story turns out. (30 b&w photos)



Nobly told saga of how a provincial outsider, bucking family and establishment mistrust, fashioned himself into France's

most daring 19th-century composer. Dr. Berlioz, justly portrayed by Cairns as a devoted father, never stopped decrying his son's rejection of medicine for music. But Hector Berlioz (1803–69), taking Gluck, then Beethoven as spiritual mentors, recognized his calling early, a process that Cairns fleshes out here with piquant asides: What prefigures the critic-creator better than the unwilling med student singing arias during dissections? Young Berlioz is shown beset by his split nature, a Romantic simultaneously driven by fire (or "spleen"), while observed by his alter ego with classical detachment. The factions of musical Paris set the stage for the swift-maturing apprentice's contretemps with the conservative Conservatoire: Cairns examines how Berlioz's orchestrally conceived compositions (where rhythmic complexity plays off timbral polyphony) outraged the status quo. There was no point, however, in trying "to break the magnetic needle because you can't stop it obeying the attraction of the poles"—and at length the weary judges granted Berlioz the Prix de Rome. His travels, mapped out with high local color, furnished matter for his entire oeuvre. The pithy letter-writer and pungent reviewer (ever the composer's advocate) corroborates the gracious narrator-critic and conductor Cairns (The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz, 1969), who has scoured the Berlioz archives for the past 35 years. The tale pauses at the reappearance of English actress Harriet Smithson: After her Ophelia opened Berlioz's eyes to Shakespeare's glories in 1827, she rejected his advances, thus inspiring the id‚e fixe underpinning the innovative Symphonie Fantastique. The 1832 premiere, excitingly re-created, announced the composer's maturity and duly persuaded her to become Berlioz's partner in ill-starred marriage. A sumptuous feast for lovers of music and biography, this volume feeds the appetite to learn the reasons behind how the

story turns out. (30 b&w photos)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-520-22199-0

Page Count: 616

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2000

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



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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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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