting (1831, the early days of rail travel) is made integral to the action, and all the laughs spring directly from the narrative and the characters. Buster's climactic rescue of his sweetheart from a waterfall is one of his most daringly acrobatic (and most celebrated) gags." (Tony Rayns, Time Out)

Record of 1923 | Down Hearted Blues | Bessie Smith | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #2839
"While other singers sidled up to a blues — insinuating, cajoling and even whispering to convey a point — Smith launched something like a St. Crispin's Day attack on all 12 bars. In her phrasing, embellishments and even her breaths, she was communicating the kind of outward urgency and inner stillness that often signals the telling of an absolute truth. Smith's version of Downhearted Blues sold a reported 780,000 copies in 1923, a minor miracle for a song that had already hit nationwide for a variety of different artists. But her version, with its new line, "I got the world in a jug, the stopper in my hand," was definitive. And for many years, Smith did have the world in a jug." (Gwen Thompkins, NPR)


Books of 1923:
1 | La coscienza di Zeno (Confessions of Zeno) | Italo Svevo | Italy | #170
2 | Duineser Elegien (The Duino Elegies) | Rainer Maria Rilke | Germany | Czechoslovakia | #268
3 | Saint Joan | George Bernard Shaw | USA | UK | #334


Movies of 1923:
1 | Our Hospitality | Buster Keaton/Jack Blystone | USA | #584
2 | A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | #796
3 | Safety Last! | Fred Neymeyer/Sam Taylor | USA | #1306


Songs of 1923:
1 | Down Hearted Blues | Bessie Smith | USA | #2839
2 | Dipper Mouth Blues | King Oliver's Jazz Band | USA | #2850
3 | King Porter (A Stomp) | Ferd (Jelly Roll) Morton | USA | #4104


Classical work of 1923 | Antiche danze et arie per liuto (Ancient Airs and Dances) | Ottorino Respighi | Italy | #53

Note:
"The Waste Land" by TS Eliot was first published in book format in 1923 and it appears on The Greatest Books.com as part of the collection "The Waste Land and Other Poems," first published in 1940 and #66 of all time (so it would have been #1 of the year if the acclaim would have gone to the stand-alone piece)

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1924

Post by Honorio » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:07 pm

1924



Book of 1924 | A Passage to India | E.M. Forster | UK | all time #57
"A Passage to India is set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. The story revolves around four characters: Dr. Aziz, his British friend Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested. During a trip to the Marabar Caves, Adela accuses Aziz of attempting to rape her. Aziz's trial, and its run-up and aftermath, bring out all the racial tensions and prejudices between indigenous Indians and the British colonists who rule India. In A Passage to India, Forster employs his first-hand knowledge of India." (Publisher)

Movie of 1924 | Greed | Erich von Stroheim | USA | Austria | all time #93
"Originally planned to run around ten hours but hacked to just over two by Thalberg's MGM, von Stroheim's greatest film still survives as a true masterpiece of cinema. Even now its relentlessly cynical portrait of physical and moral squalor retains the ability to shock, while the Von's obsessive attention to realist detail - both in terms of the San Francisco and Death Valley locations, and the minutely observed characters - is never prosaic: as the two men and a woman fall out over filthy lucre (a surprise lottery win), their motivations are explored with a remarkably powerful visual poetry, and Frank Norris' novel is translated into the cinematic equivalent of, say, Zola at the peak of his powers." (Geoff Andrew, Time Out)

Record of 1924 | Rhapsody in Blue | Paul Whiteman & His Concert Orchestra with George Gershwin | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1697
"From its famous opening clarinet wail to the gorgeous melody that provides its romantic climax, George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is an iconic part of American music. Commissioned by bandleader Paul Whiteman (the self-proclaimed 'King of Jazz'), its 1924 premiere caused a sensation with its audacious mix of jaunty syncopation, infectious tunes and sophisticated piano virtuosity. The Rhapsody's crossover triumph affirmed its 25-year-old composer's belief that "jazz is an idiom not to be limited to a mere song and chorus," and it has remained a staple of the concerto repertoire ever since, with recordings pouring out unabated." (Freya Parr, Classical-music. com)


Books of 1924:
1 | A Passage to India | E.M. Forster | UK | #57
2 | Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain) | Thomas Mann | Germany | #61
3 | Parade's End | Ford Madox Ford | UK | #253


Movies of 1924:
1 | Greed | Erich von Stroheim | USA | Austria | #93
2 | Sherlock Jr. | Buster Keaton | USA | #118
3 | Der letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) | F.W. Murnau | Germany | #178


Songs of 1924:
1 | Rhapsody in Blue | Paul Whiteman & His Concert Orchestra with George Gershwin | USA | #1697
2 | The Prisoner's Song | Vernon Dalhart | USA | #4985
3 | Copenhagen | Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra | USA | #6505


Classical works of 1924:
1 | Rhapsody in Blue | George Gershwin | USA | #3
2 | Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome) | Ottorino Respighi | Italy | #64
3 | Sinfonia nro 7 C-duuri (Symphony No. 7 in C major) | Jean Sibelius | Sweden | Finland | #94

Note:
For the first and last time we have the same piece of music at the top of the Pop and Classical lists. Only Gershwin ("a master at blending sophisticated musical structures with pop-song accessibility" according to Martin Chilton) could have done that.

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1925

Post by Honorio » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:31 pm

1925



Book of 1925 | The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald | USA | all time #4
"The novel chronicles an era that Fitzgerald himself dubbed the "Jazz Age." Following the shock and chaos of World War I, American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers and led to an increase in organized crime, for example the Jewish mafia. Although Fitzgerald, like Nick Carraway in his novel, idolized the riches and glamor of the age, he was uncomfortable with the unrestrained materialism and the lack of morality that went with it, a kind of decadence." (Publisher)

Movie of 1925 | Bronenosets Potemkin (Battleship Potemkin) | S.M. Eisenstein | USSR | all time #14
"The Battleship Potemkin has been so famous for so long that it is almost impossible to come to it with a fresh eye. It is one of the fundamental landmarks of cinema. Its famous massacre on the Odessa Steps has been quoted so many times in other films (notably in The Untouchables) that it's likely many viewers will have seen the parody before they see the original. The film once had such power that it was banned in many nations, including its native Soviet Union. Governments actually believed it could incite audiences to action. Battleship Potemkin is no longer considered the greatest film ever made, but it is obligatory for anyone interested in film history." (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Record of 1925 | The St. Louis Blues | Bessie Smith | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #937
"Recorded just 9 years after the song's original publication, St. Louis Blues was already considered a classic of the repertoire and Bessie Smith gives the song a stately and dignified performance. The tempo is extremely slow and they only get through one full AABA chorus in the three minutes of recording time. Smith's vocal includes several expressive slides, but she leaves the vocalized effects to Louis Armstrong. It sounds like Armstrong is playing with a straight mute and his accompaniment is restrained, so not to take the listener's attention from Smith and the composition. The wheezy reed organ sounds like it belongs in an old southern church, which ties the sacred harmony of hymns to the secular feeling of the blues." (Thomas Cunniffe, Jazz History Online)


Books of 1925:
1 | The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald | USA | #4
2 | Der Process (The Trial) | Franz Kafka | Germany | Czechoslovakia | #35
3 | Mrs Dalloway | Virginia Woolf | UK | #37


Movies of 1925:
1 | Bronenosets Potemkin (Battleship Potemkin) | S.M. Eisenstein | USSR | #14
2 | The Gold Rush | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | #71
3 | Seven Chances | Buster Keaton | USA | #604


Songs of 1925:
1 | The St. Louis Blues | Bessie Smith | USA | #937
2 | See See Rider Blues | Ma Rainey Acc. by Her Georgia Jazz Band | USA | #1825
3 | South | Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra | USA | #8263


Classical work of 1925 | Concerto in F | George Gershwin | USA | #77

Note:
Splendid year for books, with the Top 3 on the Top 50 of all time.

