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Compositional Theory and Practice in Nineteenth-Century Opera
In this groundbreaking survey of the fundamentals, methods, and formulas that were taught at Italian music conservatories during the 19th century, Nicholas Baragwanath explores the compositional significance of tradition in Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Boito, and, most importantly, Puccini. Taking account of some 400 primary sources, Baragwanath explains the varying theories and practices of the period in light of current theoretical and analytical conceptions of this music. The Italian Traditions and Puccini offers a guide to an informed interpretation and appreciation of Italian opera by underscoring the proximity of archaic traditions to the music of Puccini.
The Life and Music of Scott LaFaro
Jade Visions is the first biography of one of the twentieth century’s most influential jazz musicians, bassist Scott LaFaro. Best known for his landmark recordings with Bill Evans, LaFaro played bass a mere seven years before his life and career were tragically cut short by an automobile accident when he was only 25 years old. Told by his sister, this book uniquely combines family history with insight into LaFaro’s music by well-known jazz experts and musicians Gene Lees, Don Thompson, Jeff Campbell, Phil Palombi, Chuck Ralston, Barrie Kolstein, and Robert Wooley. Those interested in Bill Evans, the history of jazz, and the lives of working musicians of the time will appreciate this exploration of LaFaro’s life and music as well as the feeling they’ve been invited into the family circle as an intimate. “Fernandez’ insightful comments about her brother offer far more than jazz scholars have ever known about this significant and somewhat enigmatic figure in the history of jazz. All in all, a very complete portrait.”—Bill Milkowski, author of Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius
Early Years in Russia
Notoriously reticent about his early years, violinist Jascha Heifetz famously reduced the story of his childhood to "Born in Russia. First lessons at 3. Debut in Russia at 7. Debut in Carnegie Hall at 17. That's all there is to say." Tracing his little-known upbringing, Jascha Heifetz: Early Years in Russia uncovers the events and experiences that shaped one of the modern era's most unique talents and enigmatic personalities. Using previously unstudied archival materials and interviews with family and friends, this biography explores Heifetz's meteoric rise in the Russian music world—from his first violin lessons with his father, to his studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with the well-known pedagogue Leopold Auer, to his tours throughout Russia and Europe. Spotlighting Auer’s close-knit circle of musicians, Galina Kopytova underscores the lives of artists in Russia’s "Silver Age"—an explosion of artistic activity amid the rapid social and political changes of the early 20th century.
Legendary jazz ambassador Dr. Billy Taylor's autobiography spans more than six decades, from the heyday of jazz on 52nd Street in 1940s New York City to CBS Sunday Morning. Taylor fought not only for the recognition of jazz music as "America's classical music" but also for the recognition of black musicians as key contributors to the American music repertoire. Peppered with anecdotes recalling encounters with other jazz legends such as Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and many others, The Jazz Life of Dr. Billy Taylor is not only the life story of a jazz musician and spokesman but also a commentary on racism and jazz as a social force.
Perhaps no twentieth-century composer has provoked a more varied reaction among the music-loving public than Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). Originally hailed as a new Beethoven by much of the Anglo-Saxon world, he was also widely disparaged by critics more receptive to newer trends in music. At the height of his popular appeal, he was revered as the embodiment of Finnish nationalism and the apostle of a new musical naturalism. Yet he seemingly chose that moment to stop composing altogether, despite living for three more decades. Providing wide cultural contexts, contesting received ideas about modernism, and interrogating notions of landscape and nature, Jean Sibelius and His World sheds new light on the critical position occupied by Sibelius in the Western musical tradition.
The essays in the book explore such varied themes as the impact of Russian musical traditions on Sibelius, his compositional process, Sibelius and the theater, his understanding of music as a fluid and improvised creation, his critical reception in Great Britain and America, his "late style" in the incidental music for The Tempest, and the parallel contemporary careers of Sibelius and Richard Strauss.
Documents include the draft of Sibelius's 1896 lecture on folk music, selections from a roman à clef about his student circle in Berlin at the turn of the century, Theodor Adorno's brief but controversial tirade against the composer, and the newspaper debates about the Sibelius monument unveiled in Helsinki a decade after the composer's death.
The contributors are Byron Adams, Leon Botstein, Philip Ross Bullock, Glenda Dawn Goss, Daniel Grimley, Jeffrey Kallberg, Tomi Mäkelä, Sarah Menin, Max Paddison, and Timo Virtanen.
Inside Two Long Songs
Since the 1960s, British progressive rock band Jethro Tull has pushed the technical and compositional boundaries of rock music by infusing its musical output with traditions drawn from classical, folk, jazz, and world music. The release of Thick as a Brick (1972) and A Passion Play (1973) won the group legions of new followers and topped the Billboard charts in the United States, among the most unusual albums ever to do so. Tim Smolko explores the large-scale form, expansive instrumentation, and complex arrangements that characterize these two albums, each composed of one continuous song. Featuring insights from Ian Anderson and in-depth musical analysis, Smolko discusses the band's influence on popular culture and why many consider Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play to be two of the greatest concept albums in rock history.
This collection of texts by and about French composer Joël-François Durand features a wide-ranging self-interview, in which he speaks candidly and engagingly about how and why he became a composer. Other essays by Durand focus on his use of melody and on his Piano Concerto. The book also includes contributions by Christian Asplund, Eric Flesher, Ryan Hare, and Jonathan W. Bernard.
Composer Johanna Beyer's fascinating body of music and enigmatic life story constitute an important chapter in American music history. As a hard-working German émigré piano teacher and accompanist living in and around New York City during the New Deal era, she composed plentiful music for piano, percussion ensemble, chamber groups, choir, band, and orchestra. A one-time student of Ruth Crawford, Charles Seeger, and Henry Cowell, Beyer was an ultramodernist, and an active member of a community that included now-better-known composers and musicians. Only one of her works was published and only one recorded during her lifetime. But contemporary musicians who play Beyer's compositions are intrigued by her originality. Amy C. Beal chronicles Beyer's life from her early participation in New York's contemporary music scene through her performances at the Federal Music Project's Composers' Forum-Laboratory concerts to her unfortunate early death in 1944. This book is a portrait of a passionate and creative woman underestimated by her music community even as she tirelessly applied her gifts with compositional rigor. The first book-length study of the composer's life and music, Johanna Beyer reclaims a uniquely innovative artist and body of work for a new generation.
Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the Return of the Classical Hollywood Music Style
Throughout his career, Johnny Cash has been depicted -- and has depicted himself -- as a walking contradiction: social protestor and establishment patriot, drugged wildman and devout Christian crusader, rebel outlaw hillbilly thug and elder statesman. Leigh H. Edwards explores the allure of this paradoxical image and its cultural significance. She argues that Cash embodies irresolvable contradictions of American identity that reflect foundational issues in the American experience, such as the tensions between freedom and patriotism, individual rights and nationalism, the sacred and the profane. She illustrates how this model of ambivalence is a vital paradigm for American popular music, and for American identity in general. Making use of sources such as Cash's autobiographies, lyrics, music, liner notes, and interviews, Edwards pays equal attention to depictions of Cash by others, such as Vivian Cash's publication of his letters to her, documentaries and music journalism about him, Walk the Line, and fan club materials found in the archives at the Country Music Foundation in Nashville, to create a full portrait of Cash and his significance as a cultural icon.