The Smart Guide to Classical Music

From  Edna Susman

Author:  Sherman Robert

Title:  The Smart Guide to Classical Music

Robert Sherman and Philip Seldon have written this guide to help anyone in their quest to “de-mystify classical music”. This resource is excellent for both the classical music connoisseur and neophyte. It’s loaded with interesting facts and simple definitions. It will help you develop your ear with tips on how to listen to classical music. There are “fascinating anecdotes on composers” as well as handy hints on concert etiquette, how to dress when attending a concert and much more. One of the authors, Robert Sherman, recently celebrated his 56th anniversary with WQXR classical music radio in New York City. This book would be a worthwhile read or addition to your home music library, should you want to purchase it yourself.

Who I am : a memoir

From  Ellen Druda
Author:  Pete Townshend
Who I am : a memoir
After devouring the memoirs of Patti Smith and Keith Richards, I was looking forward to spending a little time reminiscing with Pete Townshend, lead guitar and writer for The Who. 500+ pages later, I don’t think either of us has figured him out. While Pete’s songs are beautifully crafted and speak volumes in ciphers, I found the book a bit slow going and unrevealing. The parts about his childhood were perhaps the most clear, after that, all the drinking and drugs must have blurred the memories.


From Joanna, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Donnelly, Jennifer
Revolution is a story about a troubled girl named Andi Alpers. She suffers from depression after her brother was killed by a schizophrenic, blaming herself for his death. She stops trying in school, causing her grades to plummet. Her one saving grace is music. Andi plays the guitar as an escape from reality, as well as abusing her antidepressants. When the school contacts her parents and informs them that Andi is about to be expelled unless she can write a great senior thesis, her father steps in and takes her to Paris with him for winter break. When Andi finds a diary dating back to the French Revolution, she reads it obsessively.

The diary contains the story of Alexandrine Paradis, a girl in Paris who wants to be a play performer. She gets noticed by the queen after making the sad prince laugh, and is made his acquaintance. While at first  she is using him so she will be able to perform center stage, she soon loves the small boy. All is well until the royal family is killed off one by one, with the small prince imprisoned in a tower until death.

One night during a rave in the catacombs, the diary becomes reality and Andi finds herself trapped in revolutionary Paris.  This book was bittersweet in a
way because not all was lost, but not all was won. I didn’t really like the depressed tone of Andi – trying to kill herself one day and then trying
whatever it takes to stay alive the next, only to try to commit suicide a few hours later. Other than that, the book was good and well-written. I’d recommend
it to someone who doesn’t mind sad endings and someone who enjoys historical fiction.

Musical Mysteries: From Mozart to John Lennon

From Edna Susman
author: Borowitz, Albert
Musical Mysteries: From Mozart to John Lennon
Author Albert Borowitz, a graduate of Harvard and a true crime historian, presents us with a fascinating interplay between crime and music.  The book is divided into two parts: the first explores eight famous crimes and crime legends including the alleged killing of Mozart by Antonio Salieri and the murder of John Lennon by Mark Chapman. The second part examines crimes within various musical settings including Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.  True crime aficionados as well as students of music history will enjoy this book.

Just Kids

From Ellen Druda
author: Smith, Patti
 Just Kids
Patti Smith’s evocative memoir recounts her early days in New York City and her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. This National Book Award winning work is an accessible, easy read, yet full of imagery that stirs the imagination.  From her childhood in New Jersey, we follow her across the river to a bohemian city life in the psychedelic 60’s, mingling with soon- to- be famous painters, writers, and musicians.  This book will especially appeal to baby-boomers and music fans.

YouTube in Music Education

From Edna Susman
author: Rudolph, Thomas
YouTube in Music Education
This is a must for all music teachers, as well as anyone interested in learning more about the practical uses of YouTube.  A small book that packs a lot of information in its 241 pages such as: a brief history of YouTube, why YouTube works in education, from works of the masters to works made by mashers,  creating a YouTube account, navigating your YouTube account,  organizing your videos,  accessing and downloading YouTube videos, YouTube in the music classroom, YouTube lesson plans and much more.

Harp dreams : inside the USA international harp competition

From Edna Susman
Harp dreams : inside the USA international harp competition.
Most classical music buffs are aware of the major international music competitions. There’s the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in the USA, the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia and the Paganini International Competition in Genoa among many others. How many of us have heard of the USA International Harp Competition? PBS has issued a DVD of the film HARP DREAMS, produced by WTIU Bloomington, Indiana. It is a treasure! The film tells the story of 31 of the best young harpists in the world who converge at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, for the USA International Harp Competition, for 15 days. This takes place every three years and was founded in 1989 by renowned harpist and teacher, Susann McDonald. The competitors, between the ages of 16 and 32, come from all over the world. The prizes include thousands of dollars in prizes, a lucrative recording contract AND a one-of-a-kind, hand-made, Lyon and Healy concert harp. You get to know quite a few of the young harpists personally during the 90 minute film and learn how they prepare for over 2 years for this prestigious competition.

SENTIR (sound recording)

From Edna Susman
author: Levy, Yasmin
SENTIR (sound recording)
With this, her fifth album, Israeli singer/songwriter, Yasmin Levy, presents songs in her beautiful voice from the Ladino/Judeo-Spanish heritage, mixed with Andolucian Flamenco. The recording itself is clear and very well produced with enjoyable backround musicians on various instruments such as the guitar, bass, bouzouki, ney, clarinet, trumpet, percussion, and piano. Levy has won a number of awards for her albums. Hers is a very different style that can best be summed up in her own words:  “I am proud to combine the two cultures of Ladino and Flamenco, while mixing in Middle Eastern influences. I am embarking on a 500 years old musical journey, taking Ladino to Andalusia and mixing it with Flamenco, the style that still bears the musical memories of the old Moorish and Jewish-Spanish world with the sound of the Arab world. In a way it is a ‘musical reconciliation’ of history.”

Man With the Golden Flute: Sir James, a Celtic Minstrel

From Edna Susman
author: Galway, James
Man With the Golden Flute: Sir James, a Celtic Minstrel
Considered to be the most televised and recorded classical artist performing today, James Galway, to commemorate his 70th birthday, has shared with us his experiences as a very young child in a poor working-class neighborhood to his current world-renowned reputation. Not just a must read for all flute players, but also for music fans of all genres, Sir James details his difficult beginnings and his rise to super star, crossing all musical boundaries. Classical music lovers will find his tales of collaboration with the pillars in the field such as the London Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic and more, very charming and
entertaining. Popular music fans will be amazed at his diversity, as he tells of working with the Chieftains and Pink Floyd.

A Visit from the Goon Squad

From Rosemarie Jerome
author: Egan, Jennifer
A Visit from the Goon Squad
This is the story of Bennie Salazar a record executive/former punk rocker and his neurotic young assistant Sasha.  It recaps their lives and the lives that have crossed their paths throughout  the years.  This kaleidoscope of dreams, successes, failures, despair and disillusionment captures the music and drug scenes and the freedom of Generation Y.  This is ultimately a story about Time, the “Goon Squad” that visits us all.