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Bad Boy of Music

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  42 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The autobiography of American composer George Antheil.
Published March 1st 1990 by Samuel French (first published 1945)
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George Antheil is one of my favorite composers - even though I think most of his work is lousy. Why is he a favorite? Because he composed "Ballet Méchanique". Because he composed "Airplane Sonata". Because he composed "Woman with 100 Heads" - inspired by the Max Ernst collage bk. Because he composed the "Jazz Symphonietta". Antheil is at times called an "American Futurist" - along w/ the likes of Leo Ornstein. Both were concert pianists who composed a few piano pieces inspired by technological a ...more
Apr 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
How could I resist reading the autobiography/memoirs of the composer of Ballet Mecanique, whose early concerts incited such riots that he took to performing with a gun in a shoulder holster? Antheil's book is kind of midway between memoirs and autobiography - it covers his life (up until 1943 or so - the book was published in 1945) as thoroughly as an autobiography, but is more chatty and less linear, like memoirs.
Antheil's narrative style is fairly casual and chatty, which made for a good readi
Bobby  Title
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
A friend and I were introduced to George Antheil's "8 Fragments from Shelley" at the 1955 rehearsals of the Roger Wagner Chorale held at UCLA. Our college music professor from Pepperdine played violin in the orchestra and while we never met Antheil himself, we met his amazing music and were simply blown away! (A high school chum, Marilyn Horne, was singing in that chorale at that time!). Since then, there never has been a time when I didn't have a recording of Antheil's music in my possession. J ...more
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The early 20th century new music world, as reported by a hyper-imaginative and slightly grandiose participant. The first half of it is an absolute hoot. Then it slows down as the author matures. Finally, we're given a weird rah-rah patriotic finish (the book was written during WWII) detailing Antheil's strictly platonic relationship with the beautiful Hedy Lamarr and how they invented and patented a secret torpedo-homing device together.

Told you it was weird.
Randy Anderson
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
What fun this man was. A true musical talent who lived amongst great talent in a time when artists were breaking conventions. I'm pretty sure he makes tons of stuff up but it's good stuff and his writing style is easy and enjoyable.
daniel hughes
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
the chapter in this book on what one should do if you want to be a composer was the most helpful to me, how to support and take care of yourself (and others) if you want to have the energy and time to be a creative writer
Ira Carter
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Antheil partied in Europe with Stravinsky, Joyce, Hemingway, and others. The writing is breezy and amusing. Is it truthful? That is rather beside the point. It's an easy read and a fun snapshot of Europe and specifically Paris between the wars.
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had fun reading this book. It is filled with truths, half truths and outright lies. The fun was finding out which were which.
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Avant-garde composer, pianist, author, and inventor whose modernist musical compositions explored the modern sounds – musical, industrial, and mechanical – of the early 20th century.

Spending much of the 1920s in Europe, Antheil returned to the US in the 1930s, and thereafter spent much of his time composing music for films, and eventually, television. As a result of this work, his style became mor