Are You reading about music?

Are You reading about music?

Even though I love music, I am totally uneducated in its various subjects. I do not play an instrument (I used to joke that I played a Fisher 500 receiver), I never took a course in college. Nothing. But I could listen and I could afford to build a library.

And, I could read.

American Mavericks: The first serious reading I did was in the Kyle Gann essays and the text interviews at American Mavericks. (I also recorded all of the audio interviews and put them on my mp3 player). The print material I saved out as .html files and built a paginated “book” complete with a Table of Contents. This book mostly passed the time for me when I would fly to or from seeing my children in California. I learned a lot reading this book, but mostly about music in the USA, back to our earliest days as a nation. I learned about and bought Nancarrow, Varese, and Partch.

The Rest Is Noise

The Rest Is Noise Trying to broaden my knowledge, I then bought Alex Ross’ “The Rest Is Noise, which purports to cover music in the twentieth century. Alex is a great critic and writer. He starts back in the near nineteenth century with Strauss, and that was for me a slog. But as he came closer and closer to the present, I got happier. I was ecstatic when it turned out that he liked the people I like, Glass, Reich, Arvo Part, etc. The only music I bought after reading this book was the music of Duke Ellington.

Weather Bird

Now I am reading Gary Giddings’ “Weather Bird”, Jazz as it enters its second century. This is a collection of Gary’s writings for the Wall Street Journal and other criticism. Gary Giddings writes beautifully. But, his prose is so intense that I need to put the book down frequently. If Ross’ book is like lemon sherbet, then Giddings’ book is like Death By Chocolate cake.

So, are you reading? Let’s talk about books.

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