I just finished One-Man Band, the third volume of Simon Callow’s Orson Welles biography. It’s the first new book I’ve read from cover to cover since I got back from directing Satchmo at the Waldorf in Florida, and I savored every page of it, both because it’s so good and because I was deliriously happy to be reading for pleasure again. It happens that I chose to work on Satchmo and my second play (about which more in due course) without taking any time off from my regular Wall Street Journal duties. As a result, I was forced to go for a full month without reading or listening to anything not directly connected with the immediate tasks at hand. Is it any wonder that I immersed myself so joyously in Welles’ world as soon as Satchmo opened?
Now, at last, the pressure is off, and Mrs. T and I depart at midday for Connecticut, where I’ll finally have some time to myself. How will I spend it? For openers, I’ll start chipping away at two tall stacks of books and CDs that arrived in my mailbox in April and the first part of May.
The books, one new and the rest old, are:
• William C. Agee’s Modern Art in America 1908-68
• Ana Castillo’s Peel My Love Like an Onion
• Robert W. Gutman’s Mozart: A Cultural Biography
• Victoria Price’s Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography
• Ashley H. Robins’ Oscar Wilde: The Great Drama of His Life
In addition, I have five as-yet-unread installments of Penguin’s uniform paperback edition of George Simenon’s Maigret mysteries: Cécile Is Dead, The Cellars of the Majestic, Inspector Cadaver, The Judge’s House, and Signed, Picpus.
And the CDs? They range, as is my wont, no less widely:
• Carla Bley’s Trios and Andando El Tiempo
• The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO Has Landed
• Bill Frisell’s When You Wish Upon a Star
• Pat Metheny’s The Unity Sessions
• The incomparable Marcelle Meyer’s 1954 recital of the piano music of Rossini
• John Scofield’s Past Present
That ought to hold me for a month or so, don’t you think?
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Marcelle Meyer plays Rossini’s “Un sauté,” from Péchés de vieillesse: