Since I'm winding down my assistantship in the UNC-Chapel Hill Music Library, this will be the last "New Music Books I Wish I Had Time to Read"—at least for a while. For this job, I've been processing about 100 new books a month, and I like to write down the books I wish I had time to read. Among the many new books about Wagner, which magically keep coming despite the high volume of existing books about Wagner, I found these gems:
- Wind Bands of the World: Chronicle of a Cherished Tradition, by Robert E. Foster - Covering the breadth of history instead of depth, it would be really interesting to see the transformation and manifestation of wind bands through history.
Picture from Amazon.com
- Music and Empire in Britain and India: Identity, Internationalism, and Cross-Cultural Communication, by Bob van der Linden - With chapters on Percy Grainger, Cyril Scott, and Rabindranath Tagore, of course I would interested.
- Music, Modernity, and Locality in Prewar Japan: Osaka and Beyond, edited by Hugh de Ferranti and Alison Tokita - Answers the question: When and how did Japan decide that Euro-American art music was their high culture?
- Britishness, Popular Music, and National Identity: the Making of Modern Britain, by Irene Morra - I’m a sucker for books on nationalism, especially British nationalism.
- Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof, by Alisa Soloman - How the strangely popular musical conquered the world.
- Flood, by S. Alexander Reed and Philip Sandifer - part of the 33 ⅓ series (named after the most common vinyl rotational speed), this little book takes on the most popular They Might Be Giants album, especially its reception from geeks to geeks.
- The Cambridge Companion to Vaughan Williams, edited by Alain Frogley and Aidan J. Thomson - A collection of essays about all aspects of Vaughan Williams life, including a conversation with contemporary British composers.
- Music in Films on the Middle Ages: Authenticity vs. Fantasy, by John Haines - as someone who likes reading about cultural anachronism and fantasy, I’ve seen a lot of Medieval-esque movies and TV shows, and I often wonder how the music connects to what's going on. This movie genre certainly has its own style of soundtrack, which may or may not be based on any sort of reality.
From University of Illinois Press
- World Flutelore: Folktales, Myths, and Other Stories of Magical Flute Power, by Dale A Olsen - So there’s a lot of stories about the magical powers of music, especially flutes. Pied Piper of Hamelin, anyone? This book attempts to answer why and address themes, pairing each topic with a folk story about magical flutes from many cultures around the world.
- The Music of Herbert Howells, edited by Phillips A. Cooke and David Maw - A collection of essays about the works and style of the British composer, who I think wrote some great music.
- All the Songs: the Story Behind Every Beatles Release, by Jean-Michel Guesdon & Philippe Margotin - A huge compendium about Beatles songs for fans. Easy to get sucked in. Lots of interesting photos.
- Singing Simpkin and other Bawdy Jigs: Musical Comedy on the Shakespearean Stage: Scripts, Music, & Context, by Roger Clegg and Lucie Skeaping - Yes, there are two subtitles. About the intersection of Shakespearean theater and music, two of my favorite topics. "Jig" apparently has had many, many different meanings over the years.
- Lost Chords and Christian Soldiers: the Sacred Music of Arthur Sullivan, by Ian Bradley - Most people know Sullivan as part of the amazingly successful Gilbert and Sullivan operetta team, but he also wrote sacred music. According to the book, Sullivan wished his legacy to be judged on his sacred music, not the operettas. The book also examines how the operettas were influenced by the sacred music.
- Everything’s Coming Up Profits: the Golden Age of Industrial Musicals, by Steve Young and Sport Murphy - During the 60s, when the US was producing ⅔ of the world’s manufactured goods, industrial America started using musicals to inspire businessmen to sell more stuff. Here's a short example. Unsurprisingly, the writers of these musicals often went on to their own Broadway success. Lots of colorful pictures.
Vocab: vinyl, jig, operetta