The Composition and Afterlife of Handel's Masterpiece
Composed in a three-week burst of creativity, Handel’s sacred oratorio Messiah took an audacious, unprecedented form. Keates explains how the composer and his librettist, Charles Jennens, devised its narrative and musical structure and how the oratorio relates to the cultural and spiritual contexts of Georgian England. He also describes its mixed reception at the first Dublin and London performances and the process by which it became established as one of the best-loved works in the choral repertoire.
The First Great Romantic Symphony
When it was first performed in 1805, Beethoven’s Third Symphony (the ‘Eroica’) baffled audiences with a size, complexity and expressiveness that broke the Viennese Classical mould and would change the course of Western music by making symphonies the vehicle for composers’ greatest thoughts. This guide to the work analyses its innovations and explores its biographical and political background, including Beethoven’s increasing deafness and his shifting opinions of Napoleon, to whom the ‘Eroica’ was once dedicated.
Fryderyck Franciszek Chopin
Illustrated Lives of the Great Composers
Quoting extensively from contemporaries of Chopin, Ateş Orga traces the composer’s life and musical career from his birth in the village of Żelazowa Wola, west of Warsaw, in 1810, to his life as an emigré in Paris and his tragically early death in 1849. A selection of his music is performed by Idil Biret on the accompanying CD.
Illustrated Lives of the Great Composers
Following Mahler from his birthplace in Kalist, Bohemia in 1860 to his early death in Vienna in 1911, Seckerson explores the vicissitudes of his reputation – internationally renowned as a conductor during his lifetime, Mahler was initially neglected as a composer after his death. The CD contains seven selections from the symphonies and three lieder.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Illustrated Lives of the Great Composers
Born in 1756, into a family where he ‘lived and breathed in an atmosphere of music’, Mozart was to become music’s most famous prodigy. Drawing on contemporary accounts and the composer’s letters, Woodford presents the story of a prolific musical life, cut short at the age of 35. The 15-track CD includes excerpts from the operas, concertos and requiems.
The Composition and Afterlife of Handel's Masterpiece
As he tells the story of Messiah’s genesis, Keates explains how Handel and his librettist fashioned a new kind of sacred oratorio. He then traces the work’s reception, from the mixed reactions at early performances to its current status as a well-loved classic.
Musicians of Bath and Beyond
Edward Loder (1809–1865) and his Family
The head of a very talented musical family, John David Loder (1788–1846) led the theatre orchestra in Bath and later the Philharmonic in London, and wrote the leading violin instruction manual of his time. Comprising 13 scholarly essays, this study of the Loders’ musical careers illuminates aspects of the music profession in the 19th century, music in the British colonies, and English Romantic opera.
George Smart and Nineteenth-Century London Concert Life
In presenting a critical biography of Sir George Thomas Smart (1776–1867), the significant musical animateur, conductor and founder of the Philharmonic Society, Carnelley also provides a contextual history of London concerts in the early decades of the 19th century.
The Faces and the Masks
Judith Chernaik describes Robert Schumann (1810–1856) as a key figure in Romanticism: ‘a true Romantic in his embrace of poetry and feeling, his love of emotional extremes, his intermingling of life and art’. In this groundbreaking biography she traces the composer’s life and musical career, from his provincial, middle-class upbringing to his tragically early death, and draws on the medical records kept by Schumann’s doctor to shed light on the composer’s final illness in the Endenich asylum.
A Global History
From the music of ancient Israel to modern country, folk and jazz, this richly illustrated history introduces the extraordinary breadth of Christian musical expression through the ages. The book traces both liturgical traditions and non-liturgical sacred music across the world, from Europe to China, and draws on the expertise of a team of scholars and musicians to discuss themes as varied as psalms, medieval chant, the 19th-century ‘hymn industry’ and the American gospel tradition.
And the Voice of the Castrato
The counter-tenor Nicholas Clapton presents a biography of Alessandro Moreschi (1858–1922), the only castrato singer whose voice can still be heard on an early 20th-century recording. The study offers ‘a glimpse into the vocal world of the 18th-century castrato superstars’, but also delves into the strange and lonely life beyond Moreschi’s fame.
Three Hundred Years of Composers' Instruments
The Cobbe Collection
This catalogue of the Cobbe Collection of keyboard instruments at Hatchlands Park comprises detailed descriptions, technical information and photographs of over 40 instruments, ranging in date from Charles II’s virginals (1664) to an organ by JW Walker of London (1903) and includes instruments that belonged to, among others, Bach, Haydn, Chopin and Elgar.
