The Lives of the Great Composers

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 653 pages
24 Reviews
In the new edition of this highly successful book, Harold Schonberg has traced the consecutive line of composers from Claudio Monteverdi to the tonalists of the 1990s through a series of fascinating biographical chapters. Music, the author contends, is a continually evolving art, and there have been no geniuses, however, great, who have not been influenced by their predecessors. The great composers are here presented as human beings who lived and related to the real world around them. Schonberg brings the reader closer to an identification with the composers he discusses and thus closer to an understanding of their music. The book consequently places more emphasis on biographical details and less upon technical analysis of the music. For this newly designed edition, Schonberg has once again extended the book's coverage with informative and clearly written descriptions of the later serialists, minimalist composers, and the new tonalists of the 1990s. Scattered throughout are many changes and additions reflecting the wide range of musicological findings of the past fifteen years. An updated bibliography has been prepared and additional illustrations provided.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Venantius - LibraryThing

I rarely read biography, especially biographies of writers and other artists. I assume anything worth knowing about them is in their art, that the source of their creativity is a different self from ... Read full review

Review: The Lives of the Great Composers

User Review  - Mk Miller - Goodreads

A good introduction to classical composers, but this guy gets unnecessarily catty at times, and if you're new to classical music and impressionable you may want to be wary of letting Schoenberg sway ... Read full review

Contents

PREFACE
13
Pioneer of Opera
21
Z Transfiguration of the Baroque
36
Composer and Impresario
55
Reformer of Opera
71
Classicism par excellence
81
Prodigy from Salzburg
95
Revolutionary from Bonn
111
Master of the Lied
303
Faust and French Opera
329
Russian Nationalism and the Mighty Five
345
Surcharged Emotionalism
366
Chromaticism and Sensibilite
400
Only for the Theater
413
Religion Mysticism and Retrospection
437
Symbolism and Impressionism
452

FRANZ SCHUBERT
124
Freedom and a New Language
138
Romantic Exuberance and Classic Restraint
152
Florestan and Eusebius
169
Apotheosis of the Piano
183
Virtuoso Charlatanand Prophet
197
Bourgeois Genius
211
Spectacle Spectacle and More Spectacle
236
Colossus of Italy
249
Colossus of Germany
268
Keeper of the Flame
289
Gallic Elegance and the New Breed
466
The Chameleon
479
The English Renaissance
492
Mysticism and Melancholy
510
Under the Soviets
525
German Neoclassicism
538
The Uncompromising Hungarian
567
The International Serial Movement
595
The New Eclecticism
610
INDEX
637
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Harold C. Schonberg, senior New York Times music critic for twenty years, was the first in his field to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism (1971). He is the author of many articles and eight books, including one on chess. Schonberg lives in New York City.

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