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.
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.
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’.
Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) is now celebrated as a great composer, but during his lifetime he was best known for his activities as a conductor. This meticulously researched volume, by one of the world’s foremost Mahler experts, assembles evidence for the dates, locations and programmes of more than 320 concerts in which Mahler participated as conductor or pianist. Many documents are reproduced in facsimile; and an appendix surveys Mahler’s 2,025 opera performances.
The Symphonic Repertoire
Volume 1 The Eighteenth-Century Symphony
A vast amount of symphonic music survives from the 18th century, when Haydn, Mozart and many ‘minor’ composers across Europe created the formal conventions that would long govern the writing of symphonies. In chapters organized by country to reflect the development of regional styles, this volume’s 22 contributors address issues such as the correct attribution of works, the importance of patronage, orchestration techniques and early performance contexts. The book comes with a CD featuring recordings of music by eight little-known composers.
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
An empire was dying, but the band played on, reeling out one intoxicating waltz after another: Voices of Spring, Tales from the Vienna Woods, The Blue Danube… This absorbing narrative tells the story of the two Waltz Kings, Johann Strauss father and son, whose melodies beguiled Europe even as the family was riven with tension, jealousy and feuds, mirroring the dysfunction of the Austrian Empire as it danced and drank its way to catastrophe.
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.
Conducting for a New Era
In this guide for conductors faced with modern music’s rhythmic complexity, Edwin Roxburgh combines insights from his own experience of conducting premières with the views of other performers and composers. After giving advice on basic principles of technique he presents case studies showing how to deal with such challenges as irregular pulses, aleatoric scores and live electronics. The accompanying DVD illustrates his approach and features performance demonstrations of Boulez’s Le Marteau sans maître. Foreword by Sir Andrew Davis.
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.
Sir Harrison Birtwistle is one of Britain’s greatest contemporary composers, but has usually been reluctant to discuss his music. In 2013, as he approached the age of 80, he agreed to take part in this series of conversations, which happened mostly at his kitchen table, over a period of six months. They offer insights into his career and compositional process, his thoughts on the composers whom he most admires and his non-musical interests, such as cricket, nature and his family.