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Music > Individual Composers and Musicians

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Marga Richter Cover

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Marga Richter

This is the first full-length introduction to the life and works of significant American composer Marga Richter (born 1926), who has written more than one hundred works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, dance, opera, voice, chorus, piano, organ, and harpsichord. Still actively composing in her eighties, Richter is particularly known for her large-scale works performed by ensembles such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and for other pieces performed by prominent artists including pianist Menahem Pressler, conductor Izler Solomon, and violinist Daniel Heifetz. _x000B__x000B_Interspersing consideration of Richter's musical works with discussion of her life, her musical style, and the origins and performances of her works, Sharon Mirchandani documents a successful composer's professional and private life throughout the twentieth century. Mirchandani covers Richter's formative years, her influences, and the phases of her career from the 1950s to the present. Drawing extensively on interviews with the composer, Mirchandani also provides detailed descriptions of Richter's scores and uses reviews and other secondary sources to provide contexts for her works, including their relationship to modern dance, to other musical styles, and to 1970s feminism._x000B_

Maximum Clarity and Other Writings on Music Cover

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Maximum Clarity and Other Writings on Music

Ben Johnston

Described by New York Times critic John Rockwell as "one of the best non-famous composers this country has to offer," Ben Johnston reconceives familiar idioms--ranging from neoclassicism and serialism to jazz and southern hymnody--using just intonation. Johnston studied with Darius Milhaud, Harry Partch, and John Cage, and is best known for his String Quartet No. 4, a complex series of variations on Amazing Grace. This collection of Johnston's writings spans his whole career and shows him to be a truly literate composer who writes about music, his own and that of others, with eloquence and charm. _x000B__x000B_"Maximum Clarity" and Other Writings on Music spans forty years and brings together forty-one of Johnston's most important writings, including many rare and several previously unpublished selections. They include position papers, theoretical treatises, program notes, historical reflections, lectures, excerpts from interviews, and letters, and they cover a broad spectrum of concerns--from the technical exegesis of microtonality to the personal and the broadly humanistic. The volume concludes with a discography of all commercially available recordings of Johnston's music.

Mellencamp Cover

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Mellencamp

American Troubadour

David Masciotra

Throughout his prolific career, John Mellencamp has performed more than twenty Top 40 hits, has been nominated for thirteen Grammy Awards, and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hits like "Jack and Diane," "Small Town," and "Cherry Bomb" are iconic American songs that have played an important role in defining midwestern music and developing the rock genre. Despite his critical and commercial success, however, the rough guy from a small town writing songs about everything he "learned about living" is often omitted from the ranks of America's songwriting elite.

In Mellencamp, David Masciotra explores the life and career of one of America's most important and underrated songwriters, persuasively arguing that he deserves to be celebrated alongside artists like Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan. Beginning with his modest beginnings in Seymour, Indiana, Masciotra details Mellencamp's road to fame, examining his struggles with the music industry and his persistent dedication to his midwestern roots. Shaking off the shortsighted "regionalist" stereotype and dismissing his assumed pop-star persona, Mellencamp found success by remaining true to where he came from.

This thoughtful analysis highlights four decades of the artist's music, which has consistently elevated the dignity of everyday people and honored the quiet heroism of raising families and working hard. This first serious biography of the legendary musician will charm fans and music enthusiasts who are interested in the development of roots rock and Americana music.

Menahem Pressler Cover

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Menahem Pressler

Artistry in Piano Teaching

William Brown

As soloist, master class teacher, and pianist of the world-renowned Beaux Arts Trio, Menahem Pressler can boast of four Grammy nominations, three honorary doctorates, more than 80 recordings, and lifetime achievement awards presented by France, Germany, and Israel. Former Pressler student William Brown traces the master's pianistic development through Rudiakov, Kestenberg, Vengerova, Casadesus, Petri, and Steuermann, blending techniques and traditions derived from Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, and J. S. Bach.

Brown presents Pressler's approach to performance and teaching, including technical exercises, principles of relaxation and total body involvement, and images to guide the pianist's creativity toward expressive interpretation. Insights from the author's own lessons, interviews with Pressler, and recollections of more than 100 Pressler students from the past 50 years are gathered in this text. Measure-by-measure lessons on 23 piano masterworks by, among others, Bach, Bartók, Debussy, and Ravel as well as transcriptions of Pressler's fingerings, hand redistributions, practicing guidelines, musical scores, and master class performances are included.

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Mendelssohn in Performance

Edited by Siegwart Reichwald. Foreword by Christopher Hogwood

Exploring many aspects of Felix Mendelssohn's multi-faceted career as musician and how it intersects with his work as composer, contributors discuss practical issues of music making such as performance space, instruments, tempo markings, dynamics, phrasings, articulations, fingerings, and instrument techniques. They present the conceptual and ideological underpinnings of Mendelssohn's approach to performance, interpretation, and composing through the contextualization of specific performance events and through the theoretic actualization of performances of specific works. Contributors rely on manuscripts, marked or edited scores, and performance parts to convey a deeper understanding of musical expression in 19th-century Germany. This study of Mendelssohn's work as conductor, pianist, organist, violist, accompanist, music director, and editor of old and new music offers valuable perspectives on 19th-century performance practice issues.

