×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Lives and Times of the Great Composers
     

Lives and Times of the Great Composers

5.0 1
by Michael Steen
 

See All Formats & Editions

A grand and panoramic biograhical history of the giants of classical music, The Lives and Times of Great Composers is a new, unique, and lovingly constructed modern reference—and a beguiling read which you will return to again and again.

Interlinked yet self-contained, each chapter distills the life of one or more composers, set against the social, political

Overview

A grand and panoramic biograhical history of the giants of classical music, The Lives and Times of Great Composers is a new, unique, and lovingly constructed modern reference—and a beguiling read which you will return to again and again.

Interlinked yet self-contained, each chapter distills the life of one or more composers, set against the social, political, musical, and cultural background of the time. Read the story of Bach, the respectable burgher, much of whose vast output was composed amidst petty turf disputes in Luteran Leipzig; or the ugly, argumentative Beethoven, obsessed by his laundry; or Mozart, the over-exploited infant prodigy whose untimely death was shrouded in rumor; or the ghastly death of Donizetti and Smetana. Read about Verdi, who composed against the background of the Italian Risorgimento, or about the family life of the Wagners; and Brahms, who rose from the slums of Hamburg to become a devotee of beer and coffee in fin-de-siecle Vienna, a cultural capital bent on destroying Mahler.

Michael Steen paints a vivid portrait of the tumultuous times in which these brilliant, yet flawed, human beings labored—a tour of 350 years of European history. From Handel's London and the speculative financial frenzy of the "South Sea bubble"; to the courts of petty German princelings and the ornate and sleazy Dresden; to the astonishingly creative Vienna of Beethoven and Schubert; to the opera in 19th-century Paris and Bizet in the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune; to the Majorca of Chopin, to the Russia of Tchaikovsky and the Siege of Leningrad, just one of the many horrors which Shostakovich had to survive. We encounter, too, painters such as Renoir and Manet, literary figures like Zola, Proust, and Dostoyevsky, and religious leaders such as Pope Pius IX and Cardinal Newman. Great Composers paints in broad brushstrokes the culture of a continent far wider than music.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Well written, fascinating, and extremely useful, this volume serves as both a sociological study and a reference work. Highly recommended. "—Library Journal starred review

Library Journal
Steen (chairman, Royal Coll. of Music Soc., London) studies the social, cultural, and political spheres that affected the lives and works of approximately 50 composers, from J.S. Bach to Benjamin Britten. Using a wide array of sources, he profiles each composer through a series of snapshots that place the subject in an intriguing and distinctive light; the music is tied into the larger story. This approach is both narrative and anecdotal, at times chronological and out of sequence. Verdi, for example, is described in terms of his seminal influence on the unification of Italy, including his term in the first parliament; Beethoven's outspoken political ideals and his mistaken arrest are also addressed. For the most part, Steen treats each composer in a separate chapter. Well written, fascinating, and extremely useful, this volume serves as both a sociological study and a reference work. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Timothy J. McGee, Hastings, Ont. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195222180
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
12/09/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
992
Sales rank:
345,448
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.50(h) x 2.40(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Steen was born in Dublin. He studied at the Royal College of Music, was organ scholar at Oriel College, Oxford, and then spent 30 years in a successful career in the City of London. He is chairman of the Royal College of Music Society and has been co-opted a committee member of the Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Lives and Times of the Great Composers 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago