book talk


This morning I broke down and used some of my Amazon birthday money (thank you again Mark and Leigh!). I bought my own copy of two books I am interested in but about which I have reservations.

Kenny Werner’s Effortless Mastery was recommended by Dr. Kim as an important book for musicians to read. I am finding his description of how alienated his education left him a bit on the simplistic side. He assumes that his experience was pretty universal. I grew up at the same time and had a much different experience.

But I wasn’t the talented little pianist he was, gigging at age 9 either.

His prose is a bit fluffy for me. He writes like a musician or self help person not someone interested in writing.

But still I like his topic and am curious to see what he recommends in the way of mental exercises.

Stuart Forester’s Hymn Playing is a book my friend Rhonda brought back from a John Ferguson workshop. Although it does have some interesting interviews in it (grouped by topic), the point of view of the editor seems to be pretty narrow. There are startling omissions in the editors choice of hymn “experts.” No women.

And there are a couple of pairs of teachers and their students who are now teachers themselves (presumably). Incest is the American way.

Again I am drawn to reading more despite the flaws of the book. I have Rhonda’s copy. This way I can return it and read it at leisure.

I’m also reading a book my daughter Elizabeth gave me in Kindle format.

Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection goes a long way to correcting my misperceptions of how global and connected the world is in reality. Short answer: not so much. Zuckerman makes a convincing argument that atoms are easier to move than bits and that immigration is at a low point historically not a peak. Cool stuff. Thanks, Elizabeth!

I bought three Kindle books on sale yesterday.

Lorca: A Dream of Life by Leslie Stainton

Thieves in the Night by Arthur Koestler

Hopeful Monsters by Nicholas Mosley

The last one I already own a real copy of, but what the heck. They were all $1.99. What a bargain.

I have been editing my own adaptation of Duruflé’s “In Paradisum.”



I’m a little concerned to share this because I’m pretty sure it’s still under copyright. Nevertheless here’s a pdf of the whole thing.

I can’t decide whether I’m being too hokey by coming up with this. I will be interested to see if the Hope College choir director (Brad Richmond) makes any comment on it, as I know  he is planning to do the original Requiem in its entirety soon. He is also likely to be sitting in the pews when we perform it.

I’ll close with a fun fact I realized this morning. Around 1940, just before the USA entered WWII, Auden was living in Ann Arbor and T. S. Eliot was living in London. So the excellent English poet in the USA at the same time the excellent American poet is in the U.K. How bout that?

Here they are with Valerie Eliot. I believe this is years later.

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