Book Reviews

WinnarettaBook Review: A new biography of music patron Winnaretta Singer This is a wonderful book, in every respect. It wears its (considerable) scholarship lightly. It tells a fascinating narrative. It brings to vivid life a galère of twentieth century musical greats whose need for practical help, encouragement, sponsorship and performance opportunities brought them into the life and Paris salon of Winnaretta, twentieth child of the US sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer... more>

StraussBook Review: A new study of Strauss's ballet collaborations Ballet is not the first genre you think about when you consider Richard Strauss. The master of the orchestral tone poem, the prolific opera composer of the first half of the twentieth century, the artful setter of many a Lied – but Strauss and ballet? Well, it may come as a surprise to some Strauss lovers that ballet projects... more> AstaireBook Review: Fred Astaire in his own words and in a new study by Joseph Epstein It's just over seventy-five years since Fred Astaire teamed up with Ginger Rogers to create one of the finest dancing partnerships of all time (if not the greatest). To celebrate, Harper Collins has reissued Astaire's autobiography in paperback, while a new volume devoted to... more>
KurtagBook Review: Kurtág Interviews and texts on Ligeti Bálint András Varga is a former head of promotion for Universal Edition and a figure who has to his name a long engagement with contemporary music. His previous books include interviews with Xenakis and Lutoslawski – with both of whom, as with Kurtag, he has had close ties – and on... more> TicciatiBook Review: Daniel Barenboim's Everything is Connected is released in paperback Daniel Barenboim has demonstrated many times that as well as being a leading interpreter of core classical repertoire, he is also a keen thinker and a determined political activist. In books such as Parallels and Paradoxes, which contained a series of dialogues around the intersections of music... more>
The Rest is NoiseBook Review: Alex Ross' seminal study, The Rest is Noise, makes it to paperback The Rest is Noise, a timely summing up of the previous century's art music, has finally been published in paperback, offering us the opportunity to reassess this multiple award-winning book. Its original publication in 2007 was greeted with near unanimous praise from... more> Kander and EbbBook Review: A new study of the musicals of Kander & Ebb, including Cabaret and Chicago James Leve's new book on the output of John Kander and Fred Ebb is a major contribution to the literature on the Broadway musical. As enthusiastic as it is thorough and as comprehensive as it is insightful, the 364-page volume deals with all the team's major shows together, as well... more>
ScrutonBook Review: Philosopher Roger Scruton's new book for Continuum Aesthetics is political. And all interesting aesthetic writing is motivated by a clear political agenda. It is important to remember this when reading Roger Scruton's two-part anthology of philosophical writing, Understanding Music. (The first part supplements... more> West Side StoryFeature: West Side Story Documented: Professor Nigel Simeone on his new book Why write a book on West Side Story? For me, this question answered itself while I was on a research trip to Washington DC a few years ago – during a blisteringly hot August – when I was able to look at the West Side Story manuscripts in the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress... more>
Frank LoesserBook Review: Thomas Riis' new examination of Frank Loesser, composer of Guys and Dolls By far the finest study so far attempted on the subject, Thomas L Riis' new book on Frank Loesser in the Yale Broadway Masters series is a significant contribution to the literature on American musical theatre. It joins previous volumes from the same publisher, on composers as diverse as Jerome Kern (by Stephen Banfield), Andrew ... more>