A Ned Rorem Reader

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Ned Rorem; Foreword by J.D. McClatchy

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Ned Rorem, composer and writer, is both a gifted memoirist and one of our most acerbic cultural commentators. This anthology of his musings on music, people, and life surveys the full range of his literary achievement and reflects the evolution of his sensibilities.

The first part of the book is devoted to writing of an autobiographical nature, including ruminations on being alone and on becoming a composer. The second part focuses on music and individuals from Bartók and Ravel to Edith Piaf and the Beatles. The final part consists of portraits and memorials of such figures as Martha Graham, Paul Bowles, Marc Blitzstein, Frank O’Hara, Allen Ginsberg, and Truman Capote. The book also includes a lengthy conversation on the art of the diary.

Ned Rorem, a prolific composer who is particularly well known for his more than four hundred songs, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for Air Music for Orchestra. He has published five volumes of diaries as well as numerous collections of his other writings. J. D. McClatchy is a poet and editor of the Yale Review.

“Rorem commands a peculiarly arresting style that makes for engrossing reading. A Rorem reader is seriously overdue.”—Gary Schmidgall, author of Walt Whitman: A Gay Life

“Settling into this Ned Rorem Reader as into an armchair, you have now the chance to listen in on an extraordinary conversation about music and life, a conversation that he’s been having with himself for half a century, one that remains as effervescent and astonishing as it was when it all started.”—J. D. McClatchy, from the Foreword

“A well-assorted selection from Rorem’s diaries and criticism which is quite simply about as perfect a volume for the civilized reader’s night table as I can think of. The chapter on Truman Capote is worth the price of the book.”—Michael M. Thomas, New York Observer

"A Ned Rorem Reader is the glamorous and acerbic composer’s musings on music and fame."— Washington Post Book World

“[A] touching self-portrait in words that artfully highlights Rorem’s writing and thought.”—Booklist

“A wonderful introduction to a great diarist and essayist, this book proves that Rorem’s act has never been anything less than fascinating.”—Philip Hoare, Gay Times

"This extraordinarily enticing bonbon of a reader is Rorem at its best."—Lambda Book Report

A Ned Rorem Reader is long overdue, and it is thoroughly enjoyable. It combines diary entries and essays. . . . This collection clearly highlights Rorem’s gift for the bon mot and his vast knowledge of everything.”—Eleanor M. Beck, ISAM Newsletter

"The Ned Rorem Reader, a recent compilation from Yale University Press, can stand beside Belize’s’Belize’ Memoirs, Debussy’s Monsieur Crochet the Dilettante-Hater, and Morton Feldman’s Give My Regards to Eight Street as one of the wisest and wittiest composer books ever published."—Alex Ross, New Yorker

Co-winner of the 2002 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in the Symphonic Books Category
ISBN: 9780300089844
Publication Date: October 11, 2001
320 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4