Author Archives: Cmsciabarra

Song of the Day #2038

Song of the Day: Cocoon (“Main Theme”) [YouTube link], composed by James Horner, has all those gentle, magical touches that complement this 1985 film, directed by Ron Howard. Horner left us much too soon, but his scores have left an indelible mark on cinematic music.

Song of the Day #2037

Song of the Day: The Shawshank Redemption (“Main Theme”) [YouTube link] was composed by Thomas Newman of the Newman Movie Music Dynasty. It is derived from one of the most successful film scores of its era. The 1994 film, starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, is an intense, well-crafted, finely acted, and inspiring adaptation of a 1982 Stephen King novella. And it’s got the score to match.

Song of the Day #2036

Song of the Day: The Thomas Crown Affair (“Soundtrack Suite”) [YouTube link], composed by Michel Legrand, is an indispensable extension of this 1968 heist film, starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Though the nominated score didn’t win the Oscar that year, Legrand won an Oscar for Best Original Song, “The Windmills of Your Mind” (with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman). The song opens this suite, which also features so many of those jazzy inflections for which the maestro was famous. The Grand Legrand was born on this date in 1932.

Song of the Day #2035

Song of the Day: Quigley Down Under (“Soundtrack Suite”) [YouTube link], composed by Basil Poledouris, enhances the Western motif of the 1990 film, starring Tom Selleck and Alan Rickman. The film may not have been a big hit, but its score remains a winner.

Song of the Day #2034

Song of the Day: BUtterifield 8 (“Gloria’s Theme”) [YouTube link], composed by Bronislaw Kaper, is from the 1960 film that brought Elizabeth Taylor her first of two Oscars (the other was for her raw performance in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?“). It’s a lush theme befitting the composer of the classic standard, “Invitation” [YouTube link] (from the 1952 film of the same name).

Song of the Day #2033

Song of the Day: Making Contact (“Soundtrack Suite”) [YouTube link], composed by Paul Gilreath, is from a 1985 West German horror-fantasy film (also known as “Joey”), directed by Roland Emmerich, which features a demonic-possessed ventriloquist dummy named Fletcher, of whom I’m not too thrilled. Just as Emmerich provides various nods to “Poltergeist“, “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” and “Star Wars“, so too Gilreath, who re-scored the film for its US release, provides nods to the scores of John Williams and James Horner in this lovely suite.

Don Lavoie Lectures, 1980-1981: Part II

Last Monday, February 13, 2023, I unveiled the first of three YouTube presentations featuring the late Don Lavoie. Today, the second installment debuts on my YouTube channel.

“Planned Chaos: The Failure of Socialism” was recorded at New York University on September 23, 1980, as part of a series of lectures that the NYU chapter of Students for a Libertarian Society dubbed “Libertython”. This lecture, with its accompanying Q&A, runs over 90 minutes in length. In many respects, it is a precursor to the central themes that Don explored in his 1985 book, National Economic Planning: What is Left?

See Facebook discussion on this lecture here.

Song of the Day #2032

Song of the Day: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (“Soundtrack Suite”) [YouTube link], composed by Klaus Bedelt, is from the 2003 film that began a five-film franchise. The score benefited from the collaboration of Hans Zimmer as well. It’s got all those rousing themes befitting a modern swashbuckler.

Russian Radical Review in “Savvy Street”

Marco den Ouden wrote a really nice retrospective review of my book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical for The Savvy Street. Marco writes:

In a brilliant piece of philosophical detective work, Chris Matthew Sciabarra examines her Russian background and Russian education and discerns distinct influences of both on her methodology.

Early in this review I quoted Sciabarra to the effect that during his research he “rediscovered elements in Objectivism that challenged my entire understanding of that philosophy and its place in intellectual history.” Sciabarra’s book did the same for me.

I had hitherto taken a disaggregated view of Rand’s work. The problem with such an unintegrated view is that it lets you take isolated elements of her work out of context. This is the error of many of her followers who focus on her politics to the exclusion of the other elements of her philosophy. This was the source of her disdain for libertarians. If you consider her philosophy as an integrated whole, libertarians focused on one narrow element, her politics, and even there, they focused very narrowly on one maxim, the so-called non-aggression principle. They saw only a solitary tree but missed the grand forest that was her work.

Sciabarra’s book gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation for the holistic nature of Rand’s work, for her ability to parse and dissect disparate elements of current events and to integrate them by their essences. To see connections that others miss.

Check out the whole review here.