My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I requested, and received, a review copy of Imperfect Harmony, but I didn’t really know what to expect. I used to belong to a local community choir and it was something I mostly enjoyed, so I thought a book of someone sharing stories and anecdotes of choir experiences would be something fairly interesting to read. Although the book contained some of this, it really was a whole lot more and, in fact, turned out to be one of my most enjoyable reads so far this year.
Stacy Horn has written a book well worth reading. What really came through in her writing is her passion for music. I really enjoy music as well, so I found this book a pleasure to read. The book centres around her singing experiences in the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York, but around these she shares the history of many of her favourite choral pieces, along with some moments of the history of choirs, choral societies, and music in general. Intertwined among all of this we are given glimpses into her personal life and how she came to be involved in this particular amateur choir.
I really enjoyed reading much of the historical stuff that she shared. It was interesting to read how at one time it was not considered respectable for women to be members of a choir or choral society. It was also very interesting to read about the history of some of the pieces the choir sings as well as the background of some of the composers. I was inspired to check out some of the pieces she mentioned that I’m not familiar with and have added some of these to my own music collection. One piece, in particular, is O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen, a composer, I have to admit, who was previously unknown to me.
Horn shares how music can be a great benefit to one’s life, especially in difficult times, sharing some of her own moments where this has been the case. I found myself being able to identify with some of her experiences as well.
I think that one of the best things about this book is that it can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of how musical they may or my not be. I gave it 5 stars because it really was an enjoyable read and also because I learned so much in reading it. If you have even the faintest passing interest in music, I’d recommend putting this book on your reading list.
(Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers, but this in no way influenced my opinion or review)