The Rise and Fall of Ragtime

  Book Review of Temptation Rag: A Novel by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard. Back in the late 19th century in America, the latest rage was ragtime music. While the first name that might come to mind for us today is Scott Joplin, the origins of this musical genre predated him by quite a bit. In the … Continue reading The Rise and Fall of Ragtime

An Eve or a Lilith?

Book Review of "Ecstasy: A Novel of Alma Mahler" by Mary Sharratt Part of the blurb for this book on Goodreads says “Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand-new era of possibility for women is dawning … Continue reading An Eve or a Lilith?

Music and Silence

Book Review of "The Noise of Time" by Julian Barnes Barnes’ latest novel is a fictional documentation of the life of the Russian composer, Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich, who lived under both the Bolshevik and Communist regimes of the USSR, until his death in 1975. Shostakovich was at turns both adored and reviled by both his … Continue reading Music and Silence

Mystifying Masquerade

Book Review of "The Phantom’s Apprentice" by Heather Webb. In Heather Webb’s latest novel, she re-envisions the famous story of The Phantom of the Opera, best known as the powerful Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. In this book, Webb puts Christine Daaé more firmly at the center of the story, with a newly invented back story … Continue reading Mystifying Masquerade

Reconstructing Music

Book Review of "The Prague Sonata" by Bradford Morrow. The publishers describe this book as follows: In the early days of the new millennium, pages of a weathered original sonata manuscript—the gift of a Czech immigrant living out her final days in Queens—come into the hands of Meta Taverner, a young musicologist whose concert piano … Continue reading Reconstructing Music

Hallelujah for Vinyl

Book Review of "The Music Shop" by Rachel Joyce Rachel Joyce's newest novel begins with this simple line, "There once was a music shop." No, this isn't a fairy tale; instead, what follows is a complex journey of two people on the backdrop of a soundtrack that’s equally as eclectic as they are. It’s the … Continue reading Hallelujah for Vinyl

Literary Impressionism

The Sunken Cathedral by Kate Walbert According to the publisher's website, this novel "follows a cast of characters as they negotiate one of Manhattan’s swiftly changing neighborhoods, extreme weather, and the unease of twenty-first-century life." The main characters are Marie and Simone, friends of many decades, survivors of World War II, now widowed and living … Continue reading Literary Impressionism

Capturing Children’s Imaginations with Mozart’s Golden Notes

"The Case of the Haunted Swamp" by Cliff MacGillivray and Kelly Ward, illustrated by Phil Mendez Legend has it that Mozart wrote his "Perfect Symphony" using gold ink. But as soon as the ink had dried, the notes magically came alive and flew right off the page, scattering themselves across the world. Over two hundred … Continue reading Capturing Children’s Imaginations with Mozart’s Golden Notes

Get Jazzed with this Bolden Book

Book Review of "Coming through Slaughter" by Michael Ondaatje. The name Buddy Bolden probably means absolutely nothing to most readers. That is, unless you're a Jazz enthusiast and/or a music historian. In which case, you'll probably know that Bolden was a coronet player in New Orleans at the turn of the previous century. You'll also … Continue reading Get Jazzed with this Bolden Book

Endings, Exists, Finishes and Finales: A Collection of Six Short Stories

Book Review of "Going Out in Style" by Daniel Kelley. In Daniel Kelley's collection of six short stories, he investigates things coming to an end from various perspectives. While often one thinks of finishing something as being sad, not all of these stories visit the darker sides of this, and that is one reason why … Continue reading Endings, Exists, Finishes and Finales: A Collection of Six Short Stories