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Music in 1853. The Biography of a Year
Music in 1853. The Biography of a Year.

Music in 1853. The Biography of a Year

  • ISBN: 978-1-84383-718-3
  • Editorial: Boydell Press
  • Encuadernación: Cartoné con sobrecubierta
  • Formato: 16x24
  • Páginas: 208
  • Idiomas: Inglés
  • Tipo: LIBRO


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This book is a close chronicle of an important year in the history of music. Why 1853? Because for many leading composers of the nineteenth century this year brought farreaching changes to their lives, and whether or not these changes were connected, they happened within a few months of each other. Brahms emerged from obscurity to celebrity, Schumann ceased to be an active composer, and both Berlioz and Wagner became active composers again after long silences.
By limiting the perspective to a single year, the narrative is able to follow the lives and actions of these composers in much greater detail than a standard biography of any individual; and by extending it to a group of musicians, their constant interconnections become the central motif of the historical process. Brahms meets Berlioz and Liszt as well as Schumann; Liszt is a constant link in every chain; Joachim is close to all of them; Wagner is on everyone's mind. No one composer is at the centre of the story, but a network of musicians, all of them friends or at least acquaintances, spread across the map of Europe from London and Paris to Leipzig and Zurich.
Music in 1853 shows how musicians were now more closely connected than ever before, through the constant exchange of letters and through the rapidly expanding railway network. The book links geography and day-to-day events to show how international the European musical scene had become. A larger picture emerges of a shift in musical scenery, from the world of the innocent Romanticism of Berlioz and Schumann to the more potent musical politics of Wagner and of his antidote (as many saw him) Brahms.

With characteristic originality, Hugh Macdonald's fertile imagination has seized on a way of shedding fascinating new light on a crucial period in the history of music, by telling the story of a year when great things were happening simultaneously in different parts of Germany and the foundations of greater things were being laid. We watch Wagner readying himself to begin composing The Ring, Berlioz on the verge of The Trojans, the career of the 20-year-old Brahms (still beardless), fanned by Schumann and Joachim, about to take wing, and Schumann near his tragic end. We follow in vivid detail their lives -Liszt's too - as they lived them: their day-to-day preoccupations, their journeys, their vital interaction, and all that carne from it. David Cairns, Chief Music Critic of the Sunday Times (1983-1992) and Berlioz scholar and author.

1853 is something increasingly rare in music books: not only skilfully researched and deftly written, but a great read. Macdonald paints a fascinating picture of a pivotal year in the history of music - Wagner, Liszt, Berlioz and Brahms are all there. By the end, readers might almost believe they were there too. Kenneth Hamilton, concert pianist and author of After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance

In Music in 1853: the Biography of a Year, Hugh Macdonald traces the travels of several key figures of European music over the span of just ten months: Brahms and Joachim, Berlioz and Spohr, Wagner and Liszt as well as the Schumanns appear in a fascinating mobile sculpture, whose parts attract and repel each other, allowing revealing glimpses behind the scene during a crucial year in music history. Compellingly written ... a great read! Jürgen Thym, Profesor Emeritus of Musicology, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester


1.- Foreword
2.- Brahms Leaves Home, April - May
3.- Berlioz and Spohr in London, May - July
4.- Brahms and Liszt in Weimar, June
5.- Wagner and Liszt in Zurich, May - July
6.- Berlioz in Baden-Baden and Frankfurt, July - August
7.- Joachim and Brahms in Göttingen and Bonn, July - September
8.- Liszt in Frankfurt, Weimar and Carlsbad, July - September
9.- Wagner in St Moritz and La Spezia, July - September
10.- Liszt in Karlsruhe, September - October
11.- Schumann and Brahms in Düsseldorf, September - October
12.- Liszt, Wagner and Berlioz in Paris, October
13.- Berlioz, Joachim and Brahms in Hanover, October - November
14.- Brahms, Berlioz and Liszt in Leipzig, November - December
15.- The Schumanns in Holland and Hanover, November - February
16.- Afterword