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Tchaikovsky [Hardcover]

Roland John Wiley

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Book Description

Aug. 1 2009 Master Musicians (Hardcover Oxford)
A giant in the pantheon of 19th century composers, Tchaikovsky continues to enthrall audiences today. From the Nutcracker--arguably the most popular ballet currently on the boards--Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty, to Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame, to the Symphony Pathetique and the always rousing, canon-blasting 1812 Overture--this prolific and beloved composer's works are perennial favorites. Now, John Wiley, a renowned Tchaikovsky scholar, provides a fresh biography aimed in classic Master Musicians style at the student and music lover. Wiley deftly draws on documents from imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet era sources, providing a more balanced look at recent controversies surrounding the marriage, death, and sexuality of the composer. The author dovetails the biographical material with separate chapters that treat the music thoroughly and fully, work-by-work, with more substantial explorations of Tchaikovsky's most familiar compositions. These analyses present new, even iconoclastic perspectives on the music and the composer's intent and expression. Several informative appendices, in the Master Musicians format, include an exhaustive list of works and bibliography.

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"An important and serious work by a respected Tchaikovsky scholar that is informative, entertaining, and useful in understanding and appreciating the composer's life and music. Highly recommended!" --Slavic and East European Journal

"Roland John Wiley has written a masterful re-evaluation of Tchaikovsky's life and work. He uses sources critically and discusses the music as serious art, worthy of inclusion in the Western canon on its merits. No other biography of Tchaikovsky surpasses his achievement." Robert W. Oldani, Arizona State University

"It is a formidable challenge to present a comprehensive life-and-works study of Tchaikovsky in one volume, but the author has risen to it with aplomb. He presents us with a great deal of new information from previously censored, as well as neglected sources, and his approach throughout is refreshingly clear and objective." Rosamund Bartlett, Chekhov: Scenes from a Life (Simon and Schuster/Free Press, 2004)

"...an intrepid scholar...Wiley's knowledge of primary and secondary sources is extraordinary...tremendously useful..."-Opera News

"...the rare volume that ought to satisfy professional musicians and general readers alike...a smart, questing and refreshingly clear-sighted companion to the man and his work."-The Washington Post

"Offers straightforward, concise synopses, along with analyses of the musical highlights...A valuable research resource."--Opera News

"The reader is granted a more detailed picture of Tchaikovsky's day-to-day life than has been achieved in any single-volume biography of the composer to date...The book is prodigiously well documented and annotated, and can be profitably read as a guide to the vast secondary literature." --Music & Letters

About the Author

Roland John Wiley is Professor of Music at the University of Michigan and is the author of Tchaikovsky's Ballets.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crisp Prose, Objective Scholarship, and a Fun Read! May 1 2010
By Lee O. Stokowski - Published on Amazon.com
In a volume that has brought forth criticism of "turgid, plodding, and pointless" from a News Junkie, one wonders what The Spare Bedroom Press has brought forth on the public. Well, quite simply what's been done here is a soundly researched and intelligently voiced biography of a composer who desperately needs it. So florid is the usual writing about Tchaikovsky that it's difficult not to think that the writer is trying to imitate the character of the music itself, rather than the person who composed it.

It a forthright, exceptionally well researched and purposefully well mixed scholarly and popular melange of prose, Roland John Wiley has managed to bring off a first rate volume. Would that this kind of dedication and puckish humor extended beyond the confines of his preferred specialities of Russian music to a larger canon of 19th century Beethovinian, Schubertian, or Chopinesque repertoire.

We would all be the richer for it.
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent biography Feb. 8 2010
By Miriam White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's an excellent biography and a real page-turner.
It also was shipped on time and came in an excellent condition.
2 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money Nov. 4 2009
By Forrest Chisman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Although it has been well reviewed, this book is turgid, plodding, and pointless. The pointlessness is deliberate. Amazingly the author goes out of his way to state that his thesis is that an accurate and insightful biography of Tcshaikovsky CANNOT be written. He proves his point, which may satisfy him personally, but leaves the reader wondering why he wasted his time and money.

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