If you’re a clarinetist, you’re probably familiar with the great Artie Shaw. (Even if you’re not a clarinetist, you’re probably familiar with the artistic talents of this incredible musician!)
While you probably know about his hits like “Begin the Beguine” and “Frenesi,” you might not know that he was also an accomplished author. Besides clarinet, Shaw was interested in writing, math, and other intellectual hobbies (he was also apparently an expert marksman and fly fisher – who knew?).
Here are the published books Artie Shaw wrote during his life:
- The Trouble with Cinderella: An Outline of Identity (1952) – an autobiographical account of his life, music, and other endeavors
- I Love You, I Hate You, Drop Dead! Variations on a Theme (1965) – stories about love and loss
- The Best of Intentions and Other Stories (1989) – short stories including “Snow White in Harlem,” “A Nice Little Post-War Business,” and others. This was dedicated to M.A.H. “who wasn’t there then but sure is now.” Any music cryptologists care to solve this 20th century enigma variations?
In addition to these books, Shaw also wrote articles and other commentary. In the author biography for I Love You, it also says that “he has just completed the first novel of a trilogy. The theme, naturally, is the life of a jazz musician trying to deal with his world.” It’s uncertain if he completed this trilogy, and if so, what happened to the manuscripts. Perhaps this will remain another unsolved mystery of clarinet history…
P.S. If you’re looking for more clarinet books to read, here are some books every clarinetist should have on their bookshelf (and here’s part two). If you’re looking for more general books about classical music, here are my recommendations.