It Feels Like Summer

Each of the four seasons has inspired its own songs, but none so much as summer. From the cool breeze of Al Green’s “Feels like summer” to the cool pose struck by Pavement’s “Summer babe,” songwriters seem particularly inspired by the onset of heat, humidity, and vacation. While In the Muse cannot approximate the feeling […]

Happy Father’s Day

There are songs of yore whose messages may be lost to modern ears, but Harry Castling’s “As His Father Did Before Him” strikes a chord even today. Published in London in 1898, the song paints a picture of desperate times, when the patriarchal model was apparently as likely to be a burglar as a boxer. […]


The events of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses take place in Dublin on a single day, June 16, 1904. Joyceans the world over celebrate Bloomsday with marathon readings and a pint of Guinness or two. Say yes yes to James Joyce with the Performing Arts Encyclopedia, where you can find manuscripts of Samuel Barber’s “Three Songs,” musical settings […]

Happy Birthday Les Paul

Guitarist and inventor Les Paul was born on this day in 1915.  Paul helped develop the Gibson Les Paul solid-body electric guitar, an instrument so iconic that the foreword to Les Paul’s memoir was written by none other than Paul McCartney.  Les Paul died last year, but his handiwork continues to be heard from the […]

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Paquito D’Rivera!

June 4th was the birthday of Cuban-born composer and reed player Paquito D’Rivera.  His clarinet and saxophone work has graced a diverse range of ensembles, from the incendiary Cuban-jazz group Irakere to the National Symphony Orchestra. A performance of “Merengue” by cellist Yo-Yo Ma won D’Rivera a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental in 2004. Other […]

I saw Sir Paul on TV

Last December I began this blog with the announcement that Sir Paul McCartney would be the recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Music.  I chatted with four Library of Congress staff members who experienced Beatlemania in person.  From the stands at the Beatles’ rehearsal for the Ed Sullivan show, to the screams that could be […]

Memorial Day

In the United States, Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May. The day was first set aside in 1868  “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every […]

Bach and the Bohemian Gypsies

Tomorrow evening, the Montreal group Ensemble Caprice will bring Bach and the Bohemian Gypsies to the Coolidge Auditorium, in a featured concert at the 39th Annual Meeting of the American Musical Instrument Society. This program will illustrate the influence of anonymous gypsy virtuosi on the works of two great Baroque composers.   The Caprice musicians and […]