Wings of Friendship: Selected Letters, 1944-2003

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9781593760359: Wings of Friendship: Selected Letters, 1944-2003

"When it comes to letter writing, do artists resemble their letters? Yes, except when they don’t." So wrote Ned Rorem in his 1998 review of Prokofiev’s letters. Over the years Ned Rorem has shown us the craft of autobiography in his four five elegant and moving diaries that span the last eighty decades. But besides the publication of his correspondence between himself and Paul Bowles, he has never published the vast correspondence he shared with a sublime mix of people Leontyne Price, Reynolds Price, Virgil Thompson, Angela Lansbury, Judy Collins, Gore Vidal, Cynthia Ozick. In Wings of Friendship Ned Rorem’s letters to these friends and forty others are assembled in chronological order and reveal the range of his interests and depth of his passions a heart laid bare, billets doux.

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From The Washington Post:

"It is idle but fun to ponder the rapport between artists' lives and their work," Ned Rorem wrote in a 1998 review of Prokofiev's letters. "Idle, because nothing can be proved about the resulting value of the

work . . . ; fun, because everything counts in an artist and all angles intermesh." If idle yet illuminating fun suggests summer, then Rorem's own Wings of Friendship: Selected Letters, 1944-2003 (Shoemaker Hoard, $28) is the perfect book for fans of the distinguished composer to tote to the beach this season. These letters to 49 people who mattered to him over the years (Rorem is now 81) shed delicious, gossipy, civilized light on the intermeshing angles already familiar to readers of his diaries of Paris, New York and Nantucket.

It's a one-sided light, as he admits ("How I would love to have you know how the other half reacted"), but a sweeping one. The recipients constitute a fascinatingly quirky cross-section of postwar American culture: Besides Paul Bowles (whose correspondence with Rorem was published separately in 1997), Virgil Thomson is here and Leonard Bernstein, Edmund White and Gloria Vanderbilt, Edward Albee and Judy Collins, Gore Vidal and Leontyne Price. As that list suggests, music and literature are the main preoccupations, and Rorem is as free with sharp asides as he is with compliments. " 'Is it true?' asks Miss [Elizabeth] Hardwick, 'that a bad artist suffers as much as a good one?' More, wouldn't you think?" he snips to Bowles. But the pleasure of friendship is a constant, too ("I miss you," he tells practically everyone), and so is the pain of love: An unsent 1959 letter to Claude Lebon, "a musical dentist . . . who broke my heart") runs 18 pages. By the end, with his companion Jim Holmes dead of AIDS, the tone is uniformly darker: "insomnia and sadness mainly."

Always, Ned
Copyright 2005, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved.

Review:

"Rorems's openness about his life, his own art, his view of the art of others, his agonizing about the creative process--all if it makes for a remarkable set of entries into a continuing record. These diaries may well turn out to be an enduring twentieth-century document."

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Book Description Shoemaker Hoard, United States, 2005. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When it comes to letter writing, do artists resemble their letters? Yes, except when they don t. So wrote Ned Rorem in his 1998 review of Prokofiev s letters. Over the years Rorem has shown us the craft of autobiography in his five elegant and moving diaries that span the last eight decades. But besides the publication of his correspondence between himself and Paul Bowles, Ned Rorem-one of America s foremost living composers and the former president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters-has never published the vast correspondence he shared with a sublime mix of people, such as Leontyne Price, Virgil Thompson, Reynolds Price, Angela Lansbury, Judy Collins, Gore Vidal, Cynthia Ozick. In Wings of Friendship, Rorem s letters to these friends and to more than forty others are assembled in chronological order and reveal the range of his interests and depth of his passions-a heart laid bare, billets doux. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781593760359

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