Style notwithstanding, any visitor to Paris with an interest in music will find this guide indispensable.

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PARIS

A MUSICAL GAZETTEER

An interesting and useful guide, written in a competent, but dry style.

By the reign of Louis-Phillipe, Paris was Europe's cultural capital and, like Vienna, attracted many of the greatest musicians and composers of the era. While much has been written of the musical scene in Vienna at the time, much less has been written about Paris, and Simeone, a lecturer in the Department of Music at the University of Wales, attempts to fill the gap with a well researched and comprehensive Baedeker of the city's musical scene. It includes biographies of the major composers who made Paris their home, the addresses, locations of their graves (if in Paris), and listings of all important musical locales, arranged by arrondissement and street, along with the nearest Métro stops. Also found are four walking tours and copious photographs, contemporary and historic. Simeone gives us small details that add pleasure and interest (e.g., composer Marcel Dupré, organist at Saint-Sulpice for 65 years, was also the organist at the wedding of the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson). Of Joseph Canteloube, arranger of the celebrated Chants d'Auvergne, Simeone writes, `During the early 1920s he made several pioneering music broadcasts for French radio. . . . The first of these [on Scarlatti] was broadcast on 28 January 1924 under difficult circumstances: rain was leaking through the studio roof, and an assistant had to hold an umbrella over Canteloube as he played.` Simeone is a genuine scholar of both music and Paris and he has thoroughly researched both subjects. Just the same, our pleasure would be enhanced if Simeone had been able to write in a livelier style. While his writing is clear and factual, it seldom rises above the expository. Rife with information, it is a pity that a book on such a rich topic should be written in the arid manner of a college textbook on macroeconomics.

Style notwithstanding, any visitor to Paris with an interest in music will find this guide indispensable.

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-300-08053-0

Page Count: 315

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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