There are 0 reviews and 0 ratings from United Kingdom. Kennicott's journey in learning Bach's Goldberg Variations resonated less with me, but was still enjoyable to read. Definitely an insightful read and one worth reading, Gay Men Write About Their Moms (and Death) – a reading list. Beautiful, upsetting, redemptive, informative -- written with such care. This turned out to be phenomenally good. It’s a beautiful and poignant look at how we know music as well as how we truly know a person. Clearly I’ve got mixed feelings about this book too :). I loved the Bach stuff and the content on the nature of learning, studying, and practicing music. Philip Kennicott, the senior art and architecture Critic of the Washington Post and a former contributing editor for the New Republic, won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2013. The Bach anecdotes were amusing, but I think maybe a bit digressional at times. Sorry, there was a problem saving your cookie preferences. Conditions apply. Counterpoint is a thought-provoking and accomplished memoir, meeting Kennicott's own criterion that "every good book or great piece of music carries … After his mother died, the author began to learn Bach's Goldberg Variations in seriousness. I’ve been in mourning since my husband died in April 2019 and I love baroque music (JS Bach is the master). It's particularly impressive because it's an homage to a difficult mother, with whom the writer had a difficult relationship. The subtitle tells us that the two major "melodic lines" are Bach, the great master of counterpoint, specifically his Goldberg Variations, and mourning, specifically for the death of the author's mother. At points Kennicott describes both life and music in rather technical terms, at other points he infuses anecdotes and insightful turns of phrase. This turned out to be phenomenally good. There's a problem loading this menu at the moment. This is probably not a book for everyone. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Counterpoint : A Memoir of Bach and Mourning by Philip Kennicott (2020, Hardcover) at the best online prices at … Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published The Bach anecdotes were amusing, but I think maybe a bit digressional at times. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. But Counterpoint can be painful to read because the author’s mother was extremely abusive to him, both emotionally and physically. I strongly believe it will resonate with a lot more readers than those who care about Bach. A MEMOIR OF BACH AND MOURNING by Philip Kennicott ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 18, 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner Kennicott, senior art and architecture critic of the Washington Post, makes his book debut with an absorbing meditation on grief. See, I've just expanded the market for Kennicott's memoir about ten thousand fold, or shall we say one hundred thousand? The author is not a professional musician but a dedicated amateur who has spent much of his life studying piano or trying to overcome the mental obstacles that kept him from growth. While exploring Bach’s compositions he sketches a cultural history of playing the piano in the 20th century. Evidently she had a deep and powerful connection to music as he does, but she also attacked him in vicious unpredictable ways, at times when he was practicing the piano. Playing music is a basically a solitary activity t. I listened to this book on audiotape, and wished I could listen to the story on a loop as soundtrack to my life. It makes total sense psychologically that the author grew up to become a music critic. ): it is a memoir of the author's complicated relationship with his mother, a tracing of his interactions with Johann Sebastian Bach's 'Goldberg Variations,' a set of biographical musings on the life of Bach, and, ultimately, a search for an answer to two questions: What do we mean when we say we 'know' a piece of music? Given that the author is not a professional. It was the only music that didn't seem trivial or irrelevant, and it enabled him to both experience her death and remove himself from it. I found the book, on the whole, to be insightful, moving, and beautifully written. A strange but brilliant melding of memoir and music education, going deep on a troubled mother-son relationship and the son's attempt to try something that's as difficult (playing Bach's Goldberg Variations on the piano) as coming to terms with grief for the person he struggled his whole life to understand. It's not that it isn't interesting, but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to take out of it. EPUB. And Brahms, and Dvorak, and Shostakovich. Many of his reflections were clearly the extension of a well examined inner life, which draws the reader into much of the same. It was a rare and exceptional pleasure for me to discover that there is another suffering soul with thoughts, feelings and experiences (especially in childhood and early adulthood) that parallel mine. Music. As his mother was dying, Philip Kennicott began to listen to the music of Bach obsessively. Which is a good thing, because there are no answers, only experiences. A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2020 A Pulitzer Prize–winning critic reflects on the meaning and emotional impact of a Bach masterwork. A Pulitzer Prize–winning critic reflects on the meaning and emotional impact of a Bach masterwork. I found this memoir sometimes insightful and other times scattered. Kennicott's journey in learning Bach's Goldberg Variations resonated less with me, but was still enjoyable to read. All the while not making a conclusion about our parents, grief, and making music. Similar books. But of course he had a deeply ambivalent relationship with his mother. Kennicott creates a most unusual book about Bach and grief (surrounding his mother’s life. As Kennicott recovered from losing his mother he resolved to learn one of Bach’s most … Philip Kennicott is the chief Art and Architecture Critic of The Washington Post. Wonderfully insightful memoir about the power both music and goal setting have on our experiences. There are so many issues addressed in this book that I can relate to: aging parents, the effect of hypercritical parenting, a love for classical music, and the beauty brought to your life by playing and listening to music. Playing music is a basically a solitary activity that we use to try to find some meaning in life, but in the end we all end up alone and not knowing what of it all is. Despite its appearance, this is no self- help book nor an endeavour by a busy journalist to conquer the classical piano repertory, in the manner of Alan Rusbridger’s struggle with Chopin in Play It Again (Jonathan Cape, 2013). Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. I chose to review “Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning” by Philip Kennicott for two reasons. A mostly stellar book, that functions as part memoir, part Bach biography, part music criticism, part reflection on the nature of the more esoteric aspects of music, grief, and art. At points Kennicott describes both life and music in rather technical terms, at other points he infuses anecdotes and insightful turns of phrase. I admit I had the Aria theme running through my head as I was reading the book, and it did make me want to listen to the entire piece again, with music in hand. Welcome back. Bach. More generally, the flow sometimes seemed to get distracted from the main quandry of what it means to know a piece of music. Download Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning. It uses Kennicott's Sisyphian process of learning Bach's, In many ways this book is quite good; there are moments when the author expresses his grief about losing his mother in ways which are both beautiful and profound. As his mother was dying, Philip Kennicott began to listen to the music of Bach obsessively. It jumps between the author's life, Bach's life, and musical analysis, the last of which can be difficult to follow for someone who isn't classically trained. No matter what, children always seem to love abusive parents. (You can judge, I'll get over it.) His mother certainly was. Bach's Musical Universe: The Composer and His Work, Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music, Music in the Castle of Heaven: A Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint: 10 (New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism, Series Number 10). It was the only music that didn’t seem trivial or irrelevant, and it enabled him to both experience her death and remove himself from it. I’ve been in mourning since my husband died in April 2019 and I love baroque music (JS Bach is the master). I, for starters, root for Beethoven. I really liked the parts where he was able to be transparent with the reader. I felt compelled to write a review not only because I loved it, but because I suspect the title may give the erroneous impression that the book is only for music lovers. A Pulitzer Prize–winning critic reflects on the meaning and emotional impact of a Bach masterwork. As someone who knows almost nothing about the science of music there were parts of this that were hard to read, but as someone who was invested in completing this book, I nonetheless found the extended metaphors appropriate/understandable for the music philistine audience. There are so many issues addressed in this book that I can relate to: aging parents, the effect of hypercritical parenting, a love for classical music, and the beauty brought to your life by playing and listening to music. Resolve captcha to access download link! Counterpoint is, as stated on the cover, a memoir of Bach and mourning. © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. The author is a gifted writer. In Counterpoint, he recounts his efforts to rise to the challenge, and to fight through his grief by coming to terms with his memories of a difficult, complicated childhood. Many times it made me question my own relationship with classical music as a professional musician. $26.95; ebk. But Counterpoint can be painful to read because the author’s mother was extremely abusive to him, both emotionally and physically. I was reminded of Jackson Brown's lyrics for "To a Dancer," that go "In the end there is one dance you do alone." Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. ): it is a memoir of the author's complicated relationship with his mother, a tracing of his interactions with Johann Sebastian Bach's 'Goldberg Variations,' a set of b. Counterpoint NPR coverage of Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning by Philip Kennicott. You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition. Buy Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning by Philip Kennicott (ISBN: 9780393635362) from Amazon's Book Store. His complicated relationship with his mother is part of his story, and it is her decline and death that causes him to do a deep-dive into the music of J.S. I a. I read a preview excerpt in the Washington Post shortly after my father died, so I took it as a sign that I should read this book. He is also a two-time Pulitzer finalist (for editorial writing in 2000 and criticism in 2012), a former contributing editor to The New Republic, and a regular contributor to Opera News and Gramophone. Philip Kennicott. Lots of little biographical tidbits about Bach, Gould, and other music histories that keep a nice balance. At points, the book is sad, and at others, especially in the final 10 pages, I found myse. Which is a good thing, because there are no answers, only experiences. Counterpoint is not only an intimate examination of a masterpiece—Bach’s Goldberg Variations —but an unflinching and humane meditation on the lifelong process of growing up. As his mother was dying, Philip Kennicott began to listen to the music of Bach obsessively. I felt compelled to write a review not only because I loved it, but because I suspect the title may give the erroneous impression that the book is only for music lovers. I highly recommend it. It's not that it isn't interesting, but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to take out of it. Wrought with gut-wrenching cynicism and probing questions about why and how we grieve, this book shaped my outlook on life during the pandemic. Something went wrong. For him, Bach’s music held the elements of both joy and despair, life and its inevitable end. WW Norton 224 pages. The author is not a professional musician but a dedicated amateur who has spent much of his life studying piano or trying to overcome the mental obstacles that kept him from growth. Kennicott won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. 224p. The information and commentary on Bach does not add to whatever one can find in a music history book and the part about the family is personal, with maybe a glimpse of mid century suburban America making it engaging and informative. I don’t know where the author’s father was during all of this. He’s nowhere to be found in the book. Definitely good, interesting on mourning and family histories and Bach. February 18th 2020 This was not an easy book to read for me, but it was an intimate and beautiful read. I read a preview excerpt in the Washington Post shortly after my father died, so I took it as a sign that I should read this book. As in, “I love her/ I hate her”. I found the book, on the whole, to be insightful, moving, and beautifully written. EPUB. Create a List. Read "Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning" by Philip Kennicott available from Rakuten Kobo. Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning, by Philip Kennicott, W.W. Norton & Company, https://wwnorton.com. Music. Reading this I don’t know if my description can really describe how meaningful and beautifully written this memoir is, but I can not recommend it enough. (You can judge, I'll get over it.) Philip Kennicott is the chief Art and Architecture Critic of The Washington Post. While exploring Bach's compositions he sketches a cultural history of playing the piano in the twentieth century. I felt poignant delight as I read his honest thoughts about music, practice, struggles, joys, conflicts which were also my own, but which I don't think I ever verbalized even to myself. So, you may. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. I don't know if you have to have played Bach in your youth to appreciate it, as one who did play and misses it, his exigeses are wonderful. All the while not making a conclusion about our parents, grief, and making music. The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human. Try again. (Perhaps more humor like this might have helped the book, too.) In his, I recognized my own troubled relationship with my mother which was directly related to my own troubled re. In Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Philip Kennicott reflects on these questions through a richly expansive exploration of a Bach masterwork. A poignant, and at times solipsistic and quixotic, detour into the psyche of a classical pianist and the inner communion of his life and his relationship with music after his mother had passed away. It was the only music that didn’t seem trivial or irrelevant, and it enabled him to both experience her death and remove himself from it. Definitely an insightful read and o, I have a lot in common with this author in regards to grief, a toxic parent, and a life long love of music. This article was adapted from his new book, “Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning” (Norton, February 2020). -- I found the writing style a bit dry and clinical. The many people out there who have had a complicated relationship with their unhappy, complex mother nursing stifled