BBC Proms 2019
Published annually to accompany the world's greatest classical music festival, the Festival Guide contains illustrated articles on composers and performers and complete listings for over 150 concerts, ranging from folk music to classical symphonies, concerti and choral works. The Guide also provides booking information and broadcast programme times.
The Supernatural Voice
A History of High Male Singing
The quest for ‘authentic’ performances of early music has inspired much interest in the Western tradition of falsetto singing. Challenging orthodox views, Ravens reconsiders the historical and musical evidence as he traces how various types of high male voice have been used in different periods.
The 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.
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.)
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.
The Advancement of Music in Enlightenment England
Benjamin Cooke and the Academy of Ancient Music
English musicians of the 18th century are often dismissed as conservative and parochial, but this study reveals one London institution’s forward-thinking activities. Combining Enlightenment ideas with the near-forgotten techniques of polyphony, the Academy of Ancient Music sought to rationalize musical taste and to raise music’s status as an expressive art.
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.
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.
Classic Hymns & Carols
Jerusalem, God of our fathers, Let us with a gladsome mind: many of our best-loved hymns are based on the words of famous British poets such as Cowper, Dryden, Kipling and Blake (whom Sir John Betjeman calls ‘our greatest religious poet’). This colourfully illustrated anthology presents the texts of 65 hymns and seven carols, with an appendix highlighting where these familiar versions differ from the original poems. Based on Hymns as Poetry (1980).
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.
The Leonard Bernstein Letters
Spanning six decades in the life of composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein (1918–90), this selection comprises 650 letters, in which he corresponds with members of his family, fellow musicians such as Aaron Copland, John Cage, Serge Koussevitzky and Stephen Sondheim, and admirers including Jacqueline Kennedy and Bette Davis. The volume also features Bernstein’s lengthy exchange with Walter Hussey, Dean of Chichester, which documents the process of commissioning, composing and performing the Chichester Psalms.
Letters of the American Harpsichordist and Scholar
This collection of letters to and from the harpsichordist, scholar and early music pioneer Ralph Kirkpatrick spans his career, from Paris in the 1930s to the 1980s, and includes a selection of family letters as well as correspondence with composers and colleagues.
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.
Mendelssohn, the Organ, and the Music of the Past
Constructing Historical Legacies
These twelve essays focus on the fascination shown by Mendelssohn (1809–47) with Bach’s organ music and the tradition of Palestrinian counterpoint, as well as his interest in Handel’s oratorios and the influence of Beethoven. Setting the composer within a wider cultural context, they also show how he promoted icons of the German past, such as Dürer, Gutenberg’s printing press, Luther and the Reformation, in works which would play their part in the growth of nationalism after his death.
Richard Wagner's Rebellious Granddaughter
As well as describing the life of Friedelind Wagner (1918–1991), the energetic and intelligent granddaughter of Richard and Cosima Wagner, this biography illuminates aspects of the cultural and musical life of her era. Translated by Chris Walton.
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 LaSalle Quartet
Conversations with Walter Levin
Founded in 1946 at the Juilliard School in New York, the LaSalle Quartet became famous for championing the work of the Second Viennese School and commissioning new pieces by contemporary composers. This book is based on extensive interviews with the quartet's first violinist Walter Levin, and combines reminiscences about their concerts and teaching activities with his insightful commentary on their wide-ranging repertoire. Appendices list every work performed by the quartet, both in concert and on disc.
Stand Up Straight and Sing!
Jessye Norman is one of the finest classical singers of our age, the possessor of a glorious voice of unique range and power. In this frank, engaging and insightful memoir, she tells of her journey from small-town America to the opera houses of London, Paris, Berlin and New York. She reflects on the dedication required to master her art, on racism and her political education in the Civil Rights movement, offering a rare insight into the woman behind the voice.
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.
In Search of Animals in Handel's Operas
Crime writer and Handel enthusiast Donna Leon presents a collection of twelve Handel arias that make reference to animals, from the lion (Qual leon che fere irato from Arianna in Crete) to a turtle dove (Fuor di periglio from Floridante). For each animal there is an illustration by Michael Sowa, the words of the aria in Italian and English and a short essay on its significance. The arias are performed on the accompanying audio CD, with Alan Curtis conducting Il Complesso Barocco.
The Royal Chapel in the Time of the Habsburgs
Music and Ceremony in the Early Modern European Court
Beginning with studies of the royal chapels of other European courts, this volume of 20 essays explores the patronage, organic structure and political and ceremonial structure of the royal chapel of the Spanish Hapsburgs. No jacket.
The First Four Notes
Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination
'Short enough to remember and portentous enough to be memorable', the opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony has been assigned all kinds of artistic, philosophical and political meanings during the two centuries since its composition. The First Four Notes is a survey of the Fifth's cultural influence in China, Russia and the United States, as well as its possible revolutionary origins and its use by both Allies and Nazis during the Second World War.
An Owner's Manual
The life of Richard Strauss (1864–1949) spanned a period of turmoil across Europe and within the realm of classical music. Showing how Strauss resisted atonal and serial trends to forge his own path, this listening guide surveys his major orchestral works, operas and a range of lesser-known treasures. The book comes with a 75-minute CD featuring recordings of the tone poem Don Juan, two orchestral songs and five excerpts from the operas. Unlocking the Masters series.