Andrei Strizek

Music | Musings

Filtering by Tag: reading

July 2015 in review

Books read (5):

  • The Museum of Literary Souls by John Connolly
  • The Wild Party by Joseph Moncure March (art by Art Spiegelman)
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

Live performances (4):

  • Little Shop of Horrors at New York City Center (7/2/15)
  • The Wild Party at New York City Center (7/17/15)
  • It Shoulda Been You at the Brooks Atkinson (7/19/15)
  • George Abud at 54 Below (7/24/15)

Movies seen (1):

  • Cold Mountain (7/25/15)

December Reading List

The holidays, the last month of Grinch tour, and two full days at Disneyland wore me out in December, and I didn't get as much reading done or as much writing done. So, without any type of review or write-up, here are the books I read last month:

Gardiner's Opening Thoughts on Bach

I recently started reading John Eliot Gardiner's Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven - partly because I want to learn more about Bach, partly because I want to read about something other than music from the 20th century, partly because I've always loved Gardiner's recorded interpretations of Bach, partly because I don't know his vocal/choral music as well as his instrumental and keyboard works, and partly because I'm really interested to see Gardiner's interpretation of Bach as a human, and the conclusions he draws ... so quite a few reasons, actually. I'm only on the second chapter (tech week doesn't allow for much down time), but I am already enjoying it particuarly much of what he wrote in the preface, about how we've dealt with Bach since his death:

A nagging suspicion grows that many writers, overawed and dazzled by Bach, still tacitly assume a direct correlation between his immense genius and his stature as a person ... But why should it be assumed that great music emanates from a great human being? Music may inspire and uplift us, but it does not have to be the manifestation of an inspiring (as opposed to an inspired) individual ... Any God-like image that we superimpost on Bach blinds us to his artistic struggles, and from that point on we fcease to see him as a musical craftsman par excellence.

He also goes on to quote from Peter Williams's The Life of Bach, and looks ahead to how he draws information about Bach's life from his (vocal) music. I'll save some interpretations and reactions to Gardiner's writing until I get further in the book, but I already appreciate his attempts to draw Bach out from the Romantic world concept, which still has a powerful hold over how we view classical music and composers. (For something recent on this idea, read Alex Ross's recent article in The New Yorker about Beethoven, who, much like Bach, still has a power over contemporary composers, performers, and listeners - as much his fault and those who helped to create and maintain his myth.)

Powered by Squarespace. Background image by Andrei Strizek.