Music (and Music CDs)
The 100 Greatest Cover Versions
The Ultimate Playlist
Robert Webb, the Independent’s music writer, tells the stories behind his selection of 100 cover versions, from The Kingsmen’s Louie Louie (originally by Richard Berry) to the Ramones’ Baby I Love You (originally by the Ronettes), with a bonus track: Smells Like Teen Spirit – one of the most covered songs of the last 25 years.
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 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.
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.)
Containing 450 letters (in English translation), this volume sheds light on the life and work of the important Viennese music theorist. His communications with such figures as Wilhelm Furtwängler and Paul Hindemith reveal the nature and extent of his influence as teacher, writer and administrator.
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.
Elvis: The Legend
The Authorized Book from the Graceland Archives
Elvis's career began to take off in 1955 when he was picked up by the shady Dutch-born promoter ’Colonel' Tom Parker, who secured a major recording deal. The contract sent to Elvis's parents (as the singer's guardians) to authorize Parker as manager is one of the items of memorabilia reproduced in this celebration of Elvis's career, which includes many concert and promotional photographs, film stills and posters as well as private snaps and personal documents.
Many of the great operatic singers of the 20th century led lives as extraordinary as the characters they portrayed on stage. In this refreshingly readable survey, acclaimed tenor and BBC presenter Nigel Douglas assesses the lives and careers of 14 great singers, from Enrico Caruso to Kirsten Flagstad, from Lotte Lehmann to Fritz Wunderlich. The book provides anecdotes and recollections from those who knew them, and also recommends the best CDs of their work.
The Definitive Biography
One of the most charismatic actors of his generation, Peter O'Toole (1932–2013) brought a dangerous edge to both his roles and his life. Drawing on exclusive interviews with colleagues and friends, this biography from the author of Hellraisers paints an intimate picture of a complex, much-loved man. From the mystery of his place of birth through his formative years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the book charts his celebrated performances, his turbulent relationships and his drunken antics.
The Crafty Art of Opera
For Those Who Make It, Love It or Hate It
Acclaimed director Michael Hampe presents ‘useful rules’ for staging opera, giving examples from his work with singers and conductors. He discusses such questions as how to move on stage and how to convey comedy, aiming to help performers realize the art form’s full potential.
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.
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.
The Complete Lou Reed Story
Sent for electroshock treatment to cure behavioural problems as a teenager, Lou Reed continued to be unconventional and provocative in his career with the Velvet Underground and as a solo performer. This biography explores his influential work and volatile private life.
Sweet Dreams Are Made of This
A Life in Music
Dave Stewart’s career as songwriter, performer and producer has spanned four decades. In this memoir he shares the stories behind his creative partnerships with a host of musicians and his rise to global stardom with Annie Lennox as Eurythmics. Foreword by Mick Jagger. Off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill
Jerry Dantzic was commissioned to photograph Billie Holiday during a week-long engagement at Sugar Hill jazz club in Newark, New Jersey, in 1957. Allowed into her inner circle, Dantzic was able to capture intimate moments backstage and at the singer's Manhattan apartment, as well as atmospheric shots of her performances. The 100 images in this portfolio present a poignant portrait of the troubled star two years before her death at the age of 44.
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.
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 Elvis Encyclopedia
Elvis's output was prodigious: over 100 singles, more than 100 albums and dozens of films and TV specials. As a leading music and movie star he came into contact with almost everyone of note in the entertainment industry and his humble origins and unprecedented success made his private life a particular source of fascination for fans. This book draws all these strands together in a comprehensive alphabetical reference work of all things Elvis.
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 Great Composers and Their Masterworks
This guide to the world of opera covers the whole history of the art form, from the early Baroque masterpieces of Monteverdi and Cavalli to works by such modern composers as Britten, John Adams and Thea Musgrave. Ranging across Europe, Russia and the United States, the book provides concise biographies of more than 50 composers, with synopses of their key works, photographs of productions and details of famous arias and choruses. Preface by Lord Harewood and foreword by Bryn Terfel.
An Intimate Portrait of a Musical Legend
This biography of Dusty Springfield, one of the most celebrated pop stars of the 1960s, not only discusses her musical development and lasting legacy, but also delves beyond the professional persona to explore her somewhat troubled private life. Interviews with friends, lovers, employees and other confidants shed light on Springfield's relationships, addictions and struggles with her sexuality. Through it all, however, is the music that brought so much joy to so many.
Psychedelia and Other Colours
The music writer Rod Chapman takes ‘the scenic route’ in his exploration of the history and cultural impact of LSD in the mid 1960s. Starting with earlier experiments with drugs by poets, painters and musicians, Chapman describes what was really going on, from Haight-Ashbury hippies to Charles Manson in the USA, and from Love Me Do to the trajectory of the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones ‘from blues purist to experimentalist to crushed spirit’.
The Genius of Valhalla
The Life of Reginald Goodall
Reginald Goodall (1901–1990) conducted the triumphant 1945 premiere of Britten's Peter Grimes, but it was not until the Wagner performances of his last two decades that he became well known. In this update of his 1993 book Reggie, John Lucas uses letters, diaries and interviews with Goodall himself to unravel the mysteries of his early life and wartime Mosleyite sympathies; he also catalogues the frustrations of Goodall's years at Covent Garden and the positive critical responses to his Ring cycle.
The Sacred in Music
Despite the central role of music in religion, academic theology has treated its sacred significance as a peripheral concern. In a provocative exploration of the connections between theology and music theory, Blackwell redresses this balance. Bringing together the perspectives of different Christian traditions, he uses the concept of 'sacramental potential' to show how these two interdependent 'realms of experience veiled in mystery' can work together in worship to place the essence of the divine in human minds.
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.
The Triumph of the Will
How do we come to terms with a great artist who was also a monstrous human being? Richard Wagner was a mass of contradictions: charming, aggressive, radical, reactionary, visionary and virulently anti-Semitic. In this learned account, Simon Callow plunges the reader into the composer’s world, setting his epic music dramas against a turbulent backdrop of poverty, revolution, violent controversy, critical contempt and hysterical hero-worship.
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 Story Of British Classical Music
Anthony Burton’s 20,000-word essay surveys a millennium of British music, illustrating its distinctive features through the pieces assembled on the accompanying pair of CDs. These 47 tracks range from an anonymous motet honouring St Thomas of Canterbury (c.1300), via such composers including Boyce, Bax and Britten, to Colin Matthews’ Pluto, the Renewer, written in 2000 to complement Holst’s The Planets.
Classic Album Covers of the 60s
By the early 1960s, jazz record labels had established a pattern of creating stylish and contemporary artwork for their artists' records, while the pop industry was predominantly using jaunty portraits of the musicians overlaid with block type. This review of the decade's album covers, compiled by legendary cover designer Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis, traces the development of the art form in over 200 examples, chosen for their artistic or cultural importance rather than the significance of the music.
Blues in Black & White
The Landmark Ann Arbor Blues Festivals
The blues, and specifically the electric Chicago blues of the 1950s and 1960s, were hugely influential in the development of popular music, but not until the Ann Arbor Blues Festival of 1969 had the genre been presented to a mainstream American audience. This atmospheric photographic record of the legendary inaugural festivals in 1969 and 1970 includes images of Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, BB King and Howlin' Wolf, among many others.
A household name since his prodigious childhood, the violinist and conductor Sir Yehudi Menuhin (1916–99) strove to use his fame to draw attention to many humanitarian issues. Humphrey Burton, who knew Menuhin for 40 years, compiled this biography with full access to his subject’s personal archive; it offers a rounded portrait of his family life and his wide-ranging activities as performer, teacher and ‘musical diplomat’. The preface to this centenary edition highlights Menuhin’s continuing legacy.
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.
Stats, Records & Rock 'N' Roll
Fine-Tuned Infographics to Rock Your World
From a chart of literary band names to a world map of independent record labels, a graph plotting the best World Cup songs and a timeline of the evolution of percussion instruments, this book presents 80 colourful music trivia infographics.
The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine
Jann Wenner created a new type of magazine with Rolling Stone in 1967, mixing politics with serious pop-music journalism. This biography was written with extensive access to the controversial editor as well as interviews with leading rock stars.
I Saw the Light
The Story of Hank Williams
One of the most significant figures in American popular music, Hank Williams (1923–1953) rose to fame in the late 1940s, but alcohol and drug abuse made him difficult to work with and contributed to his untimely death. This definitive biography, updated with new information about the singer that has emerged in recent years, forms the basis of the 2015 film of the same title.
Growing up in a humble shack in America’s poorest state, Elvis Presley dreamed that success would free him from poverty. So how did he become dependent on bank loans even after achieving huge worldwide fame, and why did he despise his own movies and songs, even fearing that he would be forgotten after his death? This biography focuses on identifying the origins of the contradictions and frailties that lay behind Elvis’s charming, confident onstage persona.
Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink
The son of a big band singer, Declan McManus emerged from the post Punk era as one of the most significant British songwriters of his generation. This thoughtful memoir discusses his long career and many collaborations with other artists including Paul McCartney and Burt Bacharach. Felt tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Music in the Air
The Selected Writings of Ralph J Gleason
This volume collects material from books, essays, interviews and album notes written by the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine. Full of his insights into a variety of genres and musicians, it also highlights wider cultural trends of the mid 20th century.
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.