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THE BEATLES, DUKE ELLINGTON, AND THE MAGIC OF COLLABORATION

A fresh blend of scholarly musical analysis and provocative ideas about creativity and how composers create great art.

A convincing case that some of the greatest music in history was not the work of one brilliant mind but rather a result of the commingling of ideas that happens when two complementary artists team up.

In the first half of the book, Brothers (Music/Duke Univ.; Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism, 2014, etc.) focuses on Duke Ellington and his many collaborators, most notably the composer Billy Strayhorn. Many compositions that were the work of two or more musicians were credited solely to Ellington; according to Brothers, this has led to misunderstandings about the way much of his music was composed. The author’s portrait of Ellington pulls no punches but remains sympathetic. The Beatles were another story: John Lennon and Paul McCartney were open about their creative codependency from the start, signing all compositions “Lennon/McCartney” no matter who wrote what or how much in a given song. Brothers insists that the oft-repeated saw that the Beatles rarely collaborated after the release of “Revolver” is false. Rather, he claims that some of the greatest achievements of their late period were the result of intense collaboration. Ellington embraced the myth of the solitary genius that the musical establishment saddled him with and benefited from the resulting obfuscation, while Lennon and McCartney situated themselves squarely within the ganglike nature of rock-’n’-roll groups, an egalitarian approach to music-making that had its roots in the African-American vernacular tradition from which jazz also emerged. Some of the music jargon may fly over the heads of nonmusician readers, but for the most part, Brothers frames his analysis in smooth, relatable prose that anyone familiar with the music of Ellington and the Beatles can understand. Along the way, the author provides a sweeping history of 20th-century popular music, the rich backdrop against which the incredible music of Ellington and the Beatles was composed—music that is incredible primarily because of the cooperative spirit that brought it to life.

A fresh blend of scholarly musical analysis and provocative ideas about creativity and how composers create great art.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-393-24623-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

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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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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