The Lives and Times of the Great Composers

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Icon Books Ltd, Jul 1, 2011 - Music - 968 pages
'A glorious plum-pudding of a book, to be consulted, with pleasure and profit, over and over again' Sir Jeremy Isaacs

Michael Steen's 'Great Composers' was originally published in 2003. A lifetime's work and almost 1000 pages long, it has since become 'the' reference point and key read on the biographical backgrounds to classical music's biggest names.

Authoritative and hugely detailed - but nonetheless a joy to read - this new edition will expand its readership further and capitalise on a newfound popular interest in classical music.

Steen's book helps you explore the story of Bach, the respectable burgher much of whose vast output was composed amidst petty turf disputes in Lutheran Leipzig; or the ugly, argumentative Beethoven in French-occupied Vienna, obsessed by his laundry; or Mozart, the over-exploited infant prodigy whose untimely death was shrouded in rumour.

Read about Verdi, who composed against the background of the Italian Risorgimento; or about the family life of the Wagners; and, Brahms, who rose from the slums of Hamburg to become a devotee of beer and coffee in fin-de-siecle Vienna, a cultural capital bent on destroying Mahler...and much, much more.
 

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The lives and times of the great composers

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Steen (chairman, Royal Coll. of Music Soc., London) studies the social, cultural, and political spheres that affected the lives and works of approximately 50 composers, from J.S. Bach to Benjamin ... Read full review

Review: The Lives and Times of the Great Composers

User Review  - Vrteach - Goodreads

I received this at Christmas from my Father, and it took me a while to get to starting it. But once I did I didn't start any other books. It does a great job of weaving the lives and works of composers with the history (mostly of Europe) since the beginning of the 18th century. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

MEYERBEER BELLINI AND DONIZETTI
BERLIOZ 180369
MENDELSSOHN 180947
CHOPIN 181049
SCHUMANN 181056
LISZT 181186
WAGNER 181383
OFFENBACH AND JOHANN STRAUSS

HAYDN 17321809
MOZART 175691
BEETHOVEN 17701827
SCHUBERT 17971828
ROSSINI 17921868
VERDI 18131901
BRAHMS 183397
BIZET 183875
FRANCK SAINTSAËNS AND FAURÉ 20 RUSSIAN COMPOSERS GLINKA AND THE FIVE 21 TCHAIKOVSKY 184093
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About the author (2011)

Michael Steen was born in Dublin, studied at the Royal College of Music, was organ scholar at Oriel College, Oxford and is currently chairman of the Royal College of Music Society.

Bibliographic information