A librettist is any person who has written a libretto. (This type currently only has properties for opera libretti, and resides in the Opera commons; there are other types of libretti, and this type could probably be extended to include them if the need arises.)
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Leonard Bernstein ( /ˈbɜrnstaɪn/ US dict: bûrn′·stīn; August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. According to The New York Times, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history." He is quite possibly the conductor whose name is best known to the public in general, especially the American public.
His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, and from his music for West Side Story, as well as Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town and his own Mass.
Bernstein was also the first conductor to give numerous television lectures on classical music, starting in 1954 and continuing until his death. In addition, he was a skilled pianist, often conducting piano concertos from the keyboard.
As a composer he wrote in many styles encompassing symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music and pieces for the
Amin Maalouf (Arabic: أمين معلوف), born 25 February 1949 in Beirut, is a Lebanese-born French author. Although his native language is Arabic, he writes in French, and his works have been translated into many languages. He received the Prix Goncourt in 1993 for his novel The Rock of Tanios (English translation of, Le Rocher de Tanios). He has also been awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature in its 2010 edition. He was elected at the Académie française on 23 June 2011, on seat 29.
Maalouf is the second of four children. His parents' families were from the Lebanese mountain village of Ain el Kabou. His parents married in Cairo in 1945, where Odette, his mother, was born of a Maronite Christian father from the village, who had left to work in Egypt, and his mother born in Turkey. Amin's father, Ruchdi, was from the Melkite Greek Catholic community. One of his ancestors was a priest whose son converted to become a Presbyterian parson. The parson's son (Maalouf's grandfather) was a "rationalist, anticlerical, probably a freemason, and refused to baptise his children". While the Protestant branch of the family sent their children to British or American schools, Maalouf's
Carlisle Floyd (born June 11, 1926, in Latta, South Carolina) is an American opera composer. The son of a Methodist minister, he based many of his works on themes from the South. His best known opera, Susannah (1955), is based on a story from the Apocrypha, transferred to contemporary, rural Tennessee, and is set in a Southern dialect.
In 1943, Floyd entered Converse College, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and studied piano under Ernst Bacon. When Bacon accepted a position at Syracuse University, in New York, Floyd followed him there, where he received a Bachelor of Music in 1946. The following year, Floyd became part of the piano faculty at Florida State University, in Tallahassee. He was to remain there for thirty years, eventually becoming Professor of Composition. He received a master's degree at Syracuse, in 1949.
While at Florida State, Floyd gradually became interested in composition. His first opera was Slow Dusk, to his own libretto (as was to remain his custom), and was produced at Syracuse in 1949. His next opera, The Fugitives, was seen at Tallahassee in 1951, but was then withdrawn.
His third opera was to be Floyd's greatest success: Susannah. It was first heard at
Thomas Patrick Betterton (ca. 1635 – 28 April 1710), English actor, son of an under-cook to King Charles I, was born in London.
He was apprenticed to John Holden, Sir William Davenant's publisher, and possibly later to a bookseller named John Rhodes, who had been wardrobe-keeper at the Blackfriars Theatre. In 1659, Rhodes obtained a licence to set up a company of players at the Cockpit Theatre in Drury Lane; and on the reopening of this theatre in 1660, Betterton made his first appearance on the stage.
Betterton's talents at once brought him into prominence, and he was given leading parts. On the opening of the new theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1661, Davenant, the patentee of the Duke's Company, engaged Betterton and all Rhodes's company to play in his Siege of Rhodes. Betterton, besides being a public favourite, was held in high esteem by Charles II, who sent him to Paris to examine stage improvements there.
In 1662 he had married the actress Mary Saunderson (d. 1712).
In appearance he was athletic, slightly above middle height, with a tendency to stoutness; his voice was strong rather than melodious, but in recitation it was used with the greatest dexterity. Pepys, Pope,
Heitor Villa-Lobos (Portuguese pronunciation: [ejˌtoʁ ˌvilɐ ˈlobus]; March 5, 1887 – November 17, 1959) was a Brazilian composer, described as "the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music". Villa-Lobos has become the best-known and most significant Latin American composer to date. He wrote numerous orchestral, chamber, instrumental and vocal works. His music was influenced by both Brazilian folk music and by stylistic elements from the European classical tradition, as exemplified by his Bachianas Brasileiras (Brazilian Bachian-pieces).
Heitor Villa-Lobos was born in Rio de Janeiro. His father, Raul, was a civil servant, an educated man of Spanish extraction, a librarian, an amateur astronomer and musician. In Villa-Lobos's early childhood, Brazil underwent a period of social revolution and modernisation, abolishing slavery in 1888 and overthrowing the Empire of Brazil in 1889. The changes in Brazil were reflected in its musical life: previously European music had been the dominant influence, and the courses at the Conservatório de Música were grounded in traditional counterpoint and harmony. Villa-Lobos underwent very little of this formal
Mykhailo Starytsky (December 14, 1840 - April 27, 1904) was a Ukrainian writer, poet, and playwright. He was the cousin of the famous Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko and a father-in-law to Ivan Steshenko. He was orphaned early in life and raised by Lysenko's father, so he was able to supply much of the information for the composer's biography. Starytsky wrote librettos, songs, stories, dramas and poems. Later in life, Starytsky worked with Lysenko, collecting Ukrainian folk songs and transforming them into plays and operas for which Starystky wrote the librettos (including Taras Bulba, an adaptation of the novel by Gogol). He eventually switched from writing scripts for theatre to writing books. Starystky is currently remembered for his work with Lysenko, as well as his later poetry and novels.
Robert de Flers (Robert Pellevé de La Motte-Ango, marquis de Flers) (25 November 1872, Pont-l'Évêque, Calvados – 30 July 1927, Vittel) was a French playwright, opera librettist, and journalist.
He entered the Lycée Condorcet in 1888 where he studied law with the initial ambition of entering diplomatic service. He met and befriended fellow student and writer Marcel Proust, and that relationship had a great influence upon him. Proust exposed Flers to art, literature, and music and his interests soon switched from law to writing, journalism, and literature. The two men enjoyed a lifelong friendship.
After completing his studies, he toured throughout Asia in the mid 1890s. The event inspired his earliest writings: the novel La Courtisane Taïa et son singe vert (1896), the short story Ilsée, princesse de Tripoli (1896), and the travel narrative Vers l’Orient (1897). Upon returning to Paris, he was approached by composer Edmond Audran to write the libretto for his operetta La reine des reines. The worked premiered on 14 October 1896 at the Théâtre de l'Eldorado in Strasbourg. His next libretto was for Gaston Serpette's vaudeville-operetta Shakspeare! which premiered at the Théâtre des
Opera libretti written:Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
Bertolt Brecht (German: [ˈbɛɐ̯tɔlt ˈbʁɛçt] ( listen); born Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht (help·info); 10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956) was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.
An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the Berliner Ensemble – the post-war theatre company operated by Brecht and his wife, long-time collaborator and actress Helene Weigel.
Bertolt Brecht was born in Augsburg, Bavaria (about 80 km/50 mi north-west of Munich), to a devout Protestant mother and a Catholic father (who had been persuaded to have a Protestant wedding). His father worked for a paper mill, becoming its managing director in 1914. Thanks to his mother's influence, Brecht knew the Bible, a familiarity that would impact on his writing throughout his life. From her, too, came the "dangerous image of the self-denying woman" that recurs in his drama. Brecht's home life was comfortably middle class, despite what his occasional attempt to claim peasant origins implied. At school in Augsburg he met Caspar
Éric Alfred Leslie Satie (pronounced: [eʁik sati]) (17 May 1866 – Paris, 1 July 1925; signed his name Erik Satie after 1884) was a French composer and pianist. Satie was a colourful figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. His work was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music, and the Theatre of the Absurd.
An eccentric, Satie was introduced as a "gymnopedist" in 1887, shortly before writing his most famous compositions, the Gymnopédies. Later, he also referred to himself as a "phonometrician" (meaning "someone who measures sounds") preferring this designation to that of a "musician", after having been called "a clumsy but subtle technician" in a book on contemporary French composers published in 1911.
In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications, from the dadaist 391 to the American culture chronicle Vanity Fair. Although in later life he prided himself on always publishing his work under his own name, in the late nineteenth century he appears to have used pseudonyms such as Virginie Lebeau and François de Paule in some of his published
Robert Courtneidge (29 June 1859 – 6 April 1939) was a British theatrical manager-producer and playwright. He is best remembered as the co-author of the light opera Tom Jones (1907) and the producer of The Arcadians (1909). He was the father of the actress Cicely Courtneidge, who played in many of his early 20th century productions.
Courtneidge began as a comic actor in the late 1870s, working with Kate Santley, George Edwardes and others. In the early 1890s, he toured in Australia with Edwardes and J. C. Williamson companies. In 1896, he became a theatre manager in Manchester and then a West End producer. After the turn of the century, he began to direct musical theatre pieces and to write or co-write the book for some of his productions, including Tom Jones (1907). His most popular productions included The Arcadians (1909), Princess Caprice (1912), Oh! Oh! Delphine (1913) and The Cinema Star (1914). He directed the hit musical The Boy in 1917.
After the war, he presented Paddy the Next Best Thing, which had a long run, and then took a touring company to Australia, presenting a repertory of comedies. In the 1920s, he returned to producing British provincial tours and became the
Gustav Theodore Holst (born Gustavus Theodore von Holst, 21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer. He is most famous for his orchestral suite The Planets.
His early works show the influence of Grieg, Wagner, Richard Strauss and fellow student Ralph Vaughan Williams, and later, through Vaughan Williams, the music of Ravel. The combined influence of Ravel, Hindu spiritualism and English folk tunes enabled Holst to free himself of the influence of Wagner and Strauss and to forge his own style. Holst's music is well known for unconventional use of metre and haunting melodies.
Holst composed almost 200 works, including operas, ballets, choral hymns and songs. An enthusiastic educator, Holst became music master at St Paul's Girls' School in 1905 and director of music at Morley College in 1907, continuing in both posts until retirement. He also taught singing at Wycombe Abbey School from 1912 until 1917.
He was the brother of Hollywood actor Ernest Cossart and father of the composer and conductor Imogen Holst, who wrote a biography of him in 1938.
Holst was born on 21 September 1874, at 4, Pittville Terrace (named today Clarence Road) Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England.
John Coolidge Adams (born February 15, 1947) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer with strong roots in minimalism. His best-known works include Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986), On the Transmigration of Souls (2002), a choral piece commemorating the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2003), and Shaker Loops (1978), a minimalist four-movement work for strings. His well-known operas include Nixon in China (1987), which recounts Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China, and Doctor Atomic (2005), which covers Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project, and the building of the first atomic bomb.
John Coolidge Adams was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1947. He was raised in various New England states where he was greatly influenced by New England's musical culture. He graduated from Concord High School in Concord, New Hampshire. His father taught him how to play the clarinet, and he was a clarinetist in community ensembles. He later studied the instrument further with Felix Viscuglia, clarinetist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Adams began composing at the age of ten and first heard his music performed around the age
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German pronunciation: [ˈjoːhan ˈvɔlfɡaŋ fɔn ˈɡøːtə] ( listen), 28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German writer, artist, and politician. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, and over 10,000 letters written by him are extant, as are nearly 3,000 drawings.
A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Carl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November of 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement, named for a play by his childhood friend Friedrich Maximilian Klinger. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also
Salvatore Sciarrino (born Palermo, Italy, on April 4, 1947) is an Italian composer of contemporary classical music.
In his youth, Salvatore Sciarrino was attracted to the visual arts, but began experimenting with music when he was twelve. Though he had some lessons from Antonino Titone and Turi Belfiore, he is primarily self-taught as a composer. After his classical studies and a few years of university in his home city, in 1969 he moved to Rome, where he attended Franco Evangelisti's course in electronic music at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia (Osmond-Smith 2001).
In 1977, Sciarrino moved from Rome to Milan, where he taught at the conservatory until 1982. By this time his compositional career had expanded to the point where he could withdraw from teaching, and he moved to Città di Castello, in Umbria, where he has resided ever since. He nevertheless has continued to teach sporadically in Florence and Bologna, as well as in Città di Castello. Some of his notable students include Francesco Filidei, Lucia Ronchetti, and Maurizio Pisati.
He has composed for: Teatro alla Scala, RAI, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Biennale di Venezia, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Teatro Carlo
Olof Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (27 February 1867, Ullånger, Ångermanland – 3 December 1942, Östersund) was a Swedish composer and music critic. As a composer, his main musical influences were Grieg, August Söderman and Wagner as well as Swedish folk idiom.
Peterson-Berger studied at the Stockholm Conservatory from 1886–89 and then in Dresden for a year.
He is best known for three albums of national romantic piano pieces entitled Frösöblomster I, II and III (Flowers of Frösö), which includes the often performed Vid Frösö kyrka (At Frösö Church) and Sommarsång (Summer Song). The sets, which were composed over a period of 18 years (1896 - 1914) and brought together afterwards as a collection have gained a reputation of representing a quintessential "Swedishness" in the romantic, nationalistic vein of their time. The most famous of the pieces, Sommarsång (Summer Song) recalls the warm, calm, harmonious and bright pre-summer evenings where the sun in the north almost never goes down; they were the great breakthrough for Wilhelm. Sommarsång is still known to most Swedes, even to people generally uninterested in music: the majority of young piano students in the Nordic countries have been
Francesco Maria Piave (18 May 1810 – 5 March 1876) was an Italian opera librettist who was born in Murano in the lagoon of Venice, during the brief Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. His career spanned over twenty years working with many of the significant composers of his day. In addition to Giuseppe Verdi, for whom he was to write 10 librettos, other composers include Giovanni Pacini (four librettos), Saverio Mercadante (at least one), Federico Ricci, even one for Michael Balfe.
Piave was not only a librettist, but a journalist and translator. He was resident poet and stage manager at La Fenice in Venice and later at La Scala in Milan. His expertise as a stage manager and tact as a negotiator served Verdi well over the years, although Verdi bullied him mercilessly. For example, during the efforts to have Rigoletto approved by the censors, Verdi goaded Piave to make every effort to get the subject approved: "Turn Venice upside down to make the censors permit this subject"
Later, Verdi wrote to him not to allow matters to drag on:
But the librettist became Verdi's lifelong friend and collaborator - "someone Verdi loved", following Salvadore Cammarano as Verdi's main mid-career librettist
Valentin Petrovich Kataev (Russian: Валентин Петрович Катаев, Ukrainian: Катаєв Валентин Петрович; also spelled Katayev or Kataiev; 28 January [O.S. 16 January] 1897 – 12 April 1986) was a Russian and Soviet novelist and playwright who managed to create penetrating works discussing post-revolutionary social conditions without running afoul of the demands of official Soviet style. Kataev is credited with suggesting the idea for the Twelve Chairs to his brother Yevgeni Petrov and Ilya Ilf. In return, Kataev insisted that the novel be dedicated to him, in all editions and translations. Kataev's relentless imagination, sensitivity, and originality made him one of the most distinguished Soviet writers.
Kataev was born in Odessa (then Russian Empire, now Ukraine) into the family of a teacher and began writing while he was still in gimnaziya (high school). He did not finish the gimnaziya but volunteered for the army in 1915, serving in the artillery. After the October Revolution he was mobilized into the Red Army, where he fought against General Denikin and served in the Russian Telegraph Agency. In 1920, he became a journalist in Odessa; two years later he moved to Moscow, where he
Aleksey Nikolayevich Pleshcheyev (Russian: Алексе́й Никола́евич Плеще́ев; 4 December [O.S. 22 November] 1825 – 8 October 1893) was a radical Russian poet of the 19th century, one of the Petrashevsky Circle.
Pleshcheyev's first book of poetry, published in 1846, made him famous: Step forward! Without fear or doubt... became widely known as "a Russian La Marseillaise" (and was sung as such, using French melody), Friends' calling... and We're brothers by the way we feel... were also adopted by the mid-1840s' Russian radical youth as revolutionary hymns.
In 1849, as a member of Petrashevsky Circle, Pleshcheyev was arrested, sent (alongside Fyodor Dostoyevsky among others) to St. Petersburg and spent 8 months in Petropavlovskaya prison. Having initially been given a death sentence, Pleshcheyev was then deported to Uralsk, near Orenburg where he spent ten years in exile, serving first as a soldier, later as a junior officer.
In his latter life Pleshcheyev became widely known for his numerous translations (mostly from English and French) and also poems for children, some of which are now considered classic. Many of Pleshcheyev's poems have been set to music (by Tchaikovsky and
David George Joseph Malouf (born 20 March 1934) is an acclaimed Australian writer. He was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 2000, his 1993 novel Remembering Babylon won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1996, he won the inaugural Australia-Asia Literary Award in 2008, and he was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Malouf was born in Brisbane, Australia, to a Christian Lebanese father and an English-born mother of Portuguese Sephardi Jewish descent.
He was an avid reader as a child, and at 12 years old was reading such books as Wuthering Heights, Bleak House and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. These books, he says, taught him about sex: "They told you there was a life out there that was amazingly passionate". He attended Brisbane Grammar School and graduated from the University of Queensland in 1955. He lectured for a short period before moving to London, where he taught at Holland Park School before relocating to Birkenhead in 1962. He returned to Australia in 1968 and lectured at the University of Sydney, taught at his old school, and lectured in English at the Universities of Queensland and Sydney.
He has lived in England and Tuscany; for the
Tan Dun (simplified Chinese: 谭盾; traditional Chinese: 譚盾; pinyin: Tán Dùn, Mandarin pronunciation: [tʰǎn tu̯ə̂n]) (born August 15, 1957, Si Mao, Hunan) is a Chinese contemporary classical composer, most widely known for his scores for the movies Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero.
Tan Dun was born in the village of Simaonae, Changsha in the Hunan province of China. As a child, he was fascinated by the role of the shaman in his village, who conducted rituals and ceremonies, often set to music made with organic objects such as rocks and water. However, as a child in the midst of China's cultural revolution, he found this kind of "backward thinking" frowned upon, and he was sent to work as a rice planter on a government commune.
That, however, had little effect on his affinity for music. He created his own musical group, utilizing peasants in the village playing whatever they could, sometimes just banging on pots and pans. It was from these peasants that he began to learn to play traditional Chinese string instruments. He went on to play the viola for the Beijing Opera Orchestra.
It was from there that his escape from the agricultural commune came in the form of a
Opera libretti written:Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (German pronunciation: [ˈjaːkɔp ˈluːtvɪç ˈfeːlɪks ˈmɛndl̩szoːn baʁˈtɔldi]), born, and generally known in English-speaking countries, as Felix Mendelssohn (3 February 1809 – 4 November 1847) was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period.
The grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn was born into a prominent Jewish family, although initially he was raised without religion and was later baptised as a Lutheran Christian. Mendelssohn was recognised early as a musical prodigy, but his parents were cautious and did not seek to capitalise on his talent.
Early success in Germany, where he also revived interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, was followed by travel throughout Europe. Mendelssohn was particularly well received in Britain as a composer, conductor and soloist, and his ten visits there – during which many of his major works were premiered – form an important part of his adult career. His essentially conservative musical tastes, however, set him apart from many of his more adventurous musical contemporaries such as Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner and Hector Berlioz. The
Peter Greenaway, CBE (born 5 April 1942) is a British film director. His films are noted for the distinct influence of Renaissance and Baroque painting, and Flemish painting in particular. The scenic composition and illumination and the contrasts of costume and nudity, nature and architecture, furniture and people, sexual pleasure and painful death are common traits in his films.
Greenaway was born in Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales, to a teacher mother and a builder's merchant father. Greenaway's family left South Wales when he was three years old (they had moved there originally to avoid the Blitz) and settled in Chingford, Essex, England. He attended Forest School in North-East London. At an early age Greenaway decided on becoming a painter. He became interested in European cinema, focusing first on the films of Ingmar Bergman, and then on the French nouvelle vague filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard and, most especially, Alain Resnais.
In 1962, Greenaway began studies at Walthamstow College of Art, where a fellow student was musician Ian Dury (later cast in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover). Greenaway trained as a muralist for three years; he made his first film, Death of
Temistocle Solera (December 25, 1815 – April 21, 1878) was an Italian opera composer and librettist.
He was born at Ferrara. He received his education at the Imperial College in Vienna and at the University of Pavia. Throughout his life he actively participated in anti-Austrian resistance. At one point, he was incarcerated for his activities. He completed several literary works, including the novel Michelino, his style influenced by Alessandro Manzoni. He then found work as a librettist; his collaboration with the composer Giuseppe Verdi began in 1839 and lasted for a few years.
Solera then found work as the impresario for the Royal Theatre in Madrid. He died in Milan in 1878.
Carl Orff ((1895-07-10)July 10, 1895 – March 29, 1982(1982-03-29)) was a 20th-century German composer, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana (1937). In addition to his career as a composer, Orff developed an influential approach of music education for children.
Orff was born in Munich on July 10, 1895. His family was Bavarian and was active in the Army of the German Empire.
Orff started studying the piano at the age of five, and he also took organ and cello lessons. However, he was more interested in composing original music than in studying to be a performer. Orff wrote and staged puppet shows for his family, composing music for piano, violin, zither, and glockenspiel to accompany them. He had a short story published in a children's magazine in 1905 and started to write a book about nature. In his spare time he enjoyed collecting insects.
By the time he was a teenager, Orff was writing songs, although he had not studied harmony or composition; his mother helped him set down his first works in musical notation. Orff wrote his own texts and he learned the art of composing, without a teacher, by studying classical masterworks on his own.
In 1911, at age 16, some of Orff's music
Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II ( /ˈhæmərstaɪn/; July 12, 1895 – August 23, 1960) was an American librettist, theatrical producer, and (usually uncredited) theatre director of musicals for almost forty years. Hammerstein won eight Tony Awards and two Academy Awards for Best Original Song. Many of his songs are standard repertoire for singers and jazz musicians. He co-wrote 850 songs. Hammerstein was the lyricist and playwright in his partnerships; his collaborators wrote the music. Hammerstein collaborated with composers Jerome Kern, Vincent Youmans, Rudolf Friml and Sigmund Romberg; but his most famous collaboration, by far, was with Richard Rodgers.
Hammerstein was born Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein in New York City, the son of Alice (née Nimmo) and William Hammerstein. His grandfather was German-born Jewish theater impresario Oscar Hammerstein I, and his mother was the daughter of Scottish and English parents. Hammerstein was raised an Episcopalian.
Although Hammerstein's father managed the Victoria Theatre for his father and was a producer of vaudeville shows (he is generally credited with inventing the "pie-in-the-face" routine), he was opposed to his son's
Paul-Marie Verlaine (French pronunciation: [vɛʁˈlɛn]; 30 March 1844 – 8 January 1896) was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.
Born in Metz, he was educated at the Lycée impérial Bonaparte (now the Lycée Condorcet) in Paris and then took up a post in the civil service. He began writing poetry at an early age, and was initially influenced by the Parnassien movement and its leader, Leconte de Lisle. Verlaine's first published poem was published in 1863 in La Revue du progrès, a publication founded by poet Louis-Xavier de Ricard. Verlaine was a frequenter of the salon of the Marquise de Ricard (Louis-Xavier de Ricard's mother) at 10 Boulevard des Batignolles and other social venues, where he rubbed shoulders with prominent artistic figures of the day: Anatole France; Emmanuel Chabrier; inventor-poet and humorist Charles Cros; the cynical anti-bourgeois idealist Villiers de l'Isle-Adam; Theodore de Banville; François Coppée; Jose-Maria de Heredia; Leconte de Lisle; Catulle Mendes, and others. Verlaine's first published collection, Poèmes saturniens (1866),
Philip Glass (born January 31, 1937) is an American composer. He is often said to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century. His music is also often controversially described as minimalist, along with the work of the other "major minimalists" La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Steve Reich.
He has lately distanced himself from the "minimalist" label, describing himself instead as a composer of "music with repetitive structures." Though his early mature music shares much with what is normally called "minimalist", he has since evolved stylistically. Currently, he describes himself as a "Classicist", pointing out that he is trained in harmony and counterpoint and studied such composers as Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with Nadia Boulanger.
Glass is a prolific composer: he has written works for the musical group which he founded, the Philip Glass Ensemble (with which he still performs on keyboards), as well as operas, musical theatre works, ten symphonies, eleven concertos, solo works, chamber music including string quartets and instrumental sonatas, and film scores. Three of his film scores have been nominated for Academy
Salvatore Di Giacomo (March 12, 1860 – April 4, 1934) was a Neapolitan poet, songwriter and playwright.
Di Giacomo is credited as being one of those responsible for renewing Neapolitan dialect poetry at the beginning of the 20th century. The language of Salvatore Di Giacomo is, however, not the everyday Neapolitan language of his contemporaries, it has a distinct 18th-century flavour to it, archaisms that recall the golden age of Neapolitan culture, the period between 1750-1800, when Neapolitan was the language of the best-loved form of musical entertainment in Italy, the Neapolitan comic opera, and was even the language of the Bourbon court of Naples, itself
Di Giacomo was born in Naples.
He studied medicine briefly, largely to satisfy his father's wishes, but gave it up for the life of a poet. He then founded a literary journal, Il Fantasio, in 1880, and, like many young writers, had a varied apprenticeship, working in a print shop, as a journalist and publishing some of his early verse in the Neapolitan daily, il Mattino. He even wrote a series of youthful stories à la E.T.A. Hoffman and Edgar Allan Poe set in an imaginary German town inhabited by sinister students and mad
Vincent d'Indy (French pronunciation: [vɛ̃.sɑ̃ dɛ̃.di]) (27 March 1851 – 2 December 1931) was a French composer and teacher.
Paul Marie Théodore Vincent d'Indy was born in Paris into an aristocratic family of royalist and Catholic persuasion. He had piano lessons from an early age from his paternal grandmother, who passed him on to Antoine François Marmontel and Louis Diémer. From the age of 14 he studied harmony with Albert Lavignac. At age 19, during the Franco-Prussian War, he enlisted in the National Guard, but returned to musical life as soon as the hostilities were over. The first of his works he heard performed was a Symphonie italienne, at an orchestral rehearsal under Jules Pasdeloup; the work was admired by Georges Bizet and Jules Massenet, with whom he had already become acquainted. On the advice of Henri Duparc, he became a devoted student of César Franck at the Conservatoire de Paris. As a follower of Franck, d'Indy came to admire what he considered the standards of German symphonism.
In the summer of 1873 he visited Germany, where he met Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms. On 25 January 1874 his overture Les Piccolomini was performed at a Pasdeloup concert, sandwiched
Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃sis ʒɑ̃ maʁsɛl pulɛ̃k]) (7 January 1899 – 30 January 1963) was a French composer and a member of the French group Les Six. He composed solo piano music, chamber music, oratorio, choral music, opera, ballet music, and orchestral music.
Poulenc was born in Paris in 1899. His father Émile Poulenc was a second generation director of the Poulenc, and later Rhône-Poulenc, chemical corporation. His mother, an amateur pianist, taught him to play. He was introduced to the Spanish pianist Ricardo Viñes in 1914, a champion of the music of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and became his pupil shortly afterwards. He was a capable pianist, and the keyboard dominated his early compositions.
In 1916 a childhood friend, Raymonde Linossier (1897-1930), introduced Poulenc to Adrienne Monnier's bookshop, the Maison des Amis des Livres. There he met avant-garde poets such as Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Paul Éluard and Louis Aragon. He later set many of their poems to music.
His first surviving composition, Rapsodie Nègre (1917), caught Stravinsky's attention. Stravinsky was later instrumental in having the work published in London.
Jaroslav Vrchlický (Czech pronunciation: [ˈjaroslaf ˈvr̩xlɪtskiː]; 17 February 1853, Louny, Bohemia – 9 September 1912, Domažlice) was one of the greatest Czech lyrical poets. He was born Emil Bohuslav Frída, Vrchlický being a pseudonym.
He also wrote epic poetry, plays, prose and literary essays and translated widely from various languages, introducing e.g. Dante, Goethe, Shelley, Baudelaire, Poe, and Whitman to Czech literature. He was one of the main voices in Lumír magazine from 1851.
Vrchlický's life was the subject of a 1997 novel, Za trochu lásky....
Franz Joseph Haydn ( /ˈdʒoʊzəf ˈhaɪdən/; German pronunciation: [ˈjoːzɛf ˈhaɪdən] ( listen); 31 March 1732 – 31 May 1809), known as Joseph Haydn, was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms. He was also instrumental in the development of the piano trio and in the evolution of sonata form.
A lifelong resident of Austria, Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family on their remote estate. Isolated from other composers and trends in music until the later part of his long life, he was, as he put it, "forced to become original". At the time of his death, he was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe.
Joseph Haydn was the brother of Michael Haydn, himself a highly regarded composer, and Johann Evangelist Haydn, a tenor. He was also a close friend of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a teacher of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Joseph Haydn was born in Rohrau, Austria, a village near the border with Hungary. His father was Mathias Haydn, a wheelwright who also served
Wilhelm Richard Wagner ( /ˈvɑːɡnər/; German pronunciation: [ˈʁiçaʁt ˈvaːɡnɐ]; 22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, conductor, theatre director and polemicist primarily known for his operas (or "music dramas", as he later called them). Wagner's compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex texture, rich harmonies and orchestration, and the elaborate use of leitmotifs: musical themes associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements. Unlike most other opera composers, Wagner wrote both the music and libretto for every one of his stage works. Perhaps the two best-known extracts from his works are the Ride of the Valkyries from the opera Die Walküre, and the Wedding March (Bridal Chorus) from the opera Lohengrin.
Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works such as The Flying Dutchman and Tannhäuser, which were broadly in the romantic vein of Weber and Meyerbeer, Wagner transformed operatic thought through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art"). This would achieve the synthesis of all the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts and was announced in a series of essays between
Josep Feliu i Codina (also known by his Spanish name José Feliú y Codina) (May 1845 – 2 May 1897) was a Catalan journalist, novelist and playwright whose work is linked to the Realist movement and to the Catalan Renaixença.
Josep Feliu i Codina was born in Barcelona in May 1845. An affiliate of the Partit Liberal Dinàstic (Liberal Monarchist Party), he took a law degree in 1867 and worked in several administrative posts for the party. He also began his literary career at that time, initially writing in Catalan. In 1867, he founded the weekly periodical La Pubilla. A year earlier, he had produced his first comedy Un mosquit d'arbre (A Mosquito Tree), and in 1871 his first serious play, Els fadrins externs (The Strange Companions). He also collaborated (under the pseudonym "Josep Serra") on several plays by Frederic Soler. During his time in Barcelona he went on to write several more plays and novels, and founded two more periodicals, Lo Nunci and La Jornada.
In 1886, Feliu i Codina moved to Madrid where he became fluent in Spanish. He was the editor La Iberia and also wrote for El Rhin, La América, La Revolución, and La Democracia. Once in Madrid, much of his dramatic output was
Michel-Jean Sedaine (4 July 1719 – 17 May 1797) was a French dramatist, was born in Paris.
His father, who was an architect, died when Sedaine was quite young, leaving no fortune, and the boy began life as a mason's labourer. He was at last taken as pupil by an architect whose kindness he eventually repaid by the help he was able to give to his benefactor's grandson, the painter David.
Meanwhile he had done his best to repair his deficiencies of education, and in 1750 he published a Recueil de pièces fugitives, which included fables, songs and pastorals. His especial talent was, however, for light opera. He produced Le diable à quatre (1756), the music being by several composers; Blaise le savetier (1759), for the music of Danican Philidor; On ne s'avise jamais de tout (1761) and others with Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny; Aucassin et Nicolette (1780), Richard Coeur-de-lion (1784), and Amphitryon (1788) with André Grétry.
Sedaine's vaudevilles and operettas attracted the attention of Diderot, and two plays of his were accepted and performed at the Théâtre Français. The first and longest, the Philosophe sans le savoir, was acted in 1765; the second, a lively one-act piece, La gageure
Philippe Quinault (3 June 1635 – 26 November 1688), French dramatist and librettist, was born in Paris.
Quinault was educated by the liberality of François Tristan l'Hermite, the author of Marianne. Quinault's first play was produced at the Hôtel de Bourgogne in 1653, when he was only eighteen. The piece succeeded, and Quinault followed it up, but he also read for the bar; and in 1660, when he married a widow with money, he bought himself a place in the Cour des Comptes. Then he tried tragedies (Agrippa, etc.) with more success.
He received one of the literary pensions then recently established, and was elected to the Académie française in 1670. Up to this time he had written some sixteen or seventeen comedies, tragedies, and tragi-comedies, of which the tragedies were mostly of very small value and the tragi-comedies of little more. But his comedies--especially his first piece Les Rivales (1653), L'Amant indiscret (1654), which has some likeness to Molière's Étourdi, Le Fantôme amoureux (1659), and La Mère coquette (1665), perhaps the best--are much better. But in 1671 he contributed to the singular miscellany of Psyché, in which Pierre Corneille and Molière also had a hand, and
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev ( /prəˈkɔːfiɛv/; Russian: Серге́й Серге́евич Проко́фьев, tr. Sergej Sergeevič Prokof'ev; 23 April 1891 – 5 March 1953) was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. His best-known works include the March from The Love for Three Oranges, the suite Lieutenant Kijé, the ballet Romeo and Juliet – from which "Dance of the Knights" is taken – and Peter and the Wolf. Besides many other works, Prokofiev also composed five piano concertos, nine completed piano sonatas and seven symphonies.
A graduate of the St Petersburg Conservatory, Prokofiev initially made his name as an iconoclastic composer-pianist, achieving notoriety with a series of ferociously dissonant and virtuosic works for his instrument and his first two piano concertos. Prokofiev's first major success breaking out of the composer-pianist mould was with his purely orchestral Scythian Suite, compiled from music originally composed for a ballet commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes; Diaghilev commissioned three further ballets from Prokofiev – Chout, Le pas d'acier and The Prodigal
Frederick Theodore Albert Delius, CH (29 January 1862 – 10 June 1934) was an English composer. Born in the north of England to a prosperous mercantile family of German extraction, he resisted attempts to recruit him to commerce. He was sent to Florida in the United States in 1884 to manage an orange plantation, where he neglected his managerial duties; influenced by African-American music, he began composing. After a brief period of formal musical study in Germany beginning in 1886, he embarked on a full-time career as a composer in Paris and then in nearby Grez-sur-Loing, where he and his wife Jelka lived (except during the First World War) for the rest of their lives.
Delius's first successes came in Germany, where Hans Haym and other conductors promoted his music from the late 1890s. In Delius's native Britain, it was 1907 before his music made regular appearances in concert programmes, after Thomas Beecham took it up. Beecham conducted the full premiere of A Mass of Life in London in 1909 (he had premiered Part II in Germany in 1908); he staged the opera A Village Romeo and Juliet at Covent Garden in 1910; and he mounted a six-day Delius festival in London in 1929, as well as
Ernst von Wolzogen (April 23, 1855 - August 30, 1934 was a cultural critic, a writer and a founder of Cabaret in Germany.
Wolzogen came from a noble Austrian family; he studied Literature, Philosophy, and the history of art in Strasbourg and Leipzig. In 1882, he went to Berlin where he worked as an editor at a publishing house and later became an independent writer. From 1892 to 1899, he lived in Munich where he founded the Freie Literarische Gesellschaft, a literary society. In 1899, he returned in Berlin where he established the Cabaret Überbrettl, a play on Nietzsche's term Übermensch. After its closure in 1905, he returned to Darmstadt.
Jean-François Marmontel (11 July 1723 – 31 December 1799) was a French historian and writer, a member of the Encyclopediste movement.
He was born of poor parents at Bort, Limousin (today in Corrèze). After studying with the Jesuits at Mauriac, Cantal, he taught in their colleges at Clermont and Toulouse; and in 1745, acting on the advice of Voltaire, he set out for Paris to try for literary success. From 1748 to 1753 he wrote a succession of tragedies (Denys le Tyran (1748); Aristomene (1749); Cleopâtre (1750); Heraclides (1752); Egyptus (1753)), which, though only moderately successful on the stage, secured Marmontel's introduction into literary and fashionable circles.
He wrote a series of articles for the Encyclopédie evincing considerable critical power and insight, which in their collected form, under the title Eléments de Littérature, still rank among the French classics. He also wrote several comic operas, the two best of which probably are Sylvain (1770) and Zémire et Azore (1771). In the Gluck–Piccinni controversy he was an eager partisan of Piccinni with whom he collaborated in Didon (1783) and Penelope (1785).
In 1758 he gained the patronage of Madame de Pompadour, who
Dionysius Lardner Boursiquot (26 December c. 1820 – 18 September 1890), commonly known as Dion Boucicault, was an Irish actor and playwright famed for his melodramas. By the later part of the 19th century, Boucicault had become known on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the most successful actor-playwright-managers then in the English-speaking theatre. The New York Times heralded him in his obituary as "the most conspicuous English dramatist of the 19th century."
Dionysius Lardner Boursiquot was born and educated in Dublin where he lived on Gardiner Street. His mother was Anne Darley, sister of the poet and mathematician George Darley, thus there was literary aptitude on his mother's side. The Darleys were an important Dublin family influential in many fields and related to the Guinnesses by marriage. The identity of his father is questionable. He was probably the son of Dionysius Lardner, a lodger at his mother's house at a time when she was recently separated from her husband, and who supported him financially until about 1840. He went to London and was enrolled at University College School at the age of 13 and also studied for a year at the University of London.
After a year
Guillaume Victor Émile Augier (French pronunciation: [ɡijom viktɔʁ emil oʒje]; 17 September 1820 – 25 October 1889) was a French dramatist. He was the thirteenth member to occupy seat 1 of the Académie française on 31 March 1857.
Augier was born at Valence, Drôme, the grandson of Pigault Lebrun, and belonged to the well-to-do bourgeoisie in spirit as well as by birth. After a good education and legal training, he wrote a play in two acts and in verse, La Ciguë (1844), which was refused at the Théâtre Français, but produced with as considerable success at the Odéon. This settled his career. From then on, at fairly regular intervals, either alone or in collaboration with other writers—Jules Sandeau, Eugène Marin Labiche, Édouard Foussier—he produced plays such as Le Fils de Giboyer (1862) - which was regarded as an attack on the clerical party in France, and was surely brought out by the direct intervention of the emperor. His last comedy, Les Fourchambault, belongs to the year 1879. After that date he wrote no more, restrained by the fear of producing inferior work, and died at his home at Croissy-sur-Seine.
Augier described his own life as "without incident". L'Aventurière (1848),
Adolphe Philippe d'Ennery or Dennery (17 June 1811 – 25 January 1899) was a French Jewish dramatist and novelist.
Born in Paris, his real surname was Philippe. He obtained his first success in collaboration with Charles Desnoyer in Émile, ou le fils d'un pair de France (1831), a drama which was the first of a series of some two hundred pieces written alone or in collaboration with other dramatists. Among the best of them may be mentioned Gaspard Hauser (1838) with Anicet Bourgeois; Les Bohémiens de Paris (1842) with Eugène Grange; with Mallian, Marie-Jeanne, ou la femme du peuple (1845), in which Madame Dorval obtained a great success; La Case d'Oncle Tom (1853); and Les Deux Orphelines (1875), perhaps his best piece, with Eugène Cormon. The story was adapted in 1921 by D.W. Griffith as the film Orphans of the Storm.
He wrote the libretto for Gounod's Le tribut de Zamora (1881); with Louis Gallet and Édouard Blau he composed the libretto to Massenet's Le Cid (1885); and, again in collaboration with Cormon, the librettos of Auber's operas, Le premier jour de bonheur (1868) and Reve d'amour (1869). Other opera librettos include La rose de Terone (1840), Si j'étais roi (1852), Le
Heinz Holliger (born 21 May 1939) is a Swiss oboist, composer and conductor.
He was born in Langenthal, Switzerland, and began his musical education at the conservatories of Bern and Basel. He studied composition with Sándor Veress and Pierre Boulez. Holliger took first prize for oboe in the International Competition in Geneva in 1959.
He has become one of the world's most celebrated oboists, and many composers (including Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio, Elliott Carter, Frank Martin, Hans Werner Henze, Witold Lutosławski, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Isang Yun) have written works for him. He began teaching at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, Germany in 1966.
In 1972 Holliger, Maurice Bourgue (oboe), Klaus Thunemann (bassoon), and Christiane Jaccottet (continuo) et al. recorded the Six Trio Sonatas for Oboe and Bassoon by Jan Dismas Zelenka. This recording is credited for the "Zelenka Renaissance".
Holliger has also composed many works in a variety of media. Many of his works have been recorded for the ECM label.
Invited by Walter Fink, he was the 17th composer featured in the annual Komponistenporträt of the Rheingau Musik Festival in 2007 in chamber music and a symphonic concert
Luciano Berio, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (October 24, 1925 – May 27, 2003) was an Italian composer. He is noted for his experimental work (in particular his 1968 composition Sinfonia for voices and orchestra and his series of numbered solo pieces titled Sequenza) and also for his pioneering work in electronic music.
Berio was born at Oneglia (now part of Imperia). He was taught the piano by his father and grandfather who were both organists. During World War II he was conscripted into the army, but on his first day he injured his hand while learning how a gun worked, and spent time in a military hospital. Following the war, Berio studied at the Milan Conservatory under Giulio Cesare Paribeni and Giorgio Federico Ghedini. He was unable to continue studying the piano because of his injured hand, so instead concentrated on composition. In 1947 came the first public performance of one of his works, a suite for piano. Berio made a living at this time accompanying singing classes, and it was in doing this that he met American mezzo-soprano Cathy Berberian, whom he married shortly after graduating (they divorced in 1964). Berio would write many pieces aimed at exploiting her very
Richard Georg Strauss (11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949) was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and other orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Also sprach Zarathustra, An Alpine Symphony, and Metamorphosen. Strauss was also a prominent conductor throughout Germany and Austria.
Strauss, along with Gustav Mahler, represents the late flowering of German Romanticism after Richard Wagner, in which pioneering subtleties of orchestration are combined with an advanced harmonic style.
Strauss was born on 11 June 1864, in Munich, the son of Franz Strauss, who was the principal horn player at the Court Opera in Munich. In his youth, he received a thorough musical education from his father. He wrote his first composition at the age of six, and continued to write music almost until his death.
During his boyhood Strauss attended orchestra rehearsals of the Munich Court Orchestra, and he also received private instruction in music theory and orchestration from an assistant conductor
Friedrich Heinrich Karl de la Motte, Baron Fouqué (12 February 1777 – 23 January 1843) was a German writer of the romantic style.
He was born at Brandenburg an der Havel, of a family of French Huguenot origin, as evidenced in his family name. His grandfather, Heinrich August de la Motte Fouqué, had been one of Frederick the Great's generals and his father was a Prussian officer. Although not originally intended for a military career, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué ultimately gave up his university studies at Halle to join the army, and he took part in the Rhine campaign of 1794. The rest of his life was devoted mainly to literary pursuits. He was introduced to August Wilhelm Schlegel, who deeply influenced him as a poet ("mich gelehret Maß und Regel | Meister August Wilhelm Schlegel") and who published Fouqué's first book, Dramatische Spiele von Pellegrin, in 1804.
Fouqué's first marriage was unhappy and soon ended in divorce. His second wife, Caroline Philippine von Briest (1773–1831), enjoyed some reputation as a novelist in her day. After her death Fouqué married a third time. Some consolation for the ebbing tide of popular favour was afforded him by the munificence of Frederick
Arrigo Boito (Italian pronunciation: [arˈriɡo ˈbɔito]; 24 February 1842 – 10 June 1918), aka Enrico Giuseppe Giovanni Boito, pseudonym Tobia Gorrio, was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist and composer, best known today for his libretti, especially those for Giuseppe Verdi's operas Otello and Falstaff, and his own opera Mefistofele. Along with Emilio Praga, he is regarded as one of the prominent representatives of the Scapigliatura artistic movement.
Born in Padua, the son of Silvestro Boito, an Italian painter of miniatures and his wife, a Polish countess, Józefina Radolińska, Boito studied music at the Milan Conservatory with Alberto Mazzucato until 1861. In 1866 he fought under Giuseppe Garibaldi in the Seven Weeks War in which the Kingdom of Italy and Prussia fought against Austria, after which Venice was ceded to Italy.
His only finished opera, Mefistofele, based on Goethe's Faust, was given its first performance on 5 March 1868, at La Scala, Milan. The premiere, which he conducted himself, was badly received, provoking riots and duels over its supposed "Wagnerism", and it was closed by the police after two performances. Verdi commented, "He aspires to originality but
Opera libretti written:L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe
Hans Werner Henze (born 1 July 1926, Gütersloh, Westphalia) is a German composer of prodigious output best known for "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life". His music is extremely varied in style, having been influenced by serialism, atonality, Stravinsky, Italian music, Arabic music and jazz, as well as traditional schools of German composition.
Henze is also known for his political convictions. He left Germany for Italy in 1953 because of a perceived intolerance towards his leftist politics and homosexuality. He lives in the village of Marino in the central Italian region of Lazio, and still travels extensively, in particular to Britain and Germany, as part of his work. An avowed Marxist and member of the Communist Party of Italy, Henze has produced compositions honoring Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara. The librettist of his requiem for Che Guevara, titled Das Floß der Medusa (The Raft of Medusa), was among several people arrested at the 1968 Hamburg premiere in the riot that followed the placing of a red flag on the stage. Henze spent a year teaching in Cuba, though he later became disillusioned with Castro.
Henze continues to compose today in his
Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (Russian: Никола́й Андре́евич Ри́мский-Ко́рсаков, Nikolaj Andreevič Rimskij-Korsakov, Russian pronunciation: [nʲɪkəˌlaj ˌrʲim.skʲɪj ˈkorsəkəf], 18 March [O.S. 6 March] 1844, – 21 June [O.S. 8 June] 1908) was a Russian composer, and a member of the group of composers known as The Five. He was a master of orchestration. His best-known orchestral compositions—Capriccio Espagnol, the Russian Easter Festival Overture, and the symphonic suite Scheherazade—are staples of the classical music repertoire, along with suites and excerpts from some of his 15 operas. Scheherazade is an example of his frequent use of fairy tale and folk subjects.
Rimsky-Korsakov believed, as did fellow composer Mily Balakirev and critic Vladimir Stasov, in developing a nationalistic style of classical music. This style employed Russian folk song and lore along with exotic harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements in a practice known as musical orientalism, and eschewed traditional Western compositional methods. However, Rimsky-Korsakov appreciated Western musical techniques after he became a professor of musical composition, harmony and orchestration at the Saint Petersburg
Giselher Wolfgang Klebe (28 June 1925 – 5 October 2009) was a German composer. He composed more than 140 works, among them 14 operas, 8 symphonies, 15 solo concerts, chamber music, piano works, and sacred music.
Giselher Klebe was born in Mannheim, Germany. He received musical tuition early in his life from his mother, the violinist Gertrud Klebe. The family relocated in 1932 to Munich, where his mother's sister, Melanie Michaelis, continued the training. His father's profession required a further relocation in 1936 to Rostock.
Following the separation of his parents, Klebe moved with his mother and sister to Berlin. During 1938, the 13-year old sketched his first compositions. In 1940, he began studies in violin, viola, and composition, supported by a grant from the city of Berlin.
After serving his Reichsarbeitsdienst (Labour Service), Klebe was conscripted to military service as signalman. After the German surrender, he was taken prisoner of war by the Russian forces. Due to ill health, he was soon released.
Having convalesced, Klebe continued his music studies in Berlin (1946–1951), first under Joseph Rufer, then in master classes by Boris Blacher. He worked for the radio
Henri Auguste Barbier (April 29, 1805 – February 13, 1882) was a French dramatist and poet.
Barbier was born in Paris, France. He was inspired by the July Revolution and poured forth a series of eager, vigorous poems, denouncing the evils of the time. They are spoken of collectively as the Iambes (1831), though the designation is not strictly applicable to all. As the name suggests, they are modelled on the verse of André Chénier. They include La Curée, La Popularité, L'Idole, Paris, Dante, Quatre-vingt-treize and Varsovie. The rest of Barbier's poems are forgotten, and when, in 1869, he received the long delayed honour of admission to the Académie française, Montalembert expressed the general sentiment with “Barbier? mais il est mort!,” but actually he died at Nice in 1882.
Barbier collaborated with Leon de Wailly in the libretto of Berlioz' opera, Benvenuto Cellini, and his works include two series of poems on the political and social troubles of Italy and England, printed in later editions of Iambes et poèmes.
Edward Morgan Forster OM, CH (1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970) was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. Forster's humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect."
Forster was born into an Anglo-Irish and Welsh middle-class family at 6 Melcombe Place, Dorset Square, London NW1, in a building that no longer exists. He was the only child of Alice Clara "Lily" (née Whichelo) and Edward Morgan Llewellyn Forster, an architect. His name was officially registered as Henry Morgan Forster, but at his baptism he was accidentally named Edward Morgan Forster. To distinguish him from his father, he was always called Morgan. His father died of tuberculosis on 30 October 1880, before Morgan's second birthday. Among Forster's ancestors were members of the Clapham Sect, a social reform group within the Church of England.
He inherited £8,000 (£659,300 as of 2012), from his paternal great-aunt Marianne Thornton (daughter of the abolitionist Henry
Julius Zeyer (April 26, 1841 – January 29, 1901) was a Czech prose writer, poet, and playwright.
Zeyer was born in Prague, the son of Eleonora (née Weissel) and Jan Zeyer, a timber merchant. His father came from French (Alsatian) nobility, and his mother was from a Jewish family, and had converted to Catholicism. Zeyer learned the Czech language from his nanny. He was expected to take over the family's factory but instead decided to learn carpentering. Attempts to study high school and university were unsuccessful. During his life he frequently traveled in Europe and the Orient. After 1877 he moved to Vodňany, where he spent over a decade with literary work. Afterwards, he returned to Prague. He died in Prague.
Zeyer's prose and poems are restless, nostalgic, mystical, depressive, and usually end tragically.
Zeyer's epic poems, including Vyšehrad (1880), and Karolinská epopeja (1896), draw from Czech and French legends respectively, and celebrate the glorious past of ancients, compared to the bleak present. He took inspiration from the Czech, Russian, Irish, and French history. His novels describe persons trying to live a better life under the romantic ideals and people who find
Ralph Vaughan Williams OM ( /ˌreɪf ˌvɔːn ˈwɪliəmz/; 12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many folk song arrangements set as hymn tunes, and also influenced several of his own original compositions.
Ralph Vaughan Williams was born on 12 October 1872 in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, where his father, the Reverend Arthur Vaughan Williams (the surname Vaughan Williams is an unhyphenated double-barrelled name of Welsh origin), was vicar. Following his father's death in 1875, he was taken by his mother, Margaret Susan née Wedgwood (1843–1937), the great-granddaughter of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, to live with her family at Leith Hill Place, a Wedgwood family home in the Surrey Hills. (The composer was therefore a great-great grandson of Josiah Wedgwood.) He was also related to the Darwins, Charles Darwin being a great-uncle. Though born into the privileged intellectual upper middle class, Vaughan Williams never took it for granted
Robert Bernard Altman (February 20, 1925 – November 20, 2006) was an American film director and screenwriter known for making films that are highly naturalistic, but with a stylized perspective. In 2006, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized his body of work with an Academy Honorary Award.
His films MASH (1970), McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), and Nashville (1975) have been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
Altman was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Helen (née Matthews), a Mayflower descendant from Nebraska, and Bernard Clement Altman, a wealthy insurance salesman and amateur gambler, who came from an upper-class family. Altman's ancestry was German, English and Irish; his paternal grandfather, Frank Altman, Sr., anglicized the spelling of the family name from "Altmann" to "Altman". Altman had a Catholic upbringing, but he did not continue to practice as a Catholic as an adult, although he has been referred to as "a sort of Catholic" and a Catholic director. He was educated at Jesuit schools, including Rockhurst High School, in Kansas City. He graduated from Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri in
Arthur Guiterman ( /ˈɡɪtərmən/; November 20, 1871 - January 11, 1943) was an American writer best known for his humorous poems.
Guiterman was born of American parents in Vienna, graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1891, and was married in 1909 to Vida Lindo. He was an editor of the Woman's Home Companion and the Literary Digest. In 1910, he cofounded the Poetry Society of America, and later served as its president in 1925-26.
An example of his humour is a poem that talks about modern progress, with rhyming couplets such as "First dentistry was painless;/Then bicycles were chainless". It ends on a more telling note:
Another Guiterman poem, "On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness", illustrates the philosophy also incorporated into his humorous rhymes:
He also notably wrote the libretto for Walter Damrosch's The Man Without a Country which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on May 12, 1937.
Incomplete - to be updated
Beginning in 1907 and continuing for the rest of his life, he was the author of over a dozen collections of poems, including:
Hugo Laurenz August Hofmann von Hofmannsthal (German pronunciation: [ˈhuːɡo ˈlaʊʁenʦ ˈaʊɡʊst ˈhoːfman fɔn ˈhoːfmanstaːl]; 1 February 1874 – 15 July 1929), was an Austrian novelist, librettist, poet, dramatist, narrator, and essayist.
Hofmannsthal was born in Landstraße, Vienna, the son of an upper-class Austrian mother, Anna Maria Josefa Fohleutner (1852–1904), and an Austrian–Italian bank manager, Hugo August Peter Hofmann, Edler von Hofmannsthal (1841–1915).
His great-grandfather, Isaak Löw Hofmann, Edler von Hofmannsthal, from whom his family inherited the noble title "Edler von Hofmannsthal," was a Jewish merchant ennobled by the Austrian emperor.
He began to write poems and plays from an early age. He met the German poet Stefan George at the age of seventeen and had several poems published in George's journal, Blätter für die Kunst. He studied law and later philology in Vienna but decided to devote himself to writing upon graduating in 1901. Along with Peter Altenberg and Arthur Schnitzler, he was a member of the avant garde group Young Vienna (Jung Wien).
In 1900, Hofmannsthal met the composer Richard Strauss for the first time. He later wrote libretti for several of his
Alexandre-Pierre Georges "Sacha" Guitry (21 February 1885 – 24 July 1957) was a French stage actor, film actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright of the Boulevard theatre.
Guitry was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 1885, the son of the well-known actor Lucien Guitry. Sacha was first on stage at age five. He developed a charming, witty stage persona, often appearing in period-dress light comedies, for instance his 1925 pastiche Mozart, which contains a story about the fictional adventures of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on a visit to Paris. In his 1937 film Pearls of the Crown he plays four roles, one of them being Napoleon III.
Both popular and productive through the 1920s, Guitry was responsible for 124 plays (some written in less than three days), more than 30 books, and a heavy schedule of performances and appearances. In 1919 he married actress Yvonne Printemps, but it was his third marriage, to actress Jacqueline Delubac, in 1935, that encouraged Guitry to document his stage performances on film. He directed 33 movies, and married twice more.
Guitry's career took a dark turn during the Nazi occupation. The crisis did not slow the pace of his career; he was accused of
Thomas Augustine Arne (12 March 1710 – 5 March 1778) was a British composer, best known for the patriotic song Rule, Britannia!. He also wrote a version of God Save the King, which was to become the British national anthem, and the song A-Hunting We Will Go. Arne was the leading British theatre composer of the eighteenth century working at Drury Lane and Covent Garden.
Arne was born and died in London. His father and grandfather were both upholsterers and both became officials of the City Company of Upholsterers. His grandfather fell upon hard times and died in the Marshalsea Prison for debtors. Arne's father earned enough money not only to rent a large house in Covent Garden but also to have Arne educated at Eton College. But later in life, he also managed to lose most of his wealth and had to earn extra cash by acting as a numberer of the boxes at Drury Lane Theatre.
Arne was so keen on music that he smuggled a spinet into his room and, damping the sounds with his handkerchief, would secretly practise during the night while the rest of the family slept. He also dressed up as a liveryman in order to gain access to the gallery of the Italian Opera. It was at the opera that Arne
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкин, tr. Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin; IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr sʲɪˈrɡʲejɪvʲɪtɕ ˈpuʂkʲɪn] ( listen); 6 June [O.S. 26 May] 1799 – 10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1837) was a Russian author of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.
Born into the Russian nobility in Moscow, Pushkin published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and was widely recognized by the literary establishment by the time of his graduation from the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum.
While under the strict surveillance of the Tsar's political police and unable to publish, Pushkin wrote his most famous play, the drama Boris Godunov. His novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, was serialized between 1825 and 1832.
Notoriously touchy about his honour, Pushkin fought a total of twenty-nine duels, and was fatally wounded in such an encounter with Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès. D'Anthès, a French officer serving with the Chevalier Guard Regiment, had been attempting to seduce the poet's wife, Natalya Pushkina. Pushkin's early death at the age of 37 is still regarded as a catastrophe for
Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky (Russian: Васи́лий Андре́евич Жуко́вский; IPA: [vɐˈsʲilʲɪj ɐˈndrʲejɪvʲɪtɕ ʐʊˈkofskʲɪj]; February 9 [O.S. January 29] 1783 – April 24 [O.S. April 12] 1852) was the foremost Russian poet of the 1810s and a leading figure in Russian literature in the first half of the 19th century. He held a high position at the Romanov court as tutor to the Grand Duchess Alexandra Feodorovna and later to her son, the future Tsar-Liberator Alexander II.
Zhukovsky is credited with introducing the Romantic Movement into Russia. The main body of his literary output consists of free translations covering an impressively wide range of poets, from ancients like Ferdowsi and Homer to his contemporaries Goethe, Schiller, Byron, and others. Many of his translations have become classics of Russian literature, arguably better-written and more enduring in Russian than in their original languages.
Zhukovsky was born in the village of Mishenskoe, in Tula Oblast, Russia, the illegitimate son of a landowner named Afanasi Bunin and his Turkish housekeeper Salkha. The Bunin family had a literary bent and some 90 years later produced the Nobel Prize-winning modernist writer Ivan Bunin.
Henry Pottinger Stephens, also known as Henry Beauchamp (1851 – 11 February 1903), was an English dramatist and journalist. With a variety of partners, he wrote burlesques, comic operas and musical comedies that briefly rivalled the Savoy Operas in popular esteem.
"Pot" Stephens was born in Barrow-on-Soar, Leicestershire. He started his career as a journalist, working for The Daily Telegraph and Tit-Bits, among others, and was the first editor of Topical Times. He began writing for the stage, and in 1873 his "comedietta" Rosebud's Rose was presented by an amateur company in Bournemouth. He wrote his first burlesque, Back from India, in 1879 under the aegis of German Reed's management at St. George's Hall. The piece, with music by Cotsford Dick, was judged a "decided success" by The Era. Stephens soon wrote lyrics for F. C. Burnand's burlesque of Rob Roy, Robbing Roy, at the Gaiety Theatre and collaborated with Burnand on a couple of other burlesques, Balloonacy, a New and Original Musical Extravaganza, with music by Edward Solomon, and The Corsican Brothers and Co, Limited.
After Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore became a hit, Stephens was inspired to collaborate with Solomon
Vincenzo Grimani (15 May 1652 or 26 May 1655 – 26 September 1710) was an Italian cardinal, diplomat, and opera librettist.
