Evidently she had a deep and powerful connection to music as he does, but she also attacked him in vicious unpredictable ways, at times when he was practicing the piano. Which is a good thing, because there are no answers, only experiences. After his mother died, the author began to learn Bach's Goldberg Variations in seriousness. I strongly believe it will resonate with a lot more readers than those who care about Bach. As his mother was dying, Philip Kennicott began to listen to the music of Bach obsessively. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. What I got from the book was different from what I expected. Sorry, there was a problem saving your cookie preferences. Many times it made me question my own relationship with classical music as a professional musician. Punk rock legend, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, award-winning writer, photographer, activist, and all-around Renaissance woman Patti Smith is... As his mother was dying, Philip Kennicott began to listen to the music of Bach obsessively. I felt compelled to write a review not only because I loved it, but because I suspect the title may give the erroneous impression that the book is only for music lovers. Try again. No matter what, children always seem to love abusive parents. I respected his realistic perspective on the powers of music-- that it cannot magically heal grief and pain, but is transformative nonetheless. $26.95; ebk. (You can judge, I'll get over it.) All the while not making a conclusion about our parents, grief, and making music. See, I've just expanded the market for Kennicott's memoir about ten thousand fold, or shall we say one hundred thousand? Ratings: Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (3 ratings) Length: 8 hours. Shop books, stationery, devices and other learning essentials. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. At points, the book is sad, and at others, especially in the final 10 pages, I found myself laughing out loud. He describes the joys of mastering some of the piano pieces, the frustrations that plague his understanding of others, the technical challenges they pose, and the surpassing beauty of the melodies, harmonies, and counterpoint that distinguish them. Two parallel threads run through this book, the "Bach" and the "Mother" respectively. Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning. Absolutely loved it, I normally don't read memoirs of people I don't know, but this was a fascinating take that I enjoyed very much! Unable to add item to List. For him, Bach’s music held the elements of both joy and despair, life and its inevitable end. We use cookies and similar tools to enhance your shopping experience, to provide our services, understand how customers use our services so we can make improvements, and display ads. Welcome back. (I took the subtitle -- the mourning part -- more seriously than was perhaps warranted...) -- 'Counterpoint' works on a number of different levels (befitting its title! There are so many issues addressed in this book that I can relate to: aging parents, the effect of hypercritical parenting, a love for classical music, and the beauty brought to your life by playing and listening to music. Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning: Amazon.co.uk: Philip Kennicott: 9780393635362: Books Start by marking “Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning” as Want to Read: Error rating book. I listened to this book on audiotape, and wished I could listen to the story on a loop as soundtrack to my life. The subtitle tells us that the two major "melodic lines" are Bach, the great master of counterpoint, specifically his Goldberg Variations, and mourning, specifically for the death of the author's mother. A strange but brilliant melding of memoir and music education, going deep on a troubled mother-son relationship and the son's attempt to try something that's as difficult (playing Bach's Goldberg Variations on the piano) as coming to terms with grief for the person he struggled his whole life to understand. This is probably not a book for everyone. I chose to review “Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning” by Philip Kennicott for two reasons. Biology, Genetics | Music. ISBN 9780393635379. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. While exploring Bach's compositions he sketches a cultural history of playing the piano in the twentieth century. It jumps between the author's life, Bach's life, and musical analysis, the last of which can be difficult to follow for someone who isn't classically trained. by W. W. Norton Company, Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning. 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