MUSIC AND THE MIND

From Oxford psychiatrist Storr (Churchill's Black Dog, 1989, etc.): a lucid and absorbing study of the relationship between music and the human experience. Storr's fluidly logical exploration begins with an assessment of various theories on the origins of music. After considering theories connecting music to natural phenomena like bird-song or linguistic features, Storr concludes that, although the origins of music will never be established conclusively, ``it seems probable that music developed from the prosodic exchanges between mother and infant which foster the bond between them.'' Using terms such as ``arousal,'' ``expectation.'' and ``fulfillment,'' later chapters explore physiological and psychological responses to music, bravely probing the issue of musical meaning as both an intellectual (objective) and emotional (subjective) stimulant. Occasionally, Storr's own musical observations are a bit simplistic: ``Bach's extraordinary skill maintains our interest; but it is an interest based on elaboration, symmetry, and rhythmic pulse, rather than upon progress.'' But this does not detract from the author's larger vision. The bibliography reveals an incredible breadth of erudition: Storr quotes widely and with equal comfort from scientific, philosophical, and literary sources, ancient to modern. Like Oliver Sacks, he leads his reader effortlessly through a capacious synthesis of diverse material without resorting to unnecessary technical jargon. Readers with their own inchoate reflections on the nature of music will be grateful to have Storr investigating and clarifying their experiences in such elegant, taut prose.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-02-931621-9

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1992

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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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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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