REVIEW POTPOURRI: Maine Novelist Ruth Moore

Ruth Moore

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Maine Novelist Ruth Moore

Maine novelist Ruth Moore (1903-1989) was born on Gott’s Island, spent several years as an adult out of state, and published the very successful novel Spoonhandle in 1946, which was adapted for the 1948 movie Deep Waters; the money enabled her to move back to Maine for the rest of her life.

During the 1930s, Moore was active in the NAACP , having begun working as a researcher. In 1930, she traveled to the Deep South where her investigation led to the release of two African-American men who had been falsely accused of murder.

A very powerful opening in Moore’s 1943 novel The Weir which takes place on one of the outlying islands along the Maine coast resonates on a universal level with any of us who sat through long years of school in quiet desperation:

“Sayl Comey went to school every day, but it seemed to him that things got worse instead of better. He couldn’t get used to the routine, and he couldn’t see any sense in what went on. In class he presented a face of bleak and absolute boredom.”

A writer well worth checking out.

The Adventures of Superman

George Reeves

My favorite childhood TV show was The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves (1914-1959). One particular episode started the 1953 season, 5 Minutes to Doom, which guest starred Dabbs Greer (1917-2007) as an innocent man wrongly sentenced to the electric chair. The depiction of the chair itself has stayed in my memory for decades, it was so well filmed.

Arvo Volmer

Arvo Volmer

Now 60, the quite gifted Estonian conductor Arvo Volmer recorded the 7 Symphonies, Finlandia, Valse Triste and Violin Concerto (with soloist Adele Anthony), of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius between 2007 and 2010 with the Adelaide Symphony of Australia for the ABC Classics label on 4 CDs; while these performances don’t have the craggy power of other conductors (Sibelius used the entire string/woodwind/brass/percussion apparatus of the modern orchestra to evoke the rocky ocean landscape, fields, woodlands and hills that are so similar to our own Maine), they do have a lot of poetry and are quite effective on their own terms.

For anyone new to classical music, I recommend sampling any of the many YouTubes of Sibelius’s music, especially the stirring patriotic Finlandia, the rhythmically gripping Violin Concerto, the powerful 1st and 2nd Symphonies with their rich outpourings of gorgeous, brilliantly sustained melody and the haunting mystery of Valse Triste and the otherworldly Swan of Tuonela.

Country Music Anthologies

During the early 1980s, Time Life Records marketed a series of LP anthologies devoted to country music artists and sold them by mail and through supermarkets.

They included Hank Williams, Chet Atkins, George Jones (of course), Johnny Cash, Elvis, Barbara Mandrell, Tammy Wynette, etc.

I recently listened to the one devoted to Waylon Jennings (1937-2002) which contains nine selections drawn from his albums for RCA Victor and include Brown Eyed Handsome Man, MacArthur Park, Ladies Love Outlaws and Love of the Common People.

The man knew how to communicate a song in an impressive manner.


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