‘Fifth Avenue Famous: The Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral’

"Fifth Avenue Famous: The Extraordinary Story of Music at St. Patrick's Cathedral" by Salvatore Basile; Fordham University Press; May 14, 2010.(Photo: Fordham University Press)
"Fifth Avenue Famous: The Extraordinary Story of Music at St. Patrick's Cathedral" by Salvatore Basile; Fordham University Press; May 14, 2010.(Photo: Fordham University Press)

Fifth Avenue Famous: The Extraordinary Story of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral by Salvatore Basile is a marvelous, entertaining read.

Basile, a cantor and historian at St. Patrick’s, has managed to write a book that’s humorous and respectful when discussing repertoire and the big BIG personalities that have peopled this great church for over 100 years.

Basile and I knew each other from a distance in Boston back in the day. It was fun to catch up yesterday by phone. We discussed his book, the Pontiff’s visit to St. Patrick’s in 2008 and Cathedral life in the days immediately after 9/11.

St. Patrick’s being in the heart of the most famous city in the world always attracts the finest musicians and leaders from the world of religion, politics and the arts. Making music at St. Patrick’s is in many ways making music for the world, especially now, when technology transcends geography.

Fifth Avenue Famous is, rather unexpectedly, as engrossing as any fine whodunit.

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