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An Intimate Portrait
George Gershwin lived with purpose and gusto, but with melancholy as well, for he was unable to make a place for himself--no family of his own and no real home in music._x000B__x000B_He and his siblings received little love from their mother and no direction from their father. The closest George came to domesticity was his longtime affair with fellow composer Kay Swift. But she remained married to another man while he went endlessly from woman to woman. Only in the final hours of his life did he realize how much he needed her. Fatally ill, unprotected by (and perhaps estranged from) his older brother Ira, he was exiled by Ira's hard-edged wife Leonore from the house that she and the brothers shared, and he died horribly and alone at the age of thirty-eight._x000B__x000B_Nor did Gershwin find a satisfying musical harbor. For years his genius could be expressed only in the ephemeral world of show business, as his brilliance as a composer of large-scale works went unrecognized by highbrow music critics. When he resolved this quandary with his opera Porgy and Bess, critics were unable to understand or validate it. Decades would pass before his most ambitious composition was universally regarded as one of music's lasting treasures and before his stature as a great composer became secure._x000B__x000B_In this book, Walter Rimler makes use of fresh sources, including newly discovered letters by Kay Swift as well as correspondence between and interviews with intimates of Ira and Leonore Gershwin. It is written with spirited prose and contains more than two dozen photographs.
A Life of Music
This book is the first full biography of George Szell, one of the greatest orchestra and opera conductors of the twentieth century. From child prodigy pianist and composer to world-renowned conductor, Szell's career spanned seven decades, and he led most of the great orchestras and opera companies of the world. A protege of composer-conductor Richard Strauss at the Berlin State Opera, his crowning achievement was his twenty-four-year tenure as musical director of the Cleveland Orchestra. Under Szell's baton, the orchestra developed into one of the world's greatest ensembles, recording extensively and touring triumphantly in the United States, Europe, the Soviet Union, South Korea, and Japan._x000B__x000B_Michael Charry, a conductor who worked with Szell and interviewed him, his family, and his associates, constructs a lively and balanced portrait of Szell's life and work, detailing his personal and musical qualities, his recordings and broadcast concerts, his approach to the great works of the orchestral repertoire, and his famous orchestrational changes and interpretation of the symphonies of Robert Schumann. The book also lists his conducting repertoire and includes a comprehensive discography of Szell's recorded performances.
The Life and Music of the Pride of New England
In many ways, this is the story of the birth of the American style in classical music. George Whitefield Chadwick (1854-1931) was one of the most significant and influential American composers at the turn of the twentieth century and a leading light of the Boston cultural scene. Bill F. Faucett offers a detailed exploration of Chadwick's life and art utilizing archival material only recently made available. These crucial primary sources, including letters, diaries, and memoirs, enable a deeper and more nuanced understanding of Chadwick's music and aesthetic perspective, and provide a clearer lens through which to view his life, career, and times. The book traces Chadwick's story from his earliest musical education to his surging career in Boston's nascent musical culture of the 1880s, to his fruitful middle years, and finally to his later life and towering legacy. In addition to bringing newfound appreciation of Chadwick's life, Faucett's book offers penetrating examinations of his major compositions and a vivid re-creation of Boston's rich and influential musical and cultural scene.
This book will appeal to a broad audience of music lovers, scholars, and anyone interested in nineteenth-century American music and the Boston cultural scene.
An Army Bandsman in World War II
"Frank Mathias was a teenager in a small town when the draft swept him into the army and then halfway around the world to the jungles of the South Pacific. He served in the huge invasion force in the Battle of Manila, the deadliest single battle of the Pacific War. As an army musician attached to the 37th Infantry Division, Mathias saw the war from the bottom of the heap, where young privates lived and died. In his best selling book The GI Generation, Mathias tells of growing up in small-town America between the wars. In GI Jive he recalls the gritty experience of combat as well as the music and the homefront pleasures the GIs fought to preserve."
Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) is the world’s most frequently performed operatic composer, yet he is only beginning to receive serious scholarly attention. In Giacomo Puccini and His World, an international roster of music specialists, several writing on Puccini for the first time, offers a variety of new critical perspectives on the composer and his works. Containing discussions of all of Puccini’s operas from Manon Lescaut (1893) to Turandot (1926), this volume aims to move beyond clichés of the composer as a Romantic epigone and to resituate him at the heart of early twentieth-century musical modernity.
This collection’s essays explore Puccini’s engagement with spoken theater and operetta, and with new technologies like photography and cinema. Other essays consider the philosophical problems raised by “realist” opera, discuss the composer’s place in a variety of cosmopolitan formations, and reevaluate Puccini’s orientalism and his complex interactions with the Italian fascist state. A rich array of primary source material, including previously unpublished letters and documents, provides vital information on Puccini’s interactions with singers, conductors, and stage directors, and on the early reception of the verismo movement. Excerpts from Fausto Torrefranca’s notorious Giacomo Puccini and International Opera, perhaps the most vicious diatribe ever directed against the composer, appear here in English for the first time.
The contributors are Micaela Baranello, Leon Botstein, Alessandra Campana, Delia Casadei, Ben Earle, Elaine Fitz Gibbon, Walter Frisch, Michele Girardi, Arthur Groos, Steven Huebner, Ellen Lockhart, Christopher Morris, Arman Schwartz, Emanuele Senici, and Alexandra Wilson.
Arthur Judson and American Arts Management
This biography charts the career and legacy of the pioneering American music manager Arthur Judson (1881 - 1975), who rose to prominence in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. A violinist by training, Judson became manager of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1915 under the iconic conductor Leopold Stokowski. Within a few years, Judson also took on management of the New York Philharmonic as well as several individual artists and most of the important conductors working in America. In addition to his colorful career behind the scenes at two preeminent American orchestras, Judson founded a nationwide network of local managers and later became involved in the relatively unexplored medium of radio, working first with WEAF in New York City and then later forming his own national radio network in 1927. Providing valuable insight into the workings of these orchestras and the formative years of arts management, The Great Orchestrator: Arthur Judson and American Arts Management is a valuable portrait of one of the most powerful managers in American musical history.
The musical voice of Texas presents itself as vast and diverse as the Lone Star State’s landscape. According to Casey Monahan, “To travel Texas with music as your guide is a year-round opportunity to experience first-hand this amazing cultural force….Texas music offers a vibrant and enjoyable experience through which to understand and enjoy Texas culture.”
From the Spiritual to the Harlem Renaissance
Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949) played a leading role in American music and culture in the twentieth century. Celebrated for his arrangements of spirituals, Burleigh was also the first African American composer to create a significant body of art song. An international roster of opera and recital singers performed his works and praised them as among the best of their time. Jean E. Snyder traces Burleigh's life from his Pennsylvania childhood through his fifty-year tenure as soloist at St. George's Episcopal Church in Manhattan. As a composer, Burleigh's pioneering work preserved and transformed the African American spiritual; as a music editor, he facilitated the work of other black composers; as a role model, vocal coach, and mentor, he profoundly influenced American song; and in private life he was friends with Antonín Dvořák, Marian Anderson, Will Marion Cook, and other America luminaries. Snyder provides rich historical, social, and political contexts that explore Burleigh's professional and personal life within an era complicated by changes in race relations, class expectations, and musical tastes.
George Jones, Billy Sherrill, and the Pretty-Much Totally True Story of the Making of the Greatest Country Record of All Time
When George Jones recorded "He Stopped Loving Her Today" more than thirty years ago, he was a walking disaster. Twin addictions to drugs and alcohol had him drinking Jim Beam by the case and snorting cocaine as long as he was awake. Before it was over, Jones would be bankrupt, homeless, and an unwilling patient at an Alabama mental institution. In the midst of all this chaos, legendary producer Billy Sherrill-the man who discovered Tammy Wynette and cowrote "Stand by Your Man"-would somehow coax the performance of a lifetime out of the mercurial Jones. The result was a country masterpiece.
He Stopped Loving Her Today, the story behind the making of the song often voted the best country song ever by both critics and fans, offers an overview of country music's origins and a search for the music's elusive Holy Grail: authenticity. The schizoid bottom line-even though country music is undeniably a branch of the make believe world of show biz, to fans and scholars alike, authenticity remains the ultimate measure of the music's power.
A Grand Opera for the Twenty-first Century
Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s grand opera Moby-Dick was a stunning success in the world premiere production by the Dallas Opera in 2010. Robert K. Wallace attended the final performance of the Dallas production and has written this book so readers can experience the process by which this contemporary masterpiece was created and performed on stage. Interviews with the creative team and draft revisions of the libretto and score show the opera in the process of being born. Interviews with the principal singers and the production staff follow the five-week rehearsal period into the world premiere production, each step of the way illustrated by more than two hundred color photographs by Karen Almond. Opera fans, lovers of Moby-Dick, and students of American and global culture will welcome this book as highly readable and visually enthralling account of the creation of a remarkable new opera that does full justice to its celebrated literary source. Just as Heggie and Scheer’s opera is enjoyed by operagoers with no direct knowledge of Moby-Dick, so will this book be enjoyed by opera fans unaware of Melville and by Melville fans unaware of opera.