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1926

Post by Honorio » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:41 pm

1926



Movie of 1926 | The General | Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman | USA | all time #40
"Keaton displays extraordinary and insouciant athleticism as a train driver during the American Civil War, who rescues both his beloved engine The General and the woman he adores from enemy forces. His stunts and sight gags, perfectly framed and presented for maximum clarity and comic impact, fit perfectly into an ambitious action epic. Spectacular chases, fires and explosions are captured with fluid camerawork. There are no stunt doubles for Keaton and of course no digital effects. This is the real thing you're watching - in every sense. It has incidentally, one of the cleverest "sniper" sequences to be seen in any war movie." (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)

Book of 1926 | The Sun Also Rises | Ernest Hemingway | USA | all time #46
"The novel explores the lives and values of the so-called "Lost Generation," chronicling the experiences of Jake Barnes and several acquaintances on their pilgrimage to Pamplona for the annual San Fermin festival and bull fights, known more commonly as the Running of the Bulls. Jake, a World War I veteran, is unable to consummate a sexual relationship with Brett Ashley because of a severe wound suffered when his fighter plane crashed on the Italian Front, leaving him emasculated. However, he is still attracted to and in love with her. The story follows Jake and his various companions across France and Spain." (Publisher)

Record of 1926 | Black Bottom Stomp | Jelly-Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #3823
"A bravura recording that still packs an emotional punch. The mood is upbeat, optimistic, bursting with energy and exuberance. This is music that makes you want to get up and dance. It rewards close, repeated listening. Whether appreciated architecturally or dramatically, Morton's accomplishment is remarkable. In this and other pieces, Morton achieved a remarkable integration of improvisation, spontaneity and variety. His 1920s recordings with the Red Hot Peppers reached the peak of the New Orleans style of group embellishment and collective improvisation, with its trademark heterophony and polyphony." (John Edward Hasse, Wall Street Journal)


Books of 1926:
1 | The Sun Also Rises | Ernest Hemingway | USA | #46
2 | Das Schloss (The Castle) | Franz Kafka | Germany | Czechoslovakia | #81
3 | Winnie-the-Pooh | A. A. Milne | UK | #257


Movies of 1926:
1 | The General | Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman | USA | #40
2 | Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage (Faust) | F.W. Murnau | Germany | #506
3 | Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed) | Lotte Reiniger | Germany | #1305


Songs of 1926:
1 | Black Bottom Stomp | Jelly-Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers | USA | #3823
2 | Fascinating Rhythm | Fred and Adele Astaire | USA | #5258
3 | Trouble in Mind | Bertha "Chippie" Hill | USA | #6958


Classical work of 1926 | Turandot | Giacomo Puccini | Italy | #52

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1927

Post by Honorio » Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:55 pm

1927



Movie of 1927 | Sunrise | F.W. Murnau | USA | Germany | all time #8
"The best foreign film ever made in the United States. German director F.W. Murnau was given a free hand by William Fox for his first Hollywood production; it's breathtaking to see the full range of American technology and American budgets in the service of a great artist's personal vision. The story is essentially An American Tragedy with a happy ending—it would be hard to imagine anything more elemental and more potentially pompous. The miracle of Murnau's mise-en-scene is to fill the simple plot and characters with complex, piercing emotions, all evoked visually through a dense style that embraces not only spectacular expressionism but a subtle and delicate naturalism. Released in 1927, the last year of silent film, it's a pinnacle of that lost art." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)

Book of 1927 | To the Lighthouse | Virginia Woolf | UK | all time #22
"A landmark novel of high modernism, the text, centering on the Ramsay family and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland between 1910 and 1920, skillfully manipulates temporality and psychological exploration. To the Lighthouse follows and extends the tradition of modernist novelists like Marcel Proust and James Joyce, where the plot is secondary to philosophical introspection, and the prose can be winding and hard to follow. The novel includes little dialogue and almost no action; most of it is written as thoughts and observations. The novel recalls the power of childhood emotions and highlights the impermanence of adult relationships. Among the book's many tropes and themes are those of loss, subjectivity, and the problem of perception." (Publisher)

Record of 1927 | Black and Tan Fantasy | Duke Ellington & His Orchestra | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1692
"The Duke" was fascinated by the distinctive textures of individual instruments and would contrast them, but he was more interested in finding tones that would blend to form new, holistic effects. Black and Tan Fantasy illustrates this technique magnificently: a growling trumpet expands upon the main theme before a secondary – more ethereal – theme is stated. Dissonant piano interludes are followed by muted trombone ruminations before a conclusion that quotes liberally from Chopin's Funeral March. The diversity of multiple voices wailing, growling or praying while each expresses a fullness of heart and heaviness of mind is what gives the piece its beauty." (Geoff Ecker, Phish Net)


Books of 1927:
1 | To the Lighthouse | Virginia Woolf | UK | #22
2 | Der Steppenwolf (Steppenwolf)) | Hermann Hesse | Germany | Switzerland | #258
3 | Death Comes for the Archbishop | Willa Cather | USA | #416


Movies of 1927:
1 | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans | F.W. Murnau | USA | Germany | #8
2 | Metropolis (Metropolis) | Fritz Lang | Germany | #59
3 | Napoléon vu par Abel Gance (Napoleon) | Abel Gance | France | #172


Songs of 1927:
1 | Black and Tan Fantasy | Duke Ellington & His Orchestra | USA | #1692
2 | Singin' the Blues | Frank Trumbauer & His Orchestra with Bix and Lang | USA | #1840
3 | Match Box Blues | Blind Lemon Jefferson | USA | #2225

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1928

Post by Honorio » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:16 pm

1928



Movie of 1928 | La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) | Carl Th. Dreyer | France | Denmark | all time #17
"Stunning in its power, uncompromising in its severity and seriousness, Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent masterpiece from 1928 all but scorches a hole in the screen. The martyrdom of Joan of Arc is represented in what is almost a series of painterly close-ups, most compellingly on Joan's face as she is taunted and tormented by an ecclesiastical court. It could almost have been made at any time; there is nothing the least bit creaky about it technically. On the contrary, it transcends the limitations of early cinema, and its simplicity and procedural asceticism are inspired." (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)

Book of 1928 | Orlando: A Biography | Virginia Woolf | UK | all time #136
"In her most exuberant, most fanciful novel, Woolf has created a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, Orlando is a young nobleman at the beginning of the story-and a modern woman three centuries later. "A poetic masterpiece of the first rank" (Rebecca West). The source of a critically acclaimed 1993 feature film directed by Sally Potter. A fictional biography – spanning three centuries in the life of an Elizabethan nobleman who becomes a woman." (Publisher)

Record of 1928 | West End Blues | Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #634
"Armstrong's reading of West End Blues must have come as quite a shock, since it begins with a multi-layered, complex solo introduction from "Satchmo" that essentially set the standard for jazz musicians. Not just for trumpeters, either, although many strived to emulate what he achieved here. No, the lyrical phrases that Armstrong played were so wildly influential, fiercely musical, and technically devastating that it remains a hallmark for jazz musicians of all stripes. That's because it's not just a dazzling display of technique, although that's certainly part of it. It's because he applies his technique in tremendously innovative ways" (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music)


Books of 1928:
1 | Orlando: A Biography | Virginia Woolf | UK | #136
2 | Lady Chatterley's Lover | D. H. Lawrence | Italy | UK | #278
3 | Romancero gitano (Gypsy Ballads) | Federico García Lorca | Spain | #458


Movies of 1928:
1 | La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) | Carl Th. Dreyer | France | Denmark | #17
2 | Un chien andalou (Un Chien Andalou) | Luis Buñuel | France | Spain | #139
3 | The Crowd | King Vidor | USA | #234


Songs of 1928:
1 | West End Blues | Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five | USA | #634
2 | Blue Yodel (T for Texas) | Jimmie Rodgers | USA | #980
3 | Dark Was the Night - Cold Was the Ground | Blind Willie Johnson | USA | #1385


Classical works of 1928:
1 | Boléro | Maurice Ravel | France | #20
2 | An American in Paris | George Gershwin | USA | #72
3 | Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) | Kurt Weill | Germany | #85

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1929

Post by Honorio » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:34 pm

1929



Book of 1929 | The Sound and the Fury | William Faulkner | USA | all time #21
"The Sound and the Fury is a novel written by the American author William Faulkner. It employs a number of narrative styles, including stream of consciousness. The Sound and the Fury is set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County. The novel centers on the Compson family, former Southern aristocrats who are struggling to deal with the dissolution of their family and its reputation. Over the course of the 30 years or so related in the novel, the family falls into financial ruin, loses its religious faith and the respect of the town of Jefferson, and many of them die tragically." (Publisher)

Movie of 1929 | Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box) | G.W. Pabst | Germany | Austria | all time #279
"One of the masters of early German cinema, G. W. Pabst had an innate talent for discovering actresses (including Greta Garbo). And perhaps none of his female stars shone brighter than Kansas native and onetime Ziegfeld girl Louise Brooks, whose legendary persona was defined by Pabst's lurid, controversial melodrama Pandora's Box. Sensationally modern, the film follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu, whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with. Daring and stylish, Pandora's Box is one of silent cinema's great masterworks and a testament to Brooks's dazzling individuality." (The Criterion Collection)

Record of 1929 | Ain't Misbehavin' | Fats Waller | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1405
"The song was inspired by Waller's desire to answer quips regarding his reputation for overindulging in wine, women, and song. He was known for keeping two bottles of gin on the table during rehearsals, one for himself, the other for the band, and regular toasts for all kept the music flowing. The stride piano and ragtime master combined a sure sense of "ragged" syncopation on this song that was written while he was still in his twenties. It remains one of five jazz standards written by Fats Waller that is still played by stride pianists and students of ragtime in the 21st century." (Paula Edelstein, All Music)


Books of 1929:
1 | The Sound and the Fury | William Faulkner | USA | #21
2 | A Farewell to Arms | Ernest Hemingway | USA | #73
3 | Berlin Alexanderplatz (Berlin Alexanderplatz) | Alfred Döblin | Germany | #223


Movies of 1929:
1 | Chelovek s kino-apparatom (Man with a Movie Camera) | Dziga Vertov | USSR | documentary | #21
2 | Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box) | G.W. Pabst | Germany | Austria | #279
3 | Hallelujah | King Vidor | USA | #1133
4 | Queen Kelly | Erich Von Stroheim | USA | #1377


Songs of 1929:
1 | Ain't Misbehavin' | Thomas Waller | USA | #1405
2 | Pony Blues | Charley Patton | USA | #1583
3 | Wildwood Flower | Carter Family | USA | #1742


Classical work of 1929 | Sir John in Love (Fantasia on Greensleeves) | Ralph Vaughan Williams | UK | #86

Note:
First case (apart of the early Lumière works) of a documentary as movie of the year, even if I showcased the first fiction movie. There will be three more cases.

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The 1920s

Post by Honorio » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:50 pm

The 1920s



Book of the 1920s | Ulysses | James Joyce | France | UK | 1922 | all time #3
"Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. Ulysses chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, 16 June 1904 (the day of Joyce's first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle). The title alludes to Odysseus (Latinised into Ulysses), the hero of Homer's Odyssey, and establishes a series of parallels between characters and events in Homer's poem and Joyce's novel (e.g., the correspondence of Leopold Bloom to Odysseus, Molly Bloom to Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus to Telemachus). Joyce fans worldwide now celebrate 16 June as Bloomsday." (Publisher)

Movie of the 1920s | Sunrise | F.W. Murnau | USA | Germany | 1927 | all time #8
"The best foreign film ever made in the United States. German director F.W. Murnau was given a free hand by William Fox for his first Hollywood production; it's breathtaking to see the full range of American technology and American budgets in the service of a great artist's personal vision. The story is essentially An American Tragedy with a happy ending—it would be hard to imagine anything more elemental and more potentially pompous. The miracle of Murnau's mise-en-scene is to fill the simple plot and characters with complex, piercing emotions, all evoked visually through a dense style that embraces not only spectacular expressionism but a subtle and delicate naturalism. Released in 1927, the last year of silent film, it's a pinnacle of that lost art." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)

Record of the 1920s | West End Blues | Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five | USA | 78 rpm single | 1928 | all time #634
"Armstrong's reading of West End Blues must have come as quite a shock, since it begins with a multi-layered, complex solo introduction from "Satchmo" that essentially set the standard for jazz musicians. Not just for trumpeters, either, although many strived to emulate what he achieved here. No, the lyrical phrases that Armstrong played were so wildly influential, fiercely musical, and technically devastating that it remains a hallmark for jazz musicians of all stripes. That's because it's not just a dazzling display of technique, although that's certainly part of it. It's because he applies his technique in tremendously innovative ways" (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music)


Books of the 1920s:
1 | Ulysses | James Joyce | France | UK | 1922 | #3
2 | The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald | USA | 1925 | #4
3 | The Sound and the Fury | William Faulkner | USA | 1929 | #21
4 | To the Lighthouse | Virginia Woolf | UK | 1927 | #22
5 | Der Process (The Trial) | Franz Kafka | Germany | Czechoslovakia | 1925 | #35


Movies of the 1920s:
1 | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans | F.W. Murnau | USA | Germany | 1927 | #8
2 | Bronenosets Potemkin (Battleship Potemkin) | S.M. Eisenstein | USSR | 1925 | #14
3 | La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) | Carl Th. Dreyer | France | Denmark | 1928 | #17
4 | Chelovek s kino-apparatom (Man with a Movie Camera) | Dziga Vertov | USSR | 1929 | documentary | #21
5 | The General | Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman | USA | 1926 | #40
6 | Metropolis (Metropolis) | Fritz Lang | Germany | 1927 | #57


Songs of the 1920s:
1 | West End Blues | Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five | USA | 1928 | #634
2 | The St. Louis Blues | Bessie Smith | USA | 1925 | #937
3 | Blue Yodel (T for Texas) | Jimmie Rodgers | USA | 1928 | #980
4 | Dark Was the Night - Cold Was the Ground | Blind Willie Johnson | USA | 1928 | #1385
5 | Ain't Misbehavin' | Thomas Waller | USA | 1929 | #1405


Classical works of the 1920s:
1 | Rhapsody in Blue | George Gershwin | USA | 1924 | #3
2 | Boléro | Maurice Ravel | France | 1928 | #20
3 | Turandot | Giacomo Puccini | Italy | 1926 | #52
4 | Antiche danze et arie per liuto (Ancient Airs and Dances) | Ottorino Respighi | Italy | 1923 | #53
5 | Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome) | Ottorino Respighi | Italy | 1924 | #64

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1930

Post by Honorio » Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:56 pm

1930



Book of 1930 | As I Lay Dying | William Faulkner | USA | all time #52
"As I Lay Dying is told in stream of consciousness writing style by 15 different narrators in 59 chapters. It is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family's quest—noble or selfish—to honor her wish to be buried in the town of Jefferson. Narrated in turn by each of the family members—including Addie herself—as well as others, the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. The novel was written in six weeks while Faulkner was working at a power plant, published in 1930, and described by Faulkner as a "tour de force." Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama, As I Lay Dying is a true 20th-century classic." (Publisher)

Movie of 1930 | L'âge d'or (L'Age d'Or) | Luis Buñuel | France | Spain | all time #126
"Luis Buñuel's first and most radical feature was banned for decades, and it continues to pack a jolt. Forsaking consecutive plot, the film is more like an anarchist bomb, starting off as a documentary before assaulting church, state, and society—particularly high society—in the name of eros. Funny, blasphemous, sexy, strange, subtle, and evocative in its use of sound, it's also thoroughly Buñuelian, though without the bittersweet sense of resigned acceptance that characterizes some of his later works. Except for his 1932 documentary Las Hurdes, this ferocious act of revolt kept Buñuel virtually unemployed as a director for 17 years." (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader)

Record of 1930 | Mood Indigo | Duke Ellington | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1484
"Taking a melody by Barney Bigard and Lorenzo Tio and composing a song of his own on top of it, Ellington created Mood Indigo. It wasn't the elegance of the composition alone, however, that made the song Ellington's first big hit. It was the completely unexpected voicing of the horns in Ellington's original arrangement of the song. The clarinet, trumpet and trombone were generally arranged, in that order, from highest pitch to lowest in jazz music. But Ellington turned the typical structure upside down on Mood Indigo, using the clarinet near the bottom of its register and the muted trombone near the top of its—an arrangement that also produced interesting overtones with the electronic microphones of the day." (History.com)


