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Leoncavallo: Life and Works Paperback – 28 Feb 2007

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4.2 out of 5 stars 4 reviews from Amazon.com

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...the first substantial study of the composer in English...[the author] can be congratulated in assembling so much new information. BBC Music Magazine, August 2007 This is ideal for anyone looking for in-depth research material on this little-known composer. Highly recommended. CHOICE, October 2007, Vol. 45, No. 2 Best known as the composer of Pagliacci , Ruggiero Leoncavallo (1857-1919) created many other operatic works, including Chatterton , Der Roland von Berlin , and La boheme. Based on extensive archival research conducted by the author, this critical biography attempts to untangle and organize the facts of Leoncavallo's life while offering a relatively complete analysis of his works. Dryden teaches music at the University of Maryland University College-Europe. Reference and Research Book News, May 2007 Because of Dryden, he [Leoncavallo] has finally been accorded a memorial entirely unlike himself: that is, unassuming, focused, disciplined, and perilously near to perfection. The preface, by no less a performer than Placido Domingo, merely confirms the whole project's quality. It is impossible to imagine any subsequent book on leoncavallo doing more than adding a handful of grace notes, and perhaps the very occasional cadenza, to Dryden's quietly heroic art. The New Criterion, June 2008 Real-life events partially inspired Ruggiero Leoncavallo's 1892 verismo shocker to make it one of the most popular operas ever written. The work also turned its composer into a "one-hit wonder." Leoncavallo, deeply troubled and insecure for most of his career, wrote operas to inspire both admiration and revulsion. When you add the chaotic state of Leoncavallo's correspondence, the challenges facing any writer of a definitive biography become apparent. Fortunately, Dryden's illuminating study succeeds despite these odds...Dryden's book proves a thorough, well-documented resource on a gifted composer tormented by the early success he was never able to duplicate. Dryden's painstaking detective work provides a solid foundation for future research. Simply put, every scholar, singer, conductor, and opera fan who admires Leoncavallo and wants to learn more about his career and personality will want to read this book. Highly recommended. The Opera Journal

About the Author

Dr. Konrad Dryden is professor of music and German at the University of Maryland-Europe and a frequent lecturer on verismo.

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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, if minor bio 9 Jun. 2015
By Larry A. Verdugo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting biography of a very sad man and unfulfilled artist.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leoncavallo 30 Nov. 2009
By ALFRED H. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
OK for a first ever bio of an interesting composer. The main things that are missing are musical samples and lists and reviews of recordings. The language is a little strained, sometimes you have to go back to be sure you know what the author is talking about. Generally reads too much like a doctoral thesis. The author should read the composer bios written by Cairns, Budden and others.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy biography for music lovers 22 April 2014
By anon. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Unlike Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner, Leoncavallo, despite being the composer of "Pagliacci", one of the world's most frequently-performed operas, has had no major biographies prior to this one. I am happy to report the Dryden makes up for this lack quite well. His language flows quite well and avoids getting bogged down in details that have little bearing on Leoncavallo's life. The last half of the book is devoted to plots of each of his operas. What is missing in this section are dates and locations of first performances. A list of recordings is unnecessary as those of just "Pagliacci" would take up much of the section. By the way, the correct title, as Dryden correctly uses, is "Pagliacci" not "I Pagliacci", an early typo that has hung on.

There are minor quibbles but they are minor considering the wealth of information in this recommendable book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Job 8 July 2010
By P. Doering - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Grateful to professor Dryden for enabling readers to learn more of the verismo era through his superbly reasearched biographies of Leoncavallo, Zandonai and Franco Alfano. Let's hope that these wonderful monographs will initiate a renewal of some of the operas mentioned.
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