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Four Last Songs : Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten (Reprint) (Paperback)
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Later life is a fraught topic in our commercialized, anti-aging, death-denying culture. Where does creativity fit in? The canonical composers whose stories are told in this book--Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), Richard Strauss (1864-1949), Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), and Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)offer radically individual responses to that question. In their late years, each of these national icons wrote an opera around which coalesced major issues about their own creativity and aging, ranging from declining health to the critical expectations that accompany success and long artistic careers. They also had to deal with the social, political and aesthetic changes of their time, including World Wars and the rise of musical modernism. By investigating their attitudes to their creativity in the face of aging, together with their late compositions and the critical reception of them, this book tells the stories of their different but creative ways of dealing with those changes. Bringing their respective specialties of medicine and literary criticism to bear on the study, the authors show how the late nineteenth century, where these stories begin, saw the discovery and definition of old age” as a social, economic, and medical construct. And thus were born, in the twentieth century, both geriatrics and gerontology as disciplines. Despite recent medical advances and increased life expectancy, the strikingly dichotomous cultural views of age and agingboth positive and negativehave not changed much at all. What also has not changed are the reception of late-life works as caught between decline and apotheosis and the fraught discourse of late style.” The stories in this book weave all these elements together, highlighting both the shared vicissitudes of aging and the individual power of creativity as a way to meet them.
Number of Pages: 151
Genre: Music, History
Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
Author: Linda Hutcheon & Michael Hutcheon
Street Date: November 4, 2016
Item Number (DPCI): 248-22-0638
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