Cover image for A Ned Rorem reader
A Ned Rorem reader
Rorem, Ned, 1923-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 287 pages ; 22 cm
Pt. 1. Diaries and musings. The art of the diary ; Lies: notes on craft ; Becoming a composer ; Jackson Park ; "P" ; New York baths ; Mescaline in the Poconos ; Vocabulary ; Being alone ; Of vanity ; Interlude: on music -- Pt. 2. Music matters. Pictures and pieces ; Poetry of music ; The Beatles ; Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday ; Lotte Lenya ; Opera past, present, and future ; Ravel ; Poulenc ; Pelléas et Mélisande ; Carmen ; Bluebeard's castle ; Stravinsky ; Gershwin ; Interlude: notes on death -- Pt. 3. Portraits and memorials. Marc Blitzstein ; Martha Graham ; Paul Bowles ; Francis Poulenc ; Virgil Thomson ; Aaron Copland ; Samuel Barber ; Leonard Bernstein ; Franco Zeffirelli ; Frank O'Hara ; Julian Green ; Allen Ginsberg ; Tennessee Williams ; Truman Capote ; Envoi.
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ML60 .R78425 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Ned Rorem, composer and writer, is both a gifted memoirist and one of our most acerbic cultural commentators. This anthology of his musings on music, people, and life surveys the full range of his literary achievement and reflects the evolution of his sensibilities.

The first part of the book is devoted to writing of an autobiographical nature, including ruminations on being alone and on becoming a composer. The second part focuses on music and individuals from Bartók and Ravel to Edith Piaf and the Beatles. The final part consists of portraits and memorials of such figures as Martha Graham, Paul Bowles, Marc Blitzstein, Frank O'Hara, Allen Ginsberg, and Truman Capote. The book also includes a lengthy conversation on the art of the diary.

Author Notes

Ned Rorem , a prolific composer who is particularly well known for his more than four hundred songs, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for Air Music for Orchestra . He has published five volumes of diaries as well as numerous collections of his other writings. J. D. McClatchy is a poet and editor of the Yale Review .

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Rorem is an accomplished artist in two realms, music and literature, in the latter as a diarist as well as an essayist on music. He scandalized America with The Paris Diary (1966) and continued to in several more tell-all diaries focused on intimate encounters with the rich, famous, and beautiful. In Lies (2000), however, he poignantly reflected on his dying lover and many friends who have succumbed to AIDS. This book excerpts the supposed best from the diaries and Lies and re-presents it in three topical sections on the art of the diary, music, and death and acquaintances who have died. The departed he writes about include both people he loved--among them, Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber, and Frank O'Hara--and some he disliked, such as Truman Capote. Lacking the shock value of some of the books from which it draws, this reader offers instead a touching self-portrait in words that artfully highlights Rorem's writing and thought. --Michael Spinella