Cover art for Life & Works - Giuseppe Verdi

Life & Works - Giuseppe Verdi

Summary

With the possible exception of Mozart, Verdi is the most popular opera composer who ever lived. Quite early in his career his tunes were being cranked out by barrel organs throughout Europe and were well known to many who may never even have heard his name. But the complex man behind them remains elusive and puzzling. In this portrait-in-sound, Jeremy Siepmann and a group of distinguished actors take an in-depth look behind the popular image of a man who was, and perhaps remains, the most enduring national hero in Italian history and a colossus in the history of music itself. Here, Verdi comes alive through an utterly committed portrayal by Freddie Jones. The composer’s larger-than-life personality, with all its self-indulgent outbursts and irresistible expressions of artistic genius, is here conveyed in a unique and touching way. We can follow his path, as exemplary passages of music are smoothly intermingled with spoken text. Jeremy Siepmann’s narration is enthralling and detailed, and the character behind this most fervently Italian music is fascinating to discover.PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2003 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2003 Naxos AudioBooks

Available on Audible
Cover art for The Life and Works of Beethoven

The Life and Works of Beethoven

Summary

For many people, Beethoven is the greatest composer who ever lived. In this portrait-in-sound, actors’ readings combine with his music to reveal a titanic personality, both vulnerable and belligerent, comic and tragic, and above all heroic, as he comes to grips with perhaps the greatest disability a musician can suffer. No man’s music is more universal; few men’s lives are more inspiring. In every sense but one - his modest height - he was a giant. The great bonus of this audio-biography is that the development of Beethoven’s music can be heard in the context of his life. What did he write in those early, ambitious years when he was at the peak of his musical powers? What did he write when beset with anxiety over his failing hearing? And what was the music that insisted on pouring out of him, even though he couldn’t hear it himself? Jeremy Siepmann draws us into the private world of Ludwig van Beethoven, with the composer portrayed with rugged vividness by Bob Peck. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2003 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2003 Naxos AudioBooks

Available on Audible
Cover art for Life & Works - Franz Schubert

Life & Works - Franz Schubert

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Summary

The life of Franz Schubert has been a gift to romantically inclined biographers: the beautiful, brilliant, modest boy who sprang to fully fledged genius at the age of 16; the quintessential "artist in a garret", entirely consumed by his art and living a hand-to-mouth existence in Vienna (home of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven); the gentle, cheerful, convivial young man who prized friendship almost as highly as music itself; the unworldly poet from whom great music poured like water from a fountain; the unrecognized master who died almost penniless at the age of 31. And most of this is true. But, as revealed in this dramatized biography (lavishly illustrated with musical examples), there was a secret, darker side to Schubert which only renders his story that much more fascinating.

©2004 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2004 Naxos AudioBooks

Available on Audible
Cover art for The Life and Works of Bach

The Life and Works of Bach

Summary

Although now beloved and revered by millions as the greatest composer who ever lived, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) was best known in his lifetime as an organist, and was eclipsed in fame as a composer by two of his twenty children. For the last twenty-seven years of his life he was a schoolteacher and choir director whose duties extended to meal supervision and dormitory inspection. Yet throughout his career he composed a vast body of music which is amongst the most joyful, dancing and enrapturing ever written. This portrait-in-sound includes many examples of the music that made him immortal. With compelling narration by Jeremy Siepmann, character portrayals by acclaimed actors, and the interpolation of over twenty-five substantial musical extracts reflecting the development of one of music’s most enduringly awe-inspiring composers, we are transported back three centuries straight into the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. This innovative sense of immediacy is at the heart of this comprehensive audio-biography, depicting the life of a composer whose music is universally admired.PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2002 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2002 Naxos AudioBooks

Available on Audible
Cover art for The Life and Works of Mozart

The Life and Works of Mozart

Summary

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the most astonishing child prodigy in the history of music, is felt by many people to be the greatest composer who ever lived. Dominated and shaped by a highly intelligent but frustrated and ambitious father, his story sees the development of a unique genius, from precocious and often endearing childhood to liberated fulfillment, unexpected poverty, and a tragically early death. Generously illustrated by Mozart’s music, from his fifth to his final year, this portrait-in-sound reveals a fascinating yet elusive character, drawing richly on the words of the composer himself and those who knew him. This is the ideal way to understand more about Mozart the man, and his music. Throughout his life, he wrote numerous letters - to his father and his friends and pupils - and his musical colleagues wrote about him. On this entertaining recording, with parts read by various actors, Mozart himself comes to life - with his sublime music ever-present as his career unfolds.

©2002 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2002 Naxos AudioBooks

Available on Audible
Cover art for The Life and Works of Franz Liszt

The Life and Works of Franz Liszt

Summary

The life of Franz Liszt was as daring and spectacular as his music. Famed throughout Europe as the greatest pianist of the 19th century, he was one of the most original and prophetic composers who ever lived. Beautiful in youth, glowering in age, his high-profile love affairs were the talk of the town wherever he went and his generosity to young musicians was legendary. In this account of his epic life, actors’ readings combine with plentiful musical excerpts to paint a living portrait of a highly complex man. The greatest surprise in this audio-biography of Franz Liszt is that, despite his reputation as a lion of the keyboard and one of the hugely popular superstars of his era, he was, in fact, a steady personality. As Jeremy Siepmann shows, for all Liszt’s pyrotechnics on the keyboard, and itinerant life, he did not succumb uninhibitedly to the temptations of his environment. There existed a deeply reflective strain within him, which is why and how he eventually transformed his public persona from the fabulous virtuoso to Abbé Liszt - as can be experienced in the readings from his letters and memories by Neville Jason.

©2003 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2003 Naxos AudioBooks

Available on Audible
Cover art for Life & Works - Johannes Brahms

Life & Works - Johannes Brahms

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Summary

Brahms is one of the best loved yet most controversial of all the Romantics. Almost uniquely, his works have never suffered the slightest period of eclipse. Profoundly emotional yet governed by an iron discipline, the music, like the man, is a fascinating, entertaining, often deeply moving blend of opposites. He had a gift for friendship and a capacity for love far beyond the ordinary, yet no man could be ruder or more hurtful. Though humble, he was consumed by a sense of destiny, and his inner life, colored by his adoration and fear of women, found expression in some of the greatest music ever written. Listening to this audio-biography is leaping inside the life and times of a great German Romantic, understanding the man who was haunted by the ghost of Beethoven for years and was 43 before he wrote his first symphony. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2002 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2002 Naxos AudioBooks

Available on Audible