Books of 1930:
1 | As I Lay Dying | William Faulkner | USA | #52
2 | Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften: Eine Art Einleitung (The Man Without Qualities: A Sort of Introduction) | Robert Musil | Germany | Austria | #189
3 | The 42nd Parallel | John Dos Passos | USA | #274


Movies of 1930:
1 | L'âge d'or (L'Age d'Or) | Luis Buñuel | France | Spain | #126
2 | Zemlya (Earth) | Aleksandr Dovzhenko | USSR | #167
3 | Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) | Josef von Sternberg | Germany | Austria | #615


Songs of 1930:
1 | Mood Indigo | The Harlem Footwarmers | USA | #1484
2 | The Peanut Vender (El manicero) | Don Azpiazú and His Havana Casino Orchestra | USA | Cuba | #2433
3 | Weather Bird | Louis Armstrong | USA | #2999


Classical work of 1930 | Chants d'Auvergne (Songs from the Auvergne) | Joseph Canteloube | France | #55

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1931

Post by Honorio » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:44 pm

1931



Movie of 1931 | City Lights | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | all time #26
"If only one of Charles Chaplin's films could be preserved, City Lights would come the closest to representing all the different notes of his genius. It contains the slapstick, the pathos, the pantomime, the effortless physical coordination, the melodrama, the bawdiness, the grace, and, of course, the Little Tramp—the character said, at one time, to be the most famous image on earth. The movie contains some of Chaplin's great comic sequences, including the famous prize fight in which the Tramp uses his nimble footwork to always keep the referee between himself and his opponent. There's the opening scene, where a statue is unveiled to find the Tramp asleep in the lap of a heroic Greco-Roman stone figure." (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Book of 1931 | The Waves | Virginia Woolf | UK | all time #148
"The Waves is Virginia Woolf's most experimental novel. It consists of soliloquies spoken by the book's six characters: Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny, and Louis. Also important is Percival, the seventh character, though readers never hear him speak in his own voice. The soliloquies that span the characters' lives are broken up by nine brief third-person interludes detailing a coastal scene at varying stages in a day from sunrise to sunset. As the six characters or "voices" speak Woolf explores concepts of individuality, self and community. Each character is distinct, yet together they compose a gestalt about a silent central consciousness." (Publisher)

Record of 1931 | Minnie the Moocher (The Ho De Ho Song) | Cab Calloway and His Orchestra | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #895
"From one of the best all-around entertainers of the first half of the century, Cab Calloway's jive anthem Minnie the Moocher is one of the greatest novelty songs in history, surprisingly popular considering its taboo subject matter. In fact, if it wasn't for the jive slang he used to connote drug use in lines like "He took her down to Chinatown/And showed her how to kick the gong around," the song probably would have been censored. A former law student, Calloway began recording in 1930 and hit the big time just one year later with his show at the legendary Cotton Club and his best-known single, Minnie the Moocher." (John Bush, All Music)


Books of 1931:
1 | The Waves | Virginia Woolf | UK | #148
2 | The Good Earth | Pearl S. Buck | USA | #262
3 | Mourning Becomes Electra | Eugene O'Neill | USA | #274


Movies of 1931:
1 | City Lights | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | #26
2 | M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (M) | Fritz Lang | Germany | #56
3 | Tabu: A Story of the South Seas | F.W. Murnau | USA | Germany | #244


Songs of 1931:
1 | Minnie the Moocher (The Ho De Ho Song) | Cab Calloway and His Orchestra | USA | #895
2 | Devil Got My Woman | Skip James | USA | #2924
3 | Star Dust | Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra | USA | #4074

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1932

Post by Honorio » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:42 pm

1932



Book of 1932 | Brave New World | Aldous Huxley | UK | all time #84
"Brave New World is a novel by Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Set in the London of AD 2540 (632 A.F. in the book), the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. The future society is an embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of futurism. Huxley answered this book with a reassessment in an essay, Brave New World Revisited (1958), and with his final work, a novel titled Island (1962). In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World fifth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century." (Publisher)

Movie of 1932 | Trouble in Paradise | Ernst Lubitsch | USA | Germany | all time #152
"When thief Gaston Monescu (Marshall) meets his true love in pickpocket Lily (Hopkins), they embark on a scam to rob lovely perfume company executive Mariette Colet (Francis). But when Gaston becomes romantically entangled with Mme. Colet, their larcenous ruse is jeopardized and Gaston is forced to choose between two beautiful women. Legendary director Ernst Lubitsch’s masterful touch is in full flower in Trouble in Paradise, a pinnacle of the sophisticated romantic comedy, loaded with sparkling dialogue, witty innuendo, and elegant comic invention." (The Criterion Collection)

Record of 1932 | Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? | Bing Crosby | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #2572
"When Bing recorded this song in October, 1932, one out of every four Americans who wanted work could not find work. The banking system was near collapse. Record sales had plummeted because Americans did not have the money for such luxuries. No song captures the dark spirit of the Great Depression more than Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?. Both Bing and Rudy Vallee each recorded the song shortly before President Roosevelt's election. Both versions went to No. 1 in the charts. Bing's interpretation, with his ominous baritone, proved to be the one that would stand the test of time." (fixbutte, RateYourMusic)


Books of 1932:
1 | Brave New World | Aldous Huxley | UK | #84
2 | Voyage au bout de la nuit (Journey to the End of the Night) | Louis-Ferdinand Céline | France | #85
3 | Light in August | William Faulkner | USA | #192


Movies of 1932:
1 | Trouble in Paradise | Ernst Lubitsch | USA | Germany | #152
2 | Vampyr (Vampyr) | Carl Th. Dreyer | Germany | Denmark | #229
3 | Freaks | Tod Browning | USA | #258


Songs of 1932:
1 | Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? | Bing Crosby | USA | #2572
2 | It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) | Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra | USA | #4590
3 | Maple Leaf Rag | New Orleans Feetwarmers | USA | #6398


Classical work of 1932 | Concerto en sol majeur (Piano Concerto in G major) | Maurice Ravel | France | #55

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1933

Post by Honorio » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:06 pm

1933



Movie of 1933 | Duck Soup | Leo McCarey | USA | all time #147
"When the gang hooked up with a distinguished director, Leo McCarey, for the first and last time of their careers, their talents were perfectly channeled into 1933's Duck Soup, arguably the funniest movie ever made. The brothers claim that the film's story—about a leader (Groucho) who arbitrarily takes his country to war—was never intended as satire, but only Dr. Strangelove matches its audacity in sending up the follies of nationalism and conflict. The buildup to Groucho's fight with a neighboring country, triggered by an ambassador calling him an "upstart," leads to a joyous musical setpiece in which the prospect of war sends the nation into a state of perverse ecstasy." (Scott Tobias, A.V. Club)

Book of 1933 | La condition humaine (Man's Fate) | André Malraux | France | all time #481
"As explosive and immediate today as when it was originally published in 1933, Man's Fate (La Condition Humaine), an account of a crucial episode in the early days of the Chinese Revolution, foreshadows the contemporary world and brings to life the profound meaning of the revolutionary impulse for the individuals involved. As a study of conspiracy and conspirators, of men caught in the desperate clash of ideologies, betrayal, expediency, and free will, Andre Malraux's novel remains unequaled." (Publisher)

Record of 1933 | Night and Day | Leo Reisman & His Orchestra with Fred Astaire | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #3122
"According to David Ewen, "The idea of using a persistent note in the verse (B flat) came to Cole Porter during a visit to Morocco where he heard the steady, even beat on a tom-tom from a distance." Porter even alludes to the origin in the opening lyrics, "Like the beat, beat, beat, of the tom-tom; When the jungle shadows fall…" Will Friedwald gives a very different account. Porter was visiting friends in Newport. On a rainy night, the hostess, Mrs. Vincent Astor, exclaimed about a broken drainpipe, "…This drip-drip-drip is driving me mad." Porter raced to the piano to finish his song. And in the verse Porter also alludes to this origin, "Like the drip, drip, drip, of the rain drops…" (Jeremy Wilson, Jazz Standards)


Books of 1933:
1 | Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats | W. B. Yeats | UK | Ireland | collection | #112
2 | La condition humaine (Man's Fate) | André Malraux | France | #481
3 | Residencia en la tierra (Residence on Earth) | Pablo Neruda | Chile | #600
4 | Miss Lonelyhearts | Nathanael West | USA | #1106


Movies of 1933:
1 | Duck Soup | Leo McCarey | USA | #147
2 | King Kong | Merian C. Cooper/Ernest B. Schoedsack | USA | #161
3 | Zéro de conduite: Jeunes diables au college (Zero for Conduct) | Jean Vigo | France | #238


Songs of 1933:
1 | Night and Day | Leo Reisman & His Orchestra with Fred Astaire | USA | #3122
2 | Moten's Swing | Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra | USA | #3835
3 | Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All the Time) | Ethel Waters | USA | #4586

Note:
First case of a collection as book of the year, even if I showcased the first fiction book. There will be ten more cases.

