Music With Mrs. Tanenblatt

Saturday, January 10, 2015

What Are You Reading Now? Linky Party

Today I am linking up with Jennifer at The Yellow Brick Road to join her "What Are You Reading Now?" linky party.

I will have to confess that I took a bit of liberty with the word "now," since the first book on my list is actually something that I read six months ago, while I was relaxing on my honeymoon cruise... but it was such a nice, refreshing read that I wanted to share it in this linkup!

1. PAST: The Late Starters Orchestra by Ari L. Goldman

I wanted to share this book because it was a fascinating read to me, and also fondly reminiscent to read. Ari Goldman is a journalist and a self-proclaimed amateur cellist. I love that term amateur: it comes from the latin root "to love." Amateurs are those who do an activity not because they are getting paid, but because they truly love it. In this book, Goldman describes a love of music that spans decades and crosses generations. It reminded me of my orchestra days... I studied viola quite seriously in school, until I made the decision to major in Voice at Westminster Choir College. Although my instrument is currently in a state of sad disrepair, a part of me always hopes to return to it some day, as Goldman did in this autobiographical book. 

2. PRESENT: A Soprano on Her Head by Eloise Ristad

This was recommended to me by a conductor in college. I didn't take many private conducting lessons, but when I went to see her once for a coaching, it was quickly determined that my worst enemy on the podium is my own mind. Years later, I've finally gotten around to reading this book and I can see why it was recommended to me. In a series of short vignettes, Risted writes about musicians whom she has coached in non-traditional ways. 

From the book:

"The nontraditional workshops that I lead for musicians usually start with body movement warm-ups that are designed to encourage spontaneity. The effect is both exhilarating and exhausting. After one such warm-up all eight of us in that particular group stretched out on the floor, sensing our bodies, our breath, and then our voices, until we found the most comfortable tones we could produce. As we let the tones change and followed the changes with body movement, Liz, our soprano, ended up on her knees with her head upside down on the floor.

Effortlessly, and without thinking how--for who could have told her how to sing on her head--she found all the resonance she had been struggling for, with the added bonus of incredible dynamic control. The rest of us had goose bumps and shivers as we listened to her voice fade in and out. Someone went to the piano and started the Mozart aria that Liz had been singing earlier, just to see if standing on her head would work as well for Mozart as it had with random tones. It did, and our goose bumps got bumpier."

3. FUTURE: Dinner with Lenny by Jonathan Cott

This book was a Christmas gift from my dad last year... you can tell I'm pretty slow at getting through my reading lists. There are just so many books and so little time! Leonard Bernstein is my all-time favorite conductor and among my favorite composers, so I can't wait to read Cott's retelling of his experiences with Lenny B. 

Marin Alsop describes the book by saying, "Jonathan Cott captures the ebullience, the enormous brilliance, and the life-affirming joy that exuded from Leonard Bernstein."

I can't wait to get started with it!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for linking up Rachel! These all look like great recommendations :)