Grimani was born either in Venice or Mantua. He is best remembered for having supplied the libretto for George Frideric Handel's early operatic success Agrippina, though he also supplied libretti for Elmiro re di Corinto, by Carlo Pallavicino, and Orazio by G. F. Tosi. All the operas were produced at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo, which he owned, while the remainder of his family owned several other Venetian opera houses.
Politically he was allied to the Habsburg cause, and this alliance and his importance diplomatically to the Habsburgs led to him being made a cardinal in 1697. In 1708, he further received the honour of viceroyalty at Naples, where he died.
His libretti are markedly different from the later moralizing tone of Metastasio and Apostolo Zeno, whose ideas came to dictate opera seria. His libretto for Agrippina is marked out by its amorality and the domination of aria over recitative. His portrayal of the Emperor Claudius has been perceived as an oblique attack on the character of Pope Clement XI. Grimani frequently clashed with Clement in the
Vladimir Vasilievich Stasov (often seen as Stassov; Russian: Влади́мир Васи́льевич Ста́сов; 14 January [O.S. 2 January] 1824, Saint Petersburg – 23 October [O.S. 10 October] 1906, Saint Petersburg), son of Russian architect Vasily Petrovich Stasov (1769–1848), was probably the most respected Russian critic during his lifetime. He graduated from the School of Jurisprudence in 1843, was admitted to the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1859, and was made honorary fellow of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1900, together with his friend Leo Tolstoy.
Stasov became a huge figure—and, some critics argue, a tyrant—in mid-19th-century Russian culture. He discovered a large number of its greatest talents, inspired many of their works and fought their battles in numerous articles and letters to the press. As such, he carried on a lifelong debate with Russian novelist and playwright Ivan Turgenev, who considered Stasov "our great all-Russian critic.". He wanted Russian art to liberate itself what he saw as Europe's hold. By copying the west, he felt, the Russians could be at best second-rate. However, by borrowing from their own native traditions, they might create a truly national art that could
Alexander Zemlinsky or Alexander von Zemlinsky (October 14, 1871, Vienna – March 15, 1942, Larchmont, New York) was an Austrian composer, conductor, and teacher.
Zemlinsky was born in Vienna to a highly multicultural family. Zemlinsky's grandfather, Anton Semlinski, emigrated from Žilina, Hungary (now in Slovakia) to Austria and married an Austrian woman. Both were from staunchly Roman Catholic families, and Alexander's father, Adolf, was raised as a Catholic. Alexander's mother was born in Sarajevo to a Sephardic Jewish father and a Bosnian Muslim mother. Alexander's entire family converted to the religion of his grandfather, Judaism, and Zemlinsky was born and raised Jewish. His father added an aristocratic "von" to his name, though neither he nor his forebears were ennobled. He also began spelling his surname with a "Z."
Alexander studied the piano from a young age. He played the organ in his synagogue on holidays, and was admitted to the Vienna Conservatory in 1884. He studied piano with Anton Door, winning the school's piano prize in 1890. He continued his studies until 1892, studying theory with Robert Fuchs and composition with Johann Nepomuk Fuchs and Anton Bruckner. At
Harry Bache Smith ( December 28, 1860 – January 1, 1936 ) was a writer, lyricist and composer. The most prolific of all American stage writers, he is said to have written over 300 librettos and more than 6000 lyrics. Some of his best-known works were librettos for the composer Victor Herbert. He also wrote the book or lyrics for several versions of the Ziegfeld Follies.
Harry was born in Buffalo, New York to Josiah Bailey Smith ( born 1837 ) and Elizabeth Bach ( born 1838 ). According to his autobiography First Nights and First Editions ( Boston: Little, Brown, 1931 ), Harry's actual name at birth was Henry Bach Smith. Harry married twice. His first wife was Lena Reed ( born August 21, 1868 ), whom he married on October 12, 1887 in Chicago, Illinois. Harry and Lena had a son named Sydney Reed Smith ( born July 15, 1892 ). Harry's second wife was the actress Irene M. Bentley ( 1870 - June 3, 1940 ). Harry married Irene on November 23, 1906 in Boston, Massachusetts, after she had been divorced on June 12, 1906 by her first husband James Thomas Sothoron, Jr. ( 1867–1913 ). Irene retired from the stage in 1910, and died at Allenhurst, New Jersey. She is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery (
Lorenzo Da Ponte (10 March 1749 – 17 August 1838) was a Venetian opera librettist and poet. He wrote the librettos for 28 operas by 11 composers, including three of Mozart's greatest operas, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte.
Lorenzo Da Ponte was born Emanuele Conegliano in Ceneda, in the Republic of Venice (now Vittorio Veneto, Italy). He was Jewish by birth, the eldest of three sons. In 1764, his father, the widower Geronimo Conegliano, converted himself and his family to Roman Catholicism in order to remarry. Emanuele, as was the custom, took the name of Lorenzo Da Ponte from the Bishop of Ceneda who baptised him. Thanks to the bishop, the three brothers studied at the Ceneda seminary. The bishop died in 1768, after which Lorenzo moved to the seminary at Portogruaro, where he took the Minor Orders in 1770 and became Professor of Literature, and was ordained a priest in 1773. He began at this period writing poetry in Italian and Latin, including an ode to wine, Ditirambo sopra gli odori.
In 1773 he moved to Venice, where he made a living as a teacher of Latin, Italian and French. Although he was a Catholic priest, the young man led a dissolute life. While
Joseph Méry (21 January 1797 - 17 June 1866) was a French writer.
Méry was born at Marseille. An ardent romanticist, he collaborated with Auguste Barthélemy in many of his satires and wrote a great number of stories, now forgotten. Nowadays he is perhaps best remembered as the co-librettist of the original version in French of Verdi's Don Carlos, which premiered in Paris in March 1867. Also, he was the author of the play La Bataille de Toulouse which Verdi had earlier adapted for his opera La battaglia di Legnano in January 1849.
He was noted in his time for his wit and ability to improvise. He produced several pieces at the Paris theatres, and also collaborated with Gérard de Nerval in adaptations from Shakespeare and in other plays.
His novella Histoire de ce qui n'est pas arrivé (1854) is a significant exercise in alternate history, in which Méry imagined that Napoleon's life took a different turn in Egypt in 1799. It was translated by Brian Stableford in 2012 and is available in a collection of Méry stories entitled The Tower of Destiny ISBN 978-1-61227-101-9.
Alexandre Dumas, père, in 1864, invited all the poets of France to display their skill by composing to sets of
Karl Theodor Körner (23 September 1791 – 26 August 1813) was a German poet and soldier. After some time in Vienna, where he wrote some light comedies and other works for the Burgtheater, he became a soldier and joined the Lützow Free Corps in the German uprising against Napoleon. During these times, he displayed personal courage in many fights, and encouraged his comrades by fiery patriotic lyrics he composed, one of these being “Schwertlied" (Sword Song), composed during a lull in fighting only a few hours before his death and set to music by Franz Schubert. He was often called the “German Tyrtaeus.”
He was born at Dresden, capital of the Saxon electorate, the son of the consistorial councillor Christian Gottfried Körner and his wife Minna Stock Körner. He was raised by his parents and by his aunt, the artist Dora Stock, who lived in the home.
After his education, he chose mining as an occupation. He moved to Vienna, where he befriended Wilhelm von Humboldt, the Prussian ambassador, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel, and other eminent literary and scientific men. Here, within the short space of fifteen months, he produced a succession of dramas, operas, and farces, as well as
Aleksander Onisimovich Ablesimov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Они́симович Абле́симов; IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr ɐˈnʲisʲɪməvʲɪt͡ɕ ɐˈblʲesʲɪməf] ( listen); September 9 [O.S. August 28] 1742 — 1783) was a Russian opera librettist, poet, dramatist, satirist and journalist.
Worked as copyist for Alexander Sumarokov. Published his fables and satirical poems. Wrote the libretto for the early Russian-language opera by Mikhail Sokolovsky The miller who was a wizard, a cheat and a matchmaker (Мельник - колдун, обманщик и сват — Melnik - koldun, obmanshchik i svat 1779 Moscow, c.1795 St Petersburg), which was popular for three decades, and established a new operatic genre in Russia – a comedy about everyday life with spoken dialogue.
He also wrote libretti for two comic operas by M. Ekkel and a dramatic dialogue on the opening of Petrovka Theatre in Moscow.
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (sometimes spelled Strawinsky or Stravinskii; Russian: Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский, transliterated: Igorʹ Fëdorovič Stravinskij; Russian pronunciation: [ˌiɡərʲ ˌfʲjodɐrɐvʲɪtɕ strɐˈvʲinskʲɪj]; 17 June [O.S. 5 June] 1882 – 6 April 1971) was a Russian, and later French and American composer, pianist and conductor. He is considered by many to be one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century.
Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913). The last of these transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure and was largely responsible for Stravinsky's enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary who pushed the boundaries of musical design. His "Russian phase" was followed in the 1920s by a period in which he turned to neoclassical music. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms (concerto grosso, fugue and
Peter Sellars (born September 27, 1957) is an American theatre director, noted for his unique contemporary stagings of classical and contemporary operas and plays. Sellars is professor of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, where he teaches Art as Social Action and Art as Moral Action.
Sellars was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and attended Phillips Academy and, subsequently, Harvard University, graduating in 1981. As an undergraduate, he performed a puppet version of Wagner's Ring cycle, and directed a minimalist production of Three Sisters, with mature birch trees on the stage apron at Loeb Drama Center and Chopin Nocturnes played on a concert grand piano seen through a suspended gauze box set.
Sellars's production of Antony and Cleopatra in the swimming pool of Harvard's Adams House brought press attention well beyond campus, as did the subsequent techno-industrial production of King Lear, which included a Lincoln Continental on stage and ambient musical moods by the Steel Cello Ensemble. In his senior year, he staged a production of Nikolai Gogol's The Inspector-General at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This was followed during the summer of 1980 by
Scott Joplin (c. 1867/1868? – April 1, 1917) was an American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions, and was later dubbed "The King of Ragtime". During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the Maple Leaf Rag, became ragtime's first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.
Joplin was born into a musical African-American family of laborers in Northeast Texas, and developed his musical knowledge with the help of local teachers, most notably Julius Weiss. Joplin grew up in Texarkana, where he formed a vocal quartet, and taught mandolin and guitar. During the late 1880s he left his job as a laborer with the railroad, and travelled around the American South as an itinerant musician. He went to Chicago for the World's Fair of 1893, which played a major part in making ragtime a national craze by 1897.
Joplin moved to Sedalia, Missouri, in 1894, and earned a living teaching piano and continuing to tour the South. In Sedalia, he taught future ragtime composers Arthur Marshall, Scott Hayden and Brun Campbell. Joplin began publishing music in 1895, and
Antoine Houdar de la Motte (18 January 1672 – 26 December 1731) was a French author.
De la Motte was born and died in Paris. In 1693 his comedy, Les Originaux (Les originaux, ou, l'Italien) , was a complete failure, and so depressed the author that he contemplated joining the Trappists. Four years later he began writing texts for operas and ballets, e.g. L'Europe galante (1697), and tragedies, one of which, Inès de Castro (1723), was an immense success at the Theâtre Français. He was a champion of the moderns in the revived controversy of the ancients and moderns. Anne Dacier had published (1699) a translation of the Iliad, and La Motte, who knew no Greek, made a translation (1714) in verse founded on her work.
He said of his own work: "I have taken the liberty to change what I thought disagreeable in it." He defended the moderns in the Discours sur Homère prefixed to his translation, and in his Réflexions sur la critique (1716). Apart from the merits of the controversy, it was conducted on La Motte's side with a wit and politeness which compared very favourably with his opponents' methods. He was elected to the Académie française in 1710, but soon afterwards went blind. La Motte
Aulis Sallinen (born April 9, 1935 in Salmi) is a Finnish contemporary classical music composer. He writes in a modern, though tonal and not experimental music style. He studied at the Sibelius Academy, where his teachers included Joonas Kokkonen. He has had works commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, and has also written 6 operas, 8 symphonies, concertos for violin, cello, flute and horn and any number of chamber works. He won the Nordic Council Music Prize in 1978 for his opera Ratsumies (The Horseman).
Sallinen was born in Salmi, in an area which was conquered by the USSR when he was nine. His first instruments were violin and piano. He would play both jazz and classical music. He was known to be extremely creative, and spent much time during his teenage years improvising. After a while, he began writing his ideas down on paper, and began to do serious composition. He attended the Sibelius Academy of Music, and studied with a number of prestigious teachers.
After graduating, Sallinen took a position as composition teacher at the Sibelius Academy, and continued composing. In his mid 20s, he was put on the board of directors of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He became
Franz Schreker (originally Schrecker, March 23, 1878 – March 21, 1934) was an Austrian composer, conductor, teacher and administrator. Primarily a composer of operas, his style is characterized by aesthetic plurality (a mixture of Romanticism, Naturalism, Symbolism, Impressionism, Expressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit), timbral experimentation, strategies of extended tonality and conception of total music theatre into the narrative of 20th-century music.
Schreker was born in Monaco, the eldest son of the Bohemian Jewish court photographer Ignaz Schrecker and his wife Eleonore von Clossmann, who was a member of the Catholic aristocracy of Styria. He grew up during travels across half of Europe and, after the early death of his father, the family moved from Linz to Vienna (1888) where in 1892, with the help of a scholarship, Schreker entered the Vienna Conservatory. Starting with violin studies, with Sigismund Bachrich and Arnold Rosé, he moved into the composition class of Robert Fuchs, graduating as a composer in 1900. His first success was with the Intermezzo for strings, Op. 8, which won an important prize sponsored by the Neue musikalische Presse in 1901. After graduating from the
Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter (3 September 1746 – 18 March 1797) was a German poet and dramatist.
He was born at Gotha. After the completion of his university course at Göttingen, he was appointed second director of the Gotha Archive. He subsequently went to Wetzlar, the seat of the imperial law courts, as secretary to the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha legation. In 1768 he returned to Gotha as tutor to two young noblemen, and here, together with HC Boie, he founded the famous Göttinger Musenalmanach. In 1770 he was once more in Wetzlar, where he belonged to Goethe's circle. Four years later he returned to live permanently in Gotha, where he worked until his death.
Gotter was the chief representative of French taste in the German literary life of his time. His poetry is elegant and polished, and largely free from the trivialities of the Anacreontic lyric of the earlier generation of imitators of French literature; but he lacked imaginative depth.
His plays, of which Merope (1774), an adaptation in blank verse of the tragedies of Maffei and Voltaire, and Medea (1775), a melodrama, are best known, were mostly based on French originals and had considerable influence in counteracting the formlessness
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti (Italian pronunciation: [doˈmeːniko ɡaeˈtaːno maˈria donidˈdzetti]; 29 November 1797 – 8 April 1848) was an Italian composer from Bergamo, Lombardy. His best-known works are the operas L'elisir d'amore (1832), Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), and Don Pasquale (1843), all in Italian, and the French operas La favorite and La fille du régiment (both from 1840). Along with Vincenzo Bellini and Gioachino Rossini, he was a leading composer of bel canto opera.
The youngest of three sons, Donizetti was born in 1797 in Bergamo's Borgo Canale quarter located just outside the city walls. His family was very poor with no tradition of music, his father being the caretaker of the town pawnshop. Nevertheless, Donizetti received some musical instruction from Simon Mayr, a German composer of internationally successful operas who had become maestro di cappella at Bergamo's principal church in 1802.
Donizetti was not especially successful as a choirboy, but in 1806 he was one of the first pupils to be enrolled at the Lezioni Caritatevoli school, founded by Mayr, in Bergamo through a full scholarship. He received detailed training in the arts of fugue and counterpoint, and
Gustave Charpentier (pronounced: [ɡystaːv ʃaʁpɑ̃tje]; born in Dieuze, Moselle on 25 June 1860, died Paris, 18 February 1956) was a French composer, best known for his opera Louise.
Charpentier was the son of a baker, and with the assistance of a rich benefactor he studied violin at the conservatoire in Lille before entering the Paris Conservatoire in 1881. There he took lessons in composition under Jules Massenet (from 1885) and had a reputation of wanting to shock his professors. In 1887 won the Prix de Rome for his cantata Didon. During the time in Rome that the prize gave him, he wrote the orchestral suite Impressions d'Italie and began work on the libretto and music for what would become his best-known work, the opera Louise.
Charpentier returned to Paris, settling in Montmartre, and continued to compose, including songs on texts by Charles Baudelaire and Voltaire. He eventually completed Louise, and it was accepted for production by the Opéra-Comique. A realistic portrait of Parisian working-class life, it is sometimes considered a French example of verismo opera.
The premiere of Louise on February 2, 1900 under the baton of André Messager was an immediate success. Soon this
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (French: [ʒɑ̃ʒak ʁuso]; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism of French expression. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.
His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. His sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise was of importance to the development of pre-romanticism and romanticism in fiction. Rousseau's autobiographical writings—his Confessions, which initiated the modern autobiography, and his Reveries of a Solitary Walker—exemplified the late 18th-century movement known as the Age of Sensibility, featuring an increasing focus on subjectivity and introspection that has characterized the modern age. His Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and his On the Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought.
Rousseau was a successful composer of music. He wrote seven operas as well as music in other forms, and he made contributions to music as a theorist.
During the period of the French Revolution,
Leoš Janáček (Czech pronunciation: [ˈlɛoʃ ˈjanaːt͡ʃɛk] ( listen), baptised Leo Eugen Janáček, 3 July 1854 – 12 August 1928) was a Czech composer, musical theorist, folklorist, publicist and teacher. He was inspired by Moravian and all Slavic folk music to create an original, modern musical style. Until 1895 he devoted himself mainly to folkloristic research and his early musical output was influenced by contemporaries such as Antonín Dvořák. His later, mature works incorporate his earlier studies of national folk music in a modern, highly original synthesis, first evident in the opera Jenůfa, which was premiered in 1904 in Brno. The success of Jenůfa (often called the "Moravian national opera") at Prague in 1916 gave Janáček access to the world's great opera stages. Janáček's later works are his most celebrated. They include the symphonic poem Sinfonietta, the oratorio Glagolitic Mass, the rhapsody Taras Bulba, two string quartets, other chamber works and operas. Along with Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana, he is considered one of the most important Czech composers.
Leoš Janáček, son of schoolmaster Jiří (1815–1866), and Amalie, (née Grulichová) Janáčková (1819–1884), was born in
Luigi Nono (Italian pronunciation: [luˈiːdʒi ˈnɔːno]; January 29, 1924 – May 8, 1990) was an Italian avant-garde composer of classical music and remains one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century.
Born in Venice, he was a member of a wealthy artistic family, and his grandfather was a notable painter. Nono began music lessons with Gian Francesco Malipiero in 1941 at the Venice Conservatory where he acquired knowledge of the Renaissance madrigal tradition, amongst other styles. After graduating with a degree in law from the University of Padua, he was given encouragement in composition by Bruno Maderna. Through Maderna, he became acquainted with Hermann Scherchen—then Maderna's conducting teacher—who gave Nono further tutelage and was an early mentor and advocate of his music.
It was Scherchen who presented Nono's first acknowledged work, the Variazioni canoniche sulla serie dell'op. 41 di A. Schönberg in 1950, at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt. The Variazioni canoniche, based on the twelve-tone series of Arnold Schoenberg's Op. 41, including the Ode-to-Napoleon hexachord, marked Nono as a committed composer of anti-fascist political orientation
Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan (30 October 1751 – 7 July 1816) was an Irish-born playwright and poet and long-term owner of the London Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. For thirty-two years he was also a Whig Member of the British House of Commons for Stafford (1780–1806), Westminster (1806–1807) and Ilchester (1807–1812). Such was the esteem he was held in by his contemporaries when he died that he was buried at Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. He is known for his plays such as The Rivals, The School for Scandal and A Trip to Scarborough.
R. B. Sheridan was born in 1751 in Dublin, Ireland, where his family had a house on then-fashionable Dorset Street. While in Dublin Sheridan attended the English Grammar School in Grafton Street. The family moved permanently to England in 1758 when he was age seven. He was a pupil at Harrow School outside London from 1762 to 1768. His mother, Frances Sheridan, was a playwright and novelist. She had two plays produced in London in the early 1760s, though she is best known for her novel The Memoirs of Sidney Biddulph (1761). His father, Thomas Sheridan, was for a while an actor-manager at the Smock Alley Theatre but, following his move to England in
Ruggero (or Ruggiero) Giacomo Maria Giuseppe Emmanuele Raffaele Domenico Vincenzo Francesco Donato Leoncavallo (Italian pronunciation: [rudˈdʒɛːro leoŋkaˈvallo]; 23 April 1857 – 9 August 1919) was an Italian opera composer. His two-act work Pagliacci remains one of the most popular works in the repertory, appearing as number 20 on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide.
The son of a judge, Leoncavallo was born in Naples on 23 April 1857. As child he moved with his father in the town of Montalto Uffugo in Calabria where Leoncavallo lived during his adolescence. He later returned to Naples and was educated at the city's San Pietro a Majella Conservatory. After some years spent teaching and in ineffective attempts to obtain the production of more than one opera, he saw the enormous success of Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana in 1890, and he wasted no time in producing his own verismo hit, Pagliacci. (According to Leoncavallo, the plot of this work had a real-life origin: he claimed it derived from a murder trial, in Montalto Uffugo, over which his father had presided.)
Pagliacci was performed in Milan in 1892 with immediate success; today it is the only work
Rutland Boughton (23 January 1878 – 25 January 1960) was an English composer who became well known in the early 20th century as a composer of opera and choral music.
A pupil of Charles Villiers Stanford and Walford Davies, Boughton's output included three symphonies, several concertos, part-songs, songs, chamber music and opera (which he called "Music Drama" after Wagner). His best known work was the opera The Immortal Hour. His Bethlehem (1915), based on the Coventry Nativity Play and notable for its choral arrangements of traditional Christmas carols also became very popular with choral societies worldwide.
Other operas by Boughton were: The Birth of Arthur (1913), The Round Table (1916), The Lily Maid (1934), Avalon and Galahad (1945) (all four from the Arthurian cycle of music dramas), The Moon Maiden (1919), Alkestis (1922), and The Queen of Cornwall (1924).
Through the Boughton Trust (see below), many of his major works have been recorded and are available on disc including The Immortal Hour, Bethlehem, Symphony No 1 Oliver Cromwell, Symphony No 2 Deirdre, Symphony No 3, Oboe Concerto No 1, string quartets and various chamber pieces and songs.
In addition to his compositions,
Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Моде́ст Ильи́ч Чайко́вский; 13 May [O.S. 1 May] 1850–15 January [O.S. 2 January] 1916) was a Russian dramatist, opera librettist and translator.
Modest Ilyich was born in Alapayevsk, the younger brother of the future composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He graduated from the School of Jurisprudence with a degree in law. In 1876, Modest became the tutor to a deaf-mute boy Nikolai ("Kolya") Hermanovich Konradi (1868–1922) and, using a special teaching method, helped him to talk, write, and read.
Modest chose to dedicate his entire life to literature and music. He wrote plays, translated sonnets by Shakespeare into Russian and wrote librettos for operas by his brother Pyotr, as well as for other composers such as Eduard Nápravník, Arseny Koreshchenko, Anton Arensky and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Being the nearest friend of his brother, he became his first biographer, and also the founder of the Tchaikovsky Museum in Klin.
Like his famous brother, he was homosexual.
He died in Moscow in 1916.
Tchaikovsky, Modest: The Life And Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, University Press of the Pacific (2004) ISBN 1-4102-1612-8
Yakov Petrovich Polonsky (Russian: Яков Петрович Полонский, 18 December [O.S. 6 December] 1819 – 30 October [O.S. 18 October] 1898) was a leading Pushkinist poet who tried to uphold the waning traditions of Russian Romantic poetry during the heyday of realistic prose.
Of noble birth, Polonsky attended the Moscow University, where he befriended Apollon Grigoryev and Afanasy Fet. Three young and promising poets wrote pleasing and elegant poems, emulating Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov. He graduated from the university in 1844, publishing his first collection of poems the same year. Polonsky's early poetry is generally regarded as his finest; one of his first published poems was even copied by Nikolai Gogol into his notebook.
Unlike some other Russian poets, Polonsky did not belong to an affluent family. In order to provide for his relatives, he joined the office of Prince Vorontsov, first at Odessa and then (1846–51) at Tiflis. The spectacular nature of the Black Sea coast strengthened his predilection for Romanticism. Polonsky turned his attention to the Caucasian subjects and descriptions of lush nature, treated in the manner reminiscent of Lermontov (although he also wrote parodies
Alban Maria Johannes Berg (February 9, 1885 – December 24, 1935) was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.
Berg was born in Vienna, the third of four children of Johanna and Conrad Berg. His family lived comfortably until the death of his father in 1900.
He was more interested in literature than music as a child and did not begin to compose until he was fifteen, when he started to teach himself music. In late February or early March 1902 he fathered a child with Marie Scheuchl, a servant girl in the Berg family household. His daughter, Albine, was born on December 4, 1902.
Berg had little formal music education before he became a student of Arnold Schoenberg in October 1904. With Schoenberg he studied counterpoint, music theory, and harmony. By 1906, he was studying music full-time; by 1907, he began composition lessons. His student compositions included five drafts for piano sonatas. He also wrote songs, including his Seven Early Songs (Sieben Frühe Lieder), three of which were Berg's
Amédée-Ernest Chausson (20 January 1855 – 10 June 1899) was a French romantic composer who died just as his career was beginning to flourish.
Ernest Chausson was born in Paris into a prosperous bourgeois family. His father made his fortune assisting Baron Haussmann in the redevelopment of Paris in the 1850s. To please his father, Chausson studied law and was appointed a barrister for the Court of Appeals; but in truth, he had little or no interest in the profession. He frequented the Paris salons, where he met celebrities such as Henri Fantin-Latour, Odilon Redon, and Vincent d'Indy. Before deciding on a musical career, he dabbled in writing and drawing.
In October 1879, at the age of 25, he began attending the composition classes of the opera composer Jules Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire; Massenet came to regard him as 'an exceptional person and a true artist'. Chausson had already composed some piano pieces and songs. Nevertheless, the earliest manuscripts that have been preserved are those corrected by Massenet. Chausson interrupted his studies in 1881, after a failed attempt to win the Prix de Rome. During 1882 and 1883, Chausson, who enjoyed travel, visited Bayreuth to
Ferruccio (Dante Michelangelo Benvenuto) Busoni (April 1, 1866 – July 27, 1924) was an Italian composer, pianist, editor, writer, piano and composition teacher, and conductor.
Ferruccio Busoni was born in Empoli in Tuscany in Italy, the only child of two professional musicians. His father, Ferdinando, was a clarinetist and man-about-town. Though his mother, Anna, had a German surname (Weiss) she was an Italian from Trieste, and a pianist. They were often touring during his childhood, and he was brought up in Trieste for the most part.
Busoni was a child prodigy. He made his public debut on the piano with his parents, at the age of seven. A couple of years later he played some of his own compositions in Vienna where he heard Franz Liszt play, and met Liszt, Johannes Brahms and Anton Rubinstein.
Busoni had a brief period of study in Graz with Wilhelm Mayer (who used the pseudonym of W. A. Rémy and also taught Felix Weingartner) and was also helped by Wilhelm Kienzl, who enabled him to conduct a performance of his own composition 'Stabat Mater' when he was twelve years old, before leaving for Leipzig in 1886 where he studied with Carl Reinecke (a former pupil of Felix Mendelssohn and
Leo Stein, born Leo Rosenstein (25 March 1861, Lemberg – 28 July 1921, Vienna, Austria) was a playwright and librettist of operettas in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including works adapted for a number of Broadway productions.
Stein wrote libretti for Johann Strauss I, Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, and Oskar Nedbal. His collaboration with Viktor Léon contributed much to Lehár's success.
A selection of his works includes Wiener Blut (1899), Die lustige Witwe (1905), Der Graf von Luxemburg (1909) and Die Csárdásfürstin (1915).
Stein is buried at the Vienna Zentralfriedhof.
Lillian Florence "Lilly" Hellman (June 20, 1905 – June 30, 1984) was an American author of plays, screenplays, and memoirs and throughout her life, was linked with many left-wing political causes.
Lillian Hellman was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, into a Jewish family. Her mother was Julia Newhouse of Demopolis, Alabama and her father was Max Hellman, a New Orleans shoe salesman. Julia Newhouse's parents were Sophie Marx, of a successful banking family, and Leonard Newhouse, a Demopolis liquor dealer. During most of her childhood she spent half of each year in New Orleans, in a boarding home run by her aunts, and the other half in New York City. She studied for two years at New York University and then took several courses at Columbia University.
On December 31, 1925, Hellman married Arthur Kober, a playwright and press agent, although they often lived apart. In 1929, she traveled around Europe for a time and settled in Bonn to continue her education. She felt an initial attraction to a Nazi student group that advocated "a kind of socialism" until their questioning about her Jewish ties made their anti-Semitism clear, and she returned immediately to the United States. Years later
Olivier Messiaen (French pronunciation: [ɔlivje mɛsjɑ̃]; December 10, 1908 – April 27, 1992) was a French composer, organist and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex (he was interested in rhythms from ancient Greek and from Hindu sources); harmonically and melodically it is based on modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations. Many of his compositions depict what he termed "the marvellous aspects of the faith", and drew on his deeply held Roman Catholicism.
