In the earliest published diaries of Ned Rorem, the acclaimed American composer recalls a bygone era and its luminaries, celebrates the creative process, and examines the gay culture of Europe and the US during the 1950s
One of America’s most significant contemporary composers, Ned Rorem is also widely acclaimed as a diarist of unique insight and refreshing candor. Together, his Paris Diary, first published in 1966, and The New York Diary,which followed a year later, paint a colorful landscape of Rorem’s world and its famous inhabitants, as well as a fascinating self-portrait of a footloose young artist unabashedly drinking deeply of life. In this amalgam of forthright personal reflections and cogent social commentary, unprecedented for its time, Rorem’s anecdotal recollections of the decade from 1951 to 1961 represent Gay Liberation in its infancy as the author freely expresses his open sexuality not as a revelation but as a simple fact of life.
At once blisteringly honest and exquisitely entertaining, Rorem’s diaries expound brilliantly on the creative process, following their peripatetic author from Paris to Morocco to Italy and back home to America as he crosses paths with Picasso, Cocteau, Gide, Boulez, and other luminaries of the era.
With consummate skill and unexpurgated insight, a younger, wilder Rorem reflects on a bygone time and culture and, in doing so, holds a revealing mirror to himself.