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News, author interviews, critics' picks and more. What I got from the book was different from what I expected. Ratings: Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (3 ratings) Length: 8 hours. I highly recommend it. 224p. More generally, the flow sometimes seemed to get distracted from the main quandry of what it means to know a piece of music. Feb. 2020. February 18th 2020 I loved the Bach stuff and the content on the nature of learning, studying, and practicing music. Definitely an insightful read and one worth reading, Gay Men Write About Their Moms (and Death) – a reading list. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published I’ve been in mourning since my husband died in April 2019 and I love baroque music (JS Bach is the master). And, perhaps more significantly, How is it ever possible to know another human being? 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. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning ; About; Explore; About. All the while not making a conclusion about our parents, grief, and making music. Kennicott is the author of Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning (Norton 2020). 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. Once she yanked his hair so hard that he fell backwards off of the piano bench onto the floor. “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. *Counterpoint* is an aptly titled book -- Philip Kennicott's memoir weaves together narrative strands, much as a contrapuntal piece of music weaves together melodic strands within a piece. I strongly believe it will resonate with a lot more readers than those who care about Bach. In Counterpoint, he recounts his efforts to rise to the challenge, and to fight through his grief by coming to terms with memories of a difficult, complicated childhood. Prime members enjoy fast & free shipping, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video and many more exclusive benefits. Approved third parties also use these tools in connection with our display of ads. As his mother was dying, Philip Kennicott began to listen to the music of Bach obsessively. I’ve been in mourning since my husband died in April 2019 and I love baroque music (JS Bach is the master). 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. Music. Sorry, there was a problem saving your cookie preferences. Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning. I don’t know where the author’s father was during all of this. In his, I recognized my own troubled relationship with my mother which was directly related to my own troubled relationship with the piano, but also to the joys and love of music and piano we both shared. We’d love your help. Download to App. Something went wrong. The Resource Counterpoint : a memoir of Bach and mourning, Philip Kennicott, (electronic resource eBook) Learn more about Import fee deposit here. I respected his realistic perspective on the powers of music-- that it cannot magically heal grief and pain, but is transformative nonetheless. ): 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. Narrated by Paul Heitsch. 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. At points Kennicott describes both life and music in rather technical terms, at other points he infuses anecdotes and insightful turns of phrase. Try again. 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. Lots of little biographical tidbits about Bach, Gould, and other music histories that keep a nice balance. Any musician who has ever experienced loss should pick this book up. 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. 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). While exploring Bach’s compositions he sketches a cultural history of playing the piano in the 20th century. Counterpoint NPR coverage of Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning by Philip Kennicott. Beautiful, upsetting, redemptive, informative -- written with such care. Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning Philip Kennicott. 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. 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. 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. It's not that it isn't interesting, but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to take out of it. His mother certainly was. The author is a gifted writer. 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. 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. For children, the discovery of death … 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. While exploring Bach's compositions he sketches a cultural history of playing the piano in the twentieth century. © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Beautifully written, informative, honest and very very moving. I chose to review “Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning” by Philip Kennicott for two reasons. Shop books, stationery, devices and other learning essentials. A Pulitzer Prize–winning critic reflects on the meaning and emotional impact of a Bach masterwork. For him, Bach’s music held the elements of both joy and despair, life and its inevitable end. More generally, the flow sometimes seemed to get distracted from the main quandry of what it means. 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. 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. I won this book in the giveaway. (Perhaps more humor like this might have helped the book, too.) I, for starters, root for Beethoven. 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. As the Midwestern fall turned into a frigid, icy winter, I listened to Glenn Gould playing Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” and read Philip Kennicott’s Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning.Alternating between listening and reading, I found myself overwhelmed by emotion and flooded with the desire to do something. 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. Absolutely loved it, I normally don't read memoirs of people I don't know, but this was a fascinating take that I enjoyed very much! Not just for classical music nerds but being a bit nerdish won't hurt. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness. Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning, Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK, Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost, Dispatch to this address when you check out. I’ve been in mourning since my husband died in April 2019 and I love baroque music (JS Bach is the master). 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. ): 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? There's a problem loading this menu at the moment. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. At points, the book is sad, and at others, especially in the final 10 pages, I found myself laughing out loud. Share. Kennicott creates a most unusual book about Bach and grief (surrounding his mother’s life. Given that the author is not a professional. E-mail after purchase. Save for Later Save Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning For Later. The content about the author's family was so enjoyable and interesting but ultimately only tenuously connected to the rest of the content. At points, the book is sad, and at others, especially in the final 10 pages, I found myse. This turned out to be phenomenally good. 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. The Bach anecdotes were amusing, but I think maybe a bit digressional at times. Music intertwines all aspects of life, and the author does a good job of showing how that works. Philip Kennicott. 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. A beautiful balance between memoir and music writing. All the while not making a conclusion about our parents, grief, and making music. $26.95; ebk. What does it mean to know another human being? A memoir of Bach in terms of the author’s efforts to be able to play Bach’s Goldberg Variations, a memoir of mourning in the sense of his grief over the loss of his mother. There are 0 reviews and 0 ratings from United Kingdom. I listened to this book on audiotape, and wished I could listen to the story on a loop as soundtrack to my life. I liked the mix of memoir and biography/history, and it was fun to listen to the Bach pieces while/after reading about them. Please try again. But Counterpoint can be painful to read because the author’s mother was extremely abusive to him, both emotionally and physically. For him, Bach’s music held the elements of both joy and despair, life and its inevitable end. A fantastic book that is well put together. 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. Kennicott's journey in learning Bach's Goldberg Variations resonated less with me, but was still enjoyable to read. -- Recommended...with caution. You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition. Lots of little biographical tidbits about Bach, Gould, and other music histories that keep a nice balance. Be the first to ask a question about Counterpoint. This is probably not a book for everyone. Biology, Genetics | Music. — Tim Page, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California This is a beautifully written book. Kennicott's journey in learning Bach's Goldberg Variations resonated less with me, but was still enjoyable to read. In some ways, my father had a similar temperament to Kennicott's mother in that his moods could be unpredictable at times, so the author's recounting of his relationship with his mother and about her death hit me a little harder than I had expected. As his mother was dying, Philip Kennicott began to listen to the music of Bach obsessively. 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. Definitely good, interesting on mourning and family histories and Bach. 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). Writing style a bit digressional at times technical terms, at other points he infuses anecdotes and insightful turns phrase! Mobile phone number was fun to listen to the music of Bach and (. Start by marking “ Counterpoint: a Memoir of Bach and Mourning ( Norton )! Music nerds but for them it is really a great read was able to be insightful, moving, making. All of this book, on the nature of learning, studying, and it was an intimate beautiful. Points he infuses anecdotes and insightful turns of phrase just a moment while we sign you in to Goodreads! What I got from the main quandry of what it means in,... Think maybe a bit dry and clinical reading, Gay Men Write Their... 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