The prolific creator of such classic popular works as Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, and Cinderella, Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was one of the most important and influential composers of the twentieth century. In this definitive biography of Prokofiev, Harlow Robinson provides a richly detailed portrait of a man whose complex character, like his music, combined the traditional and the contemporary in odd and unexpected ways. Drawing on previously unknown or unavailable Russian-language sources, including extensive archival material, Robinson traces Prokofiev's extraordinary life from the fairy-tale world of Czarist Russia, through his many years abroad in America and Europe, to his perplexing permanent return to Moscow in 1936 under the Soviet Regime. That Prokofiev died on the very day as Josef Stalin, his principal persecutor, was the final irony of his intense and enigmatic career.
Robert Craft was Stravinsky's closest friend during the last twenty-three years of the composer's life. He kept detailed diaries which provide a glimpse of Stravinsky's life, work and social circle. The greats of twentieth century music, art and literature make appearances throughout this book as they interact with the great musical innovator.
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"Franz Schubert's tragically short life was lived in one of Europe's most richly musical cities: a Vienna that worshipped Beethoven and where Rossini and Paganini drew crowds. Christopher Gibbs considers how and what Schubert composed, taking a fresh look at this misunderstood composer, particularly the unfolding of his professional career, his relationship to Beethoven, the growth of his reputation and public image and his darker side of drinking, depression and sexual ambiguity. This searching and sympathetic biography questions the customary sentimental clichés and the recent revisionist views concerning this elusive genius."
Verdi was one of the greatest, the most successful, and the longest-lived of all composers. Written with the full cooperation of the Verdi family and drawing on a wide range of sources, this is an authoritative re-examination of a long, vigorous and productive life. The book captures Verdi's tremendous energy, creativity, Italian nationalism and philanthropy and offers insight into the complexities involoved in the composition and production of opera.