MUSIC APPRECIATION: Review of LEONARD BERNSTEIN: AN AMERICAN MUSICIAN by Allen Shawn

MUSIC APPRECIATION: Review of LEONARD BERNSTEIN: AN AMERICAN MUSICIAN by Allen Shawn

By offering an informed, rigorous, sensitive, nuanced, and compassionate evaluation of Bernstein’s creative output, Shawn, a teacher of composition and music history at Bennington College, achieves a remarkable feat: he gives a master class in biography as music appreciation.

Read More

WAKE UP ALONE: Review of PICASSO AND DORA: A PERSONAL MEMOIR by James Lord

WAKE UP ALONE: Review of PICASSO AND DORA: A PERSONAL MEMOIR by James Lord

Picasso and Dora strikes me as a faithful account, but admirably it’s not to James’s own vanity. He comes across as the worst of the lot. Even his own mother remarks at one point, “‘I’m sure it’s very interesting for you to have met these famous people, but I can’t help wondering what it is they see in you.’”

Read More

FIERCE COMPANY: Review of PAULINE KAEL: A LIFE IN THE DARK by Brian Kellow

FIERCE COMPANY: Review of PAULINE KAEL: A LIFE IN THE DARK by Brian Kellow

Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark examines the personal life and career of Kael, who established herself, largely through her writing at The New Yorker, as the preeminent voice of 20th Century movie criticism. The book is well-written, well-researched, and Kellow does a good job of staying out of the way. What comes through is Kael’s voice.

Read More