Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 964733 times)

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Online SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10140 on: September 18, 2020, 05:28:09 PM »


This has some of the best writing about classical music I've read anywhere. Mahler, Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, Messaien Quartet for the End of Time all appear, contemporary music too, and much else besides.
The plotline is about an unwitting septagenarian bio-terrorist, but really the book is about music, its composition and one man's reaction to it, all from the pen of a very gifted writer. Recommended.

There's a copy of that at the local secondhand bookshop and I've been wavering about getting it. I'll probably do so now adding your recomendation on to the scales.

Opened it to a random page while I was looking at it and read something like "You're the Thomas Merton of music: you want to live in a hermitage in Times Square with a big neon sign pointing towards you saying Hermit"

Online vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10141 on: September 19, 2020, 05:17:29 AM »
I've never heard of Richard Powers before (other than seeing The Overstory in bookstores) but that description of Orfeo has definitely put him on my map. Going to try and find that book.

Offline MN Dave

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10142 on: September 19, 2020, 05:57:17 AM »
Gear

“The effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10143 on: September 19, 2020, 07:13:26 AM »
Didn’t really read, but rather listened to Jean Cocteau’s monodrama Le bel indifférent, as performed in a 1953 radio broadcast by Édith Piaf (for whom the piece was written).

Ca. 30 minutes of über-melodramatic boulevard theatre, and really, really fun. Piaf is really engaging, and the broadcast ends with one of her classic songs, Je t’ai dans la peau.... Great stuff!

ritter
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« Je recommence ma vie
Je suis né pour te connaître
Pour te nommer

Liberté »

Offline Brian

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10144 on: September 19, 2020, 07:00:33 PM »
I've never heard of Richard Powers before (other than seeing The Overstory in bookstores) but that description of Orfeo has definitely put him on my map. Going to try and find that book.
I bought Overstory to read during pandemic and I expect to get to it next month. Will be my first encounter with Powers but agree that Orfeo sounds really interesting.

Edit: currently reading two different books about America's great migration: nonfiction "The Warmth of Other Suns" (Isabel Wilkerson) and brand new fiction "The Vanishing Half" (Brit Bennett). In hindsight this is too much of the same theme at once, but both are impressive in their own ways. Suns, in particular, is an incredible achievement of history writing and research. As a history master's degree holder, my jaw is on the floor at the achievement even if the subject matter makes challenging reading.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2020, 07:04:35 PM by Brian »

Offline Iota

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10145 on: September 20, 2020, 05:46:26 AM »
Opened it to a random page while I was looking at it and read something like "You're the Thomas Merton of music: you want to live in a hermitage in Times Square with a big neon sign pointing towards you saying Hermit"

:D  There's one particular relationship in the book where some memorably caustic opinions are traded, the protagonist being on the end of the majority of them. Though actually I think that one may be from another, also important figure.

I've never heard of Richard Powers before (other than seeing The Overstory in bookstores) but that description of Orfeo has definitely put him on my map. Going to try and find that book.

I hadn't come across him before Orfeo either, but will now be on the look-out for the next possibility.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 05:48:45 AM by Iota »

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10146 on: September 20, 2020, 06:56:09 AM »
Huxley: Antic Hay





This is a rather cynical look at upper class attitudes and cultural life in a time of great change after the end of WWI.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Online Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10147 on: September 20, 2020, 07:21:29 AM »
I love them. You may like stories by E.T.A. Hoffman as well.

Cheers and thank you for the recommendation. I do not know E.T.A. Hoffman at all.


I second that. You should make his acquaintance asap. You might start with The Sandman which is the inspiration behind Coppelia and Les contes d'Hoffmann.

He was also a composer but his music isn't even a quarter as quirky and interesting as his literary works.

I forgot to mention that Offenbach’s opera, Tales of Hoffman, is based on three short stories by E.T.A. Hoffman.

Online Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10148 on: September 20, 2020, 07:25:06 AM »
Huxley: Antic Hay





This is a rather cynical look at upper class attitudes and cultural life in a time of great change after the end of WWI.

Gorgeous cover !! I still read his Doors of Perception every year!

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10149 on: September 20, 2020, 08:19:35 AM »
Gorgeous cover !! I still read his Doors of Perception every year!

