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Knowing When to Stop: A Memoir by [Ned Rorem]

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Knowing When to Stop: A Memoir Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 ratings

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Length: 786 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rorem is arguably this century's finest American composer of art songs--but better known to readers as the author of the remarkably candid, irresistibly readable The Paris and New York Diaries. Admitting he was a ravishing youth, he scandalized 1940s New York and Paris by his nonstop drinking and avid sex with any man who would share his sheets. He writes brilliantly, illuminating what could be dull moments with unknown people--as well as offering marvelously frank portraits of household names, among them Jean Cocteau, Aaron Copland, Jerome Robbins, Martha Graham, Truman Capote, Virgil Thomson, Igor Stravinsky, Billie Holliday and Paul Bowles. All this, and a constant flicker of outrageous opinions too. One reads on, paralyzed with pleasure by the flashing intelligence, the exact, colorful mot , the endless quotability. Why a memoir, and what does it add to the diaries--especially since it covers only Rorem's first 27 chock-a-block years? "A memoir is not a diary. Diaries are written in the heat of battle, memoirs in the repose of retrospect." So the reader enjoys not only a whirlwind picture of bohemian artistic life during and just after WWII, but a touching self-portrait of an elderly semi-recluse, happily "married" now for decades, utterly abstemious of booze, reliving a madcap youth with only occasional regrets. The reader also enjoys Rorem's quotability: "Minor artists borrow, great ones steal. All art is theft." "People seldom change as they age, they just get more as they always were.""I compose as I do because no one else is making quite the sound I need to hear." Rorem has marvelous fun classifying everything as either German (which he dislikes) or French (which he loves). "This book fails," he concludes, "because it is all Content without Style, and Content is German while Style is French." Wrong. His memoir overflows with both. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Celebrated American composer Rorem has written a contemplative, touching, funny, occasionally shocking memoir covering the first 27 years of his life. The reader becomes an invited guest in legendary parlors as Rorem tells of his life and the circles of which he was a part. Billie Holiday, John Cage, Eugene Istomin, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Samuel Barber, Martha Graham, Alfred C. Kinsey, Truman Capote, and Jean Cocteau are among those Rorem discusses. Spiked with introspection, these reminiscences serve as his vehicle for exploring in print the questions that he has pondered all his life. The result is well written, though parts of this book plod as Rorem, by his own admission, attempts to include what he thinks should be in a memoir. Nonetheless, Rorem provides a clear window for those who wish to peer into the artistic period of time that he and his associates claimed. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
Kathleen Sparkman, Baylor Univ., Waco, Tex.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Publication Date : June 18, 2013
  • File Size : 12939 KB
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print Length : 786 pages
  • Publisher : Open Road Media (June 18, 2013)
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Language: : English
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.8 out of 5 stars 5 ratings