Music Book News (June 2018)
Featured below: Dan Hancox on Grime; Paul Kildea on Chopin; Jason Heller on pop music and sci-fi; a new book in the Irish Musical Studies series; and a memoir by cellist Ian Hampton. Please send information on new music books to editor [at] journalofmusic.com.
Inner City Pressure – The Story of Grime
17 May 2018
Drawn from over a decade of interviews and research with the key MCs, DJs and industry players, Inner City Pressure tells the story of how a group of outsiders went on to create a genre that has become a British institution. Telling the story of Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Kano, Stormzy, Skepta and many more, Hancox explores how a generation raised on UK garage, American hip-hop and Jamaican reggae created a new music.
Chopin’s Piano: A Journey through Romanticism
7 June 2018
In 1838, Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her two children sailed to Majorca, where Chopin finished one of his great works, the 24 Preludes. There was scarcely a decent piano on the island, so Chopin worked on a small pianino made by a local craftsman, which remained in a monastic cell for seventy years after he and Sand had left. Paul Kildea’s unique book traces the history of Chopin’s Preludes through the instruments on which they were played, the pianists who interpreted them and the traditions they came to represent. The unexpected hero is the keyboard player and musical thinker Wanda Landowska, who rescued the pianino in 1913. Kildea’s narrative, part cultural history and part detective story, takes the reader on a journey through musical Romanticism and the changing meaning of music over time.
Podcast © Breandáin O’Shea
Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded
In Strange Stars, Jason Heller recasts sci-fi and pop music as parallel cultural forces that depended on one another to expand the horizons of books, music and out-of-this-world imagery. In doing so, he presents a whole generation of revered musicians as sci-fi-obsessed conjurers: from Sun Ra lecturing on the black man in the cosmos, to Pink Floyd jamming over the broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon landing; from a wave of Star Wars disco chart toppers, to Jimi Hendrix distilling the ‘purplish haze’ he discovered in a pulp novel into a psychedelic song. And of course, David Bowie, who hid in the balcony of a movie theatre to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, and came out a changed man.
Irish Musical Studies: Documents of Irish music history in the long nineteenth century
Edited by Kerry Houston, Maria McHale and Michael Murphy
Four Courts Press
29 June 2018
This latest volume in the Irish Musical Studies series – to be published at the end of June – presents extracts from a number of documents from the long nineteenth century that relate to the history of music in Ireland. The documents fall into one of three categories: musical notation, text or image. Each chapter contains a copy of a document (or an extract) along with an essay that provides context, explanation and interpretation.
Jan in 35 Pieces: A Memoir in Music
15 May 2018
A memoir by former principal cellist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Ian Hampton. Born in London, Hampton had stints with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Edinburgh String Quartet before moving to the US and then Canada. He was a founding member of the Purcell String Quartet and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Jan in 35 Pieces: A Memoir in Music is structured around thirty-five compositions that have influenced the course his career, from the Rite of Spring under Pierre Monteux to performing Schubert with Jacqueline du Pré.
Please send information on new music books to editor [at] journalofmusic.com.
Published on 14 June 2018