The Leonard Bernstein Letters - Nigel Simeone

 

Words that seem to turn up most in The Leonard Bernstein Letters (Yale Univ., $38), edited by Nigel Simeone, are “hectic” and “adore.” The first indicates the amazing pace this composer/conductor/pianist kept up, and the second reflects his passion for—well, life in general, though the two constants he required were “the phenomenon of music on the brain” and people—“any people,” which he cited as his “chief weakness…I need them all the time.” And here they are, in this absorbing collection of 650 letters (both to and from Bernstein, beginning in 1932 and ending a few days before his death in 1990): fan mail from Bette Davis, who requested the maestro’s autograph; proposals for projects from James M. Cain, Aldous Huxley, Lillian Hellman, and a cast of lyricists, producers, directors, and musicians; love letters between Bernstein and his wife, Felicia, as well as to his most intimate friends, like Aaron Copland; and detailed exchange with his collaborators on shows, offering a wealth of insight into the myriad decisions and challenges involved in creating classics like West Side Story. If Bernstein was magic on the podium, he was equally so in everyday life; he made friends easily and they stayed friends for life. That magnetism and energy come through in his lively, playful letters.

The Leonard Bernstein Letters Cover Image
$38.00
ISBN: 9780300179095
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - October 29th, 2013

The Leonard Bernstein Letters Cover Image
$27.50
ISBN: 9780300205442
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Published: Yale University Press - December 2nd, 2014

Duke - Terry Teachout

Terry Teachout’s Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington (Gotham, $30) vividly brings to life the composer, pianist, and bandleader who “knew how to express the grandest of emotions on the smallest of scales, and who needed no more room in which to suggest his immortal longings.” Teachout (author of the wonderful Pops on Louis Armstrong) also shows Ellington the enigma: cool, suave, and charismatic in public, yet distant and selfish, sporting a Don Juan complex in private. But above all, it’s about the music: Ellington’s apprenticeship on D.C.’s U Street and in Harlem’s Cotton Club, and the decades-long, non-stop journey of composing and traveling with his orchestra. Working with his inspiring soloists (and later, Billy Strayhorn), Ellington composed a body of work, song by song, suite by suite, that is unsurpassed.

Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781592408801
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Published: Avery - November 4th, 2014

Where the Heart Beats - Kay Larson

John Cage, the avant-garde American composer famous for 4’ 33” (a performance of four minutes and thirtythree seconds of silence) and percussion experiments using everyday objects, was already well into his journey to achieve a pure musical aesthetic when he encountered D.T. Suzuki’s Essays in Zen Buddhism: 1st Series in 1950. Like other artists of his time such as Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, Cage was profoundly influenced by Zen as taught by Suzuki, who had moved to New York that same year. In Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists (Penguin Press, $29.95), Kay Larson shows how Cage’s Buddhism and his artistry are inseparable. In telling the story of Cage’s life, she also traces the influence of Cage and Zen on other young artists, from poets to painters to musicians, who came of age in the post-war period.

Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781594203404
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Published: Penguin Press - July 5th, 2012

Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780143123477
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Books - July 30th, 2013

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