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Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music Paperback – June 8, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
I went to music school in the 70's (a few years before Tindal), but gave it up, professionally, not long thereafter. In a word, there were too many talented players, and too few jobs. But I've stayed involved with it since, and some of my closest friends are (or were) musicians.
Tindall seems to have been among that too-large group of players who were very, very good, but not so outstanding as to knock down all doors in her way. As a result, she had a tough experience. She made mistakes. She let professional relationships become personal and sexual, quickly. She engaged in a certain amount of "self-medicating" (mainly with alcohol, as far as I could tell). It took her a long time to realize that she had to pull out of a self-destructive spiral.
But then she did it, and lived to write about it. It's a very human story, and I'm glad she had the courage to tell it.
A real resonance in this book, for me, and I think for a number of others, was how deeply one can dig oneself into the notion that "I must live as an artist/bohemian," in almost complete ignorance of there being many other potentially-satisfying worlds out there. Certainly for me, giving up on the idea of living life as a musician involved many sleepless nights. Then, trying to take on the world of suits and ties and commutes downtown was like learning to live in a foreign country.Read more ›
The fact that Mozart in the Jungle provoked such passionate, articulate and conflicted reviews speaks volumes about its powerful effects on its readers. IMHO, the people who gave low ratings did so for questionable reasons (solipsism, hurt feelings, personal issues, denial, etc.), unrelated to the quality of Tindall's writing. Winning a couple of orchestra auditions straight out of Juilliard spared me from having to live in the vipers' pit of freelancing described in the book, but I saw enough to recognize it anyway. You can't make this stuff up. The narrative is captivating; I could hardly put the book down. Obviously, not all musicians live this way or have such extreme histories; you wouldn't want to read mine, for example, unless a soporific was indicated. This memoir is well worth reading; not necessarily for the juicy gossip, but for the human story and the larger issues it touches upon.
In that scene, many musicians were craven, most were desperate to get ahead no matter what, and there were no real moral standards at that time. One group was known to have had more or less of an orgy, which I believe made it into her book. The times were wild, free sex, drugs, alcohol. Not that everyone participated. And there was a tremendous amount of empty showing off, arrogance, egotism, manipulation, conspiracy, just about everything you could think of and then some. In many ways, New York in the 1980s was a reprehensible place.
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I decided to read this book after watching a few episodes of the popular Amazon television show. Read more