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Four Last Songs: Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten (Paperback)
  • Four Last Songs: Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten (Paperback)
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Four Last Songs: Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten (Paperback)

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£13.50
Paperback 176 Pages / Published: 22/11/2016
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Aging and creativity can seem a particularly fraught relationship for artists, who often face age-related difficulties as their audience's expectations are at a peak. In Four Last Songs, Linda and Michael Hutcheon explore this issue via the late works of some of the world's greatest composers. Giuseppe Verdi (1813 1901), Richard Strauss (1864 1949), Olivier Messiaen (1908 92), and Benjamin Britten (1913 76) all wrote operas late in life, pieces that reveal unique responses to the challenges of growing older. Verdi's Falstaff, his only comedic success, combated Richard Wagner's influence by introducing young Italian composers to a new model of national music. Strauss, on the other hand, struggling with personal and political problems in Nazi Germany, composed the self-reflexive Capriccio, a "life review" of opera and his own legacy. Though it exhausted him physically and emotionally, Messiaen at the age of seventy-five finished his only opera, Saint Fran ois d'Assise, which marked the pinnacle of his career. Britten, meanwhile, suffering from heart problems, refused surgery until he had completed his masterpiece, Death in Venice. For all four composers, age, far from sapping their creative power, provided impetus for some of their best accomplishments. With its deft treatment of these composers' final years and works, Four Last Songs provides a valuable look at the challenges and opportunities that present themselves as artists grow older.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226420684
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 245 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 9 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
An extremely inspiring study of a heroic quartet.
--Leslie Barcza "barczablog ""
Four Last Songs takes its readers on a vivid musicological journey across the rhythms of tradition and discords of modernity to arrive at the late careers of Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten, whose operas tell big stories about nation and identity, finitude and transcendence. Bravo to the Hutcheons for bringing their historical discoveries and brilliant sense of the unexplored to inspire age studies today and into the future. --Stephen Katz, Trent University"
This is an excellent book with implications and resonances that reach far beyond the study of the four composers. It displays a tremendous range of knowledge across a spectrum of disciplines: musicology, critical theory, humanistic gerontology. The Hutcheons are pioneers in creating such a synthesis. Timely in its arguments, Four Last Songs will appeal widely and make a powerful impact. --Gordon McMullan, King s College London"
As a practicing geriatrician, I was inspired by these accounts of creativity in old age. As an opera lover (Verdi s Falstaff is one of my particular favorites), I enjoyed the stories about these remarkable composers. I would highly recommend this elegantly written book for any reader interested in opera, or creativity, or aging. --Barry J. Goldlist, University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital"
"An extremely inspiring study of a heroic quartet."
--Leslie Barcza "barczablog "
"Four Last Songs takes its readers on a vivid musicological journey across the rhythms of tradition and discords of modernity to arrive at the late careers of Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten, whose operas tell big stories about nation and identity, finitude and transcendence. Bravo to the Hutcheons for bringing their historical discoveries and brilliant sense of the unexplored to inspire age studies today and into the future."--Stephen Katz, Trent University
"This is an excellent book with implications and resonances that reach far beyond the study of the four composers. It displays a tremendous range of knowledge across a spectrum of disciplines: musicology, critical theory, humanistic gerontology. The Hutcheons are pioneers in creating such a synthesis. Timely in its arguments, Four Last Songs will appeal widely and make a powerful impact."--Gordon McMullan, King's College London
"As a practicing geriatrician, I was inspired by these accounts of creativity in old age. As an opera lover (Verdi's Falstaff is one of my particular favorites), I enjoyed the stories about these remarkable composers. I would highly recommend this elegantly written book for any reader interested in opera, or creativity, or aging."--Barry J. Goldlist, University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital

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