He travelled widely and wrote works inspired by diverse influences such as Japanese music, the landscape of Bryce Canyon in Utah and the life of St. Francis of Assisi. He said he perceived colours when he heard certain musical chords, particularly those built from his modes (a phenomenon known as synaesthesia); combinations of these colours, he said, were important in his compositional process. For a short period Messiaen experimented with the parametrisation associated with "total serialism", in which field he is often cited as an innovator. His style absorbed many exotic musical influences such as Indonesian
Wilhelm Kienzl (17 January 1857 – 3 October 1941) was an Austrian composer.
Kienzl was born in the small, picturesque Upper Austrian town of Waizenkirchen. His family moved to the Styrian capital of Graz in 1860, where he studied the violin under Ignaz Uhl, piano under Johann Buwa, and composition from 1872 under the Chopin scholar Louis Stanislaus Mortier de Fontaine. From 1874, he studied composition under Wilhelm Mayer-Rémy, music aesthetics under Eduard Hanslick and music history under Friedrich von Hausegger. He was subsequently sent to the music conservatorium at Prague University to study under Josef Krejci, the director of the conservatorium. After that he went to Leipzig Conservatory in 1877, then to Weimar to study under Liszt, before completing doctoral studies at the University of Vienna.
While Kienzl was at Prague, Krejci took him to Bayreuth to hear the first performance of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle. It made a lasting impression on Kienzl, so much so that he founded the "Graz Richard Wagner Association" (now the "Austrian Richard Wagner Company, Graz Office") with Hausegger and with Friedrich Hofmann. Although he subsequently fell out with "The Wagnerites", he never
Hector Berlioz (pronounced: [ɛktɔʁ bɛʁˈljoːz]; 11 December 1803 – 8 March 1869) was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts (Requiem). Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a conductor, he performed several concerts with more than 1,000 musicians. He also composed around 50 songs. His influence was critical for the further development of Romanticism, especially in composers like Richard Wagner, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Franz Liszt, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and many others.
Hector Berlioz was born in France at La Côte-Saint-André in the département of Isère, near Grenoble. His father, a respected provincial physician and scholar, was responsible for much of the young Berlioz's education. His father, Louis-Joseph Berlioz, was an atheist, with a liberal outlook; his mother, Marie-Antoinette, was an orthodox Roman Catholic. He had five siblings in all, three of whom did not survive to adulthood. The other two, Nanci and Adèle, remained close to Berlioz throughout his life.
Berlioz was not
Josef Leopold Auenbrugger or Leopold von Auenbrugg (19 November 1722 – 17 May 1809) was the Austrian physician who invented percussion as a diagnostic technique. On the strength of this discovery, he is considered one of the founders of modern medicine.
Auenbrugger was a native of Graz in Styria, an Austrian province. His father, a hotel keeper, gave his son every opportunity for an excellent preliminary education in his native town and then sent him to Vienna to complete his studies at the university. Auenbrugger was graduated as a physician at the age of 22 and then entered the Spanish Military Hospital of Vienna, where he spent 10 years.
He found out that, by applying his ear to the patient and tapping lightly on the chest, one could assess the texture of underlying tissues and organs. This technique of percussive diagnosis had its origins in testing the level of wine casks in the cellar of his father's hotel. With this method, he was able to plot outlines of the heart. It was the first time that a physician could relatively accurately and objectively determine an important sign of diseases. He published his findings in a booklet, but nobody paid much attention to it.
Opera libretti written:The Fall of the House of Usher
Christopher John Judge Smith (born 1948), is an English songwriter, composer and performer, and a founder member of progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. Initially working under the name Chris Judge Smith, he has been known simply as Judge Smith since 1994.
In 1967, with Peter Hammill, Judge Smith founded the band Van der Graaf Generator. He was originally a singing drummer and percussionist (sometimes playing a typewriter), but after drummer Guy Evans joined the band, Smith realized that there wasn't a great deal left for him to do, since his role was reduced to being a harmony singer. After recording the first Van der Graaf Generator-single ("People You Were Going To" b/w "Firebrand"), Smith amicably left the band in 1968.
He went on to form a jazz-rock band called Heebalob, which included saxophonist David Jackson (who would later join Van der Graaf Generator). After the demise of Heebalob, Smith pursued a solo career, and wrote and recorded many songs, some of which appeared on his (currently unavailable) first solo album Democrazy (1991). Smith also wrote several stage musicals as lyricist with composer Maxwell Hutchinson, including The Kibbo Kift (1976) and The
Nicola Francesco Haym (6 July 1678 – 31 July 1729) was an Italian opera librettist, composer, theatre manager and performer, and numismatist. He is best remembered for adapting texts into libretti for the London operas of George Frideric Handel and Giovanni Bononcini. Libretti that he provided for Handel included those for Giulio Cesare, Ottone, Flavio, Tamerlano, Rodelinda, and several others; for Bononcini, he produced two, Calfurnia and Astianatte.
Haym was born in Rome. His career began as a cellist in Italy, and he arrived in London in 1701: he swiftly became master of the 2nd Duke of Bedford's chamber music. He wrote the libretto for Bononcini's Camilla, a seminal work of enormous success that did much to establish Italian opera in London. Later, when operas in London came to be performed entirely in Italian, rather than in a bilingual blend of English and Italian, Haym spent much time adapting both libretti and music for the many pasticcios that were staged at this time. In 1720 he was employed as a continuo cellist for the new Royal Academy of Music; in 1722, however, he became the Academy's Secretary for its final six seasons: he not only wrote the libretti but also took
Albert Victor Samain (3 April 1858 — 18 August 1900) was a French poet and writer of the Symbolist school.
Born in Lille, his family were Flemish and had long lived in the town or its suburbs. At the time of the poet's birth, his father, Jean-Baptiste Samain, and his mother, Elisa-Henriette Mouquet, conducted a business in "wines and spirits" at 75 rue de Paris. Samain's father died when he was quite young; it was necessary for him to leave school and seek a trade. He moved to Paris in around 1880, where his poetry won him a following and he began mixing with avant-garde literary society, and began publicly reciting his poems at Le Chat Noir. His poems were strongly influenced by those of Baudelaire, and began to strike a somewhat morbid and elegiac tone. He also was influenced by Verlaine; his works disclose a taste for indecisive, vague imagery. Samain helped found the Mercure de France, and also worked on the Revue des Deux Mondes.
Samain published three volumes of verse: Le jardin de l'infante (1893), which made him famous; Aux flancs du vase (1898) and Le Chariot d'or (1901). His poetic drama Polyphème was set to music by Jean Cras. Samain died of tuberculosis.
Francis Burdett Thomas Nevill Money-Coutts, 5th Baron Latymer (18 September 1852 – 8 June 1923) was a London solicitor, poet, librettist, and wealthy heir to the fortune of the Coutts banking family. He is now remembered chiefly as a patron and collaborator of the Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz.
His father was the Reverend James Drummond Money (d. 1875), and his mother was Clara Burdett (d. 1899). Clara was the daughter of Sir Francis Burdett (1770–1844) and Sophia Coutts (d. 1844). Sophia was one of three daughters of the wealthy banker Thomas Coutts. In 1875 Francis Money, as he was then named, married Edith Ellen Churchill. In 1881, his mother Clara's sister Angela Burdett violated the terms of the will making her the sole heir of the Coutts fortune, by marrying a foreigner (an American 40 years her junior). Seeing an opportunity, Clara and her son adopted the name "Coutts," as required by the will, and contested Angela's claims. A settlement was reached, and Angela received two-fifths of the income until her death in 1906, at which time Francis became the sole beneficiary.
Money attended Eton College and the University of Cambridge (MA; LL.M., 1878). He became a barrister in
Gabriello Chiabrera (June 8, 1552 – October 14, 1638) was an Italian poet, sometimes called the Italian Pindar.
He was of patrician descent, and was born at Savona, a little town in the domain of the Genoese republic, twenty-eight years after the birth of Pierre de Ronsard, with whom he has far more in common than with the great Greek whose echo he sought to make himself. As he has told in the pleasant fragment of autobiography prefixed to his works, in which, like Julius Caesar, he speaks of himself in the third person, he was a posthumous child; he went to Rome at the age of nine years, under the care of his uncle Giovanni. There he read with a private tutor, suffered severely from two fevers in succession, and was sent at last, for the sake of society, to the Jesuits' College, where he remained till his twentieth year, studying philosophy, as he says, "rather for occupation than for learning's sake".
Losing his uncle about this time, Chiabrera returned to Savona, "again to see his own and be seen by them." In a little while, however, he returned to Rome, and entered the household of a cardinal, where he remained for several years, frequenting the society of Paulus Manutius and
Henri Caïn (born Paris, 11 October 1857, died 21 November 1937) was a French dramatist, opera and ballet librettist. He wrote over forty librettos from 1893 to his death, for many of the most prominent composers of the Parisian Belle Epoque.
Caïn was the son of the sculptor Auguste Cain and brother of the painter Georges Cain. He was married to the soprano Julia Guiraudon.
Close to Edouard de La Gandara, Jean Dara when he worked with Sarah Bernhardt, Henri Caïn was an admirer of several major contemporary painters and sculptors such as Antonio de La Gandara and Jean Carriès.
Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford; February 18, 1931) is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon and Beloved. She also was commissioned to write the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005. She won the Nobel Prize in 1993 and in 1987 the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved. On 29 May 2012, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio, to Ramah (née Willis) and George Wofford. She is the second of four children in a working-class family. As a child, Morrison read fervently; among her favorite authors were Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy. Morrison's father told her numerous folktales of the black community (a method of storytelling that would later work its way into Morrison's writings).
In 1949 Morrison entered Howard University, where she received a B.A. in English in 1953. She earned a Master of Arts degree in English from Cornell University in 1955, for which she wrote a thesis on suicide in the works of William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf. After
Philippe Néricault Destouches (9 April 1680 – 4 July 1754) was a French dramatist.
Destouches was born at Tours, in today's department of Indre-et-Loire.
When he was nineteen years of age he became secretary to M. de Puysieux, the French ambassador in Switzerland. In 1716 he was attached to the French embassy in London, where he remained for six years under the abbé Dubois. He contracted with a Lancashire lady, Dorothea Johnston, a marriage which was not avowed for some years. He drew a picture later of his own domestic circumstances in Le Philosophe marié (The Married Philosophe) (1726).
On his return to France (1723) he was elected to the Academy, and in 1727 he acquired considerable estates, the possession of which conferred the privileges of nobility. He spent his later years at his chateau of Fortoiseau near Melun, dying on the 4th of July 1754. His early comedies were:
Most highly regarded is L'Irrésolu (The Irresolute Man), in which Dorante, after hesitating throughout the play between Julie and Climène, marries Julie, but concludes the play with the reflection: "J'aurais mieux fait, je crois, d'épouser Climène" (I would have done better, I think, to marry Climène).
Augustin Eugène Scribe (pronounced [ɔɡystin‿øʒɛn skʁib]; 24 December 1791 – 20 February 1861) was a French dramatist and librettist. He is known for the perfection of the so-called "well-made play" (pièce bien faite), a mainstay of popular theatre for over 100 years, and as the librettist of many of the most successful grand operas.
Scribe was born in Paris and died there. His father was a silk merchant, and he was well educated, being destined for the law. However, he soon began to write for the stage. His first piece, Le Prétendu sans le savoir, was produced anonymously at the Variétés in 1810, and was a failure. Numerous other plays, written in collaboration with various authors, followed; but Scribe achieved no distinct success till 1815, when he wrote Une Nuit de la garde nationale (Night of the National Guard, 1815), a collaboration with Delestre Poirson. Much of his later work was also written in collaboration with others. His debut in serious comedy was made at the Théâtre Français in 1822 with Valérie. Among the actors he wrote starring roles for are Mlle Mars and Rachel. Scribe was elected to the Académie française in 1834.
Scribe's main subject matter was the
Jules Arsène Arnaud Claretie (3 December 1840 – 23 December 1913) was a French literary figure and director of the Théâtre Français.
He was born at Limoges. After studying at the lycée Bonaparte in Paris, he became a journalist, achieving great success as dramatic critic to Le Figaro and to the Opinion nationale. He was a newspaper correspondent during the Franco-Prussian War, and during the Paris Commune acted as staff-officer in the National Guard. In 1885 he became director of the Théâtre Français, and from that time devoted his time chiefly to its administration until his death. During the battle for Octave Mirbeau's comedy Les affaires sont les affaires (Business is business), the Comité de Lecture is abolished, in October 1901, and Jules Claretie becomes the only responsible for choosing the modern plays to be performed.
He was elected a member of the Académie française in 1888, and took his seat in February 1889, being received by Ernest Renan. The long list of his works includes:
Several plays, some of which are based on novels of his own:
Claretie also wrote three operas for the music of Jules Massenet; La Navarraise (1894), based on his novel La cigarette and written with
Sir Noël Peirce Coward (16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".
Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Coward attended a dance academy in London as a child, making his professional stage début at the age of eleven. As a teenager he was introduced into the high society in which most of his plays would be set. Coward achieved enduring success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays from his teens onwards. Many of his works, such as Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Present Laughter and Blithe Spirit, have remained in the regular theatre repertoire. He composed hundreds of songs, in addition to well over a dozen musical theatre works (including the operetta Bitter Sweet and comic revues), poetry, several volumes of short stories, the novel Pomp and Circumstance, and a three-volume autobiography. Coward's stage and film acting and directing career spanned six decades, during which he starred in many of his own works.
At the outbreak of World War II, Coward volunteered for
Charles Simon Favart (13 November 1710 – 12 May 1792) was a French dramatist.
Born in Paris, the son of a pastry-cook, he was educated at the college of Louis-le-Grand, and after his father's death he carried on the business for a time. His first success in literature was La France delivrée par la Pucelle d'Orléans, a poem about Joan of Arc which obtained a prize of the Académie des Jeux Floraux. After the production of his first vaudeville, Les Deux Jumelles (1734), circumstances enabled him to relinquish business and devote himself entirely to the drama. He provided many pieces anonymously for the lesser theatres, and first put his name to La Chercheuse d'esprit, which was produced in 1741.
Among his most successful works were Annette et Lubin, Le Coq du milage (1743), Ninette à la cour (1753), Les Trois Sultanes (1761) and L'Anglais de Bordeaux (1763). Favart became director of the Opéra-Comique, and in 1745 married Marie Justine Benoîte Duronceray, a beautiful young dancer, singer and actress, who as "Mlle Chantilly" had made a successful début the year before. By their united talents and labours, the Opéra-Comique rose to such a height of success that it aroused the jealousy
Thomas Shadwell (ca. 1642 – 19 November 1692) was an English poet and playwright who was appointed poet laureate in 1689.
Shadwell was born at Stanton Hall, Norfolk, and educated at Bury St Edmunds School, and at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, which he entered in 1656. He left the university without a degree, and joined the Middle Temple. At the Whig triumph in 1688, he superseded John Dryden as poet laureate and historiographer royal. He died at Chelsea on 19 November 1692.
In 1668 he produced a prose comedy, The Sullen Lovers, or the Impertinents, based on Les Fâcheux by Molière, and written in open imitation of Ben Jonson's comedy of humours. His best plays are Epsom Wells (1672), for which Sir Charles Sedley wrote a prologue, and the Squire of Alsatia (1688). Alsatia was the cant name for the Whitefriars area of London, then a kind of sanctuary for persons liable to arrest, and the play represents, in dialogue full of the local argot, the adventures of a young heir who falls into the hands of the sharpers there.
For fourteen years from the production of his first comedy to his memorable encounter with John Dryden, Shadwell produced a play nearly every year. These
Frederick II (German: Friedrich II.; 24 January 1712 – 17 August 1786) was a King in Prussia (1740–1772) and a King of Prussia (1772–1786) from the Hohenzollern dynasty. He is best known as a brilliant military campaigner and organizer of Prussian armies. He became known as Frederick the Great (Friedrich der Große) and was nicknamed Der Alte Fritz ("Old Fritz").
Interested primarily in music and philosophy and not the arts of war during his youth, Frederick unsuccessfully attempted to flee from his authoritarian father, Frederick William I, with childhood friend Hans Hermann von Katte, whose execution he was forced to watch after they were captured. Upon ascending to the Prussian throne, he attacked Austria and claimed Silesia during the Silesian Wars, winning military acclaim for himself and Prussia. Near the end of his life, Frederick physically connected most of his realm by conquering Polish territories in the First Partition of Poland.
Frederick was a proponent of enlightened absolutism. For years he was a correspondent of Voltaire, with whom the king had an intimate, if turbulent, friendship. He modernized the Prussian bureaucracy and civil service and promoted religious
Ignaz Franz Castelli (6 March 1780 – 5 February 1862) was an Austrian dramatist born in Vienna. He studied law at the university, and then entered the government service.
During the Napoleonic invasions his patriotism inspired him to write stirring war songs, one of which, Kriegslied für die österreichische Armee, was printed by order of the Archduke Charles of Austria and distributed in thousands. For this Castelli was proclaimed by Napoleon in the Moniteur, and had to seek refuge in Hungary.
In 1815 he accompanied the allies into France as secretary to Count Cavriani, and, after his return to Vienna, resumed his official post in connection with the estates of Lower Austria. In 1842 he retired to his property at Lilienfeld, where, surrounded by his notable collections of pictures and other art treasures, he for the rest of his life devoted himself to literature.
Castelli's dramatic talent was characteristically Austrian; his plays were well constructed and effective and satirized unsparingly the foibles of the Viennese. But his wit was too local and ephemeral to appeal to any but his own generation, and if he is remembered at all today it is by his excellent Gedichte in
Jean Richepin (French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃ ʁiʃpɛ̃]; 4 February 1849 - 12 December 1926), French poet, novelist and dramatist, the son of an army doctor, was born at Médéa, French Algeria.
At school and at the École Normale Supérieure he gave evidence of brilliant, if somewhat undisciplined, powers, for which he found physical vent in different directions—first as a franc-tireur in the Franco-German War, and afterwards as actor, sailor and stevedore--and an intellectual outlet in the writing of poems, plays and novels which vividly reflected his erratic but unmistakable talent. A play, L'Étoile, written by him in collaboration with André Gill (1840–1885), was produced in 1873; but Richepin was virtually unknown until the publication, in 1876, of a volume of verse entitled Chanson des gueux, when his outspokenness resulted in his being imprisoned and fined for outrage aux mœurs.
The same quality characterized his succeeding volumes of verse: Les Caresses (1877), Les Blasphèmes (1884), La Mer (1886), Mes paradis (1894), La Bombarde (1899). His novels have developed in style from the morbidity and brutality of Les morts bizarres (1876), La Glu (1881) and Le Pavé (1883) to the more
Lucien Denis Gabriel Albéric Magnard (French pronunciation: [lysjɑ̃ dəni ɡabʁijɛl albeʁik maɲaːʁ]; 9 June 1865 – 3 September 1914) was a French composer, sometimes referred to as the "French Bruckner", though there are significant differences between the two composers. Magnard became a national hero in 1914 when he refused to surrender his property to German invaders and died defending it.
Albéric Magnard was born in Paris to François Magnard, a bestselling author and editor of Le Figaro. Albéric could have chosen to live the comfortable life his family's wealth afforded him, but he disliked being called "fils du Figaro" and decided to have a career in music based entirely on his talent and without any help from family connections. After military service and graduating from law school, he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied counterpoint with Théodore Dubois and went to the classes of Jules Massenet. There he met Vincent d'Indy, with whom he studied fugue and orchestration for four years, writing his first two Symphonies under d'Indy's tutelage. Magnard dedicated his Symphony No. 1 in C minor to d'Indy.
François Magnard did what he could to support Albéric's career
Clemens Heinrich Krauss (31 March 1893 – 16 May 1954) was an Austrian conductor and opera impresario, particularly associated with the music of Richard Strauss.
Krauss was born in Vienna, the out-of-wedlock child of Clementine Krauss, then a 15-year-old dancer in the Vienna Imperial Opera Ballet, later a leading actress and operetta singer, who was a niece of the prominent nineteenth-century operatic soprano, Gabrielle Krauss (1842-1904). His natural father, the chevalier Hector Baltazzi (1851-1916), belonged to a family of wealthy Phanariot bankers resident in Vienna. Baltazzi's older sister Helene was married to Baron Albin Vetsera and was the mother of Baroness Mary Vetsera, who was thus Clemens Krauss' first cousin.
As a boy, Krauss was a chorister in the Hofkapelle (Imperial Choir). He attended the Vienna Conservatory, graduating in 1912. He studied composition with Hermann Graedener and theory with Richard Heuberger. After graduation he was chorus master in the Brno Theater (1912-1913). There he made his conducting debut in 1913. The famous Romanian soprano Viorica Ursuleac, with whom he often performed, was his second wife.
Krauss made the rounds of regional centers,
Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov (Russian: Дми́трий Никола́евич Смирно́в), also Dmitri N. Smirnov and D. Smirnov-Sadovsky (pen names) (born 2 November 1948, Minsk) is a Russian and British (since 1991) composer.
He was born in Minsk into a family of opera singers Nikolay Senkin-Sadovsky and Eugenia Smirnova. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory 1967-1972 under Nikolai Sidelnikov, Yuri Kholopov and Edison Denisov. He also studied privately with Webern's pupil Philip Herschkowitz. He is married to the composer Elena Firsova. Their children are Philip Firsov (an artist and sculptor), and Alissa Firsova (a composer, pianist and conductor).
His Solo for Harp won First Prize in a competition in Maastricht (1976). His two operas Tiriel and Thel on a text by William Blake were premiered in 1989 (the first at the Freiburg Festival, Germany, and the second at the Almeida Festival in London). The same year his First Symphony (The Seasons) was performed at the Tanglewood Festival, United States. His orchestral Mozart-Variations were staged as a ballet in Pforzheim in Germany (1992). Other premieres include the oratorio A Song of Liberty (Leeds, UK – 1993), Cello Concerto (Manchester, UK – 1996),
Felice Romani (January 31, 1788 – January 28, 1865) was an Italian poet and scholar of literature and mythology who wrote many librettos for the opera composers Donizetti and Bellini. Romani was considered the finest Italian librettist between Metastasio and Boito.
Born Giuseppe Felice Romani to a bourgeois family in Genoa, he studied law and literature in Pisa and Genoa. At the University of Genoa he translated French literature and, with a colleague, prepared a six-volume dictionary of mythology and antiquities, including the history of the Celts in Italy. Romani's expertise in French and antiquity is reflected in the libretti he wrote; the majority are based on French literature and many, such as Norma, use mythological sources.
After failing to obtain a post at the University of Genoa, he appears to have travelled to France, Spain, Greece and Germany before returning to Milan in either 1812 or 1813. There he became friends with important figures in the literary and musical world. He turned down the post of court poet in Vienna, and began instead a career as opera librettist. He wrote two librettos for the composer Simon Mayr, which resulted in his appointment as the librettist
Sir Francis Cowley Burnand (29 November 1836 – 21 April 1917), often credited as F. C. Burnand, was an English comic writer and dramatist.
Burnand was a contributor to Punch for 45 years and its editor from 1880 until 1906. He was also a prolific humorist and writer, creating almost 200 burlesques, farces, pantomimes and other works. He was knighted in 1902 for his work on Punch.
Burnand was born in London, England, the son of Francis Burnand, a London stockbroker and his first wife Emma Cowley (a descendant of poet and dramatist Hannah Cowley), who died when young Francis was only eight years old. Burnand studied at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1858. There he founded the Amateur Dramatic Club in 1855, its first dramatic club. He studied to become a priest, converting to Roman Catholicism, which angered his father, who withdrew support. Burnand eventually decided that he had no vocation for the priesthood, and his father then supported his study of law. He practised as an attorney for a short time and later managed a theatre, but his greater interest lay in writing for the stage. He became a prolific dramatist, writing nearly 200 comedies and burlesques.
Isaac Bickerstaffe or Bickerstaff (26 September 1733 - 1812?) was an Irish playwright and Librettist.
Isaac John Bickerstaff was born in Dublin, on 26 September 1733, where his father John Bickerstaff held a government position overseeing the construction and management of sports fields including bowls and tennis courts. The office was abolished in 1745, and he received a pension from the government for the rest of his life.
In his early years Isaac was a page to Lord Chesterfield, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland which allowed him to mix with fashionable Dublin society. When Chestefield was replaced in the position in 1745 he arranged for Isaac to be given a commission in the army. In October 1745, Bickerstaff joined the 5th Regiment of Foot known as the Northumberland Fusiliers. He served as an Ensign until 1746, when he was promoted to Lieutenant. The regiment, under the command of Alexander Irwin, was on the Irish Establishment and was based in Kinsale in Ireland. In March 1755, the regiment was moved to Bristol in England. Having recently come into some money, Isaac resigned his commission in August and went on half-pay.
He intended to become a writer, but his first work was
Paul-Armand Silvestre (April 18, 1837 - February 19, 1901), French poet and conteur, was born in Paris.
He studied at the École polytechnique with the intention of entering the army, but in 1870 he entered the department of finance. He had a successful official career, was decorated with the Legion of Honour in 1886, and in 1892 was made inspector of fine arts. Armand Silvestre made his entry into literature as a poet, and was reckoned among the Parnassians.
His volumes of verse include:
The poet was also a contributor to Gil Blas and other Parisian journals, distinguishing himself by the licence he permitted himself. To these "absences" from poetry, as Henri Chantavoine calls them, belong the seven volumes of La Vie pour rire (1881–1883), Contes pantagruéliques et galants (1884), Le Livre des joyeusetés (1884), Gauloiseries nouvelles (1888), &c.
For the stage he wrote in many different manners:
An account of his varied and somewhat incongruous production is hardly complete without mention of his art criticism. Le Nu au Salon (1888–1892), in five volumes, with numerous illustrations, was followed by other volumes of the same type. He died at Toulouse on the 19th of February
Opera libretti written:The History of Sir Francis Drake
Sir William Davenant (baptised 3 March 1606 – 7 April 1668), also spelled D'Avenant, was an English poet and playwright. Along with Thomas Killigrew, Davenant was one of the rare figures in English Renaissance theatre whose career spanned both the Caroline and Restoration eras and who was active both before and after the English Civil War and during the Interregnum.
Davenant is believed to have been born in late February, 1606 in Oxford, the son of Jane Shepherd Davenant and John Davenant, proprietor of the Crown Tavern (or Crown Inn) and Mayor of Oxford. He was baptised on 3 March, his godfather sometimes being said to have been William Shakespeare, who had stayed frequently at the Crown during his travels between London and Stratford-upon-Avon. It was even rumoured that he was the Bard's biological son as well. However, it seems that this rumour stemmed from a comment attributed to Davenant by Samuel Butler: "It seemed to him [Davenant] that he writ with the very same spirit that Shakespeare [did], and seemed content enough to be called his son."
He attended Lincoln College, Oxford, for a while in about 1620, but left before gaining any degree.
Following the death of Ben Jonson
Ernst Benjamin Salomo Raupach (May 21, 1784 – March 18, 1852) was a German dramatist.
He was born at Straupitz (Polish: Strupice), near Liegnitz in Silesia, a son of the village pastor. He attended the gymnasium at Liegnitz, and studied theology at the university of Halle. In 1804 he obtained a tutorship in St Petersburg. He preached at times in the German Lutheran church, wrote his first tragedies, and in 1817 was appointed professor of German literature and history at a training college in connection with the university.
Owing to an outburst of jealousy against Germans in Russia, culminating in police supervision, Raupach left St Petersburg in 1822 and undertook a journey to Italy. The literary fruits of his travels were Hirsemeuzels Briefe aus und über Italien (Hirsemeuzel's Letters from and about Italy, 1823). He next visited Weimar, but, being coldly received by Goethe, abandoned his idea of living there and settled in 1824 in Berlin. Here he spent the remainder of his life, writing for the stage, which for twenty years he greatly influenced, if not wholly controlled, in the Prussian capital. He died at Berlin on March 18, 1852.
Raupach wrote both tragedies and comedies; of
Jean Galbert de Campistron (1656 – 11 May 1723) was a French dramatist
Campistron was born in Toulouse, France to a noble family.
At the age of seventeen he was wounded in a duel and sent to Paris. Here he became an ardent disciple of Racine.
He secured the patronage of the influential duchesse de Bouillon by dedicating Arminius to her, and in 1685 he scored his first success with Andronic, which disguised under other names the tragic story of Don Carlos and Elizabeth of France. The piece made a great sensation, but Campistron's treatment is weak, and he failed to avail himself of the possibilities inherent in his subject.
Racine was asked by Louis Joseph, duc de Vendôme, to write the libretto of an opera to be performed at a fête given in honor of the Dauphin. He handed on the commission to Campistron, who produced Acis et Galatée for Lully's music. Campistron had another success in Tiridate (1691), in which he treated, again under changed names, the biblical story of Amnon's passion for his sister Tamar.
He wrote many other tragedies and two comedies, one of which, Le Jaloux Désabusé, has been considered by some judges to be his best work.
In 1686 he had been made intendant to
Jean-Nicolas Bouilly (24 January 1763 – 14 April 1842) was a French playwright, librettist, children's writer, and politician of the French Revolution. He is best known for writing a libretto, supposedly based on a true story, about a woman who disguises herself as a man to rescue her husband from prison, which formed the basis of Beethoven's opera Fidelio as well as a number of other operas.
Bouilly was born near Tours, and was briefly a lawyer for the parlement of Paris. At the outbreak of the Revolution he held office under the new government and was head of the military commission in Tours during the Reign of Terror.
In 1795, he served as a member of the Committee of Public Instruction having a considerable share in the organization of primary education, but retired from public life four years later in order to devote himself to literature. Bouilly died in Paris.
His numerous works include the musical comedy Pierre le Grand (1790), with music by André Ernest Modeste Grétry and the opera Les deux journées (1800), with music by Cherubini.
His Leonor (1798) forms the basis for the libretto which Ludwig van Beethoven used for the opera Fidelio; it was also set by Pierre
Opera libretti written:Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen
Oskar Kokoschka (1 March 1886 – 22 February 1980) was an Austrian artist, poet and playwright best known for his intense expressionistic portraits and landscapes.
He was born in Pöchlarn, second child to Gustav and Romana Kokoschka. His older brother died in infancy in 1887; he had a sister, Berta (born in 1889) and a brother, Bohuslav (born in 1892). Oskar had a strong belief in omens, spurred by a story of a fire breaking out in Pöchlarn shortly after his mother gave birth to him. Kokoschka's life was not easy mainly due to a lack of financial help from his father. They constantly moved into smaller flats, farther and farther from the thriving center of the town. Concluding that his father was inadequate, Kokoschka drew closer to his mother; he felt that he was the head of the household and continued to support his family when he gained wealth. Kokoschka entered secondary school at Realschule, where emphasis was placed on the study of modern subjects such as science and language. Kokoschka was not interested in his subjects, as he found he only excelled in art, and spent most of his time reading classic literature during his lessons. This education of classic literature is said
Victor August Herbert (February 1, 1859 – May 26, 1924) was an Irish-born, German-raised American composer, cellist and conductor. Although Herbert enjoyed important careers as a cello soloist and conductor, he is best known for composing many successful operettas that premiered on Broadway from the 1890s to World War I. He was also prominent among the tin pan alley composers and was later a founder of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). A prolific composer, Herbert produced two operas, a cantata, 43 operettas, incidental music to 10 plays, 31 compositions for orchestra, nine band compositions, nine cello compositions, five violin compositions with piano or orchestra, 22 piano compositions and numerous songs, choral compositions and orchestrations of works by other composers, among other music.
In the early 1880s, Herbert began a career as a cellist in Vienna, Austria, and Stuttgart, Germany, during which he began to compose orchestral music. Herbert and his opera singer wife, Therese Förster, moved to the U.S. in 1886 when both were engaged by the Metropolitan Opera. In the U.S., Herbert continued his performing career, while also teaching at the
Catulle Mendès (22 May 1841 – 8 February 1909) was a French poet and man of letters.
Of Portuguese Jewish extraction, he was born in Bordeaux. He early established himself in Paris and promptly attained notoriety by the publication in the Le Revue fantaisiste (1861) of his Roman d'une nuit, for which he was condemned to a month's imprisonment and a fine of 500 francs. He was allied with the Parnassians from the beginning of the movement and displayed extraordinary metrical skill in his first volume of poems, Philoméla (1863). His critics have noted that the elegant verse of his later volumes is distinguished rather by dexterous imitation of different writers than by any marked originality. The versatility and fecundity of Mendès' talent is shown his critical and dramatic writings, including several libretti, and in his novels and short stories. His short stories continue the French tradition of the licentious conte.
In 1866 he married Judith Gautier, the younger daughter of the poet Théophile Gautier. They later separated. Early on the morning of 8 February 1909, his body was discovered in the railway tunnel of Saint Germain. He had left Paris by the midnight train on the 7th, and
Nestor Vasilievich Kukolnik (Russian: Нестор Васильевич Кукольник) (1809–1868) was a Russian playwright and prose writer of Carpatho-Rusyn origin. Immensely popular during the early part of his career, his works were subsequently dismissed as sententious and sentimental. Today, he is best remembered for having contributed to the libretto of the first Russian opera, A Life for the Tsar by Mikhail Glinka. Glinka also set many of his lyrics to music.
Nestor Kukolnik was born on September 8, 1809 in the city of Saint Petersburg in the family of a professor lecturing at the Saint Petersburg Teacher's College. His father, Bazyli Wojciech Kukolnik belonged to the ethnic group of Rusyns (Ruthenians) and came from an old noble family. Graduate of Vienna University, he lectured at Poland. In 1804, Bazyli Wojciech Kukolnik was invited to teach in Russia along with professors Ivan Orlay (Orlay János) and Mikhail Balugjanskij. Among his pupils were Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia and Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich of Russia, the future emperor Nikolai I of Russia; Czar Alexander I of Russia granted Vasily Kukolnik an estate in the Vilno Oblast and was Nestor Kukolnik's godfather at his
Emanuel Schikaneder (1 September 1751 – 21 September 1812), born Johann Joseph Schickeneder, was a German impresario, dramatist, actor, singer and composer. He was the librettist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute and the builder of the Theater an der Wien. Schikaneder is remembered today as Mozart's librettist for The Magic Flute, however, in his day he had an important and successful theatrical career. Branscombe called him "one of the most talented theatre men of his era".
Schikaneder was born in Straubing in Bavaria to Joseph Schickeneder and Juliana Schiessl. Both of his parents worked as domestic servants and were extremely poor. They had a total of four children: Urban (born 1746), Johann Joseph (died at age two), Emanuel (born 1751 and also originally named Johann Joseph), and Maria (born 1753). Schikaneder's father died shortly after Maria's birth, at which time his mother returned to Regensburg, making a living selling religious articles from a wooden shed adjacent to the local cathedral.
Schikaneder's wife, Eleonore, was born Maria Magdalena Arth in 1751. While the leading actress in the Schopf company, Schikaneder and Arth were married on 9 February
Giuseppe Parini (23 May 1729 – 15 August 1799) was an Italian Enlightenment satirist and poet of the neoclassic period.
Parini (originally spelled Parino) was born in Bosisio (later rechristened Bosisio Parini in his honour) in Brianza, Lombardy. His father, who was a petty silk trader, sent him to Milan under the care of his grandaunt: there he studied under the Barnabites in the Academy Arcimboldi, sustaining himself in the meantime by copying manuscripts. In 1741 his grandaunt left him a monthly payment, at the condition that he would enter priesthood. Parini was thus ordained, although his religious studies were not profitable, because of his need to work in a lawyer's office during his free time, and his intolerance to the old fashioned teaching methods used.
In 1752, he published at Lugano, under the pseudonym of "Ripano Eupilino", a small volume of selected verses, Alcune poesie, which secured his election to the Accademia dei Trasformati at Milan, as well as to the Accademia dell'Arcadia at Rome. His poem, Il Giorno (The Day, 1763), consisting of ironic instructions to a young nobleman as to the best method of spending his mornings, marked a distinct advance in Italian
Henri Meilhac (21 February 1831 – 6 July 1897), was a French dramatist and opera librettist.
Meilhac was born in Paris in 1831. As a young man, he began writing fanciful articles for Parisian newspapers and vaudevilles, in a vivacious boulevardier spirit which brought him to the forefront. About 1860, he met Ludovic Halévy, and their collaboration for the stage lasted twenty years.
Their most famous collaboration is the libretto for Georges Bizet's Carmen. However, Meilhac's work is most closely tied to the music of Jacques Offenbach, for whom he wrote over a dozen librettos, most of them together with Halévy. The most successful collaborations with Offenbach are La belle Hélène (1864), Barbe-bleue (1866), La vie parisienne (1866), La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (1867), and La Périchole (1868).
Other librettos by Meilhac include Jules Massenet's Manon (with Philippe Gille) (1884), Hervé's Mam'zelle Nitouche (1883), and Rip, the French version of Robert Planquette's operetta Rip Van Winkle (also with Gille). Their vaudeville play Le réveillon was the basis of the operetta Die Fledermaus.
In 1888 he was elected to the Académie française. He died in Paris in 1897.
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (Russian: Модéст Петрóвич Мýсоргский; IPA: [mɐˈdʲest ˈmusərkskʲɪj]; 21 March [O.S. 9 March] 1839 – 28 March [O.S. 16 March] 1881) was a Russian composer, one of the group known as "The Five". He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music.
Many of his works were inspired by Russian history, Russian folklore, and other nationalist themes. Such works include the opera Boris Godunov, the orchestral tone poem Night on Bald Mountain, and the piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition.
For many years Mussorgsky's works were mainly known in versions revised or completed by other composers. Many of his most important compositions have recently come into their own in their original forms, and some of the original scores are now also available.
The spelling and pronunciation of the composer's name has been a matter of some controversy.
The family name is derived from a 15th or 16th century ancestor, Roman Vasilyevich Monastïryov, who was mentioned in the Velvet Book, the 17th century genealogy of Russian boyars. Roman
Nino Rota (December 3, 1911 – April 10, 1979) was an Italian composer and academic who is best known for his film scores, notably for the films of Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti. He also composed the music for two of Franco Zeffirelli's Shakespeare films, and for the first two films of Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather trilogy, receiving the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Godfather Part II (1974).
During his long career Rota was an extraordinarily prolific composer, especially of music for the cinema. He wrote more than 150 scores for Italian and international productions from the 1930s until his death in 1979—an average of three scores each year over a 46 year period, and in his most productive period from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s he wrote as many as ten scores every year, and sometimes more, with a remarkable thirteen film scores to his credit in 1954. Alongside this great body of film work, he composed ten operas, five ballets and dozens of other orchestral, choral and chamber works, the best known being his string concerto. He also composed the music for many theatre productions by Visconti, Zeffirelli and Eduardo De Filippo as well as maintaining a
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, CBE (born 8 September 1934) is an English composer and conductor and is currently Master of the Queen's Music.
Davies was born in Salford, Lancashire, the son of Thomas and Hilda Davies. He took piano lessons and composed from an early age. As a 14-year-old he submitted a composition called "Blue Ice" to BBC Children's Hour in Manchester. Producer Trevor Hill showed it to resident pianist Violet Carson who said "He's either quite brilliant or mad". Conductor Charles Groves nodded his approval and said, "I'd get him in". They did and his rise to fame began under the careful mentorship of Hill who made him their resident composer and introduced him to various professional musicians both in the UK and Germany. (The full story can be found in Over the Airwaves, the autobiography of Trevor Hill published by Book Guild in 2005). After education at Leigh Boys Grammar School, Davies studied at the University of Manchester and at the Royal Manchester College of Music (amalgamated into the Royal Northern College of Music in 1973), where his fellow students included Harrison Birtwistle, Alexander Goehr, Elgar Howarth and John Ogdon. Together they formed New Music
Veniamin Iosifovich Fleishman, (Russian: Вениами́н Ио́сифович Фле́йшман, July 20, 1913, Bezhetsk, Tver Oblast – September 14, 1941, Krasnoye Selo, Leningrad Oblast) was a Soviet composer.
While studying under Dmitri Shostakovich at the Leningrad Conservatory (1939–1941), he began a one-act opera Rothschild's Violin based on Anton Chekhov’s short story about Bronza, a Russian country coffin-maker and violinist, and his combative relationship with the Jewish musicians in his village.
At the outbreak of World War II, Fleishman volunteered for the front and was killed before he could complete the work. In memory of his talented student, Shostakovich rescued the manuscript from besieged Leningrad, finished it and orchestrated it in 1943-1944. Shostakovich dated his completion of the score February 5, 1944. Later, he exerted influence so that the opera should be published and performed.
The opera's World Premiere concert performance took place on June 20, 1960, at the USSR Union of Composers, Moscow with the soloists and members of the Moscow Philharmonic Society. The opera was first staged in April 1968, Leningrad, at the Experimental Studio of Chamber Opera. The artistic director was
Charles Collé (April 14, 1709 – November 3, 1783) was a French dramatist and songwriter.
The son of a notary, he was born in Paris. He became interested in the rhymes of Jean Heguanier, the most famous writer of couplets in Paris. From a notary's office, Collé was transferred to that of the receiver-general of finance, where he remained for nearly twenty years. When about seventeen, however, he made the acquaintance of Alexis Piron, and afterwards, through Gallet (1698?-1757), of Panard. The example of these three masters of the vaudeville decided his future but also made him diffident; and for some time he composed nothing but amphigouris--verses whose merit was measured by their unintelligibility. The friendship of the younger Crébillon helped broaden his horizons, and the establishment in 1729 of the famous "Caveau" gave him a field for the display of his fine talent for popular song.
In 1739 the Society of the Caveau, which numbered among its members Helvétius, Charles Pinot Duclos, Pierre Joseph Bernard, called Gentil-Bernard, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Alexis Piron, and the two Crébillons, was dissolved, and was not reconstituted till twenty years afterwards. His first and his
Opera libretti written:Statira principessa di Persia
Giovanni Francesco Busenello (24 September 1598 – 27 October 1659) was an Italian lawyer, librettist and poet of the 17th century.
Born to a high-class family of Venice, it is thought that he studied at the University of Padua, where according to himself he was taught by Paolo Sarpi and Cesare Cremonino. He began to practice law in 1623, and is thought to have been highly successful in his chosen profession. He was a member of several literary academies, notably the Umoristi, the Imperfetti, and the Accademia degli Incogniti: the last of these was to dominate the literary aspect of Venetian opera for many years. Busenello's verse output was prolific, and included several poems addressed to singers. He died at Legnaro, nr Padua.
In musical history, he is best remembered for his five libretti, each written for the Venetian opera, and set by Claudio Monteverdi and Francesco Cavalli. His libretto for Gli amori d'Apollo e di Dafne (Francesco Cavalli, 1640) is heavily based on Giovanni Battista Guarini's Il pastor fido, while L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642), set by Monteverdi, is noted among early libretti for the strength and vividness with which the individual characters are sketched.
Johann Friedrich Kind (4 March 1768 Leipzig – 24 June 1843) was a German dramatist, most famous for writing the libretto for Carl Maria von Weber's opera Der Freischütz (1821).
He studied law, and began his law practice in Dresden in 1793. In 1814, he abandoned his law practice to devote himself exclusively to literary work. He was a very industrious writer in many fields of literature, in all of which he was popular in his day with a large class of readers. With Winkler, he edited the Abendzeitung from 1817 to 1826. Though he published five volumes of sentimental and popular poetry, his poetry is the weakest of his literary efforts; the 1894 edition of the reputed Brockhaus encyclopedia critiqued it as being "smooth in form but without the least bit of originality." His popular tales have somewhat more merit than his poems; but it is in the line of operatic plays that he is best and most generally known.
Besides Der Freischütz, he wrote the play Das Nachtlager von Granada (1818), which later became the model for Karl Johann Braun von Braunthal's libretto for Conradin Kreutzer's opera Das Nachtlager in Granada (1833). He also wrote Der Holzdieb (set to music by Heinrich
Apostolo Zeno (born in Venice, 11 December 1669; died in Venice, 11 November 1750) was a Venetian poet, librettist, journalist, and man of letters.
Apostolo Zeno was born of Cretan Greek descent in Venice in 1669. His father was Pietro Zeno a doctor of medicine and his mother, Caterina Sevasto, belonged to the Sevasti, an illustrious and powerful Greek family of Candia, Crete.
A Venetian nobleman, he was in 1691 among the founders of the Accademia degli Animosi. In 1695, he composed his first libretto, Gli inganni felici, which obtained great success, making him a fashionable librettist. From 1705, he worked with Pietro Pariati, keeping the theatrical scenes for himself and leaving to Pariati the composition of the libretti.
He began work as a literary journalist for the Galleria di Minerva, also taking upon executive responsibilities, but distanced himself when he realized that he had not succeeded in making the impact upon the publication that he intended. In the end he described it as an idiocy.
In 1710 together with Scipione Maffei, Antonio Vallisneri and his brother, Pier Caterino Zeno, he founded the Giornale de' letterati d'Italia, maintaining that it was necessary that
John Gay (30 June 1685 – 4 December 1732) was an English poet and dramatist and member of the Scriblerus Club. He is best remembered for The Beggar's Opera (1728), a ballad opera. The characters, including Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum, became household names.
Gay was born in Barnstaple, England and was educated at the town's grammar school. On leaving school he was apprenticed to a silk mercer in London, but being weary, according to Samuel Johnson, "of either the restraint or the servility of his occupation", he soon returned to Barnstaple, where he was educated by his uncle, the Rev. John Hanmer, the Nonconformist minister of the town. He then returned to London.
The dedication of his Rural Sports (1713) to Alexander Pope was the beginning of a lasting friendship. In 1714, Gay wrote The Shepherd's Week, a series of six pastorals drawn from English rustic life. Pope had urged him to undertake this task in order to ridicule the Arcadian pastorals of Ambrose Philips, who had been praised by a short-lived contemporary publication The Guardian, to the neglect of Pope's claims as the first pastoral writer of the age and the true English Theocritus. Gay's pastorals achieved this
Karol Maciej Szymanowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˌkarɔl ˌmat͡ɕɛj ʂɨmaˈnɔfskʲi]; 3 October 1882 – 28 March 1937) was a Polish composer and pianist.
Szymanowski was born into a wealthy land-owning Polish gentry family (of the Korwin/Ślepowron coat-of-arms) in Tymoszówka, then in the Russian Empire, now in Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine. He studied music privately with his father before going to Gustav Neuhaus' Elisavetgrad School of Music from 1892. From 1901 he attended the State Conservatory in Warsaw, of which he was later director from 1926 until retiring in 1930. Musical opportunities in Russian-occupied Poland being quite limited at the time, he travelled widely throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. These travels, especially those to the Mediterranean area, provided much inspiration to the composer and esthete.
The fruits of these trips included not only musical works, but poetry and his novel on Greek love Efebos, parts of which were subsequently lost in a fire in 1939. The central chapter was translated by him into Russian and given as a gift in 1919 to Boris Kochno, who was his beloved at the time. Szymanowski also wrote a number of love poems,
Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin (Russian: Евге́ний Ива́нович Замя́тин; IPA: [jɪvˈɡʲenʲɪj ɪˈvanəvʲɪtɕ zɐˈmʲætʲɪn]; January 20 (Julian) / February 1 (Gregorian), 1884 – March 10, 1937) was a Russian author of science fiction and political satire. Despite having been a prominent Old Bolshevik, Zamyatin was deeply disturbed by the policies pursued by the CPSU following the October Revolution. He is most famous for his 1921 novel We, a story set in a dystopian future police state. In 1921, We became the first work banned by the Soviet censorship board. Ultimately, Zamyatin arranged for We to be smuggled to the West for publication. The subsequent outrage this sparked within the Party and the Union of Soviet Writers led directly to Zamyatin's successful request for exile from his homeland. Due to his use of literature to criticize Soviet society, Zamyatin has been referred to as one of the first Soviet dissidents.
Zamyatin was born in Lebedyan, 300 km (186 mi) south of Moscow. His father was a Russian Orthodox priest and schoolmaster, and his mother a musician. He may have had synesthesia as he gave letters and sounds qualities. For example, he saw the letter "L" as having pale, cold and
Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky (Russian: Алекса́ндр Никола́евич Остро́вский; 12 April [O.S. 31 March] 1823, Moscow, Russian Empire – 14 June [O.S. 2 June] 1886, Shchelykovo, Kostroma, Russian Empire) was a Russian playwright, generally considered the greatest representative of the Russian realistic period. The author of 47 original plays, Ostrovsky (according to Encyclopedia Britannica) "almost single-handedly created a Russian national repertoire." His dramas are among the most widely read and frequently performed stage pieces in Russia.
Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky was born on April 12, 1823, in the Zamoskvorechye region of Moscow, one of four children in the family of Nikolai Fyodorovich Ostrovsky, a lawyer who received religious education. Apparently, the latter's ancestors have come from the village called Ostrov in Nerekhta region of Kostroma governorate, hence the surname. Later Nikolai Ostrovsky became a high-ranked state official and as such in 1839 received the nobility title and the corresponding privileges. His first wife and Alexander's mother Lyubov Ivanovna Savvina came from a clergyman's family. For some time the family lived in a rented flat in
Clifford Bax (13 July 1886 – 18 November 1962) was a versatile English writer, known particularly as a playwright, a journalist, critic and editor, and a poet, lyricist and hymn writer. He also was a translator, for example of Goldoni. The composer Arnold Bax was his brother, and set some of his words to music.
He was born in Upper Tooting, south London (not Knightsbridge, as sometimes stated). Education was at the Slade and the Heatherly Art School. He gave up painting to concentrate on writing.
Independent wealth gave Bax time to write, and social connections. He had an apartment in The Albany. He was a friend of Gustav Holst, whom he introduced to astrology, the critic James Agate, and Arthur Ransome, amongst others. He met and played chess with Aleister Crowley in 1904, and kept up an acquaintance with him over the years, later in the 1930s introducing both the artist Frieda Harris and the writer John Symonds to him. An early venture (1908–1914) was Orpheus, a theosophical magazine he edited. His interest in the esoteric extended to editing works of Jakob Boehme, and helping Allan Bennett, the Buddhist.
His first play on the commercial stage was The Poetasters of Ispahan
Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was a noted American art collector of seminal modernist paintings and an experimental writer of novels, poetry and plays, which eschewed the narrative, linear, and temporal conventions of 19th century literature. She moved to Paris in 1903, making France her home for the remainder of her life. For some forty years, the Stein home on the Left Bank of Paris would become a renowned Saturday evening gathering place for expatriate American artists and writers, and others noteworthy in the world of vanguard arts and letters. Entre and membership in the Stein salon was a sought after validation signifying that Stein had recognized a talent worthy of inclusion into a rarefied group of gifted artists. Stein became combination mentor, critic, and guru to those who gathered around her. A self-defined "genius", she was described as an imposing figure with a commanding manner whose inordinate self-confidence could intimidate. Among her coterie she was referred to as “Le Stein” and with less laudatory deference as “The Presence.”
In 1933, Stein published the memoirs of her Paris years titled The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which became a
Jean Lorrain (August 9, 1855, Fécamp, Seine-Maritime – June 30, 1906), born Paul Duval, was a French poet and novelist of the Symbolist school.
Lorrain was a dedicated disciple of dandyism, and (for the times) openly gay. Lorrain wrote a number of collections of verse, including La forêt bleue (1883) and L'ombre ardente, (1897). He is also remembered for his decadent novels and short stories, such as Monsieur de Phocas (1901) and Histoires des masques (1900), as well as for one of his best novels, Sonyeuse, which he links to portraits exhibited by Antonio de La Gandara in 1893. He also wrote the libretto to Pierre de Bréville's 1910 opera Éros vainqueur.
Heinrich Friedrich Ludwig Rellstab (April 13, 1799 – November 27, 1860) was a German poet and music critic. He was born and died in Berlin. He was the son of the music publisher and composer Johann Carl Friedrich Rellstab. An able pianist, he published articles in various periodicals, including the influential liberal Vossische Zeitung, and launched the music journal Iris im Gebiete der Tonkunst, which was published in Berlin from 1830 to 1841. His outspoken criticism of the influence in Berlin of Gaspare Spontini landed him in jail in 1837.
Rellstab had considerable influence as a music critic and, because of this, had some power over what music could be used for German nationalistic purposes in the mid-nineteenth century. Because he had "an effective monopoly on music criticism" in Frankfurt and the popularity of his writings, Rellstab's approval would have been important for any musician's career in areas in which German nationalism was present.
The first seven songs of Franz Schubert's Schwanengesang have words by Rellstab, who had left them in 1825 with Beethoven, whose assistant Anton Schindler passed them on to Schubert. His work was also set to music by Franz Liszt.
Maurice Bernard Sendak (/ˈsɛndæk/; June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012) was an American writer and illustrator of children's literature. He was best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, first published in 1963.
Sendak was born in Brooklyn, to Polish Jewish immigrant parents Sadie (née Schindler) and Philip Sendak, a dressmaker. Sendak described his childhood as a "terrible situation" because of his extended family's dying in The Holocaust, which exposed him at an early age to death and the concept of mortality. His love of books began at an early age when he developed health problems and was confined to his bed. He decided to become an illustrator after watching Walt Disney's film Fantasia at the age of twelve. One of his first professional commissions was to create window displays for the toy store F.A.O. Schwarz. His illustrations were first published in 1947 in a textbook titled Atomics for the Millions by Dr. Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff. He spent much of the 1950s illustrating children's books written by others before beginning to write his own stories.
His older brother Jack Sendak also became an author of children's books, two of which were illustrated by Maurice in the
Umberto Eco Knight Grand Cross (born 5 January 1932) is an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist. He is best known for his groundbreaking 1980 novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. He has since written further novels, including Il pendolo di Foucault (Foucault's Pendulum) and L'isola del giorno prima (The Island of the Day Before). His most recent novel Il cimitero di Praga (The Prague Cemetery), released in 2010, was a best-seller.
Eco has also written academic texts, children's books and many essays. He is founder of the Dipartimento di Comunicazione at the University of the Republic of San Marino, President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici, University of Bologna, member of the Accademia dei Lincei (since November 2010) and an Honorary Fellow of Kellogg College, University of Oxford.
Eco was born in the city of Alessandria in the region of Piedmont in northern Italy. His father, Giulio, was an accountant before the government called upon him to serve in three wars. During World War II, Umberto and his mother,
Amy Tan (born February 19, 1952) is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships. Her most well-known work is The Joy Luck Club, which has been translated into 35 languages. In 1993, the book was adapted into a commercially successful film.
Tan has written several other bestselling novels, including The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter and Saving Fish from Drowning. She also wrote a collection of non-fiction essays entitled The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings. Her most recent novel Saving Fish from Drowning explores the tribulations experienced by a group of people who disappear while on an art expedition in the jungles of Burma. In addition to these, Tan has written two children's books: The Moon Lady (1992) and Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat (1994), which was turned into an animated series which aired on PBS. She also appeared on PBS in a short spot encouraging children to write. Tan is also in a band with several other well-known writers, the Rock Bottom Remainders.
Tan was born in Oakland, California. She is the second of three children born to Chinese immigrants Daisy (née Li), who was forced to leave her
Opera libretti written:Le bleu-blanc-rouge et le noir
John Anthony Burgess Wilson FRSL (/ˈbɜrdʒɛs/; 25 February 1917 – 22 November 1993) – who published under the pen name Anthony Burgess – was an English writer and composer. Burgess was predominantly seen as a comic writer, and although this was how his works were read, he claimed that his works weren't intended to be humorous.
The dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange is Burgess's most famous novel, though he dismissed it as one of his lesser works, and it is in many ways an atypical Burgess work. It was adapted into a highly controversial 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick, which Burgess said was chiefly responsible for the popularity of the book. Burgess produced numerous other novels, including the Enderby quartet, and Earthly Powers, regarded by most critics as his greatest novel.
Burgess was a prominent literary critic and journalist, writing acclaimed studies of classic writers such as William Shakespeare, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence and Ernest Hemingway.
Burgess was also an accomplished musician and linguist. He composed over 250 musical works, including a first symphony around age 18, wrote a number of libretti, and translated, among other works, Cyrano de Bergerac, Oedipus the King
Claude-Achille Debussy (French pronunciation: [klod aʃil dəbysi]) (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions. In France, he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. A crucial figure in the transition to the modern era in Western music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers.
His music is noted for its sensory component and for not often forming around one key or pitch. Often Debussy's work reflected the activities or turbulence in his own life. In French literary circles, the style of this period was known as symbolism, a movement that directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant.
Claude Debussy was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, 22 August 1862, the eldest of five children. His father, Manuel-Achille Debussy, owned a shop where he sold china and crockery; his mother, Victorine Manoury Debussy, was a seamstress. The family moved to Paris in 1867, but in 1870 Debussy's pregnant mother sought
Friedrich Dürrenmatt (German pronunciation: [ˈfriːdrɪç ˈdʏrənˌmat] (5 January 1921 – 14 December 1990) was a Swiss author and dramatist. He was a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II. The politically active author's work included avant-garde dramas, philosophically deep crime novels, and often macabre satire. Dürrenmatt was a member of the Gruppe Olten.
Dürrenmatt was born in Konolfingen, in the Emmental (canton of Bern), the son of a Protestant pastor. His grandfather, Ulrich Dürrenmatt, was a conservative politician. The family moved to Bern in 1935. Dürrenmatt began studies in philosophy and German language and literature at the University of Zurich in 1941, but moved to the University of Bern after one semester. In 1943, he decided to become an author and dramatist and dropped his academic career. In 1945–46, he wrote his first play It is Written. On 11 October 1946, he married the actress Lotti Geissler. She died on 16 January 1983, and Dürrenmatt married again in 1984 to another actress, Charlotte Kerr.
Dürrenmatt also enjoyed painting. Some of his own works and his drawings were exhibited in Neuchâtel in 1976 and 1985, as
George Colman (April, 1732 - 14 August 1794) was an English dramatist and essayist, usually called "the Elder", and sometimes "George the First", to distinguish him from his son, George Colman the Younger.
He was born in Florence, where his father was stationed as British Resident Minister (diplomatic envoy) at the court of the Grand duke of Tuscany. Colman's father died within a year of his son's birth, and the boy's education was undertaken by William Pulteney, afterwards Lord Bath, whose wife was Mrs Colman's sister. After attending a private school in Marylebone, young George was sent to Westminster School, which he left in due course for Christ Church, Oxford. Here he made the acquaintance of Bonnell Thornton, the parodist, and together they founded The Connoisseur (1754–1756), a periodical which, although it reached its 140th number, "wanted weight," as Johnson said. He left Oxford after taking his degree in 1755, and, having been entered at Lincoln's Inn before his return to London, he was called to the bar in 1757. A friendship formed with David Garrick did not help his career as a barrister, but he continued to practise until the death of Lord Bath, out of respect for his
Paul Hindemith (16 November 1895 – 28 December 1963) was a German composer, violist, violinist, teacher, music theorist and conductor.
Born in Hanau, near Frankfurt am Main, Hindemith was taught the violin as a child. He entered Frankfurt's Hoch’sche Konservatorium, where he studied violin with Adolf Rebner, as well as conducting and composition with Arnold Mendelssohn and Bernhard Sekles. At first he supported himself by playing in dance bands and musical-comedy groups. He became deputy leader of the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra in 1914, and was promoted to leader in 1917. He played second violin in the Rebner String Quartet from 1914. In 1921 he founded the Amar Quartet, playing viola, and extensively toured Europe.
