MAY 10, 1958
HYDE PARK, N.Y.—The number of unemployed, it was reported several days ago, dropped by 11,000 in the previous week in New York state.
This, of course, was good news, but even with this drop the number of unemployed is far ahead of what it was a year ago. The automobile business seems to be the one in which there has been no noticeable pickup, with its total of unemployed more than four times that of a year ago.
It is difficult, of course, to know what the weekly unemployment figures really mean, and one can only hope that the picture everywhere will improve with the spring pickup in building and other types of seasonal work.
There have been so many wet days in New York that many new jobs undoubtedly had to be postponed. But the rain now seems to be at an end, at least temporarily, and more people should be given opportunities to do outside work. So even from the economic point of view, we can be justified in praying for good weather and a glimpse of the sun now and then.
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I wrote the other day about our young American pianist, Van Cliburn, who received outstanding recognition in the Soviet Union. And now I want to mention Walter Hautzig, another young American pianist, who was the first artist from the United States to be asked to play a concert for union members in Osaka, Japan. He played 20 concerts for 30,000 Japanese workers during March and April.
This is a new field which up to now has been almost entirely filled in Japan by Russian artists brought there by the Communist-controlled unions.
These concerts are free to the workers. And since Mr. Hautzig had such great success on a concert tour there in 1956, a non-Communist union decided to invite him to return and play for its members.
Interestingly enough, one of his concerts was attended by Princess Atsuko, daughter of Emperor Hirohito, which seems to show that democracy is making great strides in Japan.
Mr. Hautzig will be back in the U.S. this month where I hope many people will hear him before he starts on another foreign tour in the spring of 1959.
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One of the most moving experiences I have had in the theatre in a long time came to me the other night when I saw Christopher Fry's "The Firstborn." Katharine Cornell and Anthony Quayle are magnificent, but every part seemed to be well played.
Artistically, the play was beautifully presented, with stage settings and costumes that were rich and lovely. And the songs by Leonard Bernstein were delightful.
I wish this production could be brought to Israel where, I think, it would be received with great enthusiasm.
I hope that Miss Cornell is getting great satisfaction out of returning to the stage in a play as deeply moving as this one. All those who admire her must be glad she has such a satisfactory vehicle for her great talents.