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David Coram

Top 5 Music Books

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I was fishing out books to take on holiday earlier. Any good summer musical reads anyone would care to share? Mine are/have been/will be:

 

Humphrey Carpenter - biography of BBritten

Gerald Moore - Am I Too Loud

Stephen Banfield - Finzi biography

Slominsky - Lexicon of Musical Invective

 

And, if it ever turns up, the Clucas book full of salacious gossip on Westminster Abbey.

 

Carpenter book on Britten way out in the lead so far - refreshingly thorough after that awful Andrew Marr thing on R4 a few months ago ("Here is an in depth 45 minute documentary about Britten, his life and work. So, was he a pedo?"). Pick up your copy today!

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I was fishing out books to take on holiday earlier.  Any good summer musical reads anyone would care to share?  Mine are/have been/will be:

 

Humphrey Carpenter - biography of BBritten

Gerald Moore - Am I Too Loud

Stephen Banfield - Finzi biography

Slominsky - Lexicon of Musical Invective

 

And, if it ever turns up, the Clucas book full of salacious gossip on Westminster Abbey.

 

Carpenter book on Britten way out in the lead so far - refreshingly thorough after that awful Andrew Marr thing on R4 a few months ago ("Here is an in depth 45 minute documentary about Britten, his life and work.  So, was he a pedo?").  Pick up your copy today!

Anything by Brendel - especially his poetry.

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The Piano Shop on the Left Bank (T.E.Carhart)

 

utterly charming...

 

I've also just recently finished reading Jeremy Dibble's biog of Parry.. fascinating...

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As I have already mentioned recently, David Gedge's autobiography A Country Cathedral Organist Looks Back is well worth reading. It isn't aimed exclusively at organists either.

 

A bit old hat now and anyone interested will probably have read it already, but Paul Spicer's book on Howells is a must for afficionados.

 

My holiday reading tends not to be musical. One I'm intending to read again is Eamonn Duffy's The Stripping of the Altars: a fascinating insight into English religious culture before the Reformation and the effect that the Reformation had on it.

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Drum Roll, the autobiography of James Blades, is informative, moving and very readable. And in a similar vein Harpo Speaks, the autobiography of Harpo Marx, whilst not quite so music-centric, is a fantastic insight into a remarkable life, family and culture.

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While we're on biographies, I thoroughly enjoyed Christoff Wolff's biography of Bach, and was fascinated by John Bird's on Percy Grainger.

 

I've jst been given for my birthday Durr's book on the Bach Cantatas, but perhaps not for holiday reading. [Edit:] And Paul Badura-Scoda's on Bach Interpretation!

 

Paul

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And, if it ever turns up, the Clucas book full of salacious gossip on Westminster Abbey.

I received a copy today, and very agreeable it is too (read at one sitting). Don't get your hopes up on the Abbey stuff... salacious it ain't!!

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... And, if it ever turns up, the Clucas book full of salacious gossip on Westminster Abbey. ...

 

 

Personally I found this one somewhat tame - and also rather un-satisfying (not that I was particularly interested in salacious gosip).

 

During the holidays, I often prefer a change from musical matters and just like a good story - I recommend almost anything by Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, John Grisham or even Bill Bryson for the lighter side.

 

I am not sure that I could cope with poetry or autobiographies about yet more musicians....

 

However, each to his own.

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Interesting Books.

 

I possess a copy of the autobiography of Sir Frederick Bridge - A Westminster Pilgrim. Personally I don't think he was any great shakes as an Organist, especially as the great Edwin Lemare was next door at St Margarets, and the book is rather large to take on holiday at 360 pages, but, nevertheless I found it most interesting.

 

Also there is the excellent biography of Guilaume Ormonde one time organist at Truro Cathedral. This is a small book and most entertaining. I have forgotten its exact name as I have presently lent it out. He was a very popular but decidedly eccentric character. He was always forgetting where he left his car, for instance.

He also gave 3 years salary towards the rebuilding of the Cathedral organ, and that only amounted to £1500 in total. A great friend of his, now sadly died, Michael Peterson (Tewkesbury) gave me very many anecdotes about him.

For example, he possessed at one time a large American car, and taking Michael out to lunch one day to a hotel in the town which was situated on a hill with a steep driveway, the car grounded fore and aft leaving the driving wheels spinning uselessly in the air !

An ideal little book to take on holiday.

 

M.S.

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The Piano Shop on the Left Bank (T.E.Carhart)

 

utterly charming...

 

I've also just recently finished reading Jeremy Dibble's biog of Parry.. fascinating...

 

That book may indeed be fascinating. I have a book about Parry called

The Parrys of the Golden Vale - Anthony Boden

which may indeed be an erudite work, and is geared towards the serious student, but I found it dreadfully boring ,and definitely not a book to take on holiday.

 

M.S.

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