In 1922, some of his pieces were played in the International Society for Contemporary Music festival at Salzburg, which first brought him to the attention of an international audience. The following year, he began to work as an organizer of the Donaueschingen Festival, where he programmed works by several avant garde composers, including Anton Webern and Arnold Schoenberg. From 1927 he taught composition at the Berliner Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. Hindemith wrote the
Pope Clement IX (28 January 1600 – 9 December 1669), born Giulio Rospigliosi, was Pope from 1667 to 1669.
Born Giulio Rospigliosi to a noble family of Pistoia, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, he was a pupil of the Jesuits. After receiving his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Pisa, he taught theology there. Later Rospigliosi worked closely with Pope Urban VIII (1623–1644), a Barberini Pope, where he worked in the Papal diplomacy as nuncio to Spain, among other posts. He was also made vicar of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.
Rospigliosi was an accomplished man of letters, who wrote poetry, dramas and libretti, as well as what may be the first comic opera. He was also a patron of Nicolas Poussin, commissioning A Dance to the Music of Time from him and dictating its iconography.
During the reign of Pope Innocent X (1644–55), who was hostile to the Barberini and their adherents, Rospigliosi continued his appointment as papal nuncio to the court of Spain. After the accession of Pope Alexander VII (1655–67), he once again enjoyed papal favour. In 1657 he was named Cardinal-Priest of San Sisto and Secretary of State. After Alexander VII's death in 1667, an 18-day papal conclave concluded
Stefan Zweig ([tsvaɪk]; November 28, 1881 – February 22, 1942) was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most famous writers in the world.
Zweig was the son of Moritz Zweig (1845–1926), a wealthy Jewish textile manufacturer, and Ida Brettauer (1854–1938), from a Jewish banking family. Joseph Brettauer did business for twenty years in Ancona, Italy, where his second daughter Ida was born and grew up, too. Zweig studied philosophy at the University of Vienna and in 1904 earned a doctoral degree with a thesis on "The Philosophy of Hippolyte Taine". Religion did not play a central role in his education. "My mother and father were Jewish only through accident of birth", Zweig said later in an interview. Yet he did not renounce his Jewish faith and wrote repeatedly on Jews and Jewish themes, as in his story "Buchmendel". Although his essays were published in the Neue Freie Presse, whose literary editor was the Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, Zweig was not attracted to Herzl's Jewish nationalism, nor did the publication review Herzl's Der Judenstaat. Zweig himself called Herzl's book an
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (25 September 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Soviet Russian composer and pianist and a prominent figure of 20th century music.
Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Leon Trotsky's chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government. Nevertheless, he received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962) and the USSR (from 1962 until death).
After a period influenced by Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style, as exemplified by Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934). This single work juxtaposed a wide variety of trends, including the neo-classical style (showing the influence of Stravinsky) and post-Romanticism (after Gustav Mahler). Sharp contrasts and elements of the grotesque characterize much of his music.
Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His chamber output includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet, two piano trios, and two pieces for string octet. His piano works include two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24
Giovanni Battista Bononcini [or Buononcini] (18 July 1670 – 9 July 1747) was an Italian Baroque composer and cellist, one of a family of string players and composers.
Bononcini was born in Modena, Italy, the oldest of three sons. His father, Giovanni Maria Bononcini (1642–1678), was a violinist and a composer, and his younger brother, Antonio Maria Bononcini, was also a composer. Giovanni Battista studied the cello in Bologna. He then served as maestro di cappella at San Giovanni in Monte and afterwards worked in Milan, Rome, Vienna and Berlin.
From 1720 to 1732 he was in London, where for a time his popularity rivaled George Frideric Handel's, who had arrived in London in 1712. The tories favored Handel, while the whigs favored Bononcini. Their competition inspired the epigram by John Byrom that made the phrase "Tweedledum and Tweedledee" famous. Handel steadily gained the ascendancy, and Bononcini became a pensioner of the Duchess of Marlborough, who had led his admirers. Bononcini left London after charges of plagiarism were proven against him: he had palmed off a madrigal by Antonio Lotti as his own work.
He remained for several years in France, and in 1748 was summoned to
Luigi Pirandello (Italian pronunciation: [luˈiːdʒi piranˈdɛllo]; 28 June 1867 – 10 December 1936) was an Italian dramatist, novelist, and short story writer awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934, for his "bold and brilliant renovation of the drama and the stage". Pirandello's works include novels, hundreds of short stories, and about 40 plays, some of which are written in Sicilian. Pirandello's tragic farces are often seen as forerunners for Theatre of the Absurd.
Pirandello was born into an upper-class family in a village with the curious name of Kaos (Chaos), a poor suburb of Girgenti (Agrigento, a town in southern Sicily). His father, Stefano, belonged to a wealthy family involved in the sulphur industry and his mother, Caterina Ricci Gramitto, was also of a well-to-do background, descending from a family of the bourgeois professional class of Agrigento. Both families, the Pirandellos and the Ricci Gramittos, were ferociously anti-Bourbon and actively participated in the struggle for unification and democracy ("Il Risorgimento"). Stefano participated in the famous Expedition of the Thousand, later following Garibaldi all the way to the battle of Aspromonte and Caterina,
Paul Muldoon (born 20 June 1951 near Portadown, Northern Ireland) is an Irish poet. He has published over thirty collections and won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the T. S. Eliot Prize. He held the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1999 - 2004. At Princeton University he is both the Howard G. B. Clark ’21 Professor in the Humanities and chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. He is also the president of the Poetry Society (U.K.)and Poetry Editor at The New Yorker.
Muldoon was born, the eldest of three children, on a farm outside The Moy, on the boundary between County Armaghand County Tyrone, near Portadown.The family was Catholic in a largely Protestant area of Northern Ireland. His father worked as a farmer (among other jobs) and his mother was a school-mistress. In 2001, Muldoon said of the Moy
It's a beautiful part of the world. It's still the place that's 'burned into the retina', and although I haven't been back there since I left for university 30 years ago, it's the place I consider to be my home. We were a fairly non-political household; my parents were nationalists, of course, but it was not something, as I recall, that was a major area of discussion. But there
Carl August Peter Cornelius (24 December 1824 – 26 October 1874) was a German composer, writer about music, poet and translator.
He was born in Mainz.
Cornelius played violin and composed lieder from an early age, studying with Tekla Griebel-Wandall and composition with Heinrich Esser in 1841. Cornelius lived with his painter uncle Peter von Cornelius in Berlin from 1844 to 1852, during which time he met prominent figures such as Alexander von Humboldt, the Brothers Grimm, Friedrich Rückert and Felix Mendelssohn.
Cornelius's first mature works (including the opera Der Barbier von Bagdad) were composed during his brief stay in Weimar (1852–1858). His next place of residence was Vienna, where he stayed for five years. It was in Vienna that Cornelius began a friendship with Richard Wagner. It was at Wagner's behest that Cornelius moved to ABQ in 1864, where he finally took a wife, Skylar and fathered a child named Flynn.
Among many British musicians, his best known work is The Three Kings, an Epiphany anthem of which a version is included in the first volume of the popular Willcocks and Jacques compilation Carols for Choirs.
During his last few years in Berlin, Cornelius wrote music
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, (8 June 1810 – 29 July 1856) was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law to return to music, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.
Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many Lieder (songs for voice and piano); four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. Works such as Kinderszenen, Album für die Jugend, Blumenstück, Sonatas and Albumblätter are among his most famous. His writings about music appeared mostly in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music), a Leipzig-based publication which he jointly founded.
In 1840, against her father's wishes, Schumann married pianist Clara Wieck, daughter of his former teacher, the day before she legally
Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (18 November 1836 – 29 May 1911) was an English dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator best known for the fourteen comic operas (known as the Savoy operas) produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan. The most famous of these are H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and one of the most frequently performed works in the history of musical theatre, The Mikado. These, as well as several of the other Savoy operas, continue to be frequently performed in the English-speaking world and beyond by opera companies, repertory companies, schools and community theatre groups. Lines from these works have become part of the English language, such as "short, sharp shock", "What, never? Well, hardly ever!", and "Let the punishment fit the crime".
Gilbert also wrote the Bab Ballads, an extensive collection of light verse accompanied by his own comical drawings. His creative output included over 75 plays and libretti, numerous stories, poems, lyrics and various other comic and serious pieces. His plays and realistic style of stage direction inspired other dramatists, including Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. According to The Cambridge
Alexander Sergeyevich Dargomyzhsky (Russian: Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Даргомы́жский) (February 14 [O.S. February 2] 1813 – January 17 [O.S. January 5] 1869) was a 19th century Russian composer. He bridged the gap in Russian opera composition between Mikhail Glinka and the later generation of The Five and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Dargomyzhsky was born in Tula Governorate and educated in Saint Petersburg. He was already known as a talented musical amateur when in 1833 he met Mikhail Glinka and was encouraged to devote himself to composition. His opera Esmeralda (libretto by composer, based on Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame) was composed in 1839 (performed 1847), and his Rusalka was performed in 1856; but he had little success or recognition either at home or abroad, except in Belgium, until the 1860s, when he became the elder statesman, but not a member, of The Five.
His last opera, The Stone Guest, is his most famous work, known as a pioneering effort in melodic recitative. With the orchestration and the end of the first scene left incomplete at his death, it was finished by César Cui and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and was much prized by The Five for what was perceived as its
Jean-François Casimir Delavigne (4 April 1793 – 11 December 1843) was a French poet and dramatist.
Delavigne was born at Le Havre, but was sent to Paris to be educated at the Lycée Napoleon. He read extensively. When, on 20 March 1811 the empress Marie Louise gave birth to a son, named in his cradle as king of Rome, the event was celebrated by Delavigne in a Dithyrambe sur la naissance du roi de Rome, which obtained him a sinecure in the revenue office.
About this time he competed twice for an academy prize, but without success. Inspired by the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, he wrote two impassioned poems, the first entitled Waterloo, the second, Devastation du muse, both written in the heat of patriotic enthusiasm, and teeming with popular political allusions. A third, less successful poem, Sur le besoin de s'unir après le départ des étrangers, was afterwards added. These stirring pieces, termed by him Messéniennes, found an echo in the hearts of the French people.
Twenty-five thousand copies were sold; Delavigne was famous. He was appointed to an honorary librarianship, with no duties to discharge. In 1819 his play Les Vêpres Siciliennes was performed at the Odéon, then just
Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck (also called Comte (Count) Maeterlinck from 1932; French pronunciation: [mo.ʁis ma.tɛʁ.lɛ̃ːk] in Belgium, [mɛ.teʁ.lɛ̃ːk] in France; 29 August 1862 – 6 May 1949) was a Belgian playwright, poet, and essayist who wrote in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911. The main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life. His plays form an important part of the Symbolist movement.
Maeterlinck was born in Ghent, Belgium, to a wealthy, French-speaking family. His father, Polydore, was a notary who enjoyed tending the greenhouses on their property. His mother, Mathilde, came from a wealthy family.
In September 1874 he was sent to the Jesuit College of Sainte-Barbe, where works of the French Romantics were scorned and only plays on religious subjects were permitted. His experiences at this school influenced his distaste for the Catholic Church and organized religion.
He had written poems and short novels during his studies, but his father wanted him to go into law. After finishing his law studies at the University of Ghent in 1885, he spent a few months in Paris, France. He met some members of the new Symbolism movement,
Paul Claudel (6 August 1868 – 23 February 1955) was a French poet, dramatist and diplomat, and the younger brother of the sculptor Camille Claudel. He was most famous for his verse dramas, which often convey his devout Catholicism.
He was born in Villeneuve-sur-Fère (Aisne), into a family of farmers and government officials. His father, Louis-Prosper, dealt in mortgages and bank transactions. His mother, the former Louise Cerveaux, came from a Champagne family of Catholic farmers and priests. Having spent his first years in Champagne, he studied at the lycée of Bar-le-Duc and at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in 1881, when his parents moved to Paris. An unbeliever in his teenage years, he experienced a sudden conversion at the age of eighteen on Christmas Day 1886 while listening to a choir sing Vespers in the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris: "In an instant, my heart was touched, and I believed." He would remain a strong Catholic for the rest of his life. He studied at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (better known as Sciences Po).
The young Claudel seriously considered entering a Benedictine monastery, but in the end began a career in the French diplomatic corps, in which he
Colette (pronounced: [kɔ.lɛt]) was the surname of the French novelist and performer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (28 January 1873 – 3 August 1954). She is best known for her novel Gigi, upon which Lerner and Loewe based the stage and film musical comedies of the same title.
Colette was born to retired military officer Jules-Joseph Colette and his wife Adèle Eugénie Sidonie "Sido" Colette (nėe Landoy) in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, Yonne, in the Burgundy Region of France. She studied piano as a child and received her primary school diploma with high marks in mathematics and dictation. In 1893, at age 20, she married Henry Gauthier-Villars, a famous wit known as "Willy", who was 15 years her senior. He was a writer, music critic, and described as a "literary charlatan and degenerate".
Her first books, the Claudine series, were published under her husband's pen name "Willy". Claudine still has the power to charm; in belle époque France it was downright shocking, much to Willy's satisfaction and profit.
In 1906, she left the unfaithful Gauthier-Villars, living for a time at the home of the American writer and salonist Natalie Clifford Barney. The two had a short affair, and remained friends
Wayne Koestenbaum (born 1958) is an American poet and cultural critic. He received a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. Currently, he lives in New York City, where he is Distinguished Professor of English at the City University of New York Graduate Center.
Koestenbaum's work, both in poetry and nonfiction, has explored the social and mental life of American queer intellectuals. He is openly gay and sometimes refers to his experiences as a gay man. His best-known critical book, The Queen's Throat, is a rigorous exploration of a phenomenon frequently discussed casually but seldom considered from a scholarly viewpoint: the predilection of gay men for opera. Koestenbaum's claim is that opera derives its power from a kind of physical sympathy between singer and audience that has as much to do with desire as with hearing. He says of the act of listening:
Koestenbaum's conclusion is that gay men's affinity for opera tells us as much about opera and its inherent questions about masculinity as it does about homosexuality.
In Hotel Theory, a critical discussion of the meaning of hotel life, and the aesthetic
Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (12 November 1833 – 27 February 1887) was a Russian Romantic composer, doctor and chemist of Georgian–Russian parentage. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five (or "The Mighty Handful"), who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music. He is best known for his symphonies, his two string quartets, In the Steppes of Central Asia and his opera Prince Igor. Music from Prince Igor and his string quartets was later adapted for the US musical Kismet.
He was a notable advocate for women's rights and education in Tsarist Russia and was a founder of the School of Medicine for Women in St.Petersburg.
Borodin was born in Saint Petersburg, the illegitimate son of a Georgian noble, Luka Gedevanishvili (Georgian: ლუკა სიმონის ძე გედევანიშვილი) and a 24-year-old Russian woman, Evdokia Konstantinovna Antonova (Евдокия Константиновна Антонова). The nobleman had him registered as the son of one of his serfs, Porfiry Borodin. As a boy he received a good education, including piano lessons. He entered the Medico–Surgical Academy in 1850, which was later home to Ivan Pavlov, and pursued a career in chemistry. On graduation he
Dominick Argento (b. October 27, 1927, York, Pennsylvania) is an American composer, best known as a leading composer of lyric opera and choral music. Among his most prominent pieces are the operas Postcard from Morocco, Miss Havisham's Fire, and The Masque of Angels, as well as the song cycles Six Elizabethan Songs and From the Diary of Virginia Woolf; the latter earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1975. In a predominantly tonal context, his music freely combines tonality, atonality and a lyrical use of twelve-tone writing, though none of Argento's music approaches the experimental avant garde fashions of the post World War II era. He is particularly well known for sensitive settings of complex, sophisticated texts.
As a student in the 1950s, Argento divided his time between America and Italy, and his music is greatly influenced both by his instructors in the United States and his personal affection for Italy, particularly the city of Florence. Many of Argento's works were written in Florence, where he spends a portion of every year. He has been a professor (and, more recently, a professor emeritus) at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and he frequently remarks
Edison Vasilievich Denisov (Russian: Эдисо́н Васи́льевич Дени́сов) (April 6, 1929, Tomsk, Russia — November 24, 1996, Paris, France) was a Russian composer of so-called "Underground" — "Anti-Collectivist", "alternative" or "nonconformist" division in the Soviet music.
Denisov was born in Tomsk, Siberia into the family of a radio physicist, who gave him the very unusual first name Edison, in honour of the great American inventor. He studied mathematics before deciding to spend his life composing. This decision was enthusiastically supported by Dmitri Shostakovich, who gave him lessons in composition.
In 1951-56 Denisov studied at the Moscow Conservatory — composition with Vissarion Shebalin, orchestration with Nikolai Rakov, analysis with Viktor Zuckerman and piano with Vladimir Belov. In 1956-59 he composed the opera Ivan-Soldat (Soldier Ivan) in three acts based on Russian folk fairy tales.
He began his own study of scores, which were difficult to obtain in the USSR at that time, including music ranging from Mahler and Debussy to Boulez and Stockhausen. He wrote a series of articles giving a detailed analysis of different aspects of contemporary compositional techniques and at
Nahum Tate (1652 – 30 July 1715) was an Irish poet, hymnist, and lyricist, who became England's poet laureate in 1692.
Nahum Teate was born in Dublin and came from a family of Puritan clergymen. He was the son of Faithful Teate, an Irish clergyman who had been Rector of Castleterra, Ballyhaise until his house was burnt and his family attacked after he had passed on information to the government about plans for the Irish Rebellion of 1641. After living at the provost's lodgings in Trinity College, Dublin, Faithful Teate moved to England - the incumbent at East Greenwich around 1650, and 'preacher of the gospel' at Sudbury from 1654 to 1658 - before returning to Dublin by 1660. He published a poem on the Trinity entitled Ter Tria, as well as some sermons, two of which he dedicated to Oliver and Henry Cromwell.
Nahum Teate followed his father to Trinity College, Dublin in 1668, and graduated BA in 1672. By 1676 he had moved to London and was writing for a living. The following year he had adopted the spelling Tate, which would remain until his death, in 1715, in Southwark, London, England.
Tate published a volume of poems in London in 1677, and became a regular writer for the stage.
Pedro Calderón de la Barca y Barreda González de Henao Ruiz de Blasco y Riaño usually referred as Pedro Calderón de la Barca (17 January 1600 – 25 May 1681), was a dramatist, poet and writer of the Spanish Golden Age. During certain periods of his life he was also a soldier and a Roman Catholic priest. Born when the Spanish Golden Age theatre was being defined by Lope de Vega, he developed it further, his work being regarded as the culmination of the Spanish Baroque theatre. As such, he is regarded as one of Spain's foremost dramatists and one of the finest playwrights of world literature.
Calderón was born in Madrid. His mother, who was of Flemish descent, died in 1610; his father, an hidalgo of Cantabrian origins who was secretary to the treasury, died in 1615. Calderón was educated at the Jesuit College in Madrid, the Colegio Imperial, with a view to taking orders; but instead, he studied law at Salamanca.
Between 1620 and 1622 Calderón won several poetry contests in honor of St Isidore at Madrid. Calderón's debut as a playwright was Amor, honor y poder, performed at the Royal Palace on 29 June 1623. This was followed by two other plays that same year: La selva confusa and Los
Antonio Ghislanzoni (Italian pronunciation: [anˈtɔnjo ɡizlanˈtsoni]; 25 November 1824 – July 16, 1893) was an Italian journalist, poet, and novelist who wrote librettos for Verdi, among other composers, of which the best known are Aida and the revised version of La forza del destino.
Ghislanzoni was born in Lecco, Lombardy, and studied briefly in a seminary, but was expelled for bad conduct in 1841. He then decided to study medicine in Pavia, but abandoned this after a short time to pursue a singing career as a baritone and to cultivate his literary interests.
In 1848, stimulated by the nationalist ideas of Mazzini, Ghislanzoni founded several republican newspapers in Milan but eventually had to take refuge in Switzerland. While travelling to Rome, where he wanted to help defend the nascent republic, Ghislanzoni was arrested by the French and briefly detained in Corsica.
In the mid-1850s, having forsaken the stage, Ghislanzoni became active in journalism in the bohemian circles of Milan, serving as director of Italia musicale and editor of the Gazzetta musicale di Milano. He also founded L'uomo di pietra the magazine Rivista minima, collaborating with, among others, Arrigo
Craig Lucas (born on April 30, 1951, in Atlanta, Georgia) is an American playwright, screenwriter, theatre director, musical actor, and film director.
Born on April 30, 1951, he was found abandoned in a car in Atlanta. Lucas was adopted when he was eight months old by a conservative Pennsylvania couple. His father was an FBI agent; his mother was a housewife and painter. She was born a Jew but suppressed the identity which Lucas relates in his storytelling. He graduated in 1969 from Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. In the 1960s and 1970s, Lucas became interested in the political left and discovered an attraction towards men. He is openly gay, and recalls that his coming out made it possible for him to develop as a playwright and as a person.
In 1973, Lucas left Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre and creative writing. His mentor, Anne Sexton, urged him to try his luck in New York City as a playwright. He worked in many day jobs while performing in Broadway musicals including Shenandoah, On the Twentieth Century, Rex, and Sweeney Todd. Stephen Sondheim would later tell him he was a better writer than an actor.
Lucas met Norman René in 1979. Their first
Jean-François Regnard (7 February 1655 – 4 September 1709), "the most distinguished, after Molière, of the comic poets of the seventeenth century", was a dramatist, born in Paris, who is equally famous now for the travel diary he kept of a voyage in 1681.
Regnard inherited a fortune from his father, a successful merchant who had given him an excellent classical education; he then increased it, he affirms, by gambling. He took to traveling, and on a return voyage from Italy in 1678 was at the age of twenty-two captured by an Algerian pirate, sold as a slave in Algiers and taken to Constantinople, where the French consul paid ransom for his release. He went on traveling, undaunted. His Voyage de Flandre et de Hollande, commencé le 26 avril 1681. reporting his trip through the Low Countries, Denmark and Sweden, where he dallied at the courts of Christian V and Charles XI and then north to Lapland, returning through Poland, Hungary and Germany to France, is mined by social historians. The section often published on its own, his Voyage de Laponie, largely inspired by Johannes Schefferus, describes the way of life of the Sami of Lapland; it was not published until 1731, when its
Francis de Croisset (pronounced: [fʁɑ̃sis də kʁwasɛ]) (born Franz Wiener, January 28, 1877 – November 8, 1937) was a Belgium-born French playwright and opera librettist.
His opera librettos include Massenet's Chérubin (1905), based on his play of the same name, and Reynaldo Hahn's Ciboulette (1923).
He married, in 1910, Marie-Thérèse Bischoffsheim, the widow of banking heir Maurice Bischoffsheim and the daughter of Count and Countess Adhéaume de Chevigné. They had two children, Philippe and Germaine de Croisset. By this mariage de Croisset had a stepdaughter, the arts patron Marie-Laure de Noailles. The de Croissets' grandson Philippe de Montebello was director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1977 until 2008.
Karlheinz Stockhausen (German pronunciation: [kaʁlˈhaɪnts ˈʃtɔkhaʊzn̩]; 22 August 1928 – 5 December 2007) was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important (Barrett 1988, 45; Harvey 1975b, 705; Hopkins 1972, 33; Klein 1968, 117) but also controversial (Power 1990, 30) composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music" (Hewett 2007). He is known for his ground-breaking work in electronic music, aleatory (controlled chance) in serial composition, and musical spatialization.
He was educated at the Hochschule für Musik Köln and the University of Cologne, and later studied with Olivier Messiaen in Paris, and with Werner Meyer-Eppler at the University of Bonn. One of the leading figures of the Darmstadt School, his compositions and theories were and remain widely influential, not only on composers of art music, but also on jazz and popular music. His works, composed over a period of nearly sixty years, eschew traditional forms. In addition to electronic music—both with and without live performers—they range from miniatures for musical boxes through works for solo instruments,
Lorenzo Ferrero (born 1951) is a contemporary Italian composer with a predilection for opera, a librettist, author, and book editor. He started composing at an early age and wrote over a hundred compositions thus far, including twelve operas, three ballets, and numerous orchestral, chamber music, solo instrumental, and vocal works. His musical idiom is characterized by eclecticism, stylistic versatility, and a neo-tonal language.
Born in Turin, he was initially self-taught, then studied composition from 1969 to 1973 with Massimo Bruni and Enore Zaffiri at Turin Music Conservatory, and philosophy with Gianni Vattimo and Massimo Mila at the University of Turin, earning a degree in aesthetics with a thesis on John Cage in 1974.
His early interest in the psychology of perception and psychoacoustics led him to IMEB, the International Electroacoustic Music Institute of Bourges, France where he did research on electronic music between 1972 and 1973, IRCAM in Paris, and to the Musik/Dia/Licht/Film Galerie in Munich, Germany in 1974.
Lorenzo Ferrero has received commissions from numerous festivals and institutions, his works being constantly performed throughout Europe and North America,
Ludovic Halévy (1 January 1834 - 7 May 1908) was a French author and playwright. He was half Jewish : his Jewish father had converted to Christianity prior to his birth, to marry his mother, née Alexandrine Lebas.
Ludovic Halévy was born in Paris. His father, Léon Halévy (1802–1883), was a civil servant and a clever and versatile writer, who tried almost every branch of literature—prose and verse, vaudeville, drama, history—without, however, achieving decisive success in any. His uncle, Fromental Halévy, was a noted composer of opera; hence the double and early connection of Ludovic Halévy with the Parisian stage.
At the age of six, Halévy might have been seen playing in that Foyer de la danse with which he was to make his readers so familiar, and, when a boy of twelve, he would often, of a Sunday night, on his way back to the Collège Louis le Grand, look in at the Odéon, where he had free admittance, and see the first act of the new play. At eighteen he joined the ranks of the French administration and occupied various posts, the last being that of secrétaire-rédacteur to the Corps Législatif. In that capacity, he enjoyed the special favour and friendship of the famous duke of
Rodion Konstantinovich Shchedrin (Russian: Родио́н Константи́нович Щедри́н, Scientific transliteration: Rodion Konstantinovič Ščedrin, Russian pronunciation: [rə̥dʲɪˌon kə̥nstɐnˌtʲinə̥vʲɪ̥ʨ ɕːɪ̥dˈrʲin]; born December 16, 1932) is a Russian composer and pianist. Winner of the Lenin (1984), USSR State Prize (1972) and the State Prize of the Russian Federation (1992). A member of the Interregional Deputy Group (1989–1991).
He was born in Moscow into a musical family—his father was a composer and teacher of music theory. He studied at the Moscow Choral School and Moscow Conservatory (graduating in 1955) under Yuri Shaporin (composition) and Yakob Flier (piano). Since 1958, he has been married to the great ballerina Maya Plisetskaya.
Shchedrin's early music is tonal, colourfully orchestrated and often includes snatches of folk music, while some later pieces use aleatoric and serial techniques. In the west the music of Shchedrin has won popularity mainly through the work of Mstislav Rostropovich who has made several successful recordings.
Among his works are the ballets The Little Hump-backed Horse (1955), Carmen Suite (1967), based on the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet (the project had
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (Russian: Серге́й Васи́льевич Рахма́нинов; Russian pronunciation: [sʲɪrˈɡʲej rɐxˈmanʲɪnəf]; 1 April [O.S. 20 March] 1873 – 28 March 1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music. Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian composers gave way to a thoroughly personal idiom that included a pronounced lyricism, expressive breadth, structural ingenuity, and a tonal palette of rich, distinctive orchestral colors. The piano is featured prominently in Rachmaninoff's compositional output. He made a point of using his own skills as a performer to explore fully the expressive possibilities of the instrument. Even in his earliest works he revealed a sure grasp of idiomatic piano writing and a striking gift for melody.
Rachmaninoff was born on 1 April [O.S. 20 March] 1873 in Semyonovo, near Great Novgorod, in north-western Russia into a family of the Russian aristocracy, originally of partly Tatar descent, which had been in the service of the Russian tsars since
Victor Vladimirovich Erofeyev (Russian: Ви́ктор Влади́мирович Ерофе́ев, sometimes transliterated as Yerofeyev; born September 19, 1947, Moscow) is a Russian writer. As son of a high-ranking Soviet diplomat Vladimir Erofeyev, he spent some of his childhood in Paris, which accounts for why much of his work has been translated from Russian into French, while comparatively little has reached English. His father, who was the interpreter for Molotov in the forties, has written a very interesting book of memories; his brother, is a curator at the Tretyakov Gallery.
Erofeyev graduated from Moscow State University in 1970, where he studied literature and languages. He then did post-graduate work at the Institute for World Literature in Moscow, where he completed his post-graduate work in 1973 and received his kandidat degree in 1975 for his thesis on Fyodor Dostoyevsky and French existentialism. Erofeyev's work often contains pastiches of Dostoyevsky's work and themes.
He became a literary critic, publishing works on Lev Shestov and the Marquis de Sade. He later organised his own literary magazine, Metropol, in which many of the big names of Soviet literature participated, including Vasily
Krzysztof Penderecki (Polish pronunciation: [ˈkʂɨʂtɔf pɛndɛˈrɛt͡skʲi], born 23 November 1933) is a Polish composer and conductor. His 1960 avant-garde Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima for string orchestra brought him to international attention, and this success was followed by acclaim for his choral St. Luke Passion. Both these works exhibit novel compositional techniques. Since the 1970s Penderecki's style has changed to encompass a post-Romantic idiom.
He has won prestigious awards including Grammy Awards in 1987 and 1998 and 2001, and the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 1992. He has been called Poland's greatest living composer.
