Classical Music Biography
Violin Mastery: Interviews with Heifetz, Auer, Kreisler and Others
Violin Mastery
Interviews with Heifetz, Auer, Kreisler and Others
Paperback      ISBN: 0486450414

How long should I practice? Which pieces should I study? How can I develop a singing tone? All violinists ponder these questions, striving to make the most of their practice and performances. This enlightening and encouraging book holds the answers, offering a series of interviews with the most celebrated violin teachers and performers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Twenty-four famous violinists reveal the secrets to their success, sharing the lessons of their artistry and experience. In addition to aesthetic and technical aspects of playing, they discuss their personal conceptions of violin mastery. Eugene Ysaye reminisces about his studies with Vieuxtemps and Wieniawski, and Leopold Auer emphasizes the importance of fostering students' individual talents. Maud Powell describes her pioneering role as a female orchestral musician, and Jascha Heifetz voices his views on technical mastery and temperament. Hints and advice from other masters include tips on efficient practice, improving bow technique, and refining intonation. A rare find in the musical literature, this book is essential reading for every serious violinist.

Vivaldi: Voice of the Baroque
Vivaldi
Voice of the Baroque
Paperback      ISBN: 0226468429

Vivaldi boasted that he could compose a concerto faster than a scribe could copy one. Despite his prolificacy, The Four Seasons, and the majority of his already published work had fallen into obscurity by the time of his death in poverty in 1741. Most of his music-concertos, sonatas, operas, and sacral music-has been published only recently.

Very little has been written on Vivaldi for the nonspecialist, especially in English. Landon rediscovers the composer in this accessible and musically informed biography while presenting documentation of the musician's life discovered after the Baroque revival in the 1930s. This book includes illustrations of eighteenth-century Venice and several newly translated letters, thoroughly evoking the style of the time and revealing some of the more personal aspects of Vivaldi's life.

"Belongs on the shelf of every serious music student."-Kirkus

"Gives a good feel for Vivaldi's life and times . . . and describes particularly well how Vivaldi has been revived."-Booklist

"Robbins Landon is marvelously entertaining, extravagantly learned."-The Independent


Wagner
Wagner
Paperback      ISBN: 0691027226

Wagner is one of the most controversial of composers, and much that has been written about him--including his autobiography--is misleading. Barry Millington draws on the best previous scholarship and his own original research to set the record straight. The first part of this book is devoted to biography; the second, to a detailed study of the operas. Millington offers a historical review of the critical interpretation of each opera, including a discussion of recent methods of formal analysis. In this revised edition, two chapters, those on Tannhauser and Die Meistersinger, include significant new material. The bibliography has also been updated.

The Way to the Labyrinth: Memories of East and West
The Way to the Labyrinth
Memories of East and West
Paperback      ISBN: 0811210154

Alain Dani lou was an accomplished pianist, dancer, player of the Indian v n , painter, linguist and translator, photographer, and world traveler. To these attainments he has added The Way to the Labyrinth, translated into English by Marie-Claire Cournand. Born of a haute-bourgeoise French family--his mother an ardent Catholic, his father an anticlerical leftwing politician, his older brother a cardinal--Dani lou spent a solitary childhood. Escaping from his family milieu, he went to Paris, where he fell in with avant-garde, bohemian, sexually liberated circles, among whose luminaries were Cocteau, Diaghilev, Max Jacob, and Maurice Sachs. But however fervently he plunged into various activities, he felt some other destiny awaited him. After a number of journeys, some of them highly adventurous, he found his real home in India. He spent twenty years there, fifteen of them in Benares on the banks of the Ganges. There he immersed himself in the study of Sanskrit, Hindu philosophy, music, and the art of the ancient temples of Northern India, and converted to the Hindu religion. But times changed, and soon after India gained its independence, he returned to live again in Europe and devoted much of his great energy to the encouragement of traditional musics from around the world.

Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists
Where the Heart Beats
John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists
Hardcover      ISBN: 1594203407

