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November 29, 2008 1:07 am
A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties
By Suze Rotolo
Aurum Press £16.99, 371 pages
Author Suze Rotolo is pictured on the cover of the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, clutching Dylan’s arm as they walk down a snowy street in Greenwich Village. Her memoir is a nostalgic evocation of Village bohemia in the early 1960s, shacked up in an apartment on West Fourth Street with the up and coming Dylan, “a beacon, a lighthouse … [but] also a black hole”.
The Rest is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century
By Alex Ross
Fourth Estate £20, 624 pages
New Yorker music critic Alex Ross sets himself the ambitious task of telling not just the history of 20th-century music, but also a history of the 20th century as experienced through its music. The Rest Is Noise achieves the aim with bravura, hacking out a path leading from cacophonous European modernism to the white noise of The Velvet Underground.
Everything is Connected
By Daniel Barenboim
Orion £16.99, 216 pages
Everything Is Connected outlines Daniel Barenboim’s belief in the humanising properties of music. “The education of the ear”, the conductor argues, is a civic duty, teaching us the value of co-operation and dialogue, as illustrated by Barenboim’s mixed Israeli and Arab youth troupe, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
By Bill Drummond
Beautiful Books £12.99, 448 pages
Bill Drummond, the ex-KLF man who supposedly burnt £1m worth of banknotes in the name of art, likes grand statements. “All recorded music has run its course,” he declares in 17, an enjoyably rambling polemic about pop’s terminal ennui. A madcap manifesto for change is pursued: the creation of 17-strong amateur choirs for one-off unrecorded performances with no audience present.
Thomas Beecham: An Obsession with Music
By John Lucas
Boydell Press £25, 388 pages
John Lucas’s impressive biography portrays the conductor Thomas Beecham as a “natural dissembler”, charming musicians and provoking the establishment, even as he laid the groundwork for classical music in modern Britain with the founding of the Royal Philharmonic in 1946.
Gig: The Life and Times of a Rock-Star Fantasist
By Simon Armitage
Viking £16.99, 304 pages
The poet Simon Armitage drolly reviews his life as a “rock star fantasist”, growing up in Yorkshire to the sounds of punk and the New Romantics and dreaming of headlining arenas instead of participating in tiny poetry-reading gigs.
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