WHAT TO LISTEN FOR IN MOZART

A GUIDE FOR THE CURIOUS

Harris, head of variety programming for CBS radio, tries hard- -with very iffy results—to provide unsophisticated listeners with an in-depth introduction to Mozart's life and work. After some predictable opening remarks about Mozart's genius and personality (a ``titan charming the gods''), Harris leaps right into matters of musical theory: the basics of rhythm, meter, melody, harmony; the sonata-allegro form as exemplified by Eine Kleine Nachtmusik; close-textual score-reading. (``Do you see that C sharp that sneaks in at the end of bar 21 in the first violin part?'') Most nonmusicians will be lost, even if they listen (as directed) to a recording while reading. Consistently, in fact, Harris mixes overdemanding musicology with a patronizing tone as he offers close-ups of a half-dozen major instrumental works: ``Don't be frightened by a large work like a concerto....Think of this opening to the piece as if it were the opening to a TV mini- series.'' The detailed discussions of the great operas—Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi Fan Tutte, The Magic Flute—are less technical and more involving, though not particularly fresh or forceful. And the chunks of biography scattered throughout are modestly entertaining and informative, if occasionally simplistic and graceless. (Gratuitously, one of Mozart's most graphic scatological letters is quoted in full.) With, as an appendix, brief appreciations of Harris's ``personal selection of Mozart's Top Fifty works'': an only sporadically effective music-appreciation class—often too dense for beginners, too spoon-fed for serious music-lovers.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-75092-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1992

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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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