The Irving Berlin Reader Edited by Benjamin Sears

Jan 31, 2013 by

The Irving Berlin Reader Edited by Benjamin Sears

“What a wonderful glance into the musical past! Benjamin Sears has assembled, organized and notated a fan’s paradise of writing on and by Irving Berlin. Andwhat a spectrum: from the master giving hints on how a song should be written, to a famous critic completely misjudging Berlin’s greatest theater score. This takes you back to another time and place, and brings Irving Berlin alive again. All in all, a great read.”
—Ted Chapin, President Rogers & Hammerstein

“The Irving Berlin Reader is an engrossing documentary biography that will delight both the casual music lover and the hardcore Berlinophile. Item after item brings up fascinating details about not only Berlin’s life and work but also the workings of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood at the height of the studio system—and Berlin was at the forefront of each of those institutions when it reached its artistic peak. To understand Irving Berlin is to understand almost everything important about a wide swath of America’s popular music history.”
—Larry Hamberlin, author, Tin Pan Opera: Operatic Novelty Songs in the Ragtime Era

“The book is almost a fantasy fulfilled for me.  When Sears went into his favorite libraries, he knew where to look and could bring his expertise to the selection of the most illuminative and interesting pieces [on Irving Berlin].” Brad Hathaway, DC Theatre Scene

“Irving Berlin. . . can lay plausible claim to the status his fellow songwriter Jerome Kern conferred on him: ‘Irving Berlin has no place in American music.  He IS American music.’  In The Irving Berlin Reader, Benjamin Sears collects an abundance of documentary evidence to bolster that claim. Like most such anthologies, this one is best consumed in morsels – preferably while listening to “Ella Fitzgerald sings the Irving Berlin Songbook.”
— Martin Levin, Times Literary Supplement (UK)

“. . .scholarship of the highest order.” —Michael Quinn, Classical Music (UK)

“Thanks to. . . Sears, as well as to other scholars, Irving Berlin’s ever-trenchant Jewish inspiration continues to be revealed as a major aspect of his might achievement.”—Benjamin Irvy, Forward.com

“The Irving Berlin Reader doesn’t assault or attack him.  It just vies us several shades of Irving, and a sense of who he was behind the self-imposed public mask. . . .” —Steven Suskin, Playbill News

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