Literature is alive and vital in DeKalb and the Rockford area. I learned this after interviewing five authors for WNIJ's Summer Book Series, which airs every Friday in June.
This is the first such series by WNIJ News since I started hosting Morning Edition in 1997 and, to be honest, none of us knew anything about the authors who lived here. The only thing we knew was this: The books we wanted for this series should be the kind you'd want to read while on vacation.
Orphaned at age five from a musical family, French composer Félicien-César David had a religious upbringing, and would go to study at the Paris Conservatory in 1830. But he left after eighteen months, later making his way to Egypt, where music of the East would make a lasting impression on him.
David wrote a significant body of work, including a highly acclaimed and innovative symphonic ode Le Désert in 1844. It established him as the first French romantic orientalist and gained him a reputation throughout the continent.