A heroic and fascinating biography of John Cage showing how his work, and that of countless American artists, was transformed by Zen Buddhism ("The New York Times")"
Where the Heart Beats "is the story of the tremendous changes sweeping through American culture following the Second World War, a time when the arts in America broke away from centuries of tradition and reinvented themselves. Painters converted their canvases into arenas for action and gesture, dancers embraced pure movement over narrative, performance artists staged happenings in which anything could happen, poets wrote words determined by chance.
In this tumultuous period, a composer of experimental music began a spiritual quest to know himself better. His earnest inquiry touched thousands of lives and created controversies that are ongoing. He devised unique concerts consisting of notes chosen by chance, randomly tuned radios, and silence in the service of his absolute conviction that art and life are one inseparable truth, a seamless web of creation divided only by illusory thoughts.
What empowered John Cage to compose his incredible music and what allowed him to inspire tremendous transformations in the lives of his fellow artists was Cage s improbable conversion to Zen Buddhism. This is the story of how Zen saved Cage from himself.
"
Where the Heart Beats" is the first book to address the phenomenal importance of Zen Buddhism to John Cage s life and to the artistic avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s. Zen s power to transform Cage s troubled mind by showing him his own enlightened nature liberated Cage from an acute personal crisis that threatened everything he most deeply cared abouthis life, his music, and his relationship with his life partner, Merce Cunningham. Caught in a society that rejected his art, his politics, and his sexual orientation, Cage was transformed by Zen from an overlooked and marginal musician into the absolute epicenter of the avant-garde.
Using Cage s life as a starting point, "Where the Heart Beats "looks beyond to the individuals Cage influenced and the art he inspired. His creative genius touched Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Alan Kaprow, Morton Feldman, and Leo Castelli, who all went on to revolutionize their respective disciplines. As Cage s story progresses, as his collaborators trajectories unfurl, "Where the Heart Beats" shows the blossoming of Zen in the very heart of American culture."

William Grant Still, 2: A Study in Contradictions
William Grant Still, 2
A Study in Contradictions
Paperback      ISBN: 0520215435

During the 1930s and 1940s William Grant Still (1895-1978) was known as the "Dean of Afro-American Composers." He worked as an arranger for early radio, on Broadway, and in Hollywood; major symphony orchestras performed his concert works; and an opera, written in collaboration with Langston Hughes, was produced by the New York City Opera. Despite these successes the composer's name gradually faded into obscurity. This book brings William Grant Still out of the archives and examines his place in America's musical heritage. It also provides a revealing window into our recent cultural past.

Until now Still's profound musical creativity and cultural awareness have been obscured by the controversies that dogged much of his personal and professional life. New topics explored by Catherine Parsons Smith and her contributors include the genesis of the Afro American Symphony, Still's best-known work; his troubled years in film and opera; and his outspoken anticommunism.

Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould
Wondrous Strange
The Life and Art of Glenn Gould
Paperback      ISBN: 0195182464

When Mikhail Baryshnikov defected in Toronto in 1974, he admitted that he knew only three things about Canada: It had great hockey teams, a lot of wheatfields, and Glenn Gould.
In Wondrous Strange, Kevin Bazzana vividly recaptures the life of Glenn Gould, one of the most celebrated pianists of our time. Drawing on twenty years of intensive research, including unrestricted access to Gould's private papers and interviews with scores of friends and colleagues, many of
them never interviewed before, Bazzana sheds new light on such topics as Gould's family history, his secretive sexual life, and the mysterious problems that afflicted his hands in his later years. The author places Gould's distinctive traits--his eccentric interpretations, his garish onstage
demeanor, his resistance to convention--against the backdrop of his religious, upper- middle-class Canadian childhood, illuminating the influence of Gould's mother as well as the lasting impact of the only piano teacher Gould ever had. Bazzana offers a fresh appreciation of Gould's concert
career--his high-profile but illness-plagued international tours, his adventurous work for Canadian music festivals, his musical and legal problems with Steinway & Sons. In 1964, Gould made the extraordinary decision to perform only for records, radio, television, and film, a turning point that the
author examines with unprecedented thoroughness (discussing, for example, his far-seeing interest in new recording technology). Here, too, are Gould's interests away from the piano, from his ambitious but failed effort to be a composer to his innovative brand of "contrapuntal radio."
Richly illustrated with rare photographs, Wondrous Strange is a superbly written account of one of the most memorable and accomplished musicians of our times.

The Worlds of Johann Sebastian Bach
The Worlds of Johann Sebastian Bach
Hardcover      ISBN: 1574671669

The Worlds of J.S. Bach offers both traditional and new perspectives on the life and work of the man who is arguably the central figure in the Western musical tradition. It appears at a time when, because of the fall of the Iron Curtain, extraordinary new discoveries are being made about Bach and his family at an increasing rate - thus this book is able to incorporate important information and images not available even in the recent anniversary year of 2000. After making the case for the universality of Bach's art as an epitome of Western civilization, The Worlds of J.S. Bach considers in broad terms the composer's social, political, and artistic environment, its influence on him, and his interaction with it. Renowned specialists in history, religion, architecture, literature, theater, and dance offer the perspectives of these disciplines as they relate to Bach's milieu, while leading Bach specialists from both the U.S. and Germany focus on the man himself. The book is an outgrowth of the "celebrated" (Boston Globe) multidisciplinary Academies sponsored by the Aston Magna Foundation for Music and the Humanities with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.