STRAVINSKY

GLIMPSES OF A LIFE

A brilliant hodgepodge of pieces about the life and art of the 20th century's greatest composer, by his longtime associate and amanuensis. Caveat for Craft collectors: Some of this material is recycled (e.g., from Present Perspectives, 1984). If the purpose of writing about music and its creators is to send you scrambling to listen to the works themselves, this is an unqualified success. Craft, editor of three volumes of Stravinsky's correspondence and author of numerous writings about the master, has here collected 24 essays containing his ``remarks,'' musings, and reviews of works by and about the composer, approximately half of them previously unpublished. They range from an overview that focuses on Stravinsky's often abrasive personality and the perceived stylistic shifts in his music (``A Centenary View, Plus Ten'') to ``glimpses'' of his less-than-pretty private life (``Sufferings and Humiliations of Catherine Stravinsky'') to pieces focusing on individual compositions (``The Rite at Sixty-Five''; ``Svadebka: An Introduction''). These last constitute by far the best parts of this book. Four chapters devoted to the creation and performance of The Rite of Spring, an analysis of the origin and revisions of Histoire du Soldat, a discussion of the connection between Debussy and the Symphonies of Wind Instruments—all fascinate. Not that Craft can be read without irritation. His familiar insistence on the importance of his own role in Stravinsky's life (and vice versa) looks like narcissism writ large. Similarly, the amount of space devoted to the purely personal seems disproportionate. The longest essay deals with the litigation between Stravinsky's children and his second wife after his death: It's sad stuff, more appropriate to Knots Landing than to a knotty modern master, and not very enlightening about anything. Not for someone who wants linear biography. Probably not for first-time Stravinskians. But for those with an already established interest in the diverse outpourings of a genius, nearly indispensable. (Illustrations.)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-312-08896-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1992

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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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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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