In this Book

Musical Mysteries
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summary
An engrossing look at the interplay between crime and music

Crime has formed the basis of countless plots in music theater and opera. Several famous composers were murder victims or believed to be murdered, and one of the greatest Renaissance composers slaughtered his wife and her lover. In Musical Mysteries, renowned true crime historian Albert Borowitz turns his attention to the long and complex history of music and crime. The book is divided into two parts. The first addresses three aspects of musical crime: the clashes between envious and competitive musicians, the recurrent question of whether genius and criminality can coexist in the same soul, and the jarring contrast between the creative artist and the violent melodrama of everyday life. Borowitz explores eight infamous crimes and crime legends, including the suspected killing of Robert Cambert by his rival, opera composer Jean-Baptiste Lully; the lurid slaying by sixteenth-century madrigal composer Carlo Gesualdo of his unfaithful wife; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s supposed murder at the hands of Antonio Salieri; and the stalking and murder of John Lennon by Mark Chapman. The second part examines crimes in music, looking at such diverse examples as the “Song of Lamech”, the second biblical killer; the preoccupation of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas with corporate law and fraud; and the violent character of Jud Fry in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

This interdisciplinary study of musical crimes and criminals offers readers Borowitz’s characteristic close, learned analysis and insightful, engaging prose. Musical Mysteries will appeal to true crime aficionados as well as students of social and music history.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xiii
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  1. Part One The Musician as Murderer or Victim
  2. p. 1
  1. 1 Lully and the Death of Cambert
  2. pp. 3-15
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  1. 2 Salieri and the “Murder” of Mozart
  2. pp. 16-37
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  1. 3 Finale Marked Presto: The Killing of Leclair
  2. pp. 38-49
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  1. 4 Carlo Gesualdo: Murder and Madrigals
  2. pp. 50-64
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  1. 5 Alessandro Stradella: Revenge for Love
  2. pp. 65-72
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  1. 6 The Tragic Night of Anton Webern
  2. pp. 73-86
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  1. 7 The Deadly Vacation of Marc Blitzstein
  2. pp. 87-97
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  1. 8 The Stalking of John Lennon
  2. pp. 98-104
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  1. Part Two Crime in Music
  2. p. 105
  1. 9 Lamech, the Second Biblical Killer: A Song with Variations
  2. pp. 107-124
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  1. 10 Gilbert and Sullivan on Corporation Law: Utopia, Limited and the Panama Canal Frauds
  2. pp. 125-142
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  1. 11 “Pore Jud is Daid”: Violence and Lawlessness in the Plays of Lynn Riggs
  2. pp. 143-168
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 169-177
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