As I mentioned in Books to bring to a desert island, Part I, I will now concentrate on books about music, art and inspiration. I realise that my bag is getting heavy. But don’t worry, I’ll keep the headline but keep on adding books that I like :-).
Special thanks to Anders Jormin who recommended most of the Swedish books on this list.
Everyone interested in creativity should read this book. It is not an easy one but it will give you immense reward. I only have the Swedish language edition (“Spela Fritt — Improvisation i Liv och Konst”, Bo Ejeby Förlag, 2004).
Lettres à son frére Théo (Éditions Gallimard, 1988) (French language edition)
By Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh, in his own words.
A human document without parallel, as Jan Hulsker put it. Heartbreaking and highly recommended.
Funk — The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One (St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996)
By Rickey Vincent and George Clinton
A broad historical overview of The Funk. After reading it once, it now serves as a quick reference.
Miles — The Autobiography (Simon & Schuster, 1989)
By Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe
Like The Man says:
listen. This is brilliant stuff.
Miles Beyond — The Electric Explorations of Miles Davis, 1967–1991 (Watson-Guptill Publications, 2001)
By Paul Tingen
An interesting study about Miles’ electric period.
Musikalisk poetik (Bo Ejeby Förlag, Göteborg, 1991)
By Igor Stravinskij
A collection of ideas about music, the process of musical composition, inspiration, and much more. I read this in Swedish many years ago. Some day, I’ll try to find the English edition (“Poetics of Music in the form of Six Lessons”) of this great book.
Levande musik (Bo Ejeby Förlag, Göteborg, 1991) (Swedish language edition)
By Carl Nielsen
The Danish composer and conductor writes about the inner nature of music.
In I Musiken — Om Musik Och Medvetande (Bo Ejeby Förlag, Göteborg, 1996)
(Swedish language edition)
By Peter Bastian
The Danish pedagogue and music philosopher writes about musical experience.
Musik och tanke — Huvudlinjer i musikestetikens historia från antiken till vår egen tid (Studentlitteratur AB) (Swedish language edition)
By Finn Benestad
An attempt to describe how people have approached music through the centuries. Interesting read (but I haven’t finished this book yet).
Twentieth-Century Harmony — Creative Aspects and Practice (W. W. Norton & Company, 1961)
By Vincent Persichetti
A course in contemporary harmony for composers. A classic.
The Study of Orchestration (W. W. Norton & Company, 1989)
By Samuel Adler
A good reference for composers.
Modern music — A concise history from Debussy to Boulez (Thames and Hudson, 1985)
By Paul Griffiths
Like the title says! Excellent reference.
A World History of Art (Prentice Hall, 2005)
By Hugh Honour and John Fleming
I still haven’t finished this one — but I will! A classic introduction to humanity’s artistic expression over the centuries. Good illustrations too.
Voyage au coeur du Mont Blanc (Glénat, 2000) (French/English language edition)
By Pierre Tairraz and Mario Colonel
Amazing photographs from mountains that are larger than life.
Aki Kaurismäki (Cahiers du cinéma, 2006)
By Peter von Bagh
Aki Kaurismäki, the best Finnish film director, talks about his movies and life. Magnifique!
The Hacker Ethic, and the Spirit of the Information Age (Random House, 2001)
By Pekka Himanen, Linus Torvalds, and Manuel Castells
I couldn’t put this down once I started it. It made me realise I share some characteristics with hackers (in the broad sense). The Protestant ethic is gone for me… Long live the passion and Open Source! :-)
Antoni Gaudí — Complete Works (Asppan, 2003)
By Hugo Kliczkowski
All projects of this Catalan modernist architect, famous for his unique style.
In Detail: Barcelona Contemporary Architecture (Ediciones Poligrafa S.A., 2005)
By Quim Larrea, Alejo Bague, Lluis Casals, and Lurdes Jansana
Photographs and descriptions about a number of new architectural gems in Barcelona.
Berlin New Architecture — Guide to the Buildings 1989 to today (Michael Imhof, 2006)
By Michael Imhof and Leon Krempel
Berlin, one of my favourite cities, presents itself as the Mecca for architects. And there’s every reason to do so.
Brancusi, 1876-1957 (L’art fait naître les idées, il ne les représente pas) (Cercle d’Art, 1998) (French language edition)
By Constantin Brancusi, Maryse Bordet-Maugars, Eryck de Rubercy, Dominique Le Buhan
I visited a reconstruction of Brancusi’s onetime studio in Paris and went immediately to buy this book. Fantastic sculptor!
Nicolas de Staël — l’exposition (Editions du Centre Pompidou, 2003)
I missed the exhibition in Paris, but bought this book, and was instantly hooked. From representation to abstraction and back again. A fascinating journey — but not always easy for Mr de Staël himself.
Nicolas de Staël : Une illumination sans précédent (Gallimard, 2003)
By Marie Du Bouchet
Inspired by de Staël, I bought this book. Reading in French is slow for me so I’m still working on it.
There’s more, but I’ll stop here for now. Next time, I’ll (probably) talk about books related to the web. We’ll see…