31 December 2008


Things I’ve learnt so far from reading Rickard’s Sibelius book:
  • His grandfather’s name was originally Sibbe, and he “latinized his name after the bourgeois Swedish fashion to Sibelius.”
  • In school, the subjects of mathematics, history and natural science held his attention better than others.
  • With his sister Linda (pf) and brother Christian (vc), the Sibelius chidren played as a piano trio en famille.
  • The only time that Sibelius is known to have played in public with his friend, Ferruccio Busoni, the Schumann Piano Quintet in E-flat was on the program.
  • Kullervo (premiered 28 April 1892) had been a great success (it was revived three times in1893), but reflective unease at its folkloristic aspects prompted Sibelius to suppress the score. He allowed the third movement to be performed in 1935, for the centenary celebration of the Kalevala’s publication; but the Kullervo Symphony would not be heard again in its entirety until a year after the composer’s death.

Electric Don Quixote: The Story Of Frank Zappa Electric Don Quixote: The Story Of Frank Zappa by Neil Slaven

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
On the whole, some interest in Zappa is probably a pre-req for enjoying this book. The good news is that it is better (and better informative) biography than either The Real Frank Zappa Book — the 'autobiography' which Peter Ochiogrosso assisted Zappa in compiling . . . which, while it has its certain (in Zappa's phrase) 'folkloric' significances, gives the reader to understand that Zappa was prepared to focus for hours getting the music right, but didn't have the patience to apply to 'proper autobiography' (which was probably the right balance of attention for Zappa) — or the Barry Miles bio, which thinly veils the author's hostility to the subject in places (count the times he uses the phrase Sicilian patriarchal control freak or its variants — no, really, count 'em).

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