The Sea in the British Musical Imagination
From Purcell and Arne to Vaughan Williams and Maxwell Davies, British composers have often made use of maritime tropes. These twelve essays examine how their music reflects changes in Britons’ relationship with the sea, focusing on three themes: the sea as landscape, profession and metaphor. Slightly off-mint.
Richard Wagner's Beethoven (1870)
Written to mark Beethoven’s centenary, this long essay forms the principal aesthetic statement of Wagner’s later years and influenced the young Nietzsche. Allen’s new English translation faces the German original; his introduction places the essay within its historical, political and philosophical contexts.
Masques, Mayings and Music-Dramas
Vaughan Williams and the Early Twentieth-Century Stage
These eight essays elucidate a significant moment in the renaissance of English music-theatre. Focusing particularly on Vaughan Williams, they show how Wagner’s ideas influenced English composers who were reimagining dramatic traditions going back to Mummers’ plays, 17th-century masques and the music of Purcell.
One of the first internationally famous conductors, Richter (1843–1916) premiered works by Wagner, Brahms and Elgar. Fifield’s detailed biography draws on the letters and diaries of Richter and other prominent musicians; this expanded edition also features his complete ‘conducting books’ documenting 4,351 public performances. (Previously published as True Artist and True Friend.)
Encounters with British Composers
This collection of interviews provides insights into the daily routines and compositional processes of 39 contemporary British composers, including John Rutter, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and two Masters of the Queen’s Music (Judith Weir and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies). These eminent musicians, who work in a wide range of styles, also answer questions about the function and purpose of music, discuss the influence of Britishness on their work and share their advice for young composers.
The Composer and the Community
Beginning with Benjamin Britten’s speech On Receiving the First Aspen Award (1964) in which he expressed his commitment to community and place, this volume presents 20 essays, interviews and commentaries by composers, performers and facilitators reflecting on the role of the composer in the community in Britain during the last 50 years.
Histories of Modernist Music Drama from Parsifal to Nono
Beginning with the composer’s final stage work, Mark Berry traces the impact of Wagner on 20th-century opera. In particular he identifies how music drama, staging and political engagement intersect in the work of five composers with very different conceptions of a Wagnerian tradition.
Composing an American Life
One of America’s foremost composers reflects on his life and times, from the marching bands of his 1950s childhood to his acclaimed 2005 opera Doctor Atomic. He also explains the interplay of tradition and innovation in his own compositional process and the work of fellow-musicians.
Sounds and Sweet Airs
The Forgotten Women of Classical Music
For centuries female composers have been unjustly ignored and patronized, since they worked within a male-dominated musical culture that sought to exclude them, even to the extent of questioning their music’s authorship. The eight composers profiled here all challenged this prejudice with courage and pragmatism, from Francesca Caccini, who manipulated the gender politics of the Medici court, to Vaughan Williams’ pupil Elizabeth Maconchy, who fought back against sexism by working with ‘rigid self-discipline’.
The Rameau Compendium
Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683–1764) was a composer and performer of operas, keyboard works and chamber music, but also a sophisticated theorist and teacher. This reference work, by a leading authority on French Baroque music, reflects the full range of those activities. The book begins with a short biography drawing attention to significant patterns in his life and work; the rest of the volume forms a Rameau ‘dictionary’ with entries on people, places, instruments and institutions as well as the composer’s own works.
Musorgsky & His Circle
A Russian Musical Adventure
The 'Mighty Handful' of five Russian composers who came together in St Petersburg in the 1860s had little musical education, but they created some of the most popular music in the classical repertoire, including Borodin's Prince Igor and Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade. Walsh's study analyses how this rare example of a creative musical collective worked and reveals the crucial role played by their mentor, the art historian Vladimir Stasov, in fostering a Russian nationalist music. Slightly off-mint and American-cut pages.
The Last Waltz
The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna
Europe’s capital of music and the centre of café culture, Vienna was the home of the two waltz kings, Johann Strauss and his even more successful son of the same name. Illustrated with contemporary photographs, paintings and drawings, this biography describes their musical careers and sets their success in the context of their city in the second half of the 19th century, when the power of the Austro-Hungarian Empire declined.
Dark, Strange, and Fascinating Tales from the World of Classical Music and Beyond
This light-hearted ‘horrible history’ of Western music tells an assortment of tragic, macabre and often apocryphal tales involving composers and musicians from ancient to modern times. Among stories of thieves and murderers are accounts of cursed songs, a dream of the devil and the ‘after-death adventures’ of two famous skulls. Part one focuses on composers, while part two explores ‘dark and weird musical miscellany’ with references to rock, folk and jazz.
