1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
a fascinating read,
This review is from: Fifth Avenue Famous: The Extraordinary Story of Music at St. Patrick's Cathedral (Hardcover)
This is a fascinating book. I couldn't put it down and read it in two days. If you have the slightest interest in NYC history, church music, choral singing, singers, or Roman Catholic liturgy, you should definitely buy Fifth Avenue Famous. One thing in particular I loved about this book is that it is written by someone who obviously knows from direct experience all the little quirks of professional church musicians and the way they work. I gained a new understanding of the various papal pronouncements on church music and how they have affected the musicians "in the trenches" throughout the 20th century. Having been in this field myself since 1978, so much of what iss described in these pages rings true; some of the more recent events described touched me personally, as I was an Associate Organist at another major east coast cathedral at the time and met one or two of the people mentioned in the last few chapters. Basile's painstaking research into the life and work of men like Pietro Yon and James Ungerer sent me to the file cabinets to search for their compositions, and I have plans to perform some long-neglected mass settings this spring as a result. One word of warning, though: if you are someone looking for lots of detailed information about the organs of St. Patrick's, you will not find what you are looking for in this book. The author certainly gives enough information to satisfy most readers, but he is not an organist and does not spend page after page describing pipe scalings and wind pressures. That being said, an appendix with a stoplist or two might have been nice, but that would have been only a pleasant bonus. There are many fascinating photographs included. Fifth Avenue Famous is entertaining, edifying, and absolutely worth buying for yourself and for your friends with similar interests.