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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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By John Fleming, Times performing arts critic
Published February 17, 2008
Album: Robert Helps: Works for Piano, Volumes 1 and 2 Albany
In stores: Now
Why we care: Robert Helps, who died in 2001, was the bay area's most important composer during the time he taught at the University of South Florida. He was a superb pianist, and his piano music was his best work. Naomi Niskala, who teaches piano at the University of North Dakota, has released the first complete survey of his works for piano.
Why we like it: Helps fans will enjoy Niskala's fresh takes on favorites like the homages to Faure, Rachmaninoff and Ravel, but there are also unfamiliar gems such as San Francisco in the Fog. The liner notes include Helps' delightful commentaries.
Why we care: This is the Cleveland Orchestra's first commercial recording in almost seven years. You know the classical record business is in trouble when one of the top American orchestras goes that long without a release. The orchestra plays at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on March 24.
Why we like it: Cleveland's transparency of ensemble captures the intimacy of this often overblown work. It's the firstappearance on disc of the orchestra with its music director of six years, Franz Welser-Most. The vocal soloists include the up-and-coming Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman.
Reminds us of: the Berlin Wall coming down
Download these:Ode to Joy in the finale
Patrick Stewart, Emanuel Ax
Album: Richard Strauss:Enoch Arden (Sony Classics)
In stores: Now
Why we care: Patrick Stewart brings his Shakespearean chops to a reading of Tennyson's epic narrative, accompanied by Emanuel Ax on piano. Enoch Arden is about a shipwrecked sailor, presumed dead, who returns home to Scotland after many years to find his wife has remarried, and her new husband is his childhood friend. Filling out the disc are Strauss' Op. 3 piano pieces.
Why we like it: Enoch's self-sacrifice is deeply touching in Stewart's telling.Hearing virtuoso Ax play the simple piano part is like watching an Olympic swimmer blow soap bubbles.
Reminds us of: Grad school seminars on Victorian verse
Download these:Enoch Arden
DVD OF THE WEEK
DVD: Show Business: The Road to Broadway (Liberation)
In stores: Now
Why we care: Director Dori Berinstein made this documentary of the 2003-04 season on Broadway that focuses on four musicals:Wicked, Taboo, Avenue Q and Caroline, or Change. The heroes are Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, youthful creators of the sarcastic puppets that knocked off the witches of Oz for the best musical Tony. The villains: a churlish chorus of newspaper critics.
Why we like it: The backstage dish is fun. Alan Cumming and others make the case that the Boy George autobiography Taboo was unjustly trashed by critics. Idina Menzel's Lullaby of Broadway over the final credits is fabulous.
Reminds us of:The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway,William Goldman's classic book chronicling the 1967-68 season