Now best remembered as the conductor of Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra, Sir Hamilton Harty (1879–1941) began his career in Ulster and Dublin before coming to prominence in London as a piano accompanist. This biography reveals how he was influenced by these early experiences, analyses the debates he provoked on such topics as jazz and modernism and emphasizes his parallel career as a composer of orchestral works, chamber music and songs. The book ends with complete lists of Harty’s recordings and compositions.
Dear Green Sounds
Glasgow's Music Through Time and Buildings
‘A blazingly musical city... Glasgow became a UNESCO City of Music in 2008 thanks to the countless kinds of music that coexist on these streets.’ This volume reflects the diversity of the city and its sounds in 21 richly illustrated essays on the music, history and life of 20 different venues, from the Cathedral to King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, by way of pubs, recording studios, concert halls, ballrooms, the College of Piping and the legendary Apollo.
Make a Joyful Noise
Renaissance Art and Music at Florence Cathedral
Luca della Robbia’s fine Cantoria – an organ loft and singers’ gallery – was installed in Florence Cathedral in 1438, opposite a similar structure by Donatello. The essays in this beautifully illustrated volume present analysis of details from the Cantoria’s carved reliefs depicting musicians, as well as research into the organs and choirbooks that were once used in the gallery. A postscript describes how this Renaissance masterpiece has been displayed in its new context at the Museo dell’Opera.
Messiaen Perspectives 2
Techniques, Influence and Reception
The second of a two-volume work that examines Olivier Messiaen’s interconnections with his cultural milieux, this collection of 14 essays analyses his compositional approach and the repercussions of his music and includes Robert Fallon’s Catalogue of Messiaen’s Birds.
The Story of Naxos
The Extraordinary Story of The Independent Record Label that Changed Classical Recording for Ever
Created in 1987 to produce affordable digital recordings, the Naxos label is now the world’s leading provider of classical music. This history of the company explains how it grew despite opposition from established labels and why the catalogue expanded from its core repertoire to include early music and specialist material. As well as interviews with Naxos artists, the book also features information on the day-to-day operation of the business and the process of editing, production, distribution and promotion. Foreword by Naxos founder Klaus Heymann.
New York Composers' Forum Concerts
Melissa J de Graaf tells the story of the Composers’ Forum, a free weekly concert series at which American composers such as Aaron Copland, Amy Beach and Henry Cowell introduced their work to a newly developing audience for modern music. She also analyses the transcripts of the question-and-answer sessions sponsored by the Forum: reflecting its inclusive, populist ideology, these conversations offer remarkable insights into New Yorkers’ diverse reactions to the music and their attitudes to modernism, politics and American identity.
Mozart at the Gateway to His Fortune
Serving the Emperor, 1788-1791
In December 1787 Mozart was appointed to a post in the Viennese court, which he anticipated would lead to a long and successful career. But his premature death four years later amid severe financial troubles has led scholars to seek signs of decline and autumnal writing in his later works. Wolff reassesses the outpouring of ambitious, innovative compositions during these final years, using both Mozart's letters and analysis of his music to show that he was actually making an energetic fresh beginning.
The Master's Style
The conductor Herbert von Karajan (1908–1989) left his unmistakable mark on a wide and diverse repertoire ranging from Bach to contemporary composers, and modernized the image of the conductor as a figure of casual sartorial elegance. This photographic biography, published jointly by La Scala in Milan and the Karajan Institute in Salzburg, draws not only on the public photographs that chart the Austrian maestro's career but also on intimate family snapshots that reveal the private man.
Lennox Berkeley and Friends
Writings, Letters and Interviews
Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989) was one of the most influential English composers of the 20th century. This biography charts his life and career in his own words. After an introduction by Dickinson, who first met Berkeley in 1956, it presents its subject's account of the musical life of Paris between the wars, his letters to his teacher Nadia Boulanger, and his first-hand memories of fellow composers Ravel, Poulenc, Stravinsky and Britten, as well as Dickinson's interviews with Berkeley's colleagues and friends.
Haydn's Visits to England
The year 1790 brought the death of Haydn's patron Nicolaus Esterházy and the subsequent sacking of his music staff; the impresario Johann Peter Salomon seized this moment to lure the celebrity composer to London for two visits in 1791–2 and 1794–5. Hogwood makes extensive use of contemporary documents – such as newspaper reports and Haydn's own notebooks and letters – to examine the English public's Haydn-mania and the composer's own reactions to new people and experiences. No jacket.
Mozart's music has enthralled listeners for centuries. In this concise biography, the historian Paul Johnson charts the composer's life from the age of three, when he first recognized chords, to the creation of his mature masterpieces Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro. Dispelling popular myths, it explores his relationships with his father, his wife and the royal court of Vienna, and highlights the intelligence, wit, charisma and drive of this extraordinarily gifted man.