I Sang the Unsingable: My Life in Twentieth-Century Music

I Sang the Unsingable: My Life in Twentieth-Century Music

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Overview

American soprano Bethany Beardslee rose to prominence in the postwar years when the modernist sensibilities of European artists and thinkers were flooding American shores and challenging classical music audiences. With her light lyric voice, her musical intuition, and her fearless dedication to new music, Beardslee became the go-to girl for twelve-tone music in New York City. She was the first American singer to build a repertoire performing the music of Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Alban Berg, Milton Babbitt, and Pierre Boulez, making a vibrant career singing difficult music. I Sang the Unsingable is the autobiography of the acclaimed twentieth-century art-song soprano. In her memoir, Beardslee tells the story of how she made her way from inauspicious depression-era East Lansing to Carnegie Hall, and how her unique combination of musical gifts and training were alchemy for challenging mid-century music. This is Beardslee's own perspective on a formidable catalog of premieres, a forty-six-year career, and a deep and lifelong dedication to performing the work of the composers of our time. Born in 1925 in Lansing, Michigan, Bethany Beardslee is an American soprano. She is noted for her collaborations with major twentieth-century composers. Minna Zallman Proctor is a writer, critic, and translator. She is editor-in-chief of The Literary Review and the author of Do You Hear What I Hear? and Landslide: True Stories. Support for this publication was provided by the Howard Hanson Institute for American Music at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580469005
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date: 09/20/2017
Pages: 418
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Part 1 Childhood (1925-50)

1 Christmas 1925 3

2 The Great Depression 14

3 East Lansing 20

4 College Years 29

5 Lessons with J. Herbert Swanson 36

6 Father 38

7 New York, Here I Come 42

Part 2 The Monod Era (1948-55)

8 Juilliard 49

9 The Monod Era, 1949 61

10 Work with Jacques 68

11 Farewell, Juilliard 77

12 Paris and the Monod Family 81

13 Home Again 89

14 New Music in New York City 98

15 "All the Right People" 104

16 The Duo: Recital Tours for the Association of American Colleges and Universities 113

17 Fifty-Nine New Pieces of Music 117

18 1955 and Pierrot lunaire: A Tumultuous Year 121

19 Camera Concerts with Stanley Seeger 128

Part 3 Godfrey (1956-62)

20 A Season of Change: Summer 1956 133

21 Godfrey Winham 141

22 London 150

23 New York Pro Musica: 1958 154

24 The Fromm Music Foundation 158

25 Earl Kim and Russell Sherman 162

26 Working with Martha Graham 167

27 Threni and the Altenberg Lieder 170

28 Princeton and Saskatoon 176

29 The Russian Delegation 182

30 Recordings with Robert Craft 188

31 To Prove My Love 193

32 Baird and Christopher Winham: Life in Princeton 197

33 Das Buck der hängenden Gärten: Opus 15 Arnold Schoenberg 206

Part 4 New Music (1963-75)

34 Vision and Prayer, or, My First Adventure with Electronic Music 213

35 Camelot Years: 1962 221

36 Le marteau sans maitre 226

37 The Sixties 230

38 Philomel: 1964 236

39 A Composer's Singer 244

40 Darmstadt: 1964 250

41 Aaron Copland, Imeneo, and Max: 1965 255

42 Belle Mead 259

43 Godfrey and the Computer 265

44 Marlboro and Penderecki: 1967-68 269

45 Old Friends and New Pieces 277

46 Erwartung 284

47 How Things Wind Down: 1973 289

48 Godfrey 299

Part 5 Farewell and Farewell

49 Remembering Milton 307

50 Aftermath 315

51 Singing Again 322

52 Lieder with Richard Goode: 1980-90 334

53 Pierrot Records: New Ventures 342

54 Encore with Robert Helps 353

55 Farewell and Farewell 358

Appendix A Discography 367

Appendix B Premieres by Bethany Beardslee 373

Notes 379

Bibliography 385

Index 391

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