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1934

Post by Honorio » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:27 pm

1934



Movie of 1934 | L'Atalante (L'Atalante) | Jean Vigo | France | all time #18
"In Jean Vigo's hands, an unassuming tale of conjugal love becomes an achingly romantic reverie of desire and hope. Jean (Dasté), a barge captain, marries Juliette (Parlo), an innocent country girl, and the two climb aboard Jean's boat, the L'Atalante—otherwise populated by an earthy first mate (Simon) and a multitude of mangy cats—and embark on their new life together. Both a surprisingly erotic idyll and a clear-eyed meditation on love, L’Atalante, Vigo's only feature-length work, is a film like no other." (The Criterion Collection)

Book of 1934 | Tender Is the Night | F. Scott Fitzgerald | USA | all time #187
"The story is that of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychoanalyst and his wife, Nicole, who is also one of his patients. It would be Fitzgerald's first novel in nine years, and the last that he would complete. While working on the book he several times ran out of cash and had to borrow from his editor and agent, and write short stories for commercial magazines. The early 1930s, when Fitzgerald was conceiving and working on the book, were certainly the darkest years of his life, and accordingly, the novel has its bleak elements." (Publisher)

Record of 1934 | Mal hombre | Lidya Mendoza | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #2175
"Apparently Lydia learnt the lyrics to Mal Hombre (Cold-Hearted Man) from a chewing gum wrapper sold in Monterey, Mexico in 1926; it seems astonishing that such bitter, astringent lyrics could be thought to be a chewing gum marketing tool. Her performance of the song is magnificent, with her superb, vigorous 12-string guitar providing a perfect setting for her crystal-clear narration of the brutality of this man who had ruined her life and treated her abominably, yet she now has the strength and belief in herself to tell him in no uncertain terms what a low-life he is." (bayard, RateYourMusic)


Books of 1934:
1 | Tender Is the Night | F. Scott Fitzgerald | USA | #187
2 | Sjálfstætt folk (Independent People) | Halldór Laxness | Iceland | #211
3 | I, Claudius | Robert Graves | UK | #221


Movies of 1934:
1 | L'Atalante (L'Atalante) | Jean Vigo | France | #18
2 | It Happened One Night | Frank Capra | USA | #331
3 | Man of Aran | Robert J. Flaherty | UK | USA | documentary | #415
4 | The Scarlet Empress | Josef von Sternberg | USA | Austria | #450


Songs of 1934:
1 | Mal hombre | Lidya Mendoza con Guitarra | USA | #2175
2 | Tumbling Tumbleweeds | The Sons of the Pioneers | USA | #3714
3 | Honeysuckle Rose | "Fats" Waller and His Rhythm | USA | #4274


Classical works of 1934:
1 | Rapsodiya na temu Paganini (Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini) | Sergei Rachmaninoff | USA | Russia | #22
2 | Poruchik Kizhe (Lieutenant Kijé) | Sergei Prokofiev | France | USSR | #98

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1935

Post by Honorio » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:18 pm

1935



Movie of 1935 | Bride of Frankenstein | James Whale | USA | UK | all time #328
"The best of the Frankenstein movies, a sly, subversive work that smuggled shocking material past the censors by disguising it in the trappings of horror. Some movies age; others ripen. Seen today, Whale's masterpiece is more surprising than when it was made because today's audiences are more alert to its buried hints of homosexuality, necrophilia and sacrilege. But you don't have to deconstruct it to enjoy it; it's satirical, exciting, funny, and an influential masterpiece of art direction." (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Book of 1935 | Studs Lonigan | James T. Farrell | USA | all time #472
"Studs Lonigan, the story of an Irish-American youth growing to adulthood in Chicago, is considered by many to be one of the finest American novels from the first half of the twentieth century, and its author was widely regarded as the voice of urban Irish America. In this relentlessly naturalistic portrait, Studs starts out his life full of vigor and ambition, qualities that are crushed by the Chicago youth's limited social and economic environment. Studs's swaggering and vicious comrades, his narrow family, and his educational and religious background lead him to a life of futile dissipation." (Publisher)

Record of 1935 | Can the Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye) | Carter Family | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1881
"Told from the point of view of someone whose mother has just died, the song captures the grief of the situation. However, it also expresses hope for a heavenly afterlife in the chorus. As always, Sara’s weary-yet-strong vocals are top-notch, and A.P. and Maybelle do a fine job on harmony during the catchy chorus. It is Maybelle’s guitar work, though, that stands out the most in this performance. After a hesitating, slow start, her playing begins to gain speed and confidence. By the end of the first chorus, the guitar has taken control of the melody and assertively drives the song forward." (Bryan Mangum, Three Perfect Minutes)


Books of 1935:
1 | Studs Lonigan | James T. Farrell | USA | #472
2 | Of Time and the River: A Legend of Man's Hunger in His Youth | Thomas Wolfe | UK | #710
3 | Nässlorna blomma (Flowering Nettle) | Harry Martinson | Sweden | #1042


Movies of 1935:
1 | Bride of Frankenstein | James Whale | USA | UK | #328
2 | A Night at the Opera | Sam Wood | USA | #476
3 | Top Hat | Mark Sandrich | USA | #501


Songs of 1935:
1 | Can the Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye) | Carter Family | USA | #1881
2 | I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart | Patsy Montana | USA | #3532
3 | El día que me quieras | Carlos Gardel | Argentina | #3784


Classical work of 1935 | Porgy and Bess | George Gershwin | USA | #24

Note:
According to The Greatest Books.org the first book of 1935 is "Collected Fictions" by Jorge Luis Borges, a collection of Borges short stories, included in this year because the first collection included here ("The Universal History of Iniquity") was published in 1935. I'll include this collection in 1998, when "Collected Fictions" was first published.

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1936

Post by Honorio » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:25 pm

1936



Book of 1936 | Absalom, Absalom! | William Faulkner | USA | all time #33
"Absalom, Absalom! is considered by many to be William Faulkner's masterpiece. Although the novel's complex and fragmented structure poses considerable difficulty to readers, the book's literary merits place it squarely in the ranks of America's finest novels. The story concerns Thomas Sutpen, a poor man who finds wealth and then marries into a respectable family. His ambition and extreme need for control bring about his ruin and the ruin of his family. Sutpen's story is told by several narrators, allowing the reader to observe variations in the saga as it is recounted by different speakers." (Publisher)

Movie of 1936 | Modern Times | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | all time #45
"Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin's last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary on class struggle during the Great Depression, Modern Times —though made almost a decade into the talkie era and containing moments of sound (even song!)— is a timeless showcase of Chaplin's untouchable genius as a director of silent comedy." (The Criterion Collection)

Record of 1936 | I Can't Get Started | Bunny Berigan and His Boys | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #2206
"The contrasting low-register and high-register playing for which Bunny Berigan was renowned, and which is on full display in this classic performance of I Can’t Get Started, is something that was facilitated by his uncommon control of the trumpet's lowest range. Berigan's frequent vaults into the highest register of the trumpet were very often "set-up," both technically and musically, by his playing in the lowest range of the horn immediately before. This allowed his chops to receive maximum blood circulation so that when he went upstairs, his sound would remain full and rich, not pinched or piercing." (Mike Zirpolo, Swing & Beyond)


