Something about the cold air makes me want hide under a blanket, shun my work, and read1. With the prediction from the Farmer’s Almanac that this winter is gonna be a cold one2 that means plenty of time to get some reading accomplished. Here is a list of recommended music related books for your fall.
1. First Nights: Five Musical Premiers by Thomas Kelly
“This lively book takes us back to the very first performances of five famous pieces of music: Monteverdi’s Orfeo in 1607, Handel’s Messiah in 1742, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in 1824, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique in 1830, and Stravinsky’s Sacre du printemps in 1913. Thomas Forrest Kelly brings to life the fascinating details of these premiere nights – the cities, concert halls, audiences, conductors, musicians, the sound of the music, and the responses of audiences and critics.”
~ via Amazon.com
2. Just Kids by Patti Smith
Punk godmother, poet, and self proclaimed “worker”, Patti Smith’s memoir about her relationship with Robert Maplethorpe is a must read. She reminds that life and love is complicated. Artists cannot plan their careers, and people cannot predict their futures. This book made me weep. And, at the end of my reading, all I could think was, “it was an honor to have read it.”
3. Men, Women, & Pianos: A Social History by Arthur Loesser
“An internationally renowned pianist presents a delightful “piano’s-eye view” of Western European and American social history from the 16th through 20th centuries. With wit and erudition, Loesser traces the history of the instrument’s design and manufacture and its music, from the clavichord and harpsichord to the modern spinet and concert grand.” ~ via Amazon.com
4. Thayer’s Life of Beethoven Parts 1-3 by Alexander Wheelock Thayer
The life of Beethoven has developed almost into a myth. A man of such great talent, terrible sadness, and productivity is deserving of a fine biography and that is what Thayer’s three volume biography is. Heartbreaking and thorough, for anyone who admires Beethoven’s music, this biography is for you.
“Alexander Wheelock Thayer’s Life of Beethoven. has long been recognized as the classic biography of Beethoven. “Thayer, with his calm and logical mind, scrupulous, magnanimous and spacious…had set out to describe for posterity the great man as he was and lived…and his patient realism and all but inexhaustible industry had created an irreplaceable and masterly portrait.” So Van Wyck Brooks described this monumental work of the 1880’s.
Thayer talked with Beethoven’s surviving friends, gathered anecdotes, and sifted hundreds of documents. The resulting wealth of detail stimulated other students, and a mass of Beethoven scholarship appeared. Now Elliot Forbes, one of the foremost Beethoven scholars of our time, has used this new material to bring the Life up to elate without sacrificing Thayer’s text.” ~via Amazon.com
5. Play On by Michael Linton
Dr. Linton’s first three chapters of his book “Play On” are available to download! Why not?! It’s free!
1. A cup of hot, honeyed tea is nice too!
2. That is my summation of the Farmer’s Almanac prediction. They didn’t use quite that wording.