THE BRIDE OF THE WIND

THE LIFE OF ALMA MAHLER

Steadily intelligent, musically aware, sympathetic but objective life of the wife and goddess of Gustav Mahler, architect Walter Gropius, novelist Franz Werfel, and a handful of geniuses who loved her unstintedly. Keegan's Alma Mahler towers above Francoise Giroud's recent Alma Mahler or the Art of Being Loved (p. 30), which was a brief but empty exercise. This biography from journalist Keegan (wife of historian John Keegan) is finely researched, more than twice as long as Giroux's, packed with rich cultural detail, and gives a far more complex and redoubtable Alma. As daughter of Emil Schindler, an excellent Viennese landscape artist, Alma breathed art and artists. A songwriter, she early chose a destiny as love-goddess to geniuses, allowing herself to be adored, kissed, and who knows what else by many rising composers, usually teachers twice her age. Emil died while Alma was still young, and her aging suitors were dad's replacements. So when she met 40-year-old Mahler, she found the daddy of her dreams, surrendered before marriage—a big thing in those days—and went to the altar pregnant. Gustav demanded she give up songwriting, one composer in the household being enough, and devote herself to him. This regimen took strongly, and Alma gave Gustav more attention than she did their children. But, feeling neglected during Mahler's working hours as Vienna's great opera director and leading cultural figure, she wandered, came back, wandered more. During her third marriage, to Werfel, she made it clear to him that he could never be a great German writer since he was Jewish—then made sure he wrote moneymakers, including the ``Catholic'' novel The Song of Bernadette. A classy woman—even as an old fatty hooked on benedictine. (Eight pages of photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-670-80513-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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