As a young man I devoured his books. I am now, as a more "mature" man, embarking on a slow re-reading project.  ;D
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Online Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10150 on: September 20, 2020, 08:44:51 AM »
Katherine Mansfield, Stories. A glimpse of death, live and aging in fancy life.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 08:52:09 AM by Dry Brett Kavanaugh »

Offline Jo498

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10151 on: September 20, 2020, 08:54:46 AM »
I second that. You should make his acquaintance asap. You might start with The Sandman which is the inspiration behind Coppelia and Les contes d'Hoffmann.

He was also a composer but his music isn't even a quarter as quirky and interesting as his literary works.
As a composer he revered Mozart (and changes his middle name to Amadeus) and this shows but while he also hailed Beethoven Hoffmann himself remained a more hesitant (and probably simply not as musically gifted) classicist romantic. Admittedly I have never heard his opera, Undine, that was more or less displaced by a later light romantic opera with the same title by Lortzing (which used to be rather popular in Germany until the 60s but has since almost fallen into obscurity).

The most famous piece based on Hoffmann (but rather different in detail) is the Nutcracker.
There is at least one more opera based on Hoffmann (the novella Madame de Scuderi), namely "Cardillac" by Hindemith.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10152 on: September 20, 2020, 09:11:40 AM »
As a composer he revered Mozart (and changes his middle name to Amadeus) and this shows but while he also hailed Beethoven Hoffmann himself remained a more hesitant (and probably simply not as musically gifted) classicist romantic. Admittedly I have never heard his opera, Undine, that was more or less displaced by a later light romantic opera with the same title by Lortzing (which used to be rather popular in Germany until the 60s but has since almost fallen into obscurity).

The most famous piece based on Hoffmann (but rather different in detail) is the Nutcracker.
There is at least one more opera based on Hoffmann (the novella Madame de Scuderi), namely "Cardillac" by Hindemith.

I've heard his piano sonatas. I've forgotten them as soon as they were over --- but honestly, there's not much beyond Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven which did not suffer the same fate, Scarlatti, Schubert and Chopin excluded.  :D

“Play Mozart in memory of me --- and I will hear you.” — Chopin

Offline Jo498

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10153 on: September 20, 2020, 09:43:10 AM »
I think I have heard his symphpony that is modelled after Mozart's E flat K 543 and I have a recording of a piano trio. The latter is nice but not quite Beethoven.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Online Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10154 on: September 20, 2020, 09:53:53 AM »
Have you guys listened to JJ Rousseau’s music? I thought that the music was mediocre.

Offline Brian

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10155 on: September 20, 2020, 06:41:58 PM »
Have you guys listened to JJ Rousseau’s music? I thought that the music was mediocre.
Not yet but Nietzsche wrote some pretty prosaic piano music.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10156 on: September 21, 2020, 12:53:40 AM »
nice but not quite Beethoven.

I guess you could say that about most composers.  ;D

I strongly disagree to making Beethoven the universal standard by which all other composers are to be judged.
“Play Mozart in memory of me --- and I will hear you.” — Chopin

Offline Jo498

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10157 on: September 21, 2020, 01:00:40 AM »
Not the universal standard but a plausible standard and comparison for 1812-20 piano trios, wouldn't you say? I have not compared with Hummel, Hoffmann might not be far behind Hummel with that trio and by composing a (pre)romantic opera he was apparently more ambitious than Hummel.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Biffo

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10158 on: September 21, 2020, 01:36:05 AM »
As a young man I devoured his books. I am now, as a more "mature" man, embarking on a slow re-reading project.  ;D

As a young man I read several of his novels, now, 40+ years later I can remember very little about them. I remember one of the central characters of Point Counterpoint was obsessed with the Heiliger Dankgesang of Beethoven's Op 132 String Quartet; I hadn't heard the work at the time so it didn't mean much to me.

A colleague told me he thought Ape and Essence was the nastiest book he had ever read, can't remember why or whether he ever gave me an explanation.

Goof luck with your re-reading project

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10159 on: September 21, 2020, 11:17:42 PM »


When she was 15, Vanessa Springora became the partner of Gabriel Matzneff, an author who had published pedophile literature including the diaries of his sexual adventures with teenagers in Thailand, and had published a tract in praise of sex with adolescents less that 15 years old. In the end she dumped him, deciding that his pedophile tendencies would mean that he would stop loving her when she aged. And she was worried that she would figure as a character in one of his books.

This book is her revenge: her revenge consists in turning him into a character in her book.


It is utter rubbish from every point of view - literary or moral. Its only reason for existence is to make a bit of dosh for its author post metoo.

Back to Proust now!

« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 11:21:19 PM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen