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Nadia Boulanger – composer, critic, impresario, and the most famous composition teacher of the twentieth century – was also a performer of international repute. Her concerts and recordings with her vocal ensemble introduced audiences on both sides of the Atlantic to unfamiliar historical works and new compositions. This book considers how gender shaped the possibilities that marked Boulanger's performing career, tracing her meteoric rise as a conductor in the 1930s to origins in the classroom and the salon. Brooks investigates Boulanger's promotion of structurally motivated performance styles, showing how her ideas on performance of historical repertory and new music relate to her teaching of music analysis and music history. The book explores the way in which Boulanger's musical practice relied upon her understanding of the historically transcendent masterwork, in which musical form and meaning are ideally joined, and show how her ideas relate to broader currents in French aesthetics and culture.Read more
- Proposes a new approach to Nadia Boulanger's career and influence through the history of performance
- Uses Boulanger as a test case to investigate the impact of modernist concepts of the musical work on performance culture
- Draws upon a wide body of evidence, including unreleased recordings, annotated scores, concert programmes, unpublished letters and diaries, uncovering a range of materials previously unknown to musical scholarship
Reviews & endorsements
'[An] excellent introduction … well-researched, conscientiously written …' Classical MusicSee more reviews
'A well-researched and compiled portrait.' Gramophone
'This is an informative, inspiring book, about one of the twentieth century’s most influential musicians … The book is not only a thoroughly researched and scholarly work, but also a jolly good read. Jeanice Brooks situates Boulanger in a context of her time, referring to biographical and world events and contemporary philosophical ideas about the arts, in a way that shows how Boulanger was both very much a woman of her age, and how extraordinary she was.' Monica Buckland, Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music
'Brooks’ study is underpinned by painstaking archival work, draws usefully throughout on insights gleaned from Boulanger’s own critical writing, and is illustrated by copious examples from Boulanger’s annotated scores and concert programmes, a good number of which are beautifully reproduced in the text. The companion website provides helpful sound clips which illustrate Boulanger’s musical approach. This study presents a new, valuable and fruitful approach to considering Nadia Boulanger. It will contribute tremendously to understanding her near mythical reception and revising the foundations on which her legacy lies.' Laura Hamer, Journal of the Royal Musical Association
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- Date Published: September 2016
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781316616383
- length: 306 pages
- dimensions: 245 x 170 x 18 mm
- weight: 0.55kg
- contains: 39 b/w illus. 17 music examples
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Introduction: the works that stand for the time
Part I. The Work in Performance:
1. Nadia Boulanger between the wars
2. Nadia Boulanger's musical work
3. Performing the work
Part II. The Work in History:
4. The problem of concerts
5. New links between them
6. Tomb or treasure
7. The art of assembling art
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Tracks to accompany the book 'The Musical Works of Nadia Boulanger'.
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