A treat not just for music-lovers, but for woodworkers, craftsmen and anyone who has ever mourned the passing of grand...

PIANO

THE MAKING OF A STEINWAY CONCERT GRAND

New York Times staff reporter Barron follows a Steinway Model D concert grand piano from warehouse to concert hall.

The main character in this story, which began as a series of Times articles, is K0862. (Steinway pianos are known by their numbers.) Born as a few strips of lumber, glued together and bent into shape, K0862 was raised in the Steinway factory and warehouse in Queens, where it was given body and voice. Eventually, it left home for a professional life. Barron documents each step of the process and profiles the workers who complete each of the necessary tasks. Himself an amateur pianist, he combines a journalist’s eye for exactitude with a musician’s love of the instrument. He follows K0862 through the 11-month process, from the bending of the rim through the filing and sanding of each individual key and hammer to the voicing and multiple tunings in soundproof booths. A postlude follows K0862 once it leaves Steinway. The author supplements this individual odyssey with a history of Steinway & Sons. Founded in 1853, the firm faced some daunting challenges in the 20th century. First radio, then television promised entertainment at the twist of a knob (no lessons necessary), and in less than three weeks in 1953, more television sets were made than the total number of pianos built during Steinway’s first hundred years. Yet despite these changes in technology and manufacturing, the company has maintained itself in the art and business of piano-making. The author’s attention to minutiae makes for a few tedious sections, but he successfully conveys the pride each Steinway employee takes in this storied musical instrument.

A treat not just for music-lovers, but for woodworkers, craftsmen and anyone who has ever mourned the passing of grand tradition.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-8050-7878-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2006

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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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