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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Average rating from 3 members
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.