The excellent catalog of the exhibition organized by the Metropolitan Museum. The well-written essays, by Met curators, chart the 19th-century rise and fall of the first native school of landscape painting. The catalog includes most of the well-known and many lesser-known Hudson River pictures, discussed in depth for both specialists and generalists. The book is well-organized and well-indexed, and, while not breaking great new ground, is highly recommended. The plates are generally good.
Deutsche Grammophon is lucky in that World War II didn't slow classical recordings in Germany as it did in the United States but stimulated them: It was essential for wartime morale. Thus, if you can get past any repugnance related to these recordings' genesis, there's a huge amount to enjoy. There's a disc of lieder by all the prewar greats (Franz Volker, Tiana Lemnitz, Erna Berger, and Heinrich Schlusnus), a disc of Wagner featuring young Hans Hotter, opera and operetta performances by Berger and Helge Roswaenge, and a disc showing how the German singers gave Italian opera a distinctively Nordic but highly communicative edge. The set is crowned by a complete Winterreise that was recorded by Peter Anders in 1945 (and sounds it): the cultivated tenor's anguished performance embodies a Germany facing the abyss. –David Patrick Stearns