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Face the Music: A Memoir

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In this poignant memoir, the internationally celebrated bandleader reflects on family, illness, grief, and a bygone era of glamour, contemplating not just his career but the history of midcentury music and nightlife--and the enormously important role that the bandstand played in his life. The internationally-famous bandleader Peter Duchin's six decades of performing have t In this poignant memoir, the internationally celebrated bandleader reflects on family, illness, grief, and a bygone era of glamour, contemplating not just his career but the history of midcentury music and nightlife--and the enormously important role that the bandstand played in his life. The internationally-famous bandleader Peter Duchin's six decades of performing have taken him to the most exclusive dance floors and concert halls in the world. He has played for presidents, kings, and queens, as well as for civil rights and cultural organizations. But in 2013, Duchin suffered a stroke that left him with limited use of his left hand, severely impacting his career. Days of recuperating from his stroke--and later from a critical case of Covid-19--inspired Duchin to reconsider his complicated past. His father, the legendary bandleader Eddy Duchin, died when Peter was twelve; his mother, Marjorie Oelrichs Duchin, died when he was just six days old. In the succeeding decades, Duchin would follow his father to become the epitome of mid-20th Century glamour. But it was only half a century later, in the aftermath of his sudden illnesses, that he began to see his mother and father not just as the parents he never had, but as the people he never got to know; and at the same time, to reconsider the milieu in which he has been both a symbol and a participant. More than a memoir, Face the Music offers a window into the era of debutantes and white-tie balls, when such events made national headlines. Duchin explores what "glamour" and "society" once meant, and what they mean now. With sincerity and humor, Face the Music offers a moving portrait of an extraordinary life, its disruptions, and revitalization.


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In this poignant memoir, the internationally celebrated bandleader reflects on family, illness, grief, and a bygone era of glamour, contemplating not just his career but the history of midcentury music and nightlife--and the enormously important role that the bandstand played in his life. The internationally-famous bandleader Peter Duchin's six decades of performing have t In this poignant memoir, the internationally celebrated bandleader reflects on family, illness, grief, and a bygone era of glamour, contemplating not just his career but the history of midcentury music and nightlife--and the enormously important role that the bandstand played in his life. The internationally-famous bandleader Peter Duchin's six decades of performing have taken him to the most exclusive dance floors and concert halls in the world. He has played for presidents, kings, and queens, as well as for civil rights and cultural organizations. But in 2013, Duchin suffered a stroke that left him with limited use of his left hand, severely impacting his career. Days of recuperating from his stroke--and later from a critical case of Covid-19--inspired Duchin to reconsider his complicated past. His father, the legendary bandleader Eddy Duchin, died when Peter was twelve; his mother, Marjorie Oelrichs Duchin, died when he was just six days old. In the succeeding decades, Duchin would follow his father to become the epitome of mid-20th Century glamour. But it was only half a century later, in the aftermath of his sudden illnesses, that he began to see his mother and father not just as the parents he never had, but as the people he never got to know; and at the same time, to reconsider the milieu in which he has been both a symbol and a participant. More than a memoir, Face the Music offers a window into the era of debutantes and white-tie balls, when such events made national headlines. Duchin explores what "glamour" and "society" once meant, and what they mean now. With sincerity and humor, Face the Music offers a moving portrait of an extraordinary life, its disruptions, and revitalization.

38 review for Face the Music: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Morgan (not accepting new friends request at the m

