The Lives and Times of the Great Composers and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading The Lives and Times of the Great Composers on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Lives and Times of the Great Composers [Paperback]

Michael Steen
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 4.79  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 10.49  
Paperback, 6 Oct 2005 --  
There is a newer edition of this item:
The Lives and Times of the Great Composers The Lives and Times of the Great Composers 3.6 out of 5 stars (7)
10.49
In stock.

Book Description

6 Oct 2005
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 (as evidenced by the success of Alex Ross' "The Rest is Noise") in classical music. This work 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. In this work, 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.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; New edition edition (6 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840466790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840466799
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 6.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 886,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

'A fascinating musical tour of 350 years of European history’ -- Eastern Daily Press

‘Hugely informative and deliciously gossipy’ -- Spectator

About the Author

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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too little music, too much politics 9 Sep 2010
By J C E Hitchcock TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
It's "The Lives and Times of the Great Composers". Not "The Lives and Works of the Great Composers". There's a significant difference. As Michael Steen points out in his introduction:-

"The art of Biography
Is different from Musicography.
Musicography is about cellos
But Biography is about fellows".

This is very much a book about fellows; it is certainly not an introduction to classical music for the beginner, but appears to be written for those who are already familiar with the Classical repertoire and want to know more about the personal lives of those who wrote it. It is essentially a series of potted biographies of famous composers, concentrating less on their works than on their finances and their love lives and also, often, on the political background against which they wrote. That phrase "and Times" in the title is significant too; Steen clearly has a good knowledge of European political history and wants to make maximum use of it.

It is always going to be a matter of debate which composers deserve the label "great", and fashions in musical greatness tend to vary over the years. Bach's music was regarded as unfashionable for nearly a century after his death. Mozart was not venerated in the late nineteenth century in the way he is today. It is unlikely that a book with this title published fifty years earlier would have included Mahler; today it would be virtually impossible to exclude him.

Steen's emphasis in this book is very much on the nineteenth century, possibly reflecting his own personal preferences. The Baroque period is represented by Handel and Bach alone, and then it's straight on to Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Even a figure as familiar to the modern concert-goer as Vivaldi is omitted.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chock Full of Facts, Insights and Wit 2 Jan 2006
By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"[Mad King] Ludwig had been given Wagner's 100,000-word essay 'Opera and Drama' when he was thirteen years old. It was thus no wonder that the boy suffered from hallucinations.' - The Lives and Times of the Great Composers, pg. 474
There are startling, or new, or witty observations like this on practically every page of this meticulously researched 984-page book that chronicles the lives of the great composers and the times in which they lived. I have been reading such books for nigh on fifty years and yet I found something new and instructive frequently in this marvelously written book. Michael Steen studied at London's Royal College of Music but later made a career in the City. He writes in a graceful style that urges the reader on.
There are chapters devoted to individual composers (or groups such as 'Glinka and The Five') from Handel to Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten. Lesser composers are remarked upon in the many interesting digressions contained within the main chapters. One certainly gets a sense of the social and political ambiance of the times under discussion, and Steen makes an effort to draw connections between those events and the works written in their midst. There are many illustrations including maps, pictures of the composers and other musicians and other cultural figures of the times. There is something here for the neophyte as well as for the grizzled music history buff like me. Clearly great thought was given by the author and by Oxford University Pressto the arrangement and presentation of the book and it could hardly be bettered.
An enthusiastic recommendation.
Scott Morrison
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chock Full of Facts, Insights and Wit 2 Jan 2006
By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"[Mad King] Ludwig had been given Wagner's 100,000-word essay 'Opera and Drama' when he was thirteen years old. It was thus no wonder that the boy suffered from hallucinations.' - The Lives and Times of the Great Composers, pg. 474
There are startling, or new, or witty observations like this on practically every page of this meticulously researched 984-page book that chronicles the lives of the great composers and the times in which they lived. I have been reading such books for nigh on fifty years and yet I found something new and instructive frequently in this marvelously written book. Michael Steen studied at London's Royal College of Music but later made a career in the City. He writes in a graceful style that urges the reader on.
There are chapters devoted to individual composers (or groups such as 'Glinka and The Five') from Handel to Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten. Lesser composers are remarked upon in the many interesting digressions contained within the main chapters. One certainly gets a sense of the social and political ambiance of the times under discussion, and Steen makes an effort to draw connections between those events and the works written in their midst. There are many illustrations including maps, pictures of the composers and other musicians and other cultural figures of the times. There is something here for the neophyte as well as for the grizzled music history buff like me. Clearly great thought was given by the author and by Oxford University Pressto the arrangement and presentation of the book and it could hardly be bettered.
An enthusiastic recommendation.
Scott Morrison
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback