TCHAIKOVSKY

THE QUEST FOR THE INNER MAN

Instead of Tchaikovsky's music, Russian ÇmigrÇ Poznansky, a librarian at Yale, here emphasizes ``the man who wrote the music.'' Without the music, though, Tchaikovsky's life seems to have little point, and the man himself appears to be thoroughly repulsive, arrogant, exploitative, and disloyal, a self-centered pederast, emotionally and morally crippled. Born into a family ``saturated with eroticism,'' both Tchaikovsky and his brother were homosexual from childhood, with incest being, according to Poznansky, ``not inconceivable,'' perhaps ``indisputable.'' As Tchaikovsky succeeded as a musician, he traveled the capitals of Europe, entering into sexual alliances with princes, street urchins, servants, other musicians, even his own nephew, over whom he obsessed for much of his life, preferring always young men, preferably below the age of 15. Tchaikovsky used women, too, marrying a compliant young girl, abandoning her after two weeks, and later blaming her for causing him moral, psychological, even ``hemorrhoidal'' pain when she refused to divorce him. In another instance, he allowed the widowed Mrs. von Meck to support him for 13 years on the condition that she never attempt to see him. At last, her fortune and health declining, she sent him a large and final sum in advance—whereupon he accused her of ``betraying'' him, of being ``perfidious'' and ``cruel.'' In spite of the sexual license of the upper class, homosexuality was illegal and several of Tchaikovsky's young friends committed suicide; according to Poznansky, the composer did not, as legend has it, but died of cholera. Poznansky concludes, having offered no evidence to support it, that Tchaikovsky's life ``is a generous achievement worth telling for its own sake.'' The evidence he does offer supports an interpretation of the composer as a classic narcissist, a concept relevant to his talent and his music. But, while Poznansky claims to be writing ``historical psychology,'' he seems to show little interest in or knowledge of psychology, nor does he get past the charming facade and effusive letters in his pursuit of what he calls the ``inner man.'' (Sixty-four photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 1991

ISBN: 0-02-871885-2

Page Count: 656

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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