A magnificent collection of essays, opinions, and reflections on life, culture, art, love, and music-always lyrical, witty, and brazenly provocative-from one of the most acclaimed contemporary American composers Time magazine has called Ned Rorem "the world's best composer of art songs." But his genius does not end in the realm of classical music. Rorem has a rare gift for writing, as well, and the wide acclaim that has greeted his memoirs, essay collections, and published diaries attest to this fact. An Absolute Gift is a cornucopia of Roremisms-essays, reviews, and opinions on a vast array of fascinating subjects, from music to film to drama to sex. Here also are candid diary entries, displaying the frankness and remarkable insight for which Rorem is known. Whether he's lambasting or celebrating the world's great musical works and their creators (and, according to Stephen Sondheim, "He is one of the best writers about music that I have ever read"), offering intensely personal musings on death and love, or brilliantly dissecting the artist's craft, Ned Rorem is always fascinating, always provocative, and enormously entertaining.