Books to Read
closed book “The true University of these days is a Collection of Books.”
— Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), The Hero as a Man of Letters
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Music Books: fine tuning the soul to the infinite & eternal...
Michael Hamburger, Beethoven Letters, Journals and Conversations Michael Hamburger (Editor), Beethoven Letters, Journals and Conversations (reissue 1992), Thames & Hudson, ISBN: 0500273243— “The true artist has no pride; unhappily he sees that Art has no bounds. Obscurely he feels how far away he is from his aim, and even while others may be admiring him, he mourns his failure to attain that end which his better genius illumines like a distant sun” writes Beethoven to his friend Emilie (July 17, 1812). This gem and hundreds of other inspiring words from Beethoven in this book have nourished my spirit along with his music. Review from New Yorker: “a portrait of Beethoven that has the fascination of a documentary film. The book presents the famous qualities of the man as they developed— his pride, his determination, as an artist, to yield precedence to no mere nobleman, his courage, his tempers, his generosity, his pathetic love for his disappointing nephew... The book as a whole is a moving account of one of the great artists of our culture, who has gone down in history— quite rightly— as something of a hero.” This is one of my favorite bedtime books. 5 stars
J. W. N. Sullivan, Beethoven His Spiritual Development J. W. N. Sullivan, Beethoven His Spiritual Development (1960), Random House, ISBN: 0394701003— After reading Sullivan's concluding chapter on Beethoven's Last Quartets, I immediately ordered the Budapest String Quartet's recording and used this ethereal music for my meditation. The author wrote: “I believe that in his greatest music Beethoven was primarily concerned to express his personal vision of life. This vision was the product of his character and his experience. Beethoven the man and Beethoven the composer are not two unconnected entities, and the known history of the man may be used to throw light upon the character of his music.” Clifton Fadiman has said of this classic study: “It is the most interesting book on music that I have ever read and it is not written for musical experts; rather for people like myself who like to listen to music but can boast no special knowledge of it.” Avg. Review (1): 5 stars
Friedrich Kerst, Henry Krehbiel, 
Mozart: The Man and the Artist Friedrich Kerst (Ed.) & Henry Krehbiel (Translator), Mozart: The Man and the Artist As Revealed in His Own Words (reissue 1995), Dover, ISBN: 0486213161— Mozart's adult life was an almost unbroken succession of artistic triumphs and personal disappointments. In this collection of excerpts from his letters to family and friends, and from his other writings and reported conversations, the thoughts and emotions of the great composer— through periods of joy and travail— are disclosed for the modern reader. In his own words, Mozart communicates his feelings and thoughts on opera, music, love and friendship, religion and morals, other composers and performers, the value of hard work, self-respect and honor. The 255 selections are annotated by both Kerst and Krehbiel, giving dates and places of writing, indicating to whom the letter was addressed, and providing background information. In these personal messages and reflections, music lovers have a unique opportunity to gain first-hand insight into Mozart's life and personality. This volume is an unabridged, unaltered reissue of the original 1926 edition. 4 stars

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