The Lives and Times of the Great Composers (book)


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. [1]