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The Voice: A Memoir [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Thomas Quasthoff

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Kurzbeschreibung

17. Juni 2008
The Voice is the profoundly inspiring memoir of one of the most sought after and admired classical singers in the world--a man who has arrived at the summit of his artistry by overcoming extraordinarily daunting odds.

Thomas Quasthoff, the German bass baritone, stands a shade over four feet tall, his severely underdeveloped arms and hands the result of thalidomide poisoning while he was in his mother's womb. But through stunning determination enlivened by an impish sense of human, Quasthoff has overcome his physical limitations and Dickensian childhood, cultivating his musical genius and thrilling classical music lovers with his sublime voice.

What shines through Quasthoff's astonishing story is his staunch refusal to wallow in self-pity, to see himself as a victim. Whether he is evoking a harrowing childhood marked by multiple agonizing surgeries, relating folksy family anecdotes, expressing his devotion to his students as a professor of voice, expounding on his love of jazz and American popular music (he is a great admirer of Stevie Wonder), or unburdening himself of his wickedly outspoken views on art and disability, Quasthoff's unerring sense of humanity, boisterous conviviality, and fierce honesty are always on display.

The Voice is utterly winning--a memoir to both marvel at and enjoy.

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"If Thomas Quasthoff appeared on an awards show, he would play the master of ceremonies. If he were an animal, he would be a lion, king of the jungle. If he were to play a romantic lead, he'd be the inventively eloquent Cyrano. But Quasthoff, blessed with a bass-baritone voice as soaring and generous as his own spirit, has the great good fortune to play them all--from the playful poet singing lieder to the soulful and magisterial prophet Elijah. Catch him during at unguarded moment offstage, and he'll even indulge in a little Dixieland scat. For a man born with such severe physical limitations, it appears, in fact, that there are no limits."
--Time

"With an appearance and life story so compellingly strange, it would be easy for the miracle of his perseverance and triumph, or the miracle of his perseverance and triumph, or the miracle of such a powerful and deep voice emerging from such a small body, to overwhelm the concert experience. Instead, if there is anything miraculous about Quasthoff, it is that a few minutes into a recital you stop thinking about his physique . . . He channels all of his feelings into his expressive face and subtly shaded voice . . . He holds you with his ability to communicate the mood and meaning of a song."
--The New York Times Magazine

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Thomas Quasthoff was born in 1959 in Hildesheim, Germany. In 1988 he won first prize as the prestigious ARD International Music Competition in Munich, which launched his career. He has performed with the world's most distinguished orchestras and conductors (including Claudio Abbado and Simon Rattle). He has won three Grammy Awards: for best classical Vocal Performance in 2000, for his Bach cantatas and Schubert lieder in 2004, and for Best Choral Performance in 2008 for Brahms's Ein Duetsches Requiem. Quasthoff is a professor at the Hans Eisler School of Music in Berlin. He performs and records throughout the world.

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Amazon.com: 4.5 von 5 Sternen  4 Rezensionen
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Compelling, but best in its early chapters 3. Januar 2009
Von Jennifer M. Love - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I was thrilled to learn about this memoir from one of the world's most beautiful singers. The book is a good read, although it is best in its early chapters, where Thomas Quasthoff describes in detail how his parents taught him to love and respect his body--strikingly different from that of normally abled children--and to walk confidently, fall safely, and fight back vigorously against neighborhood bullies.

Reading these chapters, I learned that Thomas's mother used a Pavlovian method to teach her young child to walk, when his doctors had previously declared that he never would be able to. I also discovered that Thomas's father, himself an accomplished singer, brought home a big tape recorder/mixer one day when Thomas and his brother were children and invited Thomas to record his (already impressive) voice and blend it in with that of already famous vocalists. Reading these early chapters, it became clear to me that Thomas Quasthoff owes the foundations of his self-confidence--and his success--to the convictions and enthusiasm of his terrific parents.

The later chapters of the book were less enjoyable for me. It's not that I lost any respect for Thomas Quasthoff as a person; he seems pleasant and assured and not arrogant, considering the hugeness of his talent. It's more that the chapters seemed to lack the discreteness and focus of the childhood sections. He writes about his life as a performer, one who meets a lot of famous people, travels to far-away places, etc., and it all starts to kind of blend together and get diffuse and lose the momentum that the early chapters have. (Perhaps this is because in those early chapters, we're eagerly waiting for Quasthoff to "be discovered" and "get famous"--which isn't a very thoughtful way to read a book about a great artist, but I confess that's how I approached it.) I guess that once Quasthoff reaches the point in his book where he *is* famous, well, there's less to really hook the reader and propel us forward.

I did love reading about Quasthoff's visits to Eugene, Oregon (my hometown) to perform in the Oregon Bach Festival, and his visits to nearby beauty spots like Oregon's Crater Lake. Being a romantic, I also liked the sections in which Quasthoff describes his loving relationships with women. In one superb passage, Quasthoff talks about getting embarrassed and trying to change the subject when an interviewer asks him about sex, while his girlfriend speaks up stoutly about their intimate life and ends up making Thomas feel both good and silly at the same time.

Overall, I liked this book. But I would also like to read a second memoir by Thomas Quasthoff, one written years in the future when he has the chance to look back on a long career and single out some key moments and experiences that were meaningful to him.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A joyful celebration of life 24. August 2008
Von soul survivor - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
It's silly of any serious music lover to give this book less than 5 stars. "The Voice" is an exuberant, humorous, joyful celebration of life. It's a triumphant achievement. "Thin"? Ich don't think so. Unless "Portrait of the Artist as Young Man" and "The Tin Drum" are thin, which they aren't. Look for your Schubert interpretation elsewhere. This is the most exciting memoir I've read in the past several years. Bravo!
3 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Undefatigable Human Spirit 24. November 2008
Von L. Young - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Anyone fortunate enough to have attended one of Thomas Quasthoff's performances knows the love of life that comes through his gorgeous voice. Quasthoff is a supremely gifted singer and once his first note is sounded his physical disability is immediately forgotten by the listener. This autobiography gives us some insights in what makes him tick - his loving family, his difficult schooling, his rise to the heights of his profession and his ever present sense of humor and joy in life. It is full of humorous anecdotes about his friends, family and travels and his philosophy of singing.
5 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A charming book, if a little thin. 25. Juli 2008
Von M. Parfitt - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Quasthoff's story is an amazing and inspiring one, and he tells it with humor and charm. This is a quick, light read, and it cleaves pretty closely to the conventional formulae for books of this kind. But conventions don't matter much when the subject himself is so exceptional. You might not learn a great deal about singing or about music from this book, but you get a lot of insight into the personality of this great talent, and the kinds of challenges he has to overcome -- still -- in order to maintain his performing and recording schedule. I would have liked a bit more substance on matters such as his interpretation of Schubert, but I still found this to be a satisfying read.
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