ARTHUR FIEDLER

PAPA, THE POPS, AND ME

The daughter of Boston's beloved maestro transposes the familiar laments of a star's adult child into the world of classical music. In the course of his 50-year tenure as conductor of the Boston Pops orchestra, Arthur Fiedler emerged as a true celebrity. Beyond his musical flair and dashing appearance, he exhibited a knack for marketing. He made his reputation by organizing America's first annual series of free outdoor symphony orchestra concerts on Boston's Charles River Esplanade. On taking over the Pops in 1930, he built a national following, and in his last decades, the PBS ``Evening at Pops'' television broadcasts cemented his fame. The Arthur Fiedler whom the public adored, however, turns out— surprise!—to have distanced himself from his family, immersing himself in his career and continuing to live the high life while on tour. When at home, he would show himself to be misanthropic, miserly, and alcoholic. Fiedler fille details in a clear style how this behavior impeded her personal growth. After a withdrawn, troubled childhood, she came to have difficulties of her own with alcohol and searched into adulthood for a father figure—for instance, dating musicians, some ``hand-picked'' by her father, all with forceful, dominating personalities like his. Her complaints against Fiedler päre seem valid, but the dysfunctional Fiedler family nevertheless strikes the reader as having been more typical of the mid-century upper middle class than traumatic in the ``Daddy Dearest'' vein. More intriguing sections of her book narrate her family's singular accomplishments: her grandfather's emigration from Austria to join the Boston Symphony, her father's navigation of the tides of cultural politics and of nationalist sentiment during WW I, and his endeavors to prove his mettle as a serious artist. That he loved dogs, fire engines, and women while hating children is, in the end, relatively uninteresting. Only Fiedler enthusiasts and habituÇs of the classical music scene will want to wade through the run-of-the-mill pop psychologizing featured here.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 1994

ISBN: 0-385-42391-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

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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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