Sonata Mulattica

Sonata Mulattica

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by Rita Dove
     
 

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Detailing the volatile relationship between the black violinist George Bridgetower and Beethoven, this is a "masterful collection" (Los Angeles Times).See more details below

Overview

Detailing the volatile relationship between the black violinist George Bridgetower and Beethoven, this is a "masterful collection" (Los Angeles Times).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This 12th collection from the former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize recipient is her third book-length narrative poem: it follows the real career of the violin prodigy George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (1780-1860), "a former pupil of Haydn, as well as the grandson/ of an African prince," or so his promoters and teachers in England said. Moving to Vienna during the Napoleonic Wars, the violinist met and befriended the famously moody Beethoven, who was prepared to dedicate his famously difficult "Kreutzer" Sonata to Bridgetower until a rivalry for the same woman drove them apart. Dove tells Bridgetower's story, and some of Beethoven's and Haydn's, in a heterogenous profusion of short poems, some almost prosy, some glittering in their technique. In quatrains, a double villanelle, what looks like found text, short lines splayed all over a page and attractive description, Dove renders Bridgetower's frustrated genius: "Music played for the soul is sheer pleasure;/ to play merely for pleasure is nothing/ but work." Dove does not always achieve such subtleties-those who loved her early work may think this book too long: few, though, will doubt the seriousness of her effort, her interest at once in the history of classical music and the changing meanings of race. (Apr.)

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The New Yorker
“A virtuosic treatment of a virtuoso's life . . . stuffed with historical and musical arcana.”
Mark Doty - O
“Dove's richly imagined book has the sweep and vivid characters of a novel, but it's written with a poet's economy, an eye for the exact detail.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393070088
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/06/2009
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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