Read These Books

What’s happening …

Wonderful books to be sure. Ideas. Stories. Music. Words. Images. An occasional giraffe.


We’re now starting a sidebar magazine as a complement to our books. If you want to know what’s currently happening around us, or if you want the world to know what you’re doing, click here.


Are you the public?

“The Public Ought to Know is a must read for anyone who wonders how government works and how it affects you.”

“A backstage pass to political theater in NYC.”

“A must read!”

Yes, you ought to know …


Corey Bearak understands how New York City’s government works. And he believes that you ought to know about the many and various issues that may affect the quality of your life.

In his words, “The issues I cover are relevant. The problems persist. The information on politics, policy and process that readers glean from reading The Public Ought To Know empowers them to ‘challenge’ or encourage their elected officials to act responsibly.”

For more about what you ought to know, go here!


Take a Walk

With photographic imagery and poetic commentary, Rodger Stuart Davis takes us for a walk in Key West from and back to the corner of James and Grinnell Streets.


And for the story behind the walk, go here.




Here and now!

Here is a fabulous snapshot of music today! A remarkable group of artists in Brisbane wrote ten lively and diverse articles — here in the world and now at this time.


What’s in the book? A listening museum, a cadenza for Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, an environmental issue in India, an updated prepared piano, music bearing witness to life, rethinking Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Carnatic rhythm and jazz, structuring a festival, performing at Tanglewood, and staying home.

This is required reading for anyone interested in music! So let’s start reading and listening. Go here!


Got a computer?

Let’s compose a beautiful symphony! Go here!


Eduardo Miranda shares with us his ideas about using a computer to work with him in composing music. He writes: “I figured out that I could program a computer to be musically creative and by recombining ideas generate musical materials for my compositions … ”


& Xenakis


Here is Iannis Xenakis in 1971 in Persepolis, Iran, at the third Shiraz Arts Festival, to present his Polytope de Persépolis.

We’re working on a group of books about Iannis Xenakis, in Joel Chadabe’s words “one of the most original and important of the post-World War II composers.” To read Chadabe’s article titled Who is he?, go here!

My mother …

Ramón Sender Barayón was born in Madrid during Red October in 1934 as the Spanish Civil War was unfolding. During the next year his father fought briefly with the Republican army against Franco’s Falangists and his mother returned to her home in Zamora …


The question Ramon asked was: What happened with my mother? Following his father’s death in 1982, he returned to Spain to find the answer.

This is a gripping, wonderful, and profound story. It takes us through the Spanish Civil War. We meet Ramon’s family. We meet people who lived through the war. And Ramon finds the answer.

There’s a lot more … Go here


Speak music.

It’s really a question of how we listen. Our voice is the ultimate synthesizer, capable of a wide range of sound.

Wait! Before you go any further, listen to Jaap Blonk’s performance of Kurt Schwitter’s Ursonate.

When you listen to speech not for the meaning of the spoken words but for the nature and shape of the sounds, for their pitch, rhythm, and timbre, it’s easy to hear their expressive potential. And when you create rhythms for the sounds of a voice, or listen to many voices speaking together, or transform the sounds of a voice with electronics, or come up with other ideas, you have a universe of sound potential available to you.

To get started in composing your words, here are some ideas!

And send us your own word compositions!


For more information about this book, go here.

Meet John Cage

“Counting the number of composers and musicians that learned from him, understanding the importance of the new musical ideas that he pioneered, and being aware of the public that was scandalized by his music, I’d elect John Cage as the most influential and revolutionary of 20th century composers …”

The introductory essay was written by Joel Chadabe. To read the entire essay, go here!


And to read Walter Branchi’s essay titled About Cage’s 4’33”, go here!

Two long talks

As Richard Kostelanetz puts it, “Though many American advanced composers have been great conversationalists, few could say as much about so many subjects as Nicolas Slonimsky and Lou Harrison.” He’s right.

Slonimsky conducted orchestras, performed pianos, composed music, and wrote books from the profound, as in his Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns, to the hilarious, as in his Lexicon of Musical Invective.


Harrison worked with orchestras, percussion, Cantonese opera, native American music, gamelon instruments, poetry, visual art, puppet operas, and—can you imagine—more.

Fascinating. Go here.


Based on interviews, personal knowledge, and friendships, Richard Kostelanetz has made the twentieth century live again. He talks about Glenn Gould, Charles Ives, Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Elliott Carter, Alan Hovhaness, Paul Zukofsky, Philip Glass, La Monte Young, Joao Carlos Martins, Peter Schickele, B. B. King, and Robert Moog. He explains what they did, how they did it, and how they thought about it.


There’s a lot more to say about this. It’s an enjoyable and very interesting book. Go here