front cover of The Eighth
The Eighth
Mahler and the World in 1910
Stephen Johnson
University of Chicago Press, 2020

September 12, 1910: The world premiere of Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and the artistic breakthrough for which the composer had yearned all his life. Munich’s new Musik Festhalle was filled to capacity on two successive evenings for the performances, which were received with rapturous applause. Representatives of many European royal houses were in attendance, along with an array of stars from the musical and literary world, including Thomas Mann and the young Arnold Schoenberg. Also present were Alma Mahler, the composer’s wife, and Alma’s longtime lover, the architect Walter Gropius. Knowledge of their relationship would precipitate an emotional crisis in Mahler that, compounded with his heart condition and the loss of his young daughter Maria, would lead to his premature death the next year.

In The Eighth, Stephen Johnson provides a masterful account of the symphony’s far-reaching consequences and its effect on composers, conductors, and writers of the time. The Eighth looks behind the scenes at the demanding one-week rehearsal period leading up to the premiere—something unheard of at the time—and provides fascinating insight into Mahler’s compositional habits, his busy life as a conductor, his philosophical and literary interests, and his personal and professional relationships. Johnson expertly contextualizes Mahler’s work among the prevailing attitudes and political climate of his age, considering the art, science, technology, and mass entertainment that informed the world in 1910. The Eighth is an absorbing history of a musical masterpiece and the troubled man who created it.


front cover of Elliott Carter
Elliott Carter
James Wierzbicki
University of Illinois Press, 2011
This compact introduction to the life and works of composer Elliott Carter provides a fresh perspective on one of the most significant American composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A leading voice of the American classical music tradition and a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, Carter was initially encouraged to become a composer by Charles Ives, and he went on to learn from Walter Piston at Harvard University and Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Drawing on Carter's voluminous writings and compositions, James Wierzbicki provides a clear discussion of Carter's evolving understanding of musical time and the influence of film on his work. Celebrating his 100th birthday in 2008 by premiering a number of new compositions, Carter has been a powerful presence on the American new music scene, an important connection to American music's foundational figures, and a dynamic force in its continuing evolution.

front cover of Elliott Carter Speaks
Elliott Carter Speaks
Unpublished Lectures
Elliott Carter. Edited and with an Introduction by Laura Emmery
University of Illinois Press, 2021
These previously unpublished lectures by Elliott Carter date to the summer of 1967, when the acclaimed composer taught at the Contemporary Music Workshop held by the University of Minnesota. Leading an introductory course on orchestra repertoire, Carter gave nine hours of lectures covering principal topics like how to live with the musical present and whether the symphony orchestra was a relic of the past or a possible active force for new music. But Carter's observations and prompts by audience questions broadened the discussion into areas ranging from electronic music to analyses of works by other artists and himself. Laura Emmery presents the complete text from each session alongside introductions, commentary, and annotated examples that provide valuable context for readers.

Expansive and essential, Elliott Carter Speaks opens up the artist's teaching and introspection to new contemporary perspectives on his thought and art.

Please note that the order and arrangement of materials in this book differs from that of Elliott Carter’s original lectures.


front cover of English Pastoral Music
English Pastoral Music
From Arcadia to Utopia, 1900-1955
Eric Saylor
University of Illinois Press, 2017
Covering works by popular figures like Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst as well as less familiar English composers, Eric Saylor's pioneering book examines pastoral music's critical, theoretical, and stylistic foundations alongside its creative manifestations in the contexts of Arcadia, war, landscape, and the Utopian imagination. As Saylor shows, pastoral music adapted and transformed established musical and aesthetic conventions that reflected the experiences of British composers and audiences during the early twentieth century. By approaching pastoral music as a cultural phenomenon dependent on time and place, Saylor forcefully challenges the body of critical opinion that has long dismissed it as antiquated, insular, and reactionary.

front cover of Exploring the World of J. S. Bach
Exploring the World of J. S. Bach
A Traveler's Guide
Robert L. Marshall
University of Illinois Press, 2016
A singular resource, Exploring the World of J. S. Bach puts Bach aficionados and classical music lovers in the shoes of the master composer. Bach scholar Robert L. Marshall and veteran writer-translator Traute M. Marshall lead readers on a Baroque Era odyssey through fifty towns where Bach resided, visited, and of course created his works. Drawing on established sources as well as newly available East German archives, the authors describe each site in Bach's time and the present, linking the sites to the biographical information, artistic and historic landmarks, and musical activities associated with each. A wealth of historical illustrations, color photographs, and maps supplement the text, whetting the appetite of the visitor and the armchair traveler alike.

Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter