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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 A rich array of primary source material, including previously unpublished letters and documents, provides vital information on Puccini’s interactions with singers, conductors, and stage directors, and on the early reception of the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.
The Life of Pee Wee King
Pee Wee King's birth on February 18, 1914, into a Milwaukee working-class Polish family named Kuczynski was hardly an indicator that he would grow up to become a pioneer and superstar of country and western music. Certainly no one in the Polish-German community of his youth could have foreseen his influence on the direction of American popular music or his enduring fame on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Even Pee Wee King himself is incredulous at the unlikely twists and turns of his life and career.
Pee Wee King is best remembered today as the co-writer of the most popular country music song of all time, The Tennessee Waltz. He is just as important, however, for his vital role in expanding the horizons, and the market potential, of country and western music. He took the polka and waltz rhythms of his youth, mixed them with the sounds of the big bands of the thirties and forties, and flavored it all with the balladry and moods of the Western cowboy. He combined this new sound with folk and country traditions rooted in places like Louisville, Knoxville, and Nashville. The result was a smooth, listenable, danceable, up-to-date sound that has become the most popular form of music in the United States.
Recipient of numerous awards, including induction into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Pee Wee King has been one of the most important figures in country music for over sixty years. Told in King's own voice and words, this biography, based on many hours of taped conversations, is the first account of King's incredible life and career. Featuring a star-studded cast of characters from the history of music -- Eddy Arnold, Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, Gene Autry, Patti Page, and many others -- this memorable book is a must-read for any fan of country music.
Reinventing Film Music
Through film composer Henry Mancini, mere background music in movies became part of pop culture--an expression of sophistication and wit with a modern sense of cool and a lasting lyricism that has not dated. The first comprehensive study of Mancini's music, Henry Mancini: Reinventing Film Music describes how the composer served as a bridge between the Big Band period of World War II and the impatient eclecticism of the Baby Boomer generation, between the grand formal orchestral film scores of the past and a modern American minimalist approach. Mancini's sound seemed to capture the bright, confident, welcoming voice of the middle class's new efficient life: interested in pop songs and jazz, in movie and television, in outreach politics but also conventional stay-at-home comforts. As John Caps shows, Mancini easily combined it all in his music._x000B__x000B_Mancini wielded influence in Hollywood and around the world with his iconic scores: dynamic jazz for the noirish detective TV show Peter Gunn, the sly theme from The Pink Panther, and his wistful folk song "Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Through insightful close readings of key films, Caps traces Mancini's collaborations with important directors and shows how he homed in on specific dramatic or comic aspects of the film to create musical effects through clever instrumentation, eloquent musical gestures, and meaningful resonances and continuities in his scores. Accessible and engaging, this fresh view of Mancini's oeuvre and influence will delight and inform fans of film and popular music.
Bob Dylan’s Road from Minnesota to the World
The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt
The writer of such influential songs as “Pancho and Lefty,” “To Live’s to Fly,” “If I Needed You,” and “For the Sake of the Song,” Townes Van Zandt exerted an influence on at least two generations of Texas musicians that belies his relatively brief, deeply troubled life. Indeed, Van Zandt has influenced millions worldwide in the years since his death, and his impact is growing rapidly. Respected singer/songwriter John Gorka speaks for many when he says, “‘Pancho and Lefty’ changed—it unchained—my idea of what a song could be.” In this tightly woven, intelligently written book, Brian T. Atkinson interviews both well-known musicians and up-and-coming artists to reveal, in the performers’ own words, how their creative careers have been shaped by the life and work of Townes Van Zandt. Kris Kristofferson, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Rodney Crowell, Lucinda Williams, and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the established musicians who share their impressions of the breathtakingly beautiful tunes and lyrics he created, along with their humorous, poignant, painful, and indelible memories of witnessing Van Zandt’s rise and fall. Atkinson balances the reminiscences of seasoned veterans with the observations of relative newcomers to the international music scene, such as Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Josh Ritter, and Scott Avett (the Avett Brothers), presenting a nuanced view of Van Zandt’s singular body of work, his reckless lifestyle, and his long-lasting influence. Forewords by “Cowboy” Jack Clement and longtime Van Zandt manager and friend Harold F. Eggers Jr. open the book, and each chapter begins with an introduction in which Atkinson provides context and background, linking each interviewee to Van Zandt’s legacy. Historians, students, and fans of all music from country and folk to rock and grunge will find new insights and recall familiar pleasures as they read I’ll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt.