The debeautification of a lonely, self-dramatizing, praise- seeking colossus, conductor Herbert von Karajan (1908-89), whom Swiss musicologist Bachmann esteems as a very great European conductor but a man trapped in fairy tales. While not focusing on Karajan's aesthetics, Bachmann makes clear that the set of 43 videodiscs now being released, which Karajan edited himself and which he hoped would enshrine his image as conductor for forthcoming generations, focus too largely on Karajan's minimalist conducting style in his final period and are far from spellbinding. Not always the clearest writer, Bachmann attempts to avoid a ``psychogrammatic'' view of Karajan and yet not settle merely for a rehearsal of the career. Karajan was a child prodigy, giving piano recitals at age four. His first important post was as musical director of the Stadttheater in Ulm, followed a few years later by a similar appointment with the Aachen Stadttheater (in ``the FÅhrer's city''). Two things are important here. He had seen Toscanini conduct Falstaff and been overwhelmed by the Italian's symphonic integration of stage work and orchestra. And he made his Faustian pact, foreseeing the value of joining the Nazis in Ulm and insuring his political rise in the musical world. Joseph Goebbels, interested in promoting a rival to Wilhelm FurtwÑngler, conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, appointed Karajan as State Kapellmeister, from which post he spread German music as State publicity—for motives that he hid from his later hagiographers, at whom Bachmann scoffs. The author strains to suggest that in 1940 a farsighted Karajan married his second wife, Anita, who was part Jewish, as a postwar safeguard for washing himself clean of the Nazis. The need for power drove Karajan to build the world's greatest recording and performing musical empire, featuring in Salzburg, his birthplace, Karajan festivals to himself. At his death, no one could replace him in his multiplicity of major posts. Despite an air of superiority, a compelling read—and excellent on Karajan's conducting style. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 1991

ISBN: 0-679-40628-X

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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