A behind-some-of-the-scenes look at the life and thoughts of one of the 20th century's greatest conductors. If memoirs are biography lite, then this one is successful indeed. A selective recollection of Sir Georg Solti's rise to musical fame, it's an entertaining if not particularly probing walk through this man's impressive musical life. Solti, who died last month at the age of 84, was born in Hungary but lived much of his life in Switzerland, where he relocated at the beginning of WW II. Solti describes his climb through the ranks, beginning his career as a rÇpÇtiteur, or opera coach. Eventually, through hard work and determination, he became the conductor of the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in England and finally of the Chicago Symphony, which he directed for 22 years and where he arguably set a musical standard for professional orchestras that still stands today. The book includes some introspection, such as Solti's admission that early in his career he neglected to really listen to a group before trying to stamp his own personality on it. The book is best when Solti describes his musical philosophies and what it means to be a conductor. Conductors, he writes, ``should always remember our role as interpreters; we are there to serve with the best of our technical abilities the wishes of the composers, who are the creators. The thrill comes when we as interpreters become partners with the composers at the moment the scores comes to life in a performance.'' Conductors and musicians will find Solti's discussion of Beethoven's various symphonies especially illuminating. Unfortunately, these pithy parts are too infrequent, leaving a reader at book's end still wondering exactly what makes Solti tick. An adequate rendering by a man renowned in the musical world for his excellence. (16 pages photos, not seen) (First printing of 50,000)

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-44596-X

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1997

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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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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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