BELOVED VISION: A History of Nineteenth Century Music

Book number: 94347 Product format: Hardback Author: STEPHEN WALSH

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Bibliophile price £14.00
Published price £29.95

The Romantic Movement which swept Europe in the 19th century was the inspiration for Beethoven's surging quartets, the introspection of Tchaikovsky, the grandeur of Verdi, the epic vision of Wagner, the mental anguish of Schumann, the quiet genius of his wife Clara and the less dazzling lights of English composers from John Field to Sterndale Bennett. This readable narrative history puts the development of Romantic music into the context of writers and philosophers such as Herder, Schiller and Goethe, and the author, for many years a music critic for the Observer, communicates his erudition in an appealing and engaging style. At the close of the 18th century there was a new freedom of expression in the work of Haydn and C. P. E. Bach, perhaps going back to the demonic finale of Gluck's ballet Don Juan in 1761, or Mozart's spine-tingling version of the same story. Later Romantic composers such as Rossini in William Tell have a "proto-cinematic" range of historical events, human emotion and local colour. Opera was the focus of much early 19th century music, with pianists like Chopin strongly influenced by operatic melodies, while the lieder of both Schubert and Schumann revolutionised music for the solo voice. Meyerbeer and Berlioz dominated the Paris Opera, giving way to the early efforts of the young Wagner, whose version of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure ended after its first performance with a punch-up between the leading lady's husband and her leading man, with whom she was having an affair. After an ignominious nocturnal flit from his creditors, Wagner returned to Germany in 1842 with his mature style now ready to take the world by storm in The Flying Dutchman, while at the same time the success of Verdi's Nabucco heralded a dazzling future. The influence of Balakirev on Mussorgsky, Borodin and Rimski-Korsakov is discussed, while Brahms, Bruckner, Dvorak and Sibelius and even Elgar and Vaughan Williams come into view towards the end of the period. 421pp, colour reproductions.

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ISBN 9781639362363

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