Carl Ruggles: Composer, Painter, and Storyteller
Carl Ruggles was a multitalented man, determined to write modern music. He also had an important second career as a painter. Ruggles was dependent through much of his life on patrons, friends, and his wife, Charlotte, and devoted to telling raucous, off-color stories.
In this biography of the late American composer-artist, Marilyn Ziffrin draws on interviews with those who knew him, on letters and other papers from Ruggles's collection, and on her extensive interviews and developing friendship with him in his final years. She creates a picture of a man who was proud, stubborn, insecure, irascible, prejudiced - and deeply human and lovable.
Ziffrin follows Ruggles's career in music from his early childhood in Massachusetts through his 1907 move to Winona, Minnesota, and the founding and abrupt cessation of the Winona Symphony Orchestra. In Winona, Ruggles began a long and influential friendship with the artist Rockwell Kent. Ziffrin also details Ruggles's move in 1917 to New York, where he fell in with Henry Cowell, Charles Seeger, Edgar Varese, Carlos Salzedo, and others in the International Composers Guild. Her book discusses Ruggles's friendships with Charles Ives, Robert Frost, and others, as well as the Florida years when he taught at the University of Miami. One of Ruggles's compositions from the 1920s, The Sun Treader, provided the title of a 1957 portrait of him by his close friend Thomas Hart Benton. Ziffrin scrutinizes this and other musical compositions by Ruggles, along with some of his major paintings.
The final chapter of Ziffrin's book is an eloquent portrait of Ruggles in his later years, living in a nursing home and in failing health but still outspoken, unpredictable, and planning his next works.
What people are saying - Write a review
Composer , Marilyn Ziffrin, has written a wonderful book about another unusual composer.
Carl Ruggles evidently lived a colorful, most interesting life and Ms. Ziffrin captures it all.
Kudos to her for bringing this forgotten composer back to life !
The University of Miami and Evocations 193543
The Good Years 194857
Life without Charlotte 195766
The Final Years 196671
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