So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.
Absolutely without guile; open, frank, visual. What a life, what a legacy, and what a g-g-generation!
To put my 5* rating in perspective: as a very young teen, I was indifferent about The Who, couldn't name more than 3 songs they performed, wasn't a fan of the on-stage performance art-ish antics, and thought Tommy was mildly entertaining thanks to Elton John and Tina Turner; I'd rather have been listening to my Hendrix or Zeppelin LPs. So, my interest in this book surprised me; it was purely from seeing this very recognizable man recently on TV, promoting his bio, and being struck by his level of sincerity and vulnerability -- an almost apologetic demeanor without any of the ususal celeb braggadocio and self-aggrandizement that ruined some of the music celeb bios I've tried to get through (because yeah, we know, you're a bad A$$). Could that possibly be that rock star that used to do that windmill thing, smash his guitar, and strut with the royals of British rock, long live sex drugs and rock and roll? I was not some former fan, hoping to read Townshend's bio and flash-back to the glorious days when *I'd walk over you to see The Who.*
That perceived candor was accurate; I doubt it's possible to lay yourself so bare, as Townshend has done here, and be duplicitous. The history is fascinating and it reads like a grand timeline of rock and roll (which he calls *the absolute vehicle for self-destruction*). Townshend can probably go head to head with Keith Richards and his stories, but you don't get the sense that you are gathered around a pub table being regaled with wild rock star adventures -- though there are plenty of tales included. Instead, there is a kind of tolerance and wisdom that distances Townshend from being led by his talent to mastering his talent. His insecurities and self-doubts are bravely admitted, his love of family and friends obvious. I liked that he spoke about his achievements without bragging, aware of his talent as a gift--not a free pass to be an arse.
Once in a while an author connects to the reader and invites them into his life, it becomes intimate and real, like a confessional, and that connection is a gift borne of talent. Townshend's writing, and choice to narrate the book himself, put this book in that category. If I'd paid attention to those lyrics years ago, I probably wouldn't have been so surprised by his depth and talent. Like the man, this book is the real thing, and the product of a life lived hard...and well. The best celeb bio I've read to date (including the great Steve Jobs bio)--and remember, this is a man I had no interest in before. I'll have to go back and listen to The Who (with my *mature* ears) to see if I am yet a fan of the music, but I can say without any doubt I sure like Pete Townshend the man.
There are books of the same chemical composition as dynamite. The only difference is that a piece of dynamite explodes once, whereas a book explodes a thousand times. ― Yevgeny Zamyatin
Listening to the lectures gave me so much pleasure. Prof. Lependorf teaches the listener to understand the music and create a mental map of the passages. Personally, it was like learning a new language in an insightful way. I'd say the lectures helped to develop my sensitivity.
You can download the accompanying guide and figure out what the lectures are about. In short, they cover the following musicians and their masterpieces:
A.Vivaldi 'The Spring' (Movement I), J.S.Bach 'Brandenburg Concerto No. 5' (Movement I), G.F.Handel 'The Messiah' (“Ev’ry Valley”, “All We Like Sheep”, “Hallelujah”), W.A.Mozart 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' (Movement I), L. van Beethoven 'Symphony No. 5' (Movement I), H.Berlioz 'Symphonie Fantastique', F.Chopin 'Nocturnes' (Vol. 1, Nocturne in Db, Op. 27, No. 2), J.Brahms 'Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Händel' (Variations I, II, III, V, VI, Fugue), R.Wagner 'Prelude to Tristan', M.Mussorgsky 'Pictures at an Exhibition' ('Promenade', 'The Gnome', 'Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks', 'Great Gate of Kiev'), C.Debussy 'Prelude to The Afternoon of the Faun', I.Stravinsky 'The Rite of Spring' (Pt. 1), M.Ravel 'Mother Goose Suite', A.Copland 'Appalachian Spring Suite'.
Prof. Lependorf introduces such notions as tonic, ritornello, tutti, continuo, terraced dynamics, concerto grosso, pedal point, cadenza, oratorio, melisma, serenade, sonata-allegro, adagio, col legno, bel canto, arpeggio, da capo aria, tempo rubato, appoggiatura, hemiola, rounded binary, canon, cross-rhythm, two-against-three, leitmotiv, tremolo, ostinato, whole-tone scale, pentatonic scale, mode, gamelan, glissando, and syncopation, to name a few.
The lectures expanded my musical experience. I'll certainly listen to them again.