Hans Von Bulow

Hans Von Bulow : A Life and Times

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Hans von Bulow is a key figure in 19th century music whose career path was as broad as it was successful. Music history's first virtuoso orchestral conductor, Bulow created the model for the profession-both in musical brilliance and in domineering personality-which still holds forth today. He was an eminent and renowned concert pianist, a respected (and often feared) teacher and music critic, an influential editor of works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Beethoven, and a composer in a variety of musical genres. As a student and son-in-law of Franz Liszt, and estranged friend of Richard Wagner (for whom his wife Cosima famously left him), Bulow is intricately connected with the canonical greats of the period. Yet despite his critical and lasting importance for orchestral music, Bulow's life and significant achievements have yet to be heralded in biographical form. In Hans von Bulow: A Life and Times, Alan Walker, the acclaimed author of numerous award-winning books on the era's iconic composers, provides the first full-length English biography of this remarkable musical figure. Walker traces Bulow's life in illuminating and engaging detail, from the first piano lessons of his boyhood days, to his first American tour, to his last days as conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Unearthing Bulow's extensive and previously unavailable correspondence and writings, Walker conveys amusing and informative anecdotes about this unique musical legend- from his sardonic and clever personality to his meticulous devotion to his work-and reveals enlightening insights on the still-contested sensibilities of musical-compositional style and "idea" at play in the vibrant musical world of which Bulow was a part.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 544 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 35.56mm | 884.5g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 70 half tone, 1 line illustration
  • 0195368681
  • 9780195368680
  • 892,079

Review quote

This study of Hans von Bulow must stand as one of the most important and indeed necessary biographies of a musician published in recent times ... compelling * Roger Allen, Music and Letters * a profitable read for anyone interested in the musicians and activities that von Bulow's life touched * David Breckbill, BBC Music Magazine * Worth the wait... In English, Walker's book has no competition. Its sixty-three illustrations and programme reproductions add much to the reader's pleasure... A remarkable repository of information on Bulow. * The Hungarian Quarterly * Walker's narrative unfolds with energy, and provides an impressively rounded portrait of his subject, full of flaws as well as strengths... Generously laced with witty, wise anecdotes, copious footnotes, elegant illustrations and a family tree, as well as a hefty index and source list, the book represents a seminal study of one of the movers and shakers of 19th-century music, a relatively unsung hero of musical history. * The Wagner Journal * This magnificent long-overdue biography is the monument to Bulow that never was... What Truman Capote did in In Cