With the assistance of playbill.com founder Viagas (I'm the Greatest Star: Broadway's Top Musical Legends from 1900 to Today, 2009, etc.), Wong sums up her experiences as president of Boston's Longwood Symphony Orchestra.
The author joined this relatively unique orchestra of semi-professional musicians who are also medical practitioners in 1985, at a time when it was made up of “an enthusiastic but rather motley band of eighty or ninety musicians.” In college Wong had dreamed of becoming a professional violinist but decided on a medical career instead. Despite the demands of a thriving pediatric practice, marriage and motherhood, she joined the LSO and served as president from 1991 to 2012. She provides thumbnail sketches of other members of the orchestra to substantiate her assertion that music and medicine can be complementary, and she explains that the ability to listen is crucial both for musicians performing in an orchestra and doctors treating patients. Both disciplines require “passion, focus, training, and the sharing of humanity with those around us,” and for doctors who need to suppress their own emotions in professional situations, playing music can be a welcome release. Wong also discusses the clinical benefits of listening to music—e.g., stroke victims who regain their lost ability to speak by singing; withdrawn patients suffering from dementia who become responsive through music—and pays special tribute to Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel Prize–winning doctor whose combined career as a missionary and musician remains an inspiration.
Wong's message is simple yet profound: Music heals.
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)
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").