Monday, March 3, 2008

Five best books about composers' lives

James Penrose writes about music for The New Criterion.

For the Wall Street Journal, he tagged a five best list of books about composers' lives.

One title on Penrose's list:
W.A. Mozart
By Hermann Abert
1920 (Yale, 2007)

Modern Mozart scholarship is indebted to Hermann Abert's groundbreaking biography, and little wonder. When it appeared in German almost 90 years ago, this engaging work was the last word on Mozart's life (1756-91) and music, offering penetrating analysis and wonderful accounts of his travails and triumphs and of his operas, concertos, church music and symphonies. But until last year, the book had never been translated into English. Stewart Spencer admirably executed the task for Yale University Press, and editor Cliff Eisen, a distinguished Mozart scholar, updated the text with scrupulous and marvelously perceptive annotations. Abert's study is a model of musical biography.

Read about the other books on Penrose's list.

--Marshal Zeringue