Lost in the Stars: The Forgotten Musical Life of Alexander Siloti / Edition 472

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Alexander Siloti (1863-1945), a name associated with musical greats such as Tchaikovsky, Liszt, and Rachmaninoff, was a pianist, conductor, impresario, advocate for new music, and mentor of new composers; a musical great in his own right. Lost in the Stars is Charles Barber's recreation of the vital times in which Siloti lived: the St. Petersburg musical culture and Russia's Silver Age of music. Barber highlights Siloti's move to America, where he spent his days teaching, far away from his remarkable career that earned him glowing reviews in Russia. Barber also focuses on Siloti's own tastes and aesthetics and his role in the broader artistic life of his era. The text also examines the "why" behind Siloti's almost forgotten legacy and discusses the slow reappearance of Siloti's music in our times, partly due to the ardent work of his admirers. In addition to containing the first-ever catalogue of Siloti's works, as well as a performer and repertoire list of his concert series, the book also contains the world-premiere release of a Naxos CD of a dozen Bach-Siloti transcriptions performed by pianist James Barbagallo. An important addition to any musician's collection, Lost in the Stars will be of special value to conductors, pianists, and piano teachers. Libraries with collections in music or that support a curriculum in music history will also find the text to be a valuable source, not only for scholars, but for those interested in 20th century Russian music as well.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Steinberg
To most people who listen to and read about classical music, Siloti is at best a name in a footnote to a program note about his cousin Rachmaninoff. But an immense public force and presence in his great years, Siloti was a remarkable musician—pianist, conductor, composer, teacher, editor, impresario—whose life-path intersected with those of a multitude of characters from Liszt to Eugene Istomin by way of Tchaikovsky, all three piano-playing Rubinsteins, Elgar, Scriabin, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Ysaÿe, and Casals, to list just a few of the most famous. Charles Barber, scrupulous researcher, intelligent interpreter, and commanding story-teller here does justice to an artist too long and unjustly obscured.
Sir Charles Mackerras
Thanks to Dr. Charles Barber's amazing research we now can read the fascinating story of Alexander Siloti, one of the most important and influential musicians in pre-revolutionary Russia. Astonishingly he appears to have been entirely overlooked since that time. This book provides a wonderful insight into artistic life in St. Petersburg and the important influence on many famous names of the period by this remarkable polymath of a musician. Essential reading for anyone interested in Russian music and theatre.
Marilyn Horne
How extraordinarily wonderful that Charles Barber has been the musical-archeologist able to bring the great career and music of Alexander Siloti to light for all musicians. I, for one, am fascinated by Siloti and look forward to hearing his music and reading more about him.
Professor Richard Taruskin
Alexander Siloti was probably the greatest pianist who could have made records but didn't, and so his greatness has been forgotten. Charles Barber has made a heroic rescue effort, and if even he cannot bring back the lost sounds, he does offer the compensations of exhaustive research into Siloti's many-faceted career, a vivid store of descriptive quotes, and an irresistibly unabashed devotion to his subject. Regarded during his lifetime as the last link to a glorious past, Siloti regains that aura in these fascinating pages.
Vladimir Ashkenazy
I remember very well—during my student years at the Moscow Conservatory that the name Alexander Siloti was pronounced with the utmost reverence. His reputation as teacher, pianist, conductor and composer was legendary. I am very happy that there is now a well-researched book on this extraordinary musician.
Gray Graffman
A thorough study of Siloti and his accomplishments, as well as his life and times, involving as it does so many close relationships with the most important musicians from Liszt to Rachmaninoff, is long overdue.
Valery Gergiev
Alexander Siloti was one of my predecessors at the Kirov Marinsky Opera and one of Russia's greatest musicians. It is a tragedy that he has been forgotten. This new book is a wonderful contribution to our understanding of Siloti's life and work and the people in his orbit. If you want to understand music in St. Petersburg prior to 1917, read it.
Evgeny Kissin
A very well researched and well written, interesting and informative book which I truly enjoyed reading and would recommend to everybody who loves music. Although Alexander Ziloti had to leave Russia, his star always shone brightly for us there. Now that Charles Barber has rediscovered this star and introduced it to the musicians and music lovers in the West, I hope that they will always find inspiration in its beautiful and mysterious radiance.
American Music Teacher - Lyn Bronson
This is a fascinating book – as absorbing in its detail of Russian upper class life at the turn of the century as it is about the musical politics and rivalries of the great cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Music and Vision - Gordon Rumson
...an important contribution to the legacy of Franz Liszt, Siloti's teacher and inspiration. Charles Barber has achieved something extraordinary in returning from oblivion the memory and artistry of Alexander Siloti. In short: highly recommended.
Peter Grahame Woolf
An admirable attempt to recover from the past a shadowy figure, one whose historical importance in the musical life of Russia and later America must not be underestimated...Charles Barber marshals his information (two full pages of acknowledgments denote the magnitude of the task) with lucidity and a writing style that carries you forward, satisfying for the general reader equally as for academics. The book is a pleasure to handle...
American Music Teacher
This is a fascinating book – as absorbing in its detail of Russian upper class life at the turn of the century as it is about the musical politics and rivalries of the great cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow.
— Lyn Bronson
Music and Vision
...an important contribution to the legacy of Franz Liszt, Siloti's teacher and inspiration. Charles Barber has achieved something extraordinary in returning from oblivion the memory and artistry of Alexander Siloti. In short: highly recommended.
— Gordon Rumson
Classical Music
Of all the biographies resurrecting unfamiliar names from the musical past which have passed across my desk over the years, few have plugged such a yawning gap in our knowledge as this one . . . Barber tells the story persuasively, achieving a nice balance between erudition, concision and readability.
New book of note.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810841086
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/15/2003
  • Edition description: Cloth w/CD
  • Edition number: 472
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Barber is a conductor active in concert, opera, and recordings. He has authored several articles on various subjects in conducting, and his teachers include George Corwin, Andor Toth, and Carlos Kleiber.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Acknowledgments and Permissions Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 1 Beginnings Chapter 4 2 With Liszt at Weimar Chapter 5 3 From Weimar to Moscow Chapter 6 4 On Tour, 1892-1900 Chapter 7 5 Home Again Chapter 8 6 Rachmaninoff Chapter 9 7 St. Petersburg, City and Culture Chapter 10 8 The Siloti Concerts of 1903-1917 Chapter 11 9 The October Revolution Chapter 12 10 Wandering Chapter 13 11 America, 1922-1945 Chapter 14 12 Teaching in New York Chapter 15 13 In Our Times Chapter 16 Appendix A The Siloti Concert Programs, 1903-1917 Chapter 17 Appendix B People's free Concert Programs, 1915-1917 Chapter 18 Appendix C Siloti Publishers and Worklist if editions and Transcriptions Chapter 19 Bibliography Chapter 20 Discography Studio Recordings of Siloti Transcriptions by Other Artists, 1924 Siloti Duo-Art Catalogue Chapter 21 Personalia Chapter 22 Index Chapter 23 About the Author

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2003

    A long awaited Bio

    I'm an fan of Charles Barber which I know him personnaly. I'm interested in this book because of the inserts I was able to read a couple of years ago. Knowing the time, lenght and hard work Charles put into this book. Having been invited to attend a few of his concerts, has opened a new world to me in the classical music world and I appreciate the dedication of his and all who put so much in to thier work, to bring us this great music. One thing stays in my mind Charles once told me if it was not for these great composers and conductors from way back we would not have this great music of today! It all had to start somewhere? Charles showed me where it did and he doesn't want the great ones to go unknoticed, we need more people like Charles so great music and composers never die through time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2002

    What's In It

    I am the author, so what follows is completely biased. (I also wrote 'Ziloti' for New Grove 2000.) Here's what's in the book: a thorough examination of the life and times of the great Russian pianist-conductor Alexander Siloti (1863-1945) and the people in his orbit, focussing particularly on Liszt, Tchaikovsky, the Rubinsteins, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsksky et al; a huge bibliography and discography; a Personnalia set of biographies; a brilliant Naxos CD of Bach-Siloti piano transcriptions performed by the late James Barbagallo; 16pp of rare photographs; a complete worklist of Siloti's 200+ compositions; a complete list of all the Siloti Concert programs from 1903-1917, plus the Gorky Concerts; a cultural history of St Petersburg itself; Siloti's pedagogy and students, especially at the Juilliard School; an analysis of his most famous transcription, the 'B-Minor Prelude'; and more -- all of this in some 250,000 tedious words designed to appeal to a small group of piano, conducting, and St Petersburg music fanatics. The jacket blurbs attempting to induce you to purchase it are by Marilyn Horne, Gary Graffman, Michael Steinberg, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Valery Gergiev. If any of this actually interests you, e-mail me at barber@batnet.com and I will e you the book's Introduction.

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