As well as the works already mentioned, his compositions include four operas, eight symphonies and other orchestral pieces, a variety of instrumental concertos, choral settings of mainly religious texts, as well as chamber and instrumental works.
Krzysztof Eugeniusz Penderecki was born in Dębica. After taking private composition lessons with Franciszek Skolyszewski, Penderecki studied music at Jagiellonian University and the Academy of Music in Kraków under Artur Malawski and Stanislaw Wiechowicz. Having graduated in 1958, he took up a
Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life and wrote in both English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.
Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. Strongly influenced by James Joyce, he is considered one of the last modernists. As an inspiration to many later writers, he is also sometimes considered one of the first postmodernists. He is one of the key writers in what Martin Esslin called the "Theatre of the Absurd". His work became increasingly minimalist in his later career.
Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation". He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1984.
The Becketts were members of the Anglican Church of Ireland. The family home, Cooldrinagh in the Dublin suburb of Foxrock, was a large house and garden complete with tennis court built in 1903 by Samuel's father, William. The house and
Boris Kochno (January 3, 1904, in Moscow — December 8, 1990, in Paris) was a Russian poet, dancer and librettist. He was close with Karol Szymanowski who gave him as a gift a Russian translation of the chapter The Symposium from Efebos, the composer's unpublished novel. Szymanowski also dedicated four poems to him. In 1920 he became Sergei Diaghilev's secretary, librettist, and eventually main collaborator. They were also briefly lovers. Kochno wrote the libretto of Stravinsky's Mavra (1921), the Fâcheux (1924), La Chatte (1927) and of the ballet The Prodigal Son (1929). He also had an affair with Cole Porter in 1925, with whom he carried on a lengthy correspondence.
Upon Diaghilev's death, Kochno and Serge Lifar tried but failed to hold the Ballets Russes together. The two inherited part of Diaghilev's archives and collections, which Kochno completed and part of which was acquired by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. His later career included a position as Monte Carlo ballet director, where he became an influential figure in post World War II French ballet. In 1933 he co-founded, together with George Balanchine, the short-lived but history-making company Les Ballets 1933,
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great (Russian: Екатерина II Великая, Yekaterina II Velikaya; German: Katharina die Große), Empress of Russia (2 May [O.S. 21 April] 1729 – 17 November [O.S. 6 November] 1796), was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning from 9 July [O.S. 28 June] 1762 until her death at the age of 67. She was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, and came to power following a coup d'état and the assassination of her husband, Peter III, at the end of the Seven Years' War. Russia was revitalised under her reign, growing larger and stronger than ever and becoming recognised as one of the great powers of Europe.
In both her accession to power and in rule of her empire, Catherine often relied on her noble favourites, most notably Grigory Orlov and Grigory Potemkin. Assisted by highly successful generals such as Pyotr Rumyantsev and Alexander Suvorov, and admirals such as Fyodor Ushakov, she governed at a time when the Russian Empire was expanding rapidly by conquest and diplomacy. In the south, the Crimean Khanate was crushed following victories over the Ottoman Empire in
César Antonovich Cui (Russian: Це́зарь Анто́нович Кюи́, Tsezar' Antonovič Kjui) (18 January [O.S. 6 January] 1835 – 13 March 1918) was a Russian composer and music critic of French and Lithuanian descent. His profession was as an army officer and a teacher of fortifications, and his avocational life has particular significance in the history of music. In this sideline he is known as a member of The Five, a group of Russian composers under the leadership of Mily Balakirev dedicated to the production of a specifically Russian type of music.
Cesarius-Benjaminus (Цезарий-Вениамин) Cui was born in Vilnius, Vilna Governorate, Russian Empire (now Vilnius, Lithuania), to a Roman Catholic family, the youngest of five children. His French father Antoine (name russianized as Anton Leonardovich), had entered Russia as a member of Napoleon's army in 1812, settled in Vilnius upon their defeat, and married a local woman named Julia Gucewicz. Amidst this multi-ethnic environment young César grew up learning French, Russian, Polish and Lithuanian. Before finishing gymnasium, in 1850 Cui was sent to Saint Petersburg to prepare to enter the Chief Engineering School, which he did the next year at age
Opera libretti written:The Saint of Bleecker Street
Gian Carlo Menotti (pronounced [dʒan ˈkarlo meˈnɔtːi]) (July 7, 1911 – February 1, 2007) was an Italian-American composer and librettist. Although he often referred to himself as an American composer, he kept his Italian citizenship. He wrote the classic Christmas opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, among about two dozen other operas intended to appeal to popular taste. He won the Pulitzer Prize for two of them: The Consul (1950) and The Saint of Bleecker Street (1955). He founded the noted Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds) in 1958 and its American counterpart, Spoleto Festival USA, in 1977. In 1986 he commenced a Melbourne Spoleto Festival in Australia, but he withdrew after three years.
Born in Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy, near Lake Maggiore and the Swiss border, Menotti was the sixth of eight children of Alfonso and Ines Menotti, his father being a coffee merchant. Menotti began writing songs when he was seven years old, and at eleven wrote both the libretto and music for his first opera, The Death of Pierrot. He began his formal musical training at the Milan Conservatory in 1923.
Following her husband's death, Ines Menotti went to Colombia in a futile attempt
Hans Erich Pfitzner (5 May 1869 – 22 May 1949) was a German composer and self-described anti-modernist. His best known work is the post-Romantic opera Palestrina, loosely based on the life of the great sixteenth-century composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
Pfitzner was born in Moscow, Russia, where his father played violin in a theater orchestra. The family returned to his father's native Frankfurt in 1872 when Pfitzner was two years old, and he always considered Frankfurt his home town. He received early instruction in violin from his father, and his earliest compositions were composed at age 11. In 1884 he wrote his first songs. From 1886 to 1890 he studied composition with Iwan Knorr and piano with James Kwast at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt. (He later married Kwast's daughter Mimi Kwast, a grand-daughter of Ferdinand Hiller, after she had rejected the advances of Percy Grainger.) He taught piano and theory at the Koblenz Conservatory from 1892 to 1893. In 1894 he was appointed conductor at the Stadttheater in Mainz where he worked for a few months. These were all low-paying jobs, and Pfitzner was working as Erster (First) Kapellmeister with the Berlin Theater des
Antoine Danchet (7 September 1671, Riom – 21 February 1748) was a French playwright, librettist and dramatic poet.
Danchet was born in Riom, in the Auvergne, France. Having been a professor of rhetoric at Chartres and then a tutor at Paris, Danchet gave up teaching to write for the theatre. He wrote some opera libretti which, set to music by André Campra, met with success. By contrast, his tragedies, mediocre imitations of Racine, almost all failed. He died in Paris.
An associate member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres from 1705, he was elected to the Académie française in 1712 thanks to the patronage of Mesdames de Ferriol et de Tencin. Voltaire wrote an epigram about him stating that his membership was more for his good deeds than his writing.
His works, published in 1751 include, in addition to dramatic works, odes, cantatas, and letters.
Opera libretti written:The Making Of The Representative For Planet 8
Doris May Lessing CH (née Tayler; born 22 October 1919) is a British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. Her novels include The Grass Is Singing (1950), the sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence (1952–69), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983).
Lessing was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In doing so the Swedish Academy described her as "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny". Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest ever person to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.
In 2001, Lessing was awarded the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in British Literature. In 2008, The Times ranked her fifth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
Lessing was born in Iran, then known as Persia, on 22 October 1919, to Captain Alfred Tayler and Emily Maude Tayler (née McVeagh), who were both English and of British nationality. Her father, who had lost a leg during his service in World War I, met his
Enrique Granados y Campiña (Catalan name Enric; 27 July 1867 – 24 March 1916) was a Catalan Spanish pianist and composer of classical music. His music is in a uniquely Spanish style and, as such, is representative of musical nationalism.
He was born in Lleida, Catalonia, the son of Calixto Granados, an army captain, and Enriqueta Campiña. As a young man he studied piano in Barcelona, where his teachers included Francisco Jurnet and Joan Baptista Pujol. In 1887 he went to Paris to study. He was unable to become a student at the Paris Conservatoire, but he was able to take private lessons with a conservatoire professor, Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot, whose mother, the famed soprano Maria Malibran, was of Spanish ancestry. Bériot insisted on extreme refinement in tone production, which strongly influenced Granados’s own teaching of pedal technique. He also fostered Granados's abilities in improvisation. Just as important were his studies with Felip Pedrell. He returned to Barcelona in 1889. His first successes were at the end of the 1890s, with the zarzuela Maria del Carmen, which attracted the attention of King Alfonso XIII.
In 1911 Granados premiered his suite for piano Goyescas, which
Ernst Krenek (August 23, 1900 – December 22, 1991) was an Austrian, later American, composer of Czech origin. He explored atonality and other modern styles and wrote a number of books, including Music Here and Now (1939), a study of Johannes Ockeghem (1953), and Horizons Circled: Reflections on my Music (1974). Krenek wrote two pieces using the pseudonym Thornton Winsloe.
Krenek was born in Vienna as the son of a Czech soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army. Throughout his life, however, he insisted that his name be written Krenek rather than his father's Křenek, and that it should be pronounced as a German word. He studied there and in Berlin with Franz Schreker before working in a number of German opera houses as conductor. During World War I, Krenek was drafted into the Austrian army, but he was stationed in Vienna, allowing him to go on with his musical studies. In 1922 he met Alma Mahler, wife of the late Gustav Mahler, and her daughter, Anna, whom he married in March 1924. That marriage ended in divorce before its first anniversary.
At the time of his marriage to Anna Mahler, Krenek was completing his Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 29. The Australian violinist Alma Moodie assisted
Opera libretti written:Noises, Sounds & Sweet Airs
Michael Laurence Nyman, CBE (born 23 March 1944) is a British composer of minimalist music, pianist, librettist and musicologist, known for the many film scores he wrote during his lengthy collaboration with the filmmaker Peter Greenaway, and his multi-platinum soundtrack album to Jane Campion's The Piano. His operas include The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Letters, Riddles and Writs, Noises, Sounds & Sweet Airs, Facing Goya, Man and Boy: Dada, Love Counts, and Sparkie: Cage and Beyond, and he has written six concerti, four string quartets, and many other chamber works, many for his Michael Nyman Band, with and without whom he tours as a performing pianist. Nyman stated that he prefers to write opera rather than other sorts of music.
Nyman was born in Stratford, London. He was educated at the Sir George Monoux Grammar School, Walthamstow. He studied at King's College, London under Alan Bush., and was accepted at the Royal Academy of Music in September, 1961, and studied with Bush and Thurston Dart, focusing on piano and seventeenth-century baroque music. He won the Howard Carr Memorial Prize for composition in July 1964.
In 1969, he provided the libretto of Harrison
Vladimir Ivanovich Nemirovich-Danchenko (Russian: Владимир Иванович Немирович-Данченко) (December 11(23), 1858 - April 25, 1943, Moscow) was a Russian theatre director, writer, pedagogue, playwright, producer and theatre organizer, who founded the Moscow Art Theatre with his colleague, Konstantin Stanislavsky, in 1898.
Vladimir Ivanovich Nemirovich-Danchenko was born into a mixed Ukrainian-Armenian family in Ozurgeti (Georgia) near Poti. His father was an officer of the Russian army, and his mother, Alexandra Yagubyan (1829-1914), was an Armenian. He was educated at High school in Tbilisi and then at Moscow State University (physical-mathematical and juridical departments 1876-1879). In 1879 he left the University for the theatre, starting as a theatre critic, and in 1881, his first play "Dog-rose", which was staged in one year by Maly Theatre, was published. He was a teacher of Moskvin, Knipper and Meyerhold. In 1919 he established the Musical Theatre of the Moscow Art Theatre, which was reformed into the Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre in 1926. In 1943 Nemirovich-Danchenko established the Moscow Art Theatre School, which continues to thrive and to celebrate his
Zachris Topelius (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈsakrɪs tɔˈpeːlɪʊs]; 14 January 1818 – 12 March 1898) was a Swedish-speaking Finnish author, journalist, historian, and rector of the University of Helsinki who wrote novels related to Finnish history in Swedish.
Zacharias is his baptismal name, and this is used on the covers of his printed works. However, "he himself most often used the abbreviation Z. or the form Zachris, even in official contexts", as explained in the National Biography of Finland. Zachris is therefore the preferred form used in recent academic literature about him.
The original name of the Topelius family was the Finnish name Toppila which had been Latinized to Toppelius by the author's grandfather's grandfather and later changed to Topelius. Topelius was born at Kuddnäs, near Nykarleby in Ostrobothnia, the son of a physician of the same name (Zacharias Topelius the Elder), who was distinguished as the earliest collector of Finnish folk-songs. As a child he heard his mother, Katarina Sofia Calamnius, sing the songs of the Finnish-Swedish poet Franzén. At the age of eleven, he was sent to school in Oulu and boarded with relatives in the possession of a lending library,
August Stramm (29 July 1874 – 1 September 1915) was a German poet and playwright who is considered one of the first of the expressionists. He also served in the German Army and was killed in action during World War I.
He worked in the German Post Office Ministry as a young man and served his mandatory year of duty in the German Army in 1896–1897. After this, he travelled to the United States several times over the next few years before settling in Berlin. In 1912-1913, he wrote two plays, Sancta Susanna (which was subsequently used as a libretto for an early opera by Hindemith) and Die Haidebraut, the first of many to appear before the war.
Stramm was also a reservist in the German Army and had achieved the rank of Captain, the highest available to civilians. He was called to active duty when war broke out in August 1914. In January 1915, Stramm was awarded the Iron Cross (Second Class) for his service in France. Later that year, he was sent to the Eastern Front, where he served as Company Leader, later being promoted to Battalion Commander. He was killed in hand-to-hand combat in Horodec near Kobryn (today Belarus).
A collection of his poems, titled Dripping Blood, was published
James Robinson Planché (27 February 1796 – 30 May 1880) was a British dramatist, antiquary and officer of arms. Over a period of approximately 60 years he wrote, adapted, or collaborated on 176 plays in a wide range of genres including extravaganza, farce, comedy, burletta, melodrama and opera. Planché was responsible for introducing historically accurate costume into nineteenth century British theatre, and subsequently became an acknowledged expert on historical costume, publishing a number of works on the topic.
Planché's interest in historical costume led to other antiquarian research, including heraldry and genealogy. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1829, and was influential in the foundation of the British Archaeological Association in 1843. Appointed Rouge Croix Pursuivant in 1854 and promoted to Somerset Herald in 1866, Planché undertook heraldic and ceremonial duties as a member of the College of Arms. These included proclaiming peace at the end of the Crimean War and investing foreign monarchs with the Order of the Garter.
James Robinson Planché was born in Old Burlington St, Piccadilly, London in 1796 to Jacques Planché and Catherine Emily
Luigi Illica (9 May 1857 – 16 December 1919) was an Italian librettist who wrote for Giacomo Puccini (usually with Giuseppe Giacosa), Alfredo Catalani, Umberto Giordano, Baron Alberto Franchetti and other important Italian composers. His most famous opera librettos are those for La bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Andrea Chénier.
Illica was born at Castell'Arquato. His personal life sometimes imitated his libretti. The reason he is always photographed with his head slightly turned is because he lost his right ear in a duel over a woman. When silent films based on Illica's operas were made, his name appeared in large letters on advertisements because distributors could only guarantee that his stories would be used, and not that they would be accompanied by the music of the appropriate composer.
Also considered a playwrite of quality he is today remembered through one of Italy's oldert awards, the Luigi Illica International Prize founded in 1961, which goes to world famous opera singers, opera conductors and directors and authors. The Arard organized every two years now alternates with the Illica Opera Stage International Competition which offers prizes and debut opportunities to
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (French: [pjɛʁ bomaʁʃɛ]; 24 January 1732 – 18 May 1799) was a French playwright, watchmaker, inventor, musician, diplomat, fugitive, spy, publisher, arms dealer, satirist, financier, and revolutionary (both French and American).
Born a provincial watchmaker's son, Beaumarchais rose in French society and became influential in the court of Louis XV as an inventor and music teacher. He made a number of important business and social contacts, played various roles as a diplomat and spy, and had earned a considerable fortune before a series of costly court battles jeopardized his reputation.
An early French supporter of American independence, Beaumarchais lobbied the French government on behalf of the American rebels during the American War of Independence. Beaumarchais oversaw covert aid from the French and Spanish governments to supply arms and financial assistance to the rebels in the years before France's formal entry into the war in 1778. He later struggled to recover money he had personally invested in the scheme. Beaumarchais was also a participant in the early stages of the French Revolution. He is probably best known, however, for his
William Congreve (24 January 1670 – 19 January 1729) was an English playwright and poet.
Congreve was born in Bardsey, West Yorkshire, England (near Leeds). His parents were William Congreve (1637–1708) and his wife, Mary (née Browning; 1636?–1715); a sister was buried in London in 1672. He spent his childhood in Ireland, where his father, a Cavalier, had settled during the reign of Charles II. Congreve was educated at Trinity College in Dublin; there he met Jonathan Swift, who would be his friend for the remainder of his life. Upon graduation, he matriculated in the Middle Temple in London to study law, but felt himself pulled toward literature, drama, and the fashionable life. Artistically, he became a disciple of John Dryden.
William Congreve wrote some of the most popular English plays of the Restoration period of the late 17th century. By the age of thirty, he had written four comedies, including Love for Love (premiered 30 April 1695) and The Way of the World (premiered 1700), and one tragedy, The Mourning Bride (1697)
Unfortunately, his career ended almost as soon as it began. After writing five plays from his first in 1693 until 1700, he produced no more as public tastes
Alfred Grünwald (16 February 1884, Vienna – 24 February 1951, New York City) was an Austrian author, librettist, and lyricist. Some of his better-known works were written in conjunction with the composers Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Oscar Straus, Paul Abraham, and Robert Stolz.
After the Anschluss the family emigrated to the United States in 1940 via France. During World War II he was employed for a time with the Office of War Information translating American songs for transmission by radio to Germany.
Alfred Grünwald worked for a theatrical agency before turning to libretto writing. A number of Grünwald's librettos were produced on Broadway. These included Countess Maritza (1926), The Yankee Princess (1922), The Circus Princess (1927), and The Duchess of Chicago (1929). He also wrote a number of comedies, including Dancing Partner (1930), written in collaboration with Alexander Engel and produced on Broadway by David Belasco. Besides writing over 40 operetta librettos, Alfred Grünwald also wrote non-musical plays, short stories, and newspaper articles, and was the theater critic for the Neue Wiener Journal. He was a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and
Gustav Albert Lortzing (October 23, 1801 – January 21, 1851) was a German composer, actor and singer. He is considered to be the main representative of the German Spieloper, a form similar to the French opéra comique, which grew out of the Singspiel.
Lortzing was born in Berlin to Johann Gottlieb Lortzing and Charlotte Sophie. They had abandoned their leather shop and travelled through Germany as itinerant actors, founding the Berlin theatre company Urania, and turning their amateur passion into a profession. The young Lortzing's first stage appearance was at the age of 12, entertaining the audience with comic poems during the interval in the Kornhaus at the Freiburg Münster. From 1817, the Lortzing family were part of Josef Derossi ensemble in the Rhineland, treading the boards at Bonn, Düsseldorf, Barmen and Aachen. Albert Lortzing became an audience favourite, playing the roles of a youthful lover, a country boy and bon vivant, sometimes also singing in small tenor or baritone parts.
He married an actress, Rosina Regine Ahles, on January 30, 1824, with whom he subsequently had 11 children. The couple belonged to the Hoftheater in Detmold from late 1826, which toured to Münster
Alexander Petrovich Sumarokov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Петро́вич Сумаро́ков; 25 November 1717 [O.S. 14 November], Moscow – 12 October 1777 [O.S. 1 October], Moscow) was a Russian poet and playwright who single-handedly created classical theatre in Russia, thus assisting Mikhail Lomonosov to inaugurate the reign of classicism in Russian literature.
Born of a good family of Muscovite gentry, Sumarokov was educated at the Cadet School in Petersburg, where he acquired an intimate familiarity with French polite learning. Neither an aristocratic dilettante like Antiokh Kantemir nor a learned professor like Vasily Trediakovsky, he was the first gentleman in Russia to choose the profession of letters. He consequently may be called the father of the Russian literary profession. His pursuits did not undermine his position in the family; indeed, his grandson was made a count and, when the Sumarokov family became extinct a century later, the title eventually passed to Prince Felix Yusupov, who also styled himself Count Sumarokov-Elston in memory of his illustrious ancestor.
Sumarokov wrote much and regularly, chiefly in those literary kinds neglected by Lomonosov. His principal importance rests in
Basil Willett Charles Hood (5 April 1864 – 7 August 1917) was a British librettist and lyricist, perhaps best known for writing the libretti of half a dozen Savoy Operas and for his English adaptations of operettas, including The Merry Widow. He embarked on a career in the British army, writing theatrical pieces in his spare time. After some modest successes, Hood and his collaborator, the composer Walter Slaughter, had a major hit with their long-running show, Gentleman Joe. Hood then resigned from the army to pursue his career as a librettist full-time, later working with such composers as Arthur Sullivan and Edward German.
After burlesque and comic opera went out of fashion, Hood turned to adaptations of continental operettas for the impresario George Edwardes, writing English versions of such works as The Merry Widow, The Dollar Princess and The Count of Luxembourg, sometimes drastically rewriting the book and lyrics. At the outbreak of World War I, he took up a demanding post in the British War Office, which is believed to have contributed to his early death.
Hood was born in Yorkshire, the younger son of the psychiatrist Sir Charles Hood, M.D., treasurer to Bethlehem Hospital
Béla Balázs (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈbeːlɒ ˈbɒlaːʒ]) (4 August 1884, Szeged – 17 May 1949, Budapest), born Herbert Bauer, was a Hungarian-Jewish film critic, aesthete, writer and poet.
He was the son of German-born parents, adopting his nom de plume in newspaper articles written before his 1902 move to Budapest, where he studied Hungarian and German at the Eötvös Collegium.
He is perhaps best remembered as the librettist of Bluebeard's Castle which he originally wrote for his roommate Zoltán Kodály, who in turn introduced him to the eventual composer of the opera, Béla Bartók. This collaboration continued with the scenario for the ballet The Wooden Prince.
The collapse of the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic under Béla Kun in 1919 began a long period of exile in Vienna and Germany and, from 1933 until 1945, the Soviet Union. György Lukács, a close friend during their youth, became a bitter enemy during the ordeal of the Stalinist purges.
In Vienna he became a prolific writer of film reviews. His first book on film, Der Sichtbare Mensch (The Visible Man) (1924), helped found the German "film as a language" theory, which also exerted an influence on Sergei Eisenstein and
Karl Georg Büchner (17 October 1813 – 19 February 1837) was a German dramatist and writer of poetry and prose. He was the brother of physician and philosopher Ludwig Büchner. Büchner's talent is generally held in great esteem in Germany. It is widely believed that, but for his early death, he might have attained the significance of such central German literary figures as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller.
Born in Goddelau near Darmstadt, Hesse-Darmstadt, the son of a doctor, Büchner attended a Humanist secondary school that focused on modern languages, including French, Italian, and English. Nevertheless Büchner studied medicine in Strasbourg.
In 1828 he became interested in politics and joined a circle of William Shakespeare aficionados which later on probably became the Gießen and Darmstadt section of the "Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte" (Society for Human Rights). In Strasbourg, he immersed himself in French literature and political thought.
While Büchner continued his studies in Gießen he established a secret society dedicated to the revolutionary cause. With the help of the evangelical theologian Friedrich Ludwig Weidig, he published the leaflet Der Hessische
György Sándor Ligeti (Hungarian: Ligeti György Sándor, [ˈliɡɛti ˈɟørɟ ˈʃaːndor]; May 28, 1923 – June 12, 2006) was a composer of contemporary classical music. Born into a Hungarian Jewish family in Transylvania, Romania, he lived in Hungary before emigrating and becoming an Austrian citizen.
Ligeti was born in Dicsőszentmárton, which was renamed Târnăveni in 1945, in Transylvania to a Hungarian Jewish family. Ligeti recalls that his first exposure to languages other than Hungarian came one day while listening to a conversation among the Romanian-speaking town police. Before that he hadn't known that other languages existed. He moved to Cluj (Kolozsvár) with his family when he was 6, and he was not to return to the town of his birth until the 1990s.
Ligeti received his initial musical training at the conservatory in Cluj, and during the summers privately with Pál Kadosa in Budapest.
In 1940, Northern Transylvania was occupied by Hungary following the Second Vienna Award. In 1944, Ligeti's education was interrupted when he was sent to a forced labor brigade by the Horthy regime. His brother, age 16, was deported to the Mauthausen concentration camp, and both of his parents were sent
Salomon Hermann Mosenthal (born in Kassel, 14 January 1821; died in Vienna 17 February 1877) was a writer, dramatist, and poet of German-Jewish descent who spent much of his life in Austria. He was also known for his opera libretti.
His name is also sometimes written as Hermann Salomon von Mosenthal, Solomon Hermann Mosenthal, or Solomon Hermann von Mosenthal.
Mosenthal attended the gymnasium in Kassel and the polytechnic school in Karlsruhe. In 1841 he went to Vienna as a private teacher. In 1846 his dramatized folk-story Der Hollander Michel was produced as in 1847 was succeeded his three-act drama Die Sklavin. Neither of these had any enduring success.
In 1849 his poetic drama Cäcilia von Albano was warmly received by both the public and critics; after this he had opportunities at the Burgtheater, and Cäcilia was published in Budapest in 1851. His next production, Deborah (Budapest, 1849; Presburg, 1875, 6th ed. 1890), was translated into several languages. In English it became famous under the title of Leah, the Forsaken. It was first produced at the royal theater in Berlin in 1850.
Mosenthal also wrote opera librettos:
A volume of Mosenthal's poems was published at Vienna in
Louis Gallet (1835, Valence, Drôme – 1898) was an inexhaustible French writer of operatic libretti, plays, romances, memoirs, pamphlets, and innumerable articles, who is remembered above all for his adaptations of fiction—and Scripture— to provide librettos of cantatas and opera, notably by composers Georges Bizet, Camille Saint-Saëns and Jules Massenet.
By day Gallet supported himself by a minor post in the Administration of Assistance to the Poor and positions, first as treasurer then as general administrator, at the Beaujon hospital, Paris, and other hospitals (ref. Saint-Saëns).
In 1871 Camille du Locle, the manager of the Paris Opéra-Comique offered to produce a one-act work of Camille Saint-Saëns. He proposed as collaborator Louis Gallet, whom Saint-Saëns did not know, and the result was the slight piece La princesse jaune notable as the first japonerie on the operatic stage, Japan having only very recently been opened to Western trade and the first Japanese woodblock prints having been seen in Paris only two years previously. The two worked together harmoniously for years, and it was Saint-Saëns who recommended Gallet as music critic for the Nouvelle Revue, though he was not
Massimo Cacciari (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmassimo katˈtʃari]; born June 5, 1944) is an Italian philosopher and politician.
Born in Venice, Massimo Cacciari graduated in philosophy from the University of Padua (1967), where he also received his doctorate, writing a thesis on Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment. In 1985, he became professor of Aesthetics at the Architecture Institute of Venice. In 2002, he founded the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, where he was appointed Dean of the Department in 2005. Massimo Cacciari has founded several philosophical reviews and published essays centered on the "negative thought" inspired by authors like Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
In the 1980s, Cacciari also worked with the Italian composer of avant-garde contemporary/classical music Luigi Nono. Nono, a political activist whose music represented a revolt against bourgeois cultural constructs, collaborated with Cacciari, who arranged the philosophical lyrics on such works of Nono's as Das Atmende Klarsein, Io, and the opera Prometeo.
After a brief affiliation with Potere Operaio, a radical left-wing worker's
Salvadore Cammarano (also Salvatore) (born Naples, 19 March 1801 - died Naples 17 July 1852) was a prolific Italian librettist and playwright perhaps best known for writing the text of Lucia di Lammermoor (1835) for Gaetano Donizetti.
For Donizetti he also contributed the libretti for L'assedio di Calais (1836), Belisario (1836), Pia de' Tolomei (1837), Roberto Devereux (1837), Maria de Rudenz (1838), Poliuto (1838), and Maria di Rohan (1843), while for Giuseppe Persiani he was the author of Ines de Castro.
For Verdi he wrote Alzira (1845), La battaglia di Legnano (1849) and Luisa Miller (1849), and had almost finished his libretto for Il trovatore (1853) when he died in July 1852. It was completed by Leone Emanuele Bardare. Cammarano also started a libretto for a proposed adaptation of the William Shakespeare play King Lear, named Re Lear, but he died before completing it; a detailed scenario survives.
Thornton Niven Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and for the two plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth—and a U.S. National Book Award for the novel The Eighth Day.
Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of Amos Parker Wilder, a US diplomat, and Isabella Niven Wilder. All of the Wilder children spent part of their childhood in China because of their father's work.
Thornton Wilder's older brother, Amos Niven Wilder, was Hollis Professor of Divinity at the Harvard Divinity School, a noted poet, and foundational to the development of the field theopoetics. Amos was also a nationally ranked tennis player who competed at the Wimbledon tennis championships in 1922. His sister Isabel Wilder was an accomplished writer. Both of his other sisters, Charlotte Wilder, a poet, and Janet Wilder Dakin, a zoologist, attended Mount Holyoke College and were excellent students. Additionally, Wilder had a twin brother who died at birth.
Wilder began writing plays while at The Thacher School in Ojai, California, where he did not fit in and was teased by classmates as overly
François-Marie Arouet (French: [fʁɑ̃.swa ma.ʁi aʁ.wɛ]; 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire (pronounced: [vɔl.tɛːʁ]), was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, freedom of expression, free trade and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws with harsh penalties for those who broke them. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day.
