The Irving Berlin Reader (Readers on American Musicians)

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9780195383744: The Irving Berlin Reader (Readers on American Musicians)
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Without any formal training in music composition, Irving Berlin took a knack for music and turned it into the most successful songwriting career in American history. Berlin was the first Tin Pan Alley songwriter to go uptown to Broadway with a complete musical score (Watch Your Step in 1914); he is the only songwriter to build a theater exclusively for his own work (The Music Box); and his name appears above the title of his Broadway shows and Hollywood films (Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn), still a rare honor for songwriters. Berlin is also notable due the length of his career in American Song; he sold his first song at the age of 18 and passed away at the age of 101 having outlived several of his own copyrights. Throughout his career, Berlin showed that a popular song need not be of a lesser quality than songs informed by the principles of "classical" music composition. Forty years after his last published song many of his songs remain popular and several have even entered folk song status, something no other 20th-century American songwriter can claim.

As one of the most seminal figures of twentieth century, both in the world of music and in American culture more generally, and as one of the rare songwriters equally successful with popular songs, Broadway shows, and Hollywood scores, Irving Berlin is the subject of an enormous corpus of writing, scattered throughout countless publications and archives. A noted performer and interpreter of Berlin's works, Benjamin Sears has unprecedented familiarity with these sources and brings together in this Reader a broad range of the most insightful primary and secondary materials. Grouped together according to the chronology of Berlin's life and work, each section and article features a critical introduction to orient the reader and contextualize the materials within the framework of American musical history. Taken as a whole, the writings - many by Berlin himself -- provide a new perspective on Berlin that highlights his musical genius in the context of his artistic development.

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About the Author:


Benjamin Sears is a singer who, with pianist Bradford Conner, specializes in the "Great American Songbook" in particular the songs of Irving Berlin. Sears & Conner have made four CDs of Berlin's music together and lecture regularly on American songwriters and the great performers of their music.

Review:


"What a wonderful glance into the musical past! Benjamin Sears has assembled, organized and notated a fan's paradise of writing on and by Irving Berlin. And what a spectrum: from the master giving hints on how a song should be written, to a famous critic completely mis-judging Berlin's greatest theater score. This takes you back to another time and place, and brings Irving Berlin alive again. All in all, a great read." --Ted Chapin, President, Rodgers & Hammerstein


"The Irving Berlin Reader is an engrossing documentary biography that will delight both the casual music lover and the hardcore Berlinophile. Item after item brings up fascinating details about not only Berlin's life and work but also the workings of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood at the height of the studio system--and Berlin was at the forefront of each of those institutions when it reached its artistic peak. To understand Irving Berlin is to understand almost everything important about a wide swath of America's popular music history." --Larry Hamberlin, author, Tin Pan Opera: Operatic Novelty Songs in the Ragtime Era


"A valuable collection of commentary by and about a great American songwriter, compiled by a unique performer-scholar with a long and special affinity for his subject." --Jeffrey Magee, author of Irving Berlin's American Musical Theater


"Gives us several shades of Irving, and a sense of who he was behind the self-imposed public mask, at least in the early years." --Playbill.com


"Thanks to Magee and Sears as well as to other scholars, Irving Berlin's ever-trenchant Jewish inspiration continues to be revealed as a major aspect of his mighty achievement." --The Forward


"Give[s] lively accounts--more detailed than conventional biographies have managed--of two fascinating moments when Berlin rose above the ranks of his peers: The 1910s, when he was the new pop phenom, and World War II, when he became an actor on the stage of world history in a way that no other American songwriter has." --Los Angeles Times


"Sears collects articles, anecdotes, analyses and reminiscences that build a compelling, if
necessarily incomplete, portrait of Berlin." --Times Literary Supplement


"The Irving Berlin Reader is an excellent resource. It offers detailed yet accessible discussions of Berlin's music alongside insightful passages about his personality. his relationships, and his place in American popular culture. As such, it will be useful to scholars, students, and casual readers alike." --Notes


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Without any formal training in music composition or even the ability to notate melodies on a musical staff, Irving Berlin took a knack for music and turned it into the most successful songwriting career in American history. Berlin was the first Tin Pan Alley songwriter to go uptown to Broadway with a complete musical score (Watch Your Step in 1914); he is the only songwriter to build a theater exclusively for his own work (The Music Box); and his name appears above the title of his Broadway shows and Hollywood films (iIrving Berlin s Holiday Inn), still a rare honor for songwriters. Berlin is also notable due the length of his 90+ year career in American Song; he sold his first song at the age of 8 in 1896, and passed away in 1989 at the age of 101 having outlived several of his own copyrights. Throughout his career, Berlin showed that a popular song which appealed to the masses need not be of a lesser quality than songs informed by the principles of classical music composition. Forty years after his last published song many of his songs remain popular and several have even entered folk song status ( White Christmas, Easter Parade, and God Bless America ), something no other 20th-century American songwriter can claim. As one of the most seminal figures of twentieth century, both in the world of music and in American culture more generally, and as one of the rare songwriters equally successful with popular songs, Broadway shows, and Hollywood scores, Irving Berlin is the subject of an enormous corpus of writing, scattered throughout countless publications and archives. A noted performer and interpreter of Berlin s works, Benjamin Sears has unprecedented familiarity with these sources and brings together in this Reader a broad range of the most insightful primary and secondary materials. Grouped together according to the chronology of Berlin s life and work, each section and article features a critical introduction to orient the reader and contextualize the materials within the framework of American musical history. Taken as a whole, they provide a new perspective on Berlin that highlights his musical genius in the context of his artistic development through a unique mix of first-hand views of Berlin as an artist, critical assessments of his work, and more general overviews of his life and work. Seller Inventory # POW9780195383744

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Without any formal training in music composition or even the ability to notate melodies on a musical staff, Irving Berlin took a knack for music and turned it into the most successful songwriting career in American history. Berlin was the first Tin Pan Alley songwriter to go uptown to Broadway with a complete musical score (Watch Your Step in 1914); he is the only songwriter to build a theater exclusively for his own work (The Music Box); and his name appears above the title of his Broadway shows and Hollywood films (iIrving Berlin s Holiday Inn), still a rare honor for songwriters. Berlin is also notable due the length of his 90+ year career in American Song; he sold his first song at the age of 8 in 1896, and passed away in 1989 at the age of 101 having outlived several of his own copyrights. Throughout his career, Berlin showed that a popular song which appealed to the masses need not be of a lesser quality than songs informed by the principles of classical music composition. Forty years after his last published song many of his songs remain popular and several have even entered folk song status ( White Christmas, Easter Parade, and God Bless America ), something no other 20th-century American songwriter can claim. As one of the most seminal figures of twentieth century, both in the world of music and in American culture more generally, and as one of the rare songwriters equally successful with popular songs, Broadway shows, and Hollywood scores, Irving Berlin is the subject of an enormous corpus of writing, scattered throughout countless publications and archives. A noted performer and interpreter of Berlin s works, Benjamin Sears has unprecedented familiarity with these sources and brings together in this Reader a broad range of the most insightful primary and secondary materials. Grouped together according to the chronology of Berlin s life and work, each section and article features a critical introduction to orient the reader and contextualize the materials within the framework of American musical history. Taken as a whole, they provide a new perspective on Berlin that highlights his musical genius in the context of his artistic development through a unique mix of first-hand views of Berlin as an artist, critical assessments of his work, and more general overviews of his life and work. Seller Inventory # POW9780195383744

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