Books of 1936:
1 | Absalom, Absalom! | William Faulkner | USA | #33
2 | Gone With the Wind | Margaret Mitchell | USA | #92
2 | The Big Money | John Dos Passos | USA | #274


Movies of 1936:
1 | Modern Times | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | #45
2 | Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country) | Jean Renoir | France | #125
3 | Le crime de Monsieur Lange (The Crime of Monsieur Lange) | Jean Renoir | France | #350


Songs of 1936:
1 | I Can't Get Started | Bunny Berigan and His Boys | USA | #2206
2 | I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You | Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra | USA | #4155
3 | Pennies From Heaven | Bing Crosby | USA | #5462


Classical work of 1936 | Pétya i volk (Peter and the Wolf) | Sergei Prokofiev | USSR | #38

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1937

Post by Honorio » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:31 pm

1937



Movie of 1937 | La grande illusion (The Grand Illusion) | Jean Renoir | France | all time #42
"Not only hugely important in film history — it was the first foreign-language movie ever to be Oscar-nominated for Best Picture — but a sorrowful, acutely thoughtful, and wholly imperishable masterpiece, Renoir's drama about First World War fortunes and the demise of Old Europe holds up sublimely: better, even, than La Règle du jeu (1939), which is more often called his crowning achievement. The friendship forged between Pierre Fresnay's French captain and Erich von Stroheim's refined German commandant lends a core of humanity as vulnerable as it is profound." (Tim Robey, The Telegraph)

Book of 1937 | Their Eyes Were Watching God | Zora Neale Hurston | USA | all time #134
"The main character, an African American woman in her early forties named Janie Crawford, tells the story of her life and journey via an extended flashback to her best friend, Pheoby, so that Pheoby can tell Janie's story to the nosy community on her behalf. Her life has three major periods corresponding to her marriages to three very different men. Though beautiful and engaging, this novel is challenging because of the strong southern dialect Hurston uses to convey her story." (Publisher)

Record of 1937 | Cross Road Blues | Robert Johnson | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #492
"Robert Johnson's 1936 recording of Cross Road Blues has become a central element in the story–real, imagined, or fabricated–of Johnson selling his soul to devil at the crossroads, as depicted on the big screen in the 1986 film Crossroads. Among the many problems with the tale, however, is the fact that in the lyrics to Cross Road Blues, Johnson falls to his knees and asks the Lord for mercy, he sings nary a word about devil-dealing. Regardless of mythology Johnson's record was indeed a powerful one, a song that would stand the test of time on its own." (Jim O’Neal, The Blues Foundation)


Books of 1937:
1 | Their Eyes Were Watching God | Zora Neale Hurston | USA | #134
2 | Of Mice and Men | John Steinbeck | USA | #181
2 | The Hobbit | J. R. R. Tolkien | UK | #365


Movies of 1937:
1 | La grande illusion (The Grand Illusion) | Jean Renoir | France | #42
2 | Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | David Hand | USA | #312
3 | Make Way for Tomorrow | Leo McCarey | USA | #319


Songs of 1937:
1 | Cross Road Blues | Robert Johnson | USA | #492
2 | Hell Hound on My Trail | Robert Johnson | USA | #1023
3 | One O'Clock Jump | Count Basie and His Orchestra | USA | #5462


Classical works of 1937:
1 | Carmina Burana: Cantiones profanae cantoribus et choris cantandae comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis | Carl Orff | Germany | #8
2 | Simfonija № 5 re minor (Symphony No. 5 in D minor) | Dmitri Shostakovich | USSR | #31

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1938

Post by Honorio » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:05 pm

1938



Movie of 1938 | Bringing Up Baby | Howard Hawks | USA | all time #120
"Though it's almost impossible, try to sit back sometime and enjoy this 1938 Howard Hawks masterpiece not only for its gags, but for the grace of its construction, the assurance of its style, and the richness of its themes. Cary Grant's adventures with Katharine Hepburn lead from day into night, tameness into wildness, order into chaos; needless to say, it's a deeply pessimistic film, though it draws its grim conclusions in a searingly bright and chipper way. Amazingly, the film was a failure when first released, but time has revealed its brilliance, as well as the apparent impossibility of its like ever being seen again (What's Up, Doc? notwithstanding)." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)

Book of 1938 | Rebecca | Daphne du Maurier | UK | all time #131
"Rebecca is a novel by Daphne du Maurier. When Rebecca was published in 1938, du Maurier became —to her great surprise— one of the most popular authors of the day. Rebecca is considered to be one of her best works. Some observers have noted parallels with Jane Eyre. Much of the novel was written while she was staying in Alexandria, Egypt, where her husband was posted at the time. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" is the book's often quoted opening line, and from here its unnamed narrator recollects her past as a naïve, middle-class woman in her early twenties." (Publisher)

Record of 1938 | Begin the Beguine | Art Shaw and His Orchestra | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #2241
"So why is Begin the Beguine one of the best records of the Swing Era? Because it is simply one of the greatest pop songs ever recorded. It's the perfectly sculpted fox trot tempo that coaxed people on the dance floor. It's also the crisp call and response between the reeds and horns and Shaw's sublime solo. In short, Begin the Beguine sums up all that was great about the Swing Era, all from a song that wasn't even supposed to be a big hit. But Beguine quickly overshadowed every hit from that year. It sold millions of copies, was featured on jukeboxes around the world and, as Shaw said, "that recording of that one little tune was the real turning point in my life." (David Rickert, All About Jazz)


Books of 1938:
1 | Rebecca | Daphne du Maurier | UK | #131
2 | Brighton Rock | Graham Greene | UK | #302
2 | La Nausée (Nausea) | Jean-Paul Sartre | France | #342


Movies of 1938:
1 | Bringing Up Baby | Howard Hawks | USA | #120
2 | Aleksandr Nevskiy (Alexander Nevsky) | Sergei M. Eisenstein/ Dmitriy Vasilev | USSR | #475
3 | The Lady Vanishes | Alfred Hitchcock | UK | #618


Songs of 1938:
1 | Begin the Beguine | Art Shaw and His Orchestra | USA | #2241
2 | Wabash Cannon Ball | Roy Acuff and His Crazy Tennesseeans | USA | #2803
3 | A-Tisket A-Tasket | Chick Webb & His Orchestra with Ella Fitzgerald | USA | #3385


Classical works of 1938:
1 | Adagio for Strings | Samuel Barber | USA | #7
2 | Romeo i Džulʹetta (Romeo and Juliet) | Sergei Prokofiev | USSR | #10

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1939

Post by Honorio » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:22 pm

1939



Movie of 1939 | La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) | Jean Renoir | France | all time #4
"Banned on its original release as 'too demoralising', and only made available again in its original form in 1956, Renoir's brilliant social comedy is epitomised by the phrase "everyone has their reasons." The film effects audacious slides from melodrama into farce, from realism into fantasy, and from comedy into tragedy. Romantic intrigues, social rivalries, and human foibles are all observed with an unblinking eye that nevertheless refuses to judge. Embracing every level of French society, from the aristocratic hosts to a poacher turned servant, the film presents a hilarious yet melancholic picture of a nation riven by petty class distinctions." (Nigel Floyd, Time Out)

Book of 1939 | The Grapes of Wrath | John Steinbeck | USA | all time #31
"The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath at his home, 16250 Greenwood Lane, in what is now Monte Sereno, California. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. In a nearly hopeless situation, they set out for California's Central Valley along with thousands of other "Okies" in search of land, jobs, and dignity." (Publisher)

Record of 1939 | Strange Fruit | Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #75
"In an early example of the short-sighted corporate attitudes of major labels, Holiday bypassed the system, recorded the arresting song, and the record became one of her most successful. And people started to flock to Cafe Society in droves just to see her perform this one song. Even though the song became sort of an act, Holiday would break down after every performance of it. The impact of the song has not lessened with time. If anything, it has grown more intense within the context of history. The controversy of the song continues as well, with some jazz radio programmers still refusing to play it, as it stirs up such "negative" feelings as deep sadness, anger, and guilt." (Bill Janovitz, All Music)