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Midnight at the Barrelhouse

The Johnny Otis Story

George Lipsitz

Considered by many to be the godfather of R&B, Johnny Otis—musician, producer, artist, entrepreneur, pastor, disc jockey, writer, and tireless fighter for racial equality—has had a remarkable life by any measure. In this first biography of Otis, George Lipsitz tells the largely unknown story of a towering figure in the history of African American music and culture who was, by his own description, “black by persuasion.”
 
Born to Greek immigrant parents in Vallejo, California, in 1921, Otis grew up in an integrated neighborhood and identified deeply with black music and culture from an early age. He moved to Los Angeles as a young man and submerged himself in the city’s vibrant African American cultural life, centered on Central Avenue and its thriving music scene. Otis began his six-decade career in music playing drums in territory swing bands in the 1930s. He went on to lead his own band in the 1940s and open the Barrelhouse nightclub in Watts. His R&B band had seventeen Top 40 hits between 1950 and 1969, including “Willie and the Hand Jive.” As a producer and A&R man, Otis discovered such legends as Etta James, Jackie Wilson, and Big Mama Thornton.
 
Otis also wrote a column for the Sentinel, one of L.A.’s leading black newspapers, became pastor of his own interracial church, hosted popular radio and television shows that introduced millions to music by African American artists, and was lauded as businessman of the year in a 1951 cover story in Negro Achievements magazine. Throughout his career Otis’s driving passion has been his fearless and unyielding opposition to racial injustice, whether protesting on the front lines, exposing racism and championing the accomplishments of black Americans, or promoting African American musicians.
 
Midnight at the Barrelhouse is a chronicle of a life rich in both incident and inspiration, as well as an exploration of the complicated nature of race relations in twentieth-century America. Otis’s total commitment to black culture and transcendence of racial boundaries, Lipsitz shows, teach important lessons about identity, race, and power while encapsulating the contradictions of racism in American society.

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Monteverdi and the End of the Renaissance

Gary Tomlinson

Combining a close study of Monteverdi's secular works with recent research on late Renaissance history, Gary Tomlinson places the composer's creative career in its broad cultural context and illuminates the state of Italian music, poetry, and ideology in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Monument Eternal Cover

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Monument Eternal

The Music of Alice Coltrane

Franya J. J. Berkman

Alice Coltrane was a composer, improviser, guru, and widow of John Coltrane. Over the course of her musical life, she synthesized a wide range of musical genres including gospel, rhythm-and-blues, bebop, free jazz, Indian devotional song, and Western art music. Her childhood experiences playing for African-American congregations in Detroit, the ecstatic and avant-garde improvisations she performed on the bandstand with her husband John Coltrane, and her religious pilgrimages to India reveal themselves on more than twenty albums of original music for the Impulse and Warner Brothers labels.

In the late 1970s Alice Coltrane became a swami, directing an alternative spiritual community in Southern California. Exploring her transformation from Alice McLeod, Detroit church pianist and bebopper, to guru Swami Turiya Sangitananda, Monument Eternal illuminates her music and, in turn, reveals the exceptional fluidity of American religious practices in the second half of the twentieth century. Most of all, this book celebrates the hybrid music of an exceptional, boundary-crossing African-American artist.

Ebook Edition Note: All images in center photo section have been redacted.

Moriz Rosenthal in Word and Music Cover

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Moriz Rosenthal in Word and Music

A Legacy of the Nineteenth Century

Edited and with an Introduction by Mark Mitchell and Allan Evans. Preface by Charles Rosen

As a pianist, Rosenthal was unparalleled: his legato touch came from Chopin through his pupil Mikuli; his awareness of composition was developed by Liszt; his Brahms interpretation shaped by the composer himself; and his ingeniously crafted piano-paraphrases memorialized his friendship with Johann Strauss II. Yet Rosenthal's pianistic abilities were married to a rare intellectual erudition -- a knowledge of literature, history, philology, science, philosophy, and society that few pianists have ever matched, let alone surpassed.

In these striking pieces, we see every facet of Rosenthal: memoirist, social critic, pedagogue, and virtuoso. He could write with gravity and pathos, yet his famous and sometimes devastating wit is legendary. This volume combines Rosenthal's writings with critical assessments of the pianist by such contemporaries as Eduard Hanslick, Edward Prime-Stevenson, and Hugo Wolf. It is rounded out with an illuminating preface by Charles Rosen, perhaps Rosenthal's most renowned pupil; a discography and concertography; and a CD featuring never-before-released Rosenthal recordings.

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Mozart and Enlightenment Semiotics

Stephen Rumph

In this groundbreaking, historically-informed semiotic study of late eighteenth-century music, Stephen Rumph focuses on Mozart to explore musical meaning within the context of Enlightenment sign and language theory. Illuminating his discussion with French, British, German, and Italian writings on signs and language, Rumph analyzes movements from Mozart’s symphonies, concertos, operas, and church music. He argues that Mozartian semiosis is best understood within the empiricist tradition of Condillac, Vico, Herder, or Adam Smith, which emphasized the constitutive role of signs within human cognition. Recognizing that the rationalist model of neoclassical rhetoric has guided much recent work on Mozart and his contemporaries, Rumph demonstrates how the dialogic tension between opposing paradigms enabled the composer to negotiate contradictions within Enlightenment thought.

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