    Son of Eddie Duchin celebrated jazz pianist and band leader of the 1930’s & 40’s Peter Duchin wrote a memoir in 1996 “Ghost of a Chance” which I have not read. I suspect it would have a very different tone to this book which begins with Peter having suffered a stroke. He takes us through his time in hospital, his long recovery and the despondency of not having the use of his left hand – not something a piano player would want to happen. During his recovery he finds himself in a reflective mood and Son of Eddie Duchin celebrated jazz pianist and band leader of the 1930’s & 40’s Peter Duchin wrote a memoir in 1996 “Ghost of a Chance” which I have not read. I suspect it would have a very different tone to this book which begins with Peter having suffered a stroke. He takes us through his time in hospital, his long recovery and the despondency of not having the use of his left hand – not something a piano player would want to happen. During his recovery he finds himself in a reflective mood and delves into long forgotten boxes of photographs and papers. He reflects on his parents which is strange since he was born in 1937 one would expect reflecting on his parents would have happened long before now. Perhaps he did so in his previous book. The majority of the book reflects on night clubs of yesteryear and “Society” none of which was terrible interesting. In the last chapter he discusses his time in hospital ‘Gasping for Air’ due to Covid-19. I suspect his earlier book would have been more to my liking.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    Eddie Duchin's son Peter has come to represent an era that was nearly passed when he started providing dance music for debutante balls and parties. Born into privilege, he became virtually an orphan due to his mother's death when he was only a few days old, and the nature of his father's life as a band leader before succumbing to leukemia at the age of 41. Peter, however, was raised not by family as would be usual in this case, but by Averell and Marie Harriman in castle-like surroundings, and t Eddie Duchin's son Peter has come to represent an era that was nearly passed when he started providing dance music for debutante balls and parties. Born into privilege, he became virtually an orphan due to his mother's death when he was only a few days old, and the nature of his father's life as a band leader before succumbing to leukemia at the age of 41. Peter, however, was raised not by family as would be usual in this case, but by Averell and Marie Harriman in castle-like surroundings, and thus counted as his friends many well-known people such as Jimmy Stewart, George Plimpton, and Peter Beard and many others, defined as "good friends." Not a memoir in the usual sense, this book begins with a hilarious, embarrassing account of his first venture outside after suffering a stroke in 2013. Weaving between past and future, Duchin tells his story, featuring his quest post-stroke of trying to learn the lives of his parents and of them as flesh and blood, their personalities and influences, since he knew them only as two-dimensional black and white images. But beyond the parties and social experiences, he gives possibly the most graphic account of his experience with Covid-19, suffering 46 days of intubation. He's had a full life, but more than just a charming sophisticate at a piano, he has a big heart, finding gratification in charitable endeavors. Some lovely photographs accompany the text -- this is a stunning, generous sharing of a life.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I read Peter Duchin’s earlier memoir, GHOST OF A CHANCE, and enjoyed it as both a personal story and a social history. The son of Eddy Duchin, Peter has lived a life that touched so many important, historical giants, of the past years. I felt this was an opportunity to catch up on the events of the last years and recall the stories I found so fascinating. It did not disappoint. Sadly, Duchin has careened from health crisis to health crisis, not even being spared a bout with Covid. He has used th I read Peter Duchin’s earlier memoir, GHOST OF A CHANCE, and enjoyed it as both a personal story and a social history. The son of Eddy Duchin, Peter has lived a life that touched so many important, historical giants, of the past years. I felt this was an opportunity to catch up on the events of the last years and recall the stories I found so fascinating. It did not disappoint. Sadly, Duchin has careened from health crisis to health crisis, not even being spared a bout with Covid. He has used the time to delve into the lives of his parents. His mother died within days after his birth, while his father was aloof and largely absent. Though the earlier book had more depth in exploring the lives of others, this memoir was more personal and compelling. As a New Yorker I have seen his name associated with every major society event during the last 50 years. I truly enjoyed this opportunity to revisit the life of Peter Duchin. I plan to reread both his earlier memoir and that of his former wife, who is absent from this piece. Thank you Netgalley for this opportunity. I truly enjoyed this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Lomazow

    Peter Duchin has written a memoir that shares with us his life today the illnesses he suffers from a stroke to COVID.He has recovered and enjoying life again.Peter Duchin at one point was the toast of the town the society bandleader.He was friends with everyone from Jackie Onassis ,Audrey Hepburn who he actually on a date with.to Pat Buckley who when New York high society really glittered the parties such as Truman Capotes blackcaps and White Ball and of course he was the bandleader.This was a d Peter Duchin has written a memoir that shares with us his life today the illnesses he suffers from a stroke to COVID.He has recovered and enjoying life again.Peter Duchin at one point was the toast of the town the society bandleader.He was friends with everyone from Jackie Onassis ,Audrey Hepburn who he actually on a date with.to Pat Buckley who when New York high society really glittered the parties such as Truman Capotes blackcaps and White Ball and of course he was the bandleader.This was a dished read Peter Duchin was friends with everyone was at all high society events.I found his memoir so I teresting so many famous names so many interesting storie I really enjoyed from beginning to end.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This was a nice, quick read. I knew absolutely nothing about Peter Duchin, nor the tragedy of his parents' early deaths, so it was all new. He has a great sense of humor and it was enjoyable to learn about his life. This was a nice, quick read. I knew absolutely nothing about Peter Duchin, nor the tragedy of his parents' early deaths, so it was all new. He has a great sense of humor and it was enjoyable to learn about his life.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    I received an advance copy of, Face the Music by, Peter Duchin and Patricia Beard. I have never heard of Peter Duchin before, he seemed to live a great life until his stroke. I though Peter was a self centered, I did not care for him.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robin L. Rosenberg

  9. 5 out of 5

    Madelin Foster

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vapafe

  11. 4 out of 5

    Doubleday Books

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

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    Sarah

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    Eileen Mahlow

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    Kathleen Bianchi

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    Susan

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    Meenal

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    Aimey

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    Hannah

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    Taylor Alvis

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    Cathy L. Mason

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    Tammy Sealock

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    Tiffany Manning

  24. 5 out of 5

    Phoenix

  25. 4 out of 5

    Deven Choi

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    MJ Julian

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    Julia Moore

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    Katelyn Rieder

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    Sharon

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    Heather

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    Stephanie

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    Valerie Cunningham

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    Glen Helfand

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    Micielle

  35. 4 out of 5

    Logan Mendivil

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    Lydia Wallace

  37. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  38. 5 out of 5

    Sam

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