Books of 1939:
1 | The Grapes of Wrath | John Steinbeck | USA | #31
2 | Finnegans Wake | James Joyce | UK | #234
2 | The Big Sleep | Raymond Chandler | USA | #256


Movies of 1939:
1 | La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) | Jean Renoir | France | #4
2 | The Wizard of Oz | Victor Fleming | USA | #105
3 | Gone with the Wind | Victor Fleming | USA | #109


Songs of 1939:
1 | Strange Fruit | Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra | USA | #75
2 | Over the Rainbow | Judy Garland with Victor Young and His Orchestra | USA | #379
3 | Body and Soul | Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra | USA | #713


Classical work of 1939 | Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 | Heitor Villa-Lobos | Brazil | #84

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The 1930s

Post by Honorio » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:58 pm

The 1930s



Movie of the 1930s | La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) | Jean Renoir | France | 1939 | all time #4
"Banned on its original release as 'too demoralising', and only made available again in its original form in 1956, Renoir's brilliant social comedy is epitomised by the phrase "everyone has their reasons." The film effects audacious slides from melodrama into farce, from realism into fantasy, and from comedy into tragedy. Romantic intrigues, social rivalries, and human foibles are all observed with an unblinking eye that nevertheless refuses to judge. Embracing every level of French society, from the aristocratic hosts to a poacher turned servant, the film presents a hilarious yet melancholic picture of a nation riven by petty class distinctions." (Nigel Floyd, Time Out)

Book of the 1930s | The Grapes of Wrath | John Steinbeck | USA | 1939 | all time #31
"The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath at his home, 16250 Greenwood Lane, in what is now Monte Sereno, California. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. In a nearly hopeless situation, they set out for California's Central Valley along with thousands of other "Okies" in search of land, jobs, and dignity." (Publisher)

Record of the 1930s | Strange Fruit | Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra | USA | 78 rpm single | 1939 | all time #75
"In an early example of the short-sighted corporate attitudes of major labels, Holiday bypassed the system, recorded the arresting song, and the record became one of her most successful. And people started to flock to Cafe Society in droves just to see her perform this one song. Even though the song became sort of an act, Holiday would break down after every performance of it. The impact of the song has not lessened with time. If anything, it has grown more intense within the context of history. The controversy of the song continues as well, with some jazz radio programmers still refusing to play it, as it stirs up such "negative" feelings as deep sadness, anger, and guilt." (Bill Janovitz, All Music)


Books of the 1930s:
1 | The Grapes of Wrath | John Steinbeck | USA | 1939 | #31
2 | Absalom, Absalom! | William Faulkner | USA | 1936 | #33
3 | As I Lay Dying | William Faulkner | USA | 1930 | #52
4 | Brave New World | Aldous Huxley | UK | 1932 | #84
5 | Voyage au bout de la nuit (Journey to the End of the Night) | Louis-Ferdinand Céline | France | 1932 | #85


Movies of the 1930s:
1 | La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) | Jean Renoir | France | 1939 | #4
2 | L'Atalante (L'Atalante) | Jean Vigo | France | 1934 | #18
3 | City Lights | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | 1931 | #26
4 | La grande illusion (The Grand Illusion) | Jean Renoir | France | 1937 | #42
5 | Modern Times | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | 1936 | #45


Songs of the 1930s:
1 | Strange Fruit | Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra | USA | 1939 | #75
2 | Over the Rainbow | Judy Garland with Victor Young and His Orchestra | USA | 1939 | #379
3 | Cross Road Blues | Robert Johnson | USA | 1937 | #492
4 | Body and Soul | Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra | USA | 1939 | #713
5 | Minnie the Moocher (The Ho De Ho Song) | Cab Calloway and His Orchestra | USA | 1931 | #895


Classical works of the 1930s:
1 | Adagio for Strings | Samuel Barber | USA | 1938 | #7
2 | Carmina Burana: Cantiones profanae cantoribus et choris cantandae comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis | Carl Orff | Germany | 1937 | #8
3 | Romeo i Džulʹetta (Romeo and Juliet) | Sergei Prokofiev | USSR | 1938 | #10
4 | Rapsodiya na temu Paganini (Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini) | Sergei Rachmaninoff | USA | Russia | #22
5 | Porgy and Bess | George Gershwin | USA | 1935 | #24

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1940

Post by Honorio » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:06 pm

1940



Book of 1940 | For Whom the Bell Tolls | Ernest Hemingway | USA | all time #78
"Published in 1940, For Whom the Bell Tolls, tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. Jordan is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia. Filled with life, color, drama and pathos, For Whom the Bell Tolls is regarded as one of Hemingway's best novels. With his characteristic spare but beautiful prose, Hemingway draws people and places with striking individuality and beauty. A celebration of life at its most tragic and violent, this book manages to capture both the seeming utter futility and the great joy and promise of humanity." (Publisher)

Movie of 1940 | His Girl Friday | Howard Hawks | USA | all time #148
"Perhaps the funniest, certainly the fastest talkie comedy ever made, this inspired adaptation of Hecht and MacArthur's The Front Page adds an extra dimension of exploitation by turning Hildy Johnson into Walter Burns' ex-wife. Charles Lederer's frantic script needs to be heard at least a dozen times for all the gags to be caught; Russell's Hildy more than equals Burns (Grant) in cunning and speed; and Hawks transcends the piece's stage origins effortlessly, framing with brilliance, conducting numerous conversations simultaneously, and even allowing the film's political and emotional thrust to remain upfront alongside the laughs. Quite simply a masterpiece." (Geoff Andrew, Time Out)

Record of 1940 | Dust Bowl Ballads | Woody Guthrie | USA | album (78 rpm set) | all time #850
"Originally released in 1940 as the Great Depression had not yet ended, Guthrie's concept album chronicles the hardships and injustices wrought by the Depression and the Dust Bowl. Guthrie's depictions of those most affected, those migrant workers who slowly shuffled west to a California spoken about in mystical tones and would be saddled with the derogatory "Okie," are sympathetic, humorous, sobering and, ultimately, defiant and optimistic. Its music is deceptively simple, featuring little more than Guthrie's voice set against strums of the machine that he claimed killed Fascists; for better or worse, the approach utilized here and throughout much of Guthrie's catalog still influences generations of earnest folksingers." (Eric Dennis, Spectrum Culture)


Books of 1940:
1 | The Waste Land and Other Poems | T. S. Eliot | UK | collection | #66
2 | For Whom the Bell Tolls | Ernest Hemingway | USA | #78
3 | Native Son | Richard Wright | USA | #121
4 | The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter | Carson McCullers | USA | #217


Movies of 1940:
1 | His Girl Friday | Howard Hawks | USA | #148
2 | The Great Dictator | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | #169
3 | The Grapes of Wrath | John Ford | USA | #174


Album of 1940 | Dust Bowl Ballads | Woody Guthrie | USA | #850


Songs of 1940:
1 | Nuages | Quintette du Hot Club de France avec Alix Combelle | France | #1419
2 | New San Antonio Rose | Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys | USA | #2419
3 | Ko-Ko | Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra | USA | #2926


Classical work of 1940 | Concierto de Aranjuez | Joaquín Rodrigo | Spain | #6

Note:
First case of an album (in this case a 78 rpm singles box set) taking the top spot as record of the year. We will have plenty of cases on the following years.

