I don’t recall growing up with the concept of a “summer reading list” and really have no hook on which to hang that idea. I remember the Arrow Book Club and some other monthly offer in school. I remember liking the “Encyclopedia Brown” young detective series, and later, the Hardy Boys. I liked reading when I was kid, I guess, but not now, so much. Still, I feel that I should read, and am usually glad to have read something once the process is done.
Is a summer reading list a function of the academic year, or of a particular climate, or not? I mean, I’ve been in schools for most of my waking years, so I’m not sure if nurses and salespeople and programmers and clerks have summer reading lists or not.
This summer, I have some professional reading to do, but more important is something I started (gasp) in the summer of 2009: reading the book of Genesis aloud. Without exception, I find that reading something aloud is better for me, when I have the time. Ignoring the reading for the summer course I’m teaching, my reading list goes something like this:
- Moses (?): Genesis
- E.H. Broadbent: The Pilgrim Church (2/3 through, and I want to finish this exciting set of accounts)
- Erich Leinsdorf: The Composer’s Advocate (1/4 through, and I want to glean more from this master conductor’s insights into music)
- Dr. Luke: Acts (and a couple of commentaries I picked up recently from the library—by G.K. Barrett, Marshall/Peterson, and N.T. Wright, respectively)
- James Jordan: Evoking Sound (skim … sifting out the Eastern philosophy and other aberrances from the profound musical advice!)
- Edward Lisk: The Creative Director: Conductor, Teacher, Leader (already scanned and took notes on the first two sections, picking up some helpful tidbits, thanks to a colleague)
- Max Rudolf: The Grammar of Conducting
- Bruce Adolphe: The Mind’s Ear: Exercises for Improving the Musical Imagination for Performers, Listeners, and Composers
For a musician, audio media and musical scores should of course constitute at least a portion of the “reading list.” Here are a few on my list in these categories:
- Prokofiev piano, string, and orchestral scores (preparing for rehearsing the Classical Symphony in the fall)
- Persichetti orchestral and choral works (preparing for rehearsing the Symphony No. 6 for Band in the fall, and knowing the other wind works in some measure, digging in to his writing for other media seems to make sense)
- Mozart: wind serenades, op. 375 and 388
- Maslanka: Symphony No. 8 for winds
- Gillingham: Waking Angels
- Alfred Reed: Russian Christmas Music
- relatively new composers to investigate and program: Jason Nitsch, Margaret Brouwer
- music of Henry Chadwick, Arnold Bax, and more ….
Please share your summer reading list … or, if you don’t have one, why not?