Few people in recent memory have dedicated themselves as devotedly to the story of twentieth- century American music as Rob Kapilow, the composer, conductor, and host of the hit NPR music radio program, What Makes It Great? Now, in Listening for America, he turns his keen ear to the Great American Songbook, bringing many of our favorite classics to life through the songs and stories of eight of the twentieth century's most treasured American composers--Kern, Porter, Gershwin, Arlen, Berlin, Rodgers, Bernstein, and Sondheim. Hardly confi ning himself to celebrating what makes these catchy melodies so unforgettable, Kapilow delves deeply into how issues of race, immigration, sexuality, and appropriation intertwine in masterpieces like Show Boat and West Side Story. A book not just about musical theater but about America itself, Listening for America is equally for the devotee, the singer, the music student, or for anyone intrigued by how popular music has shaped the larger culture, and promises to be the ideal gift book for years to come.
In his life and in his music, Cole Porter was the top--the pinnacle of wit and sophistication. From the 1910s through the '50s, from Yale pep rallies through the Broadway triumphs of Anything Goes and Kiss Me, Kate, he delighted audiences with a glittering torrent of song: "I Get a Kick Out of You." "Night and Day," "Love for Sale," and "Just One of Those Things." The bright surface of these gems--their catchy melodies and ingenious lyrics--made them instant pop hits. Their more subtle qualities and their musical and emotional depth have made them lasting standards, among the greatest glories of the American songbook.In Cole Porter, William McBrien has thoroughly captured the creator of these songs, whose life was one not only of wealth and privilege but also of tragedy, secrecy, and courage. A prodigal young man, Porter found his aesthetic and emotional anchor in a long, loving, if sexless marriage, while continuing to maintain many discreet affairs with men. In 1937, at the height of his success, he suffered a near-fatal riding accident; his last eighteen years were marked by pain, drugs, and repeated operations on his legs, years of physical agony but unstinting artistic achievement. Here is the book that Porter's fans have long hoped for--a life that informs the great music and lyrics though illuminating glimpses of the hidden, complicated, private man.
From the autobiographical opera, Intermezzo, based on a domestic misunderstanding, to the self-confident tone poem, Ein Heldenleben, Richard Strauss's works related to his personal experience as closely as any 19th-century romantic. This is a portrait of the man and his music. A large number of the illustrations are taken from the private archive of the Strauss family. They are woven around the text, which features anecdotes, quotations and personal reminiscences by members of the Strauss family and contemporaries. The result is an intimate investigation of the private life, opinions, background and works of Strauss.
Best Book of 2018 -- NPR, Library Journal
The oldest daughter of revered composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein offers a rare look at her father on the centennial of his birth in a deeply intimate and broadly evocative memoir
The composer of On the Town and West Side Story, chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, television star, humanitarian, friend of the powerful and influential, and the life of every party, Leonard Bernstein was an enormous celebrity during one of the headiest periods of American cultural life, as well as the most protean musician in twentieth century America.
But to his eldest daughter, Jamie, he was above all the man in the scratchy brown bathrobe who smelled of cigarettes; the jokester and compulsive teacher who enthused about Beethoven and the Beatles; the insomniac whose 4 a.m. composing breaks involved spooning baby food out of the jar. He taught his daughter to love the world in all its beauty and complexity. In public and private, Lenny was larger than life.
In Famous Father Girl, Bernstein mines the emotional depths of her childhood and invites us into her family's private world. A fantastic set of characters populates the Bernsteins' lives, including: the Kennedys, Mike Nichols, John Lennon, Richard Avedon, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, and Betty (Lauren) Bacall.
An intoxicating tale, Famous Father Girl is an intimate meditation on a complex and sometimes troubled man, the family he raised, and the music he composed that became the soundtrack to their entwined lives. Deeply moving and often hilarious, Bernstein's beautifully written memoir is a great American story about one of the greatest Americans of the modern age.
The 'bed-in' at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal in May 1969 was a call for world peace, in essence a protest against the Vietnam War & the US crackdown on student protests. Over eight days, international media, journalists, celebrities, musicians, fans & assorted hangers-on gathered at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.
In celebration of his one-hundredth birthday, a charming, irresistibly readable, and handsomely packaged look back at the life and times of the greatest entertainer in American history, Frank Sinatra.
Sinatra's Century is an irresistible collection of one-hundred short reflections on the man, his music, and his larger-than-life story, by a lifetime fan who also happens to be one of the poetry world's most prominent voices. David Lehman uses each of these short pieces to look back on a single facet of the entertainer's story--from his childhood in Hoboken, to his emergence as "The Voice" in the 1940s, to the wild professional (and romantic) fluctuations that followed. Lehman offers new insights and revisits familiar stories--Sinatra's dramatic love affairs with some of the most beautiful stars in Hollywood, including Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Ava Gardner; his fall from grace in the late 1940s and resurrection during the "Capitol Years" of the 1950s; his bonds with the rest of the Rat Pack; and his long tenure as the Chairman of the Board, viewed as the eminence grise of popular music inspiring generations of artists, from Bobby Darin to Bono to Bob Dylan.
Brimming with Lehman's own lifelong affection for Sinatra, the book includes lists of unforgettable performances; engaging insight on what made Sinatra the model of American machismo--and the epitome of romance; and clear-eyed assessments of the foibles that impacted his life and work. Warm and enlightening, Sinatra's Century is full-throated appreciation of Sinatra for every fan.
From "Strike Up the Band" to "Love Is Here to Stay," each of the twelve chapters highlights one of the Gershwins' classic songs, exploring the brothers' lives, illuminating what the music meant to them, and telling the stories of how their iconic tunes came to life. Throughout the star-studded narrative, Feinstein unfolds the moving chronicle of his own life with the Gershwins, describing his vision for their enduring presence today. No other writer could give us such an authoritative inside perspective on these titans of American culture--and no other writer could include such a soulful collection of music as the accompanying CD packed with Feinstein's original recordings of the twelve songs.
A timeless classic and the definitive account of the Gershwins and their legacy, The Gershwins and Me will having you humming with every turn of the page.
Aaron Copland (1900-1990) is generally considered the most popular and well-known composer of American art music, and yet little scholarly attention has been paid to Copland since the 1950s. This volume begins with a portrait of the composer and an evaluation of significant research trends which is intended to fill a void and to suggest directions for further research. The guide also provides a section discussing Copland's interdisciplinary interests, such as ballet and film work, as well as a comprehensive bibliography of writings about Copland and his music.