hopes and increasing resentment for her child while they were growing up. The subtitle tells us that the two major "melodic lines" are Bach, the great master of counterpoint, specifically his Goldberg Variations, and mourning, specifically for the death of the author's mother. For him, Bach's music held the elements of both joy and despair, life and its inevitable end. I was reminded of Jackson Brown's lyrics for "To a Dancer," that go "In the end there is one dance you do alone." I, for starters, root for Beethoven. The author certainly did. It jumps between the author's life, Bach's life, and musical analysis, the last of which can be difficult to follow for someone who isn't classically trained. Philip Kennicott, author of Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning (Norton), is the Pulitzer Prize-winning Senior Art and Architecture Critic of The Washington Post. In the now popular genre of grief memoir as woven through a single work of art (usually a work of literature, for example All the Lives we Ever Lived), this one is the best I've read. By Philip Kennicott. I found this memoir sometimes insightful and other times scattered. (I took the subtitle -- the mourning part -- more seriously than was perhaps warranted...) -- 'Counterpoint' works on a number of different levels (befitting its title! Reviews for Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning In short, this is a beautiful and unexpectedly uplifting read which will have you reaching for both Gould's Goldbergs and the Chaconne, and perhaps even looking at the world with renewed thoughtfulness. Either is a conservative estimate. I respected his realistic perspective on the powers of music-- that it cannot magically heal grief and pain, but is transformative nonetheless. ISBN 9780393635379. “Counterpoint” is a good title, both because the author is delving deeply into several of Bach’s pieces, and because the word counterpoint suggests a kind of “yes but/ there’s this but there’s also that” quality. Beautifully written, informative, honest and very very moving. He describes the joys of mastering some of the piano pieces, the frustrations that plague his understanding of others, the technical challenges they pose, and the surpassing beauty of the melodies, harmonies, and counterpoint that distinguish them. As his mother was dying, Philip Kennicott began to listen to the music of Bach obsessively. Shop books, stationery, devices and other learning essentials. I normally don't read memoirs of people I don't know, but this was a fascinating take that I enjoyed very much! Philip Kennicott is the chief … Bach is not a composer I feel the need to listen to on a regular basis. For children, the discovery of death … What I got from the book was different from what I expected. It was the only music that didn't seem trivial or irrelevant, and it enabled him to both experience her death and remove himself from it. Share. Feb. 2020. I loved every page of this book. He spent the next five years trying to learn one of, As his mother was dying, Philip Kennicott began to listen to the music of Bach obsessively. I'm still working on processing my feelings about death and loss. Unfortunately, this book gets a lower rating from me, not solely on its merits (it's a rather good book, actually), but based on my expectations in approaching it. I listened to this book on audiotape, and wished I could listen to the story on a loop as soundtrack to my life. I'd really only recommend this to mucic nerds but for them it is really a great read. It was the only music that didn’t seem trivial or irrelevant, and it enabled him to both experienc… Once she yanked his hair so hard that he fell backwards off of the piano bench onto the floor. Once she yanked his hair so hard tha. Kennicott won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism . The beauty of this memoir is not only in the compassion Kennicott ultimately finds for … EPUB. “The older we get, the more subtly we must undertake the double exercise of shedding aspects of ourselves so that we have the capacity to develop new ones.”, Patti Smith Talks About Creativity and the Stories that Take Root. by W. W. Norton Company, Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning. Be the first to ask a question about Counterpoint. Approved third parties also use these tools in connection with our display of ads. A beautiful balance between memoir and music writing. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more. E-mail after purchase. Narrated by Paul Heitsch. Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning. Every student who sweated at the piano keys will relate to the shared experience of failure, fake starts, false expectations, futility, bitterness and will appreciate the sincerity in writing about such a delicate subject as reaching a limit. I strongly believe it will resonate with a lot more readers than those who care about Bach. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Lots of little biographical tidbits about Bach, Gould, and other music histories that keep a nice balance. We’d love your help. I chose to review “Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning” by Philip Kennicott for two reasons.

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