Voltaire was one of several Enlightenment figures (along with Montesquieu, John Locke, Richard Price, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Émilie du Châtelet) whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions.
François-Marie Arouet was born in Paris, the youngest of the five children (only
Alexandre Soumet (February 18, 1788 - March 30, 1845) was a French poet.
Alexandre Soumet was born at Castelnaudary, département of Aude. His love of poetry began at a early age. He was an admirer of Klopstock and Schiller, then little known in France. Soumet moved to Paris in 1810 and wrote poems in honor of Napoleon that secured his nomination as auditor of the Conseil d'état. His elegy La pauvre fille appeared in 1814, and two successful tragedies produced in 1822, Clytemnestre and Saül, secured his admission to the Academy in 1824. Jeanne d'Arc (1825) was his most critically acclaimed play. Elisabeth de France (1828) was a weak imitation of Schiller's Don Carlos, But Soumet's real bent was towards epic poetry. A poem inspired by Klopstock, La divine épopée, describes the descent of Christ into Hades.
Under Louis XVIII he became librarian of Saint-Cloud, and subsequently was transferred to Rambouillet and to Compiègne.
He died leaving an unfinished epic on Jeanne d'Arc. His daughter Gabrielle (Mme Beauvain d'Altenheim) had collaborated with him in some of his later works.
Opera libretti written:Historia von D. Johann Fausten
Alfred Schnittke (Russian: Альфре́д Га́рриевич Шни́тке (Al'fred Garrievič Šnitke); Engels, November 24, 1934 – Hamburg, August 3, 1998) was a Soviet composer. Schnittke's early music shows the strong influence of Dmitri Shostakovich. He developed a polystylistic technique in works such as the epic First Symphony (1969–1972) and First Concerto Grosso (1977). In the 1980s, Schnittke's music began to become more widely known abroad with the publication of his Second (1980) and Third (1983) String Quartets and the String Trio (1985); the ballet Peer Gynt (1985–1987); the Third (1981), Fourth (1984), and Fifth (1988) Symphonies; and the Viola (1985) and 1st Cello (1985–1986) Concertos. As his health deteriorated, Schnittke's music started to abandon much of the extroversion of his polystylism and retreated into a more withdrawn, bleak style.
Schnittke's father, Harry Viktorovich Schnittke (1914–1975, rus.), was Jewish and born in Frankfurt. He moved to the USSR in 1927 and worked as a journalist and translator from the Russian language into German. His mother, Maria Iosifovna Schnittke (née Vogel, 1910–1972), was a Volga German born in Russia. Schnittke's paternal grandmother, Tea
Opera libretti written:The Temptation of Saint Anthony
Bernice Johnson Reagon (born October 4, 1942) is a singer, composer, scholar, and social activist, who founded the a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock in 1973.
The daughter of Baptist minister J.J. and Beatrice Johnson, Bernice was born and raised in southwest Georgia, where music was an integral part of life. She entered Albany State College in 1959 (since July 1996 Albany State University) where she studied music.
Reagon was an active participant in the Black Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s as a member of The Freedom Singers, organized by the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Reagon is a specialist in African-American oral history, performance and protest traditions. In 1992 she was featured in the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary The Songs Are Free: Bernice Johnson Reagon with Bill Moyers. She has served as music consultant, producer, composer, and performer on several award-winning film projects and was the conceptual producer and narrator of the Peabody Award-winning radio series, Wade in the Water, African American Sacred Music Traditions.
Reagon's work as a scholar and composer is reflected in publications on African American culture and history,
Erich Wolfgang Korngold (May 29, 1897 – November 29, 1957) was an Austrian film and romantic music composer. While his compositional style was considered well out of vogue at the time he died, his music has more recently undergone a reevaluation and a gradual reawakening of interest. Along with such composers as Max Steiner and Alfred Newman, he is considered one of the founders of film music.
Korngold won the Academy Award for his score to The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938, widely considered one of the greatest scores ever written. His score to Anthony Adverse (1936) also won the Oscar; however, at this time, the Oscar was awarded to the head of the music department of the studio which produced the movie, not the composer him/herself (coincidentally, the year Korngold won for The Adventures of Robin Hood was the first in which the composer rather than the studio music department head was awarded the Oscar).
Born in a Jewish home in Brünn (Brno) (Austria-Hungary, now Czech Republic), Erich was the second son of eminent music critic Julius Korngold. A child prodigy, Erich played his cantata Gold to Gustav Mahler in 1906; Mahler called him a "musical genius" and recommended study
Eugen Suchoň (September 25, 1908, Pezinok – August 5, 1993, Bratislava) was one of the greatest Slovak composers of the 20th century.
Eugen Suchoň was born on September 25, 1908 in Pezinok, (Slovakia). His father, Ladislav Suchoň, was an organist and teacher. His mother, Serafína Suchoňová, was a piano teacher, and it was from her that he received his first piano tuition. The house was always filled with music and, as a small child, he would listen from under the piano when his father rehearsed at home with other musicians. In 1920, at the age of twelve, he started taking piano lessons at the Bratislava School of Music with the distinguished musician Frico Kafenda. Later, from 1927–1931, he continued his studies with the same teacher at the newly established Academy of Music in Bratislava. His early works include several piano compositions and a choral work Veľky Pôst (The Great Fast). He graduated from his composition classes with the Sonata in A-flat for Violin and Piano and a String Quartet (op.2, 1931, revised 1939). His two year studies at the Prague Conservatoire under Vítězslav Novák set the seal on the thorough training he had received from Kafenda.
Compositions from this
Henry Fothergill Chorley (15 December 1808 – 16 February 1872) was an English literary, art and music critic and editor. He was also an author of novels, drama, poetry and lyrics.
Chorley was a prolific and important music and literary critic and music gossip columnist of the mid-nineteenth century and wrote extensively about music in London and in Europe. His opera libretti and works of fiction were far less successful. He is perhaps best remembered today for his lyrics to "The Long Day Closes", a part song set by Arthur Sullivan in 1868.
Chorley was born in Blackley Hurst, near Billinge, Lancashire, England. Chorley was the youngest of four children of Quaker parents, John Chorley (1771–1816), an iron worker and lock maker, and Jane Chorley, née Wilkinson (1779–1851). Chorley's father died, leaving his mother alone with young children. Jane Chorley moved her family to Liverpool to help take care of her half-brother, Dr Rutter, when he became ill. Chorley was educated by private tutors in Liverpool and then the school of the Royal Institution. His youth was shaped partly by spending time in the household of the wealthy and intellectual Mrs Benson Rathbone of Green Bank, and he
Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃ kɔkto]; 5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963) was a French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Cocteau is best known for his novel Les Enfants terribles (1929), and the films Blood of a Poet (1930), Les Parents terribles (1948), Beauty and the Beast (1946), and Orpheus (1949). His circle of associates, friends and lovers included Kenneth Anger, Pablo Picasso, Jean Hugo, Jean Marais, Henri Bernstein, Yul Brynner, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Erik Satie, María Félix, Édith Piaf and Raymond Radiguet.
Cocteau was born in Maisons-Laffitte, Yvelines, a village near Paris, to Georges Cocteau and his wife, Eugénie Lecomte; a socially prominent Parisian family. His father was a lawyer and amateur painter who committed suicide when Cocteau was nine. He left home at fifteen. He published his first volume of poems, Aladdin's Lamp, at nineteen. Cocteau soon became known in Bohemian artistic circles as The Frivolous Prince, the title of a volume he published at twenty-two. Edith Wharton described him as a man "to whom every great line of poetry was a sunrise, every sunset the foundation of the Heavenly
Paul Jules Barbier (8 March 1825 – 16 January 1901) was a French poet, writer and opera librettist who often wrote in collaboration with Michel Carré. He was a noted Parisian bon vivant and man of letters.
His libretti for extant operas (those co-written with Carré are shown with an asterisk) include:
He also wrote the libretto for La Guzla de l'Émir, a one-act comic opera by Georges Bizet. This was never performed and probably destroyed.
He wrote the scenario for Léo Delibes' ballet Sylvia.
Gounod wrote incidental music to Barbier's play Jeanne d'Arc, and the libretto to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's opera The Maid of Orleans was partially based on it.
Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi, better known by his pseudonym of Metastasio, (January 3, 1698 – April 12, 1782) was an Italian poet and librettist, considered the most important writer of opera seria libretti.
Metastasio was born in Rome, where his father, Felice Trapassi, a native of Assisi, had taken service in the Corsican regiment of the papal forces. Felice married a Bolognese woman, Francesca Galasti, and became a grocer in the Via dei Cappellari. The couple had two sons and two daughters; Pietro was the younger son.
Pietro, while still a child, is said to have attracted crowds by reciting impromptu verses on a given subject. On one such occasion in 1709, two men of distinction stopped to listen: Giovanni Vincenzo Gravina, famous for legal and literary erudition as well as his directorship of the Arcadian Academy, and Lorenzini, a critic of some note. Gravina was attracted by the boy's poetic talent and personal charm, and made Pietro his protégé; in the course of a few weeks he adopted him. Felice Trapassi was glad to give his son the chance of a good education and introduction into society.
Gravina hellenized the boy's name Trapassi into Metastasio, and intended his
Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. Famous for his use of the heroic couplet, he is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson.
Pope was born to Alexander Pope Senior (1646–1717), a linen merchant of Plough Court, Lombard Street, London, and his wife Edith (née Turner) (1643–1733), who were both Catholics. Edith's sister Christiana was the wife of the famous miniature painter Samuel Cooper. Pope's education was affected by the recently enacted Test Acts, which upheld the status of the established Church of England and banned Catholics from teaching, attending a university, voting, or holding public office on pain of perpetual imprisonment. Pope was taught to read by his aunt, and went to Twyford School in about 1698/99. He then went to two Catholic schools in London. Such schools, while illegal, were tolerated in some areas.
In 1700, his family moved to a small estate at Popeswood in Binfield, Berkshire, close to the royal Windsor Forest. This was due to strong anti-Catholic sentiment and a statute
Alexander Nikolayevich Serov (Алекса́ндр Никола́евич Серо́в in Cyrillic; Aleksandr Nikolaevič Serov in transliteration) 23 January [O.S. 11 January] 1820 – 1 February [O.S. 20 January] 1871 was a Russian composer and music critic. He and his wife Valentina were the parents of painter Valentin Serov. He was not only one of the most important music critics in Russia during the 1850s and 1860s, but also the most significant Russian composer of opera in the years between Dargomyzhsky's Rusalka and the early operas by Cui, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, and Tchaikovsky.
Early in life Serov made friends with Vladimir Stasov, but later the two became enemies over the relative values of Glinka's two operas. Serov's admiration for Richard Wagner likewise did not endear him to The Mighty Handful, especially the younger competing critic César Cui, who, like Stasov, had been on better terms with Serov earlier.
Although Serov's operas Judith and Rogneda were quite successful in their day, none of his operas are frequently performed today. A CD recording of Judith (with some cuts) was made in 1991 by the forces of the Bolshoi Theatre under conductor Andrey Chistiakov.
Barthold Heinrich Brockes (September 22, 1680 – January 16, 1747) was a German poet.
He was born at Hamburg and educated at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums. He studied jurisprudence at Halle, and after extensive travels in Italy, France and the Netherlands, settled in Hamburg in 1704. In 1720 he was appointed a member of the Hamburg senate, and entrusted with several important offices. Six years (from 1735 to 1741) he spent as Amtmann (magistrate) at Ritzebüttel. He died in Hamburg.
Brockes' poetic works were published in a series of nine volumes under the fantastic title Irdisches Vergnügen in Gott (1721–1748); he also translated Giambattista Marini's La Strage degli innocenti (1715), Alexander Pope's Essay on Man (1740) and James Thomson's Seasons (1745). His poetry has small intrinsic value, but it is symptomatic of the change which came over German literature at the beginning of the 18th century. His libretto Der für die Sünden der Welt gemarterte und sterbende Jesus (1712) was one of the first passion oratorios--a free, poetic meditation on the passion story without the use of an evangelist character. It was quite popular and was set to music by Reinhard Keiser (1712),
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was an English composer, conductor, and pianist; and one of the central figures of twentieth-century British classical music. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to international fame. Over the next nine years, he wrote six more operas, establishing himself as one of the leading twentieth-century composers in this genre.
Britten's interests as a composer were wide-ranging; he produced important music in such varied genres as orchestral, choral, solo vocal (much of it written for his life partner, tenor Peter Pears), chamber and instrumental, as well as film music. He also took a great interest in writing music for children and amateur performers, and was an outstanding pianist and conductor.
Britten was also responsible, together with Pears and the librettist/producer Eric Crozier, for the founding of the Aldeburgh Festival, and the creation of Snape Maltings Concert Hall.
Britten was the first composer to be given a life peerage.
Boris Blacher (19 January [O.S. 6 January] 1903 – 30 January 1975) was a German composer.
Blacher was born when his parents were living within a Russian-speaking community in the Manchurian town of Niuzhuang (Chinese: 牛庄镇) (hence the use of the Julian calendar on his birth record). He spent his first years in China and in the Asian parts of Russia, and in 1919, he eventually came to live in Harbin. In 1922, after finishing school, he went to Berlin where he began to study architecture and mathematics. Two years later, he turned to music and studied composition with Friedrich Ernst Koch.
His career was interrupted by National Socialism. He was accused of writing degenerate music and lost his teaching post at the Dresden Conservatory.
His career resumed after 1945, and he later became director of the Music Academy of Berlin, and is today regarded as one of the most influential music figures of his time. His students include Aribert Reimann, Isang Yun, Maki Ishii, Fritz Geißler, Giselher Klebe, Heimo Erbse, Klaus Huber, Francis Burt, Gottfried von Einem, Karl Rucht, and Richard Wernick.
Blacher was married to the pianist Gerty Blacher-Herzog. They had four children including the
Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (French pronunciation: [ʃaʁl kamij sɛ̃sɑ̃s]; 9 October 1835 – 16 December 1921) was a French late-Romantic composer, organist, conductor, and pianist. He is known especially for The Carnival of the Animals, Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah, Piano Concerto No. 2, Cello Concerto No. 1, Havanaise, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and his Symphony No. 3 (Organ Symphony).
Saint-Saëns was born in Paris, France, on 9 October 1835. His father, a government clerk, died three months after his birth. He was raised by his mother, Clémence, with the assistance of her aunt, Charlotte Masson, who moved in. Masson introduced Saint-Saëns to the piano, and began giving him lessons on the instrument. At about this time, age two, Saint-Saëns was found to possess perfect pitch. His first composition, a little piece for the piano dated 22 March 1839, is now kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Saint-Saëns's precocity was not limited to music. He learned to read and write by age three, and had some mastery of Latin by the age of seven. His first public concert appearance occurred when he was five years old, when he accompanied a Beethoven violin sonata. He went on
Carlo Osvaldo Goldoni (Italian pronunciation: [ˈkarlo ozˈvaldo ɡolˈdoni]; 25 February 1707 – 6 February 1793) was an Italian playwright and librettist from the Republic of Venice. His works include some of Italy's most famous and best-loved plays. Audiences have admired the plays of Goldoni for their ingenious mix of wit and honesty. His plays offered his contemporaries images of themselves, often dramatizing the lives, values, and conflicts of the emerging middle classes. Though he wrote in French and Italian, his plays make rich use of the Venetian language, regional vernacular, and colloquialisms. Goldoni also wrote under the pen name and title "Polisseno Fegeio, Pastor Arcade," which he claimed in his memoirs the "Arcadians of Rome" bestowed on him.
Goldoni, a prolific writer, is best known for his comic play Servant of Two Masters, which has been translated and adapted internationally numerous times. In 2011, Richard Bean adapted the play for the National Theatre of Great Britain, at the request of director Nicholas Hytner, as a vehicle for actor James Corden. The adaptation, One Man, Two Guvnors, became a smash hit, transferring to the West End and in 2012 to Broadway. In
Charles Jennens (1700 – 20 November 1773) was an English landowner and patron of the arts, who assembled the text for five of Handel's oratorios: Saul, Israel in Egypt, L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Messiah, and Belshazzar. Much of this served to promote his own views concerning kingship (he was a supporter of the deposed Stuart line).
Jennens was born in Leicestershire and educated at Balliol College, Oxford. He lived at Gopsall, till 1747 together with his father, unmarried, melancholic and extravagant. His neighbours called him Suleyman the Magnificent. Lord Guernsey was his second cousin.
Jennens was friendly with Edward Holdsworth, sending the poet and classical scholar letters. He became a non-juror, interested in "primitive Christianity" and John Chrysostom. Jennens was an anti-Deist, in those days very popular. Richard Kidder's book A Demonstration of the Messias influenced him.
Jennens owned scores of many operas, he already subscribed in 1725, and added corrections, bass figures, rejected pieces and dates. In regards to the libretto of Messiah, some scholars attribute Messiah's emphasis on the Old Testament — and choice of the Old Testament title "Messiah" — to
Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer (23 June 1800(?) in Stuttgart – 25 August 1868 in Berlin) was a German actress and writer.
She was the daughter of an estate agent named Pfeiffer. She received her early training at the Munich court theatre, and in 1818 began to play leading tragic roles at various theatres. In 1825 she married the historian Christian Andreas Birch of Copenhagen, but continued to act. From 1837 to 1843 she managed the theatre at Zürich.
In 1844 she accepted an engagement at the royal theatre in Berlin, to which she remained attached until her death. Her intimate knowledge of the technical necessities of the stage fitted her for the successful dramatization of many popular novels, and her plays, adapted and original, make twenty-three volumes, Gesammelte dramatische Werke (Leip. 1863-1880). Many continued to retain the public favor. Her novels and tales, Gesammelte Novellen und Erzahlungen, were collected in three volumes (Leipzig 1863-1865).
Her daughter, Wilhelmine von Hillern, also became an actress.
Émile de Saint-Amand Deschamps (pronounced [emil də sɛ̃ amɑ̃d dəʃɑ̃p]) (1791–1871) was a French poet. He was born at Bourges. Deschamps was one of the chiefs of the Romantic school. To further the cause of romanticism he founded with Victor Hugo La Muse Française (1824), a journal to which he contributed verses and stories signed "Le Jeune Moraliste." Four years afterward he collected and published Etudes française et étrangères (1828), consisting of poems and translations. He published La paix conquise (1812), an ode which won the praise of Napoleon; Contes physiologiques (1854); and Réalités fantastiques (1854). His Œuvres Complètes were published in six volumes (1872–74). He wrote the text for the oratorio Romeo and Juliet composed by Hector Berlioz in 1839. He also collaborated with Giacomo Meyerbeer and Eugene Scribe on the libretti of Les Huguenots (1836) and Le prophète (1849).
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopædia.
Gabriele D'Annunzio (Italian pronunciation: [ɡabriˈɛːle danˈnuntsjo]; 12 March 1863 – 1 March 1938), Principe di Montenevoso, sometimes spelled d'Annunzio was an Italian writer, poet, journalist, playwright and soldier during World War I. He occupied a prominent place in Italian literature from 1889 to 1910 and after that political life from 1914 to 1924. He was nicknamed Il Vate (The Poet) and Il Profeta (The Prophet).
D'Annunzio was associated with the Decadent movement in his literary works, which interplayed closely with French Symbolism and British Aestheticism. Such works represented a turn against the naturalism of the preceding romantics and was both sensuous and mystical. He came under the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche which would find outlets in his literary and later political contributions. His affairs with several women, including Eleonora Duse and Luisa Casati, received public attention.
During the First World War, perception of D'Annunzio in Italy would be transformed from literary figure into a national war hero. He was associated with the elite Arditi storm troops of the Italian Army and took part in actions such as the Flight over Vienna. As part of an Italian
Giuseppe Giacosa (21 October 1847 – 1 September 1906) was an Italian poet, playwright and librettist.
He was born in Colleretto Parella, now Colleretto Giacosa, near Turin. His father was a magistrate. Giuseppe went to the University of Turin, studying in the University of Turin, Faculty of Law. Though he gained a degree in law, he did not pursue a legal career.
He gained initial fame for his play Una Partita a Scacchi ("A Game of Chess") in 1871. His main field was playwriting, which he accomplished with both insight and simplicity, using subjects set in Piedmont and themes addressing contemporary bourgeois values. He wrote La Dame de Challant for noted French actress Sarah Bernhardt, which she produced in New York in 1891.
He also wrote the librettos used by Giacomo Puccini in La bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly in conjunction with Luigi Illica.
See also Scapigliatura.
Hanns Heinz Ewers (3 November 1871 in Düsseldorf – 12 June 1943 in Berlin) was a German actor, poet, philosopher, and writer of short stories and novels. While he wrote on a wide range of subjects, he is now known mainly for his works of horror, particularly his trilogy of novels about the adventures of Frank Braun, a character modeled on himself. The best known of these is Alraune (1911).
Ewers's literary career began with a volume of satiric verse, entitled A Book of Fables, published during 1901. That same year he collaborated with Ernst von Wolzogen in forming a literary vaudeville theatre before forming his own such company, which toured Central and Eastern Europe before the operating expenses and constant interference from censors caused him to abandon the enterprise. A world traveler, Ewers was in South America at the beginning of World War I, and relocated to New York City, where he continued to write and publish.
Ewers' reputation as a successful German author and performer made him a natural speaker for the Imperial German cause to keep the United States from joining the war as an ally of Britain. Ewers toured cities with large ethnic German communities and raised funds
Henry Brougham Farnie (8 April 1836 – 21 September 1889), often called H. B. Farnie, was a British librettist and adapter of French operettas and an author. Some of his English-language versions of operettas became record-setting hits on the London stage of the 1870s and 1880s, strongly competing with the Gilbert and Sullivan operas being played at the same time.
After attending Cambridge University, Farnie returned to his native Scotland, where he was appointed editor of the Cupar Gazette. In 1857, he wrote The Golfer's Manual, the first book on golf instruction. In 1860, he wrote books on the flora of St. Andrews and on The City of St. Rule. His journalism career brought him to London in 1863 as editor of a new musical journal, The Orchestra. He began to write the lyrics to popular songs, and, in 1867, he began to write plays. During the 1870s and 1880s, Farnie turned out translations and adaptations of dozens of French operas and operettas. Many of the latter had long and successful runs. Among his few enduring lyrics is the "Gendarmes' Duet", adapted from Offenbach's Geneviève de Brabant.
Farnie was born in Burntisland, Fife, Scotland, one of seven children of James Farnie and
Henry Purcell ( /ˈpɜrsəl/; 10 September 1659 (?)– 21 November 1695), was an English composer. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell's legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers; no other native-born English composer approached his fame until Edward Elgar.
Purcell was born in St Ann's Lane Old Pye Street, Westminster. Henry Purcell Senior, whose older brother Thomas Purcell (d. 1682) was also a musician, was a gentleman of the Chapel Royal and sang at the coronation of King Charles II of England. Henry the elder had three sons: Edward, Henry and Daniel. Daniel Purcell (d. 1717), the youngest of the brothers, was also a prolific composer who wrote the music for much of the final act of The Indian Queen after Henry Purcell's death. Henry Purcell's family lived just a few hundred yards west of Westminster Abbey from the year 1659 onward.
After his father's death in 1664, Purcell was placed under the guardianship of his uncle who showed him great affection and kindness. Thomas was himself a gentleman of His Majesty's Chapel, and arranged for Henry to be
John Dryden (9 August 1631 – 1 May 1700) was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden. Walter Scott called him "Glorious John." He was made Poet Laureate in 1668.
Dryden was born in the village rectory of Aldwincle near Thrapston in Northamptonshire, where his maternal grandfather was Rector of All Saints. He was the eldest of fourteen children born to Erasmus Dryden and wife Mary Pickering, paternal grandson of Sir Erasmus Dryden, 1st Baronet (1553–1632) and wife Frances Wilkes, Puritan landowning gentry who supported the Puritan cause and Parliament. He was also a second cousin once removed of Jonathan Swift. As a boy Dryden lived in the nearby village of Titchmarsh, Northamptonshire where it is also likely that he received his first education. In 1644 he was sent to Westminster School as a King’s Scholar where his headmaster was Dr Richard Busby, a charismatic teacher and severe disciplinarian. Having recently been re-founded by Elizabeth I, Westminster during this period embraced a very different
Mikhail Ivanovich Popov (Russian: Михаи́л Ива́нович Попов) (1742, Yaroslavl – 1790) was a Russian writer, poet, dramatist and opera librettist of the 18th century.
Born into a merchant family, he was a pupil of Fyodor Volkov. After 1757 he was an actor at the Court Theatre in St Petersburg. He entered Moscow University in 1765, and began to translate comedies from German and French. He wrote a collection of lyrics called “Songs” (1765).
During 1771–1772 he translated the poem Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Delivered) by Torquato Tasso and wrote the novel Slavyanskie Drevnosti (Славянские древности – The Slavonic Antiquities). Together with Mikhail Chulkov, he published a collection of Russian folk songs. His own collection of songs, Russian Erota or the Collection of the Best and Newest Russian Songs (Российская Эрота, или Выбор наилучших новейших русских песен), was published posthumously in 1791. Popov wished to popularize Slavic mythology, which had been largely forgotten in Russia in his time, as a more patriotic alternative to Greek and Roman mythology. To this end, he conducted some rather inaccurate research and wrote the essay, Описание древнеславянского баснословия (The
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ( /ˈpjɔːtər ˈɪliɪtʃ tʃaɪˈkɒfski/; Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский; tr. Pyotr Ilyich Chaykovsky; 7 May 1840 – 6 November 1893), anglicised as Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky ( /ˈpiːtər .../), was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, and chamber music. Some of these are among the most popular concert and theatrical music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, which he bolstered with appearances as a guest conductor later in his career in Europe and the United States. One of these appearances was at the inaugural concert of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1891. Tchaikovsky was honored in 1884 by Tsar Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension in the late 1880s.
Although musically precocious, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant. There was scant opportunity for a musical career in Russia at that time, and no system of public music education. When an opportunity for such an education arose, he entered the nascent Saint Petersburg Conservatory, from where he graduated in 1865. The formal Western-oriented teaching he received
Russell Conwell Hoban (February 4, 1925 – December 13, 2011) was an American expatriate writer of fantasy, science fiction, mainstream fiction, magic realism, poetry, and children's books.
Hoban was born in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, to Jewish immigrants from Ostrog (now in Ukraine). His father, Abram T. Hoban, was the advertising manager of the Jewish Daily Forward Yiddish-language newspaper and the director of The Drama Guild of the Labor Institute of the Workmen's Circle of Philadelphia. He died when his son was 11, and Russell was raised by his mother, Jeanette Dimmerman. He was named for Russell Conwell. After briefly attending Temple University, he enlisted in the Army at age 18 and served in the Philippines and Italy as a radio operator during World War II, earning a bronze star. During his military service, he married his first wife, Lillian Aberman, who later became a writer and illustrator in her own right. They had four children before divorcing in 1975.
He later worked as an illustrator (painting several covers for TIME, Sports Illustrated, and The Saturday Evening Post) and an advertising copywriter—occupations which several of his characters
Thomas Corneille (20 August 1625 – 8 December 1709) was a French dramatist.
Born in Rouen some nineteen years after his brother Pierre, the "great Corneille", Thomas's skill as a poet seems to have shown itself early. At the age of fifteen he composed a play in Latin which was performed by his fellow-pupils at the Jesuit school in Rouen, the Collège de Bourbon (now the Lycée Pierre Corneille). His first play in the French language, Les Engagements du hasard, was probably first performed at the Hôtel de Bourgogne in 1647, although not published until 1656. Le Feint Astrologue, imitated from the Spanish of Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and itself imitated in Dryden's An Evening's Love, came the following year.
After his brother's death, Thomas succeeded his vacant chair in the Académie française. He then turned his attention to philology, producing a new edition of the Remarques of CF Vaugelas in 1687, and in 1694 a dictionary of technical terms, intended to supplement that of the Academy. A complete translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses (he had published six books with the Heroic Epistles some years previously) followed in 1697.
In 1704 he lost his sight and was constituted a "veteran,"
Victor-Joseph Étienne called de Jouy (19 October 1764 – 4 September 1846), French dramatist, who abandoned an early military career for a successful literary one.
Victor-Joseph Étienne was born at Versailles. At the age of eighteen he received a commission in the army, and sailed for South America in the company of the governor of Guiana. He returned almost immediately to France to complete his studies, and re-entered the service two years later. He was sent to India, where he met with many romantic adventures which were afterwards turned to literary account. On the outbreak of the Revolution he returned to France and served with distinction in the early campaigns, attaining the rank of adjutant-general. He drew suspicion on himself, however, by refusing to honor the toast of Marat, and had to flee for his life.
At the fall of the Terror he resumed his commission but again fell under suspicion, being accused of treasonable correspondence with the English envoy, James Harris, 1st Earl of Malmesbury who had been sent to France to negotiate terms of peace. He was acquitted of this charge, but, weary of repeated attacks, resigned his position on the pretext of his numerous wounds.
Wystan Hugh Auden ( /ˈwɪstən ˈhjuː ˈɔːdən/; 21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature.
Auden grew up in and near Birmingham in a professional middle-class family and read English literature at Christ Church, Oxford. His early poems, written in the late 1920s and early 1930s, alternated between telegraphic modern styles and fluent traditional ones, were written in an intense and dramatic tone, and established his reputation as a left-wing political poet and prophet. He became uncomfortable in this role in the later 1930s, and abandoned it after he moved to the United States in 1939, where he became an American citizen in 1946. His poems in the 1940s explored religious and