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1941

Post by Honorio » Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:29 pm

1941



Movie of 1941 | Citizen Kane | Orson Welles | USA | all time #1
"The source book of Orson Welles, and still a marvellous movie. Thematically less resonant than some of Welles' later meditations on the nature of power, perhaps, but still absolutely riveting as an investigation of a citizen —newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst by any other name— under suspicion of having soured the American Dream. Its imagery as Welles delightedly explores his mastery of a new vocabulary, still amazes and delights, from the opening shot of the forbidding gates of Xanadu to the last glimpse of the vanishing Rosebud (tarnished, maybe, but still a potent symbol). A film that gets better with each renewed acquaintance." (Tom Milne, Time Out)

Book of 1941 | Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (Mother Courage and Her Children) | Bertolt Brecht | Switzerland | Germany | all time #533
"Mother Courage and Her Children (German: Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder) is a play written in 1939 by the German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) with significant contributions from Margarete Steffin. Mother Courage is considered by some to be the greatest play of the 20th century, and perhaps also the greatest anti-war play of all time. Mother Courage is one of nine plays that Brecht wrote in an attempt to counter the rise of Fascism and Nazism. Written largely in response to the invasion of Poland (1939) by the German armies of Adolf Hitler, Brecht wrote it in what writers call a "white heat"—in a little over a month." (Wikipedia)

Record of 1941 | God Bless the Child | Billie Holiday | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1206
"For a song that has become something of a secular hymn, it's strange that Billie Holiday's plaintive God Bless the Child grew out of a row with her mother. But then, as Tony Bennett said of Holiday: "When you listen to her, it's almost like an audio tape of her autobiography. She didn't sing anything unless she lived it." The song was hastily written in 1939, and Holiday said she wrote it in a rage after her mother refused to give her a small loan — at a time when Holiday was bankrolling her restaurant. "She wouldn’t give me a cent. I was mad at her, she was mad at me… Then I said, 'God bless the child that's got his own,' and walked out." (Mike Hobart, Financial Times)


Books of 1941:
1 | Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca | Federico García Lorca | USA | Spain | collection | #313
2 | Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder[/b] (Mother Courage and Her Children) | Bertolt Brecht | Switzerland | Germany | #533
3 | The Negro Caravan: Writings by American Negroes | Sterling Allen Brown, Arthur Paul Davis, Ulysses Lee | USA | collection | #713
4 | Röde Orm (The Long Ships) | Frans G. Bengtsson | Sweden | #1044
5 | The Real Life of Sebastian Knight | Vladimir Nabokov | USA | Russia | #1084


Movies of 1941:
1 | Citizen Kane | Orson Welles | USA | #1
2 | The Lady Eve | Preston Sturges | USA | #143
3 | Sullivan's Travels | Preston Sturges | USA | #228


Songs of 1941:
1 | God Bless the Child | Billie Holiday | USA | #1206
2 | Take the "A" Train | Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra | USA | #1247
3 | The Midnight Special | Lead Belly and the Golden Gate Quartet | USA | #1266


Classical works of 1941:
1 | Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) | Olivier Messiaen | Germany | France | #41
2 | Violin Concerto | Samuel Barber | USA | #79
3 | Warsaw Concerto | Richard Addinsell | UK | #97

Note:
So we have the second all-time #1, the best movie of all time, "Citizen Kane" by Orson Welles. On 24 years we will find the #1 song of all time and only one year later the #1 album of all time.

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1942

Post by Honorio » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:04 pm

1942



Movie of 1942 | Casablanca | Michael Curtiz | USA | all time #35
"Seeing the film over and over again, year after year, I find it never grows over-familiar. It plays like a favorite musical album; the more I know it, the more I like it. The black-and-white cinematography has not aged as color would. The dialogue is so spare and cynical it has not grown old-fashioned. Much of the emotional effect of Casablanca is achieved by indirection; as we leave the theater, we are absolutely convinced that the only thing keeping the world from going crazy is that the problems of three little people do after all amount to more than a hill of beans." (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Book of 1942 | L’Étranger (The Stranger) | Albert Camus | France | all time #42
"Since it was first published in English, in 1946, Albert Camus's extraordinary first novel, The Stranger (L'Étranger), has had a profound impact on millions of American readers. Through this story of an ordinary man who unwittingly gets drawn into a senseless murder on a sun-drenched Algerian beach, Camus was exploring what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." The Stranger is a strikingly modern text, readers will appreciate why Camus's stoical anti-hero and devious narrator remains one of the key expressions of a postwar Western malaise, and one of the cleverest exponents of a literature of ambiguity." (Publisher)

Record of 1942 | White Christmas | Bing Crosby | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #867
"White Christmas was the best-selling song of all time until 1997, when Elton John's updated Candle in the Wind was released after the death of Princess Diana. In spirit, White Christmas is a blues song, and it has been covered hundreds of times by what seems like nearly every artist who has released a Christmas album. It stands out among its mostly upbeat brethren in the holiday song category. It is emotionally complex. Rosen theorizes, "The kind of deep secret of the song may be that it was Berlin responding in some way to his melancholy about the death of his son." In 1928, Berlin's three week-old infant died on Christmas morning." (Jeff Saporito, The Take)


Books of 1942:
1 | L’Étranger (The Stranger) | Albert Camus | France | #42
2 | The Moon Is Down | John Steinbeck | USA | #826
3 | The Little Grey Men | BB | UK | #835


Movies of 1942:
1 | Casablanca | Michael Curtiz | USA | #35
2 | The Magnificent Ambersons | Orson Welles | USA | #78
3 | To Be or Not to Be | Ernst Lubitsch | USA | #102


Songs of 1942:
1 | White Christmas | Bing Crosby with Ken Dardy Singers and John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra | USA | #867
2 | Flying Home | Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra | USA | #1398
3 | Stormy Weather | Lena Horne | USA | #1974


Classical works of 1942:
1 | Simfonija № 7 do mažor, "Leningradskaja" (Symphony No. 7 in C major, "Leningrad") | Dmitri Shostakovich | USSR | #60
2 | A Ceremony of Carols | Benjamin Britten | UK | #70

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1943

Post by Honorio » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:14 pm

1943



Book of 1943 | Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) | Antoine de Saint-Exupéry | France | all time #113
"Since 1943, the wise little boy from Asteroid B-612 has led children and their adults to deeper understandings of love, friendship, and responsibility. The Little Prince is a cherished story, read by millions of people in more than a hundred languages. Gregory Maguire "A lovely story… which covers a poetic, yearning philosophy — not the sort of fable that can be tacked down neatly at its four corners but rather reflections on what are real matters of consequence." This lovely book is also the perfect gift for those new to the wisdom of the Little Prince and the charms of his rose-and-star-filled worlds." (Publisher)

Movie of 1943 | The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp | Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger | UK | UK/Hungary | all time #181
"The passions and pitfalls of a lifetime in the military are dramatized in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's magnificent epic, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The film follows the exploits of pristine British soldier Clive Candy (Livesey) as he battles to maintain his honor and proud gentlemanly conduct through romance, three wars, and a changing world. Vibrant and controversial, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is at once a romantic portrait of a career soldier and a pointed investigation into the nature of aging, friendship, and obsolescence." (The Criterion Collection)

Record of 1943 | Solo Flight | Benny Goodman and His Orchestra featuring Charlie Christian | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #2316
"Guitarist Charlie Christian recorded his signature song Solo Flight with the Benny Goodman Big Band on March 4 in 1941. The song would establish Christian as one of the earliest guitar heroes in jazz, the man responsible for bringing his instrument out of the background and into the frontline. Using new technologies for amplification, Christian pioneered the technique of constructing fluid, single-note lines on the guitar, similar to what one might hear from a trumpet, clarinet or saxophone. In doing so, he became a major —thought often unheralded— force in the development of bebop and other contemporary jazz genres." (Brian Zimmerman, Jazziz)


Books of 1943:
1 | Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) | Antoine de Saint-Exupéry | France | #113
2 | A Tree Grows in Brooklyn | Betty Smith | USA | #194
3 | The Fountainhead | Ayn Rand | USA | #231


Movies of 1943:
1 | The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp | Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger | UK | UK/Hungary | #181
2 | Meshes of the Afternoon | Maya Deren/ Alexander Hamid | USA | #255
3 | Vredens dag (Day of Wrath) | Carl Theodor Dreyer | Denmark | #283


Songs of 1943:
1 | Solo Flight | Benny Goodman and His Orchestra featuring Charlie Christian | USA | #2316
2 | Irene | Lead Belly and Guitar | USA | #2396
3 | Que reste-t-il de nos amours | Charles Trenet | France | #4082


Classical works of 1943:
1 | Fanfare for the Common Man | Aaron Copland | USA | #32
2 | Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings | Benjamin Britten | UK | #92

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