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Morton Gould: American Salute [Hardcover]

Peter W. Goodman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 1 2003 Amadeus
(Amadeus). Morton Gould (1913-1996) was a dominant force in American music throughout most of the 20th century. This phenomenally talented composer, conductor, arranger, and pianist worked in vaudeville and on radio, from Tin Pan Alley to Broadway, all the while churning out jingles, symphonies, and everything in between. His popularity, however, may have been the reason that he never received due recognition for his concert music. Peter Goodman began working on this biography with Gould himself more than a year before his death and was allowed full access by the family to all of Gould's diaries and files.

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From Library Journal

Goodman, a journalist at Long Island Newsday, has written a welcome profile of American composer/conductor Gould (1913-96) that includes interviews with Gould, Gould's family and colleagues, and excerpts from the musician's recorded diaries. (Two earlier attempts at biography were abandoned, and the only other extended documentation on Gould appears to be in unpublished theses.) Weaving together analyses of compositions with (some unnecessarily vulgar) quotes evidencing Gould's family dynamics and self-effacing manner, Goodman traces Gould's artistic and personal development in minute detail, from his years as a radio pianist and bandleader in New York through his presidency of ASCAP to his winning the Pulitzer Prize for the composition "Stringmusic" in 1995. The misconception of Gould as merely a purveyor of light classicsDwhich Goodman succeeds in dispelling contributed to his resentment of and resulting depression over the recognition accorded more charismatic contemporaries such as Leonard Bernstein. Goodman's thoroughly researched volume is recommended for academic and public music collections to fill a gap in 20th-century American music scholarship. Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Goodman bring[s] to life not only an important figure from the American musical past, but also an entire era. -- www.newmusicbox.org, September 2000

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Morton Gould/American Salute by Peter W. Goodman Oct. 29 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
"Morton Gould/American Salute," by Peter W. Goodman, should appeal to anybody with even a passing interest in modern American music. Goodman, who had extensive access not only to the subject himself, but to the efforts of previous, would-be biographers, breezily moves the story of Gould's life along. The central theme of the book is the composer's unfulfilled, life-long yearning for acceptance in his field. At every turn, Goodman explains, from his early success in radio, to his widespread play by "secondary" orchestras, Gould snatched despair from the jaws of professional satisfaction. Gould's continuous battle with depression weaves through the narrative.
The author goes to great lenghts to vividly protray on the written page what, one imagines, really must be heard to be fully appreciated in Gould's work:
"'Dance Variations' is in four movements, most of which fly by at breakneck speed. Gould's harmonic language and organization are tonal and conventional, yet the music is passionate and unsettling. . . . [I]ts 'Can-Can' is pounding and raucous. And the concluding 'Tarantalla' is frighteningly angry. Far from being a simple-minded crowd-pleaser, 'Dance Variations' is a score of depth and complexity, the work of a mind that is hiding in plain sight." (P. 211.)
Goodman also delves into Gould's many and varied sexual conquests. Unlike many of his peers (Copland and Bernstein, among others), Gould was, most decidedly, heterosexual. The detailed dissection of his two marriages (curiously, to two women with the same name (Shirley)), is a vital part of Gould's life story.
Perhaps the best compliment for this book is that the reader is left with the strong urge to round out his or her personal musical collection with anything Gould! It is highly recommended.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morton Gould/American Salute by Peter W. Goodman Oct. 29 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Morton Gould/American Salute," by Peter W. Goodman, should appeal to anybody with even a passing interest in modern American music. Goodman, who had extensive access not only to the subject himself, but to the efforts of previous, would-be biographers, breezily moves the story of Gould's life along. The central theme of the book is the composer's unfulfilled, life-long yearning for acceptance in his field. At every turn, Goodman explains, from his early success in radio, to his widespread play by "secondary" orchestras, Gould snatched despair from the jaws of professional satisfaction. Gould's continuous battle with depression weaves through the narrative.
The author goes to great lenghts to vividly protray on the written page what, one imagines, really must be heard to be fully appreciated in Gould's work:
"'Dance Variations' is in four movements, most of which fly by at breakneck speed. Gould's harmonic language and organization are tonal and conventional, yet the music is passionate and unsettling. . . . [I]ts 'Can-Can' is pounding and raucous. And the concluding 'Tarantalla' is frighteningly angry. Far from being a simple-minded crowd-pleaser, 'Dance Variations' is a score of depth and complexity, the work of a mind that is hiding in plain sight." (P. 211.)
Goodman also delves into Gould's many and varied sexual conquests. Unlike many of his peers (Copland and Bernstein, among others), Gould was, most decidedly, heterosexual. The detailed dissection of his two marriages (curiously, to two women with the same name (Shirley)), is a vital part of Gould's life story.
Perhaps the best compliment for this book is that the reader is left with the strong urge to round out his or her personal musical collection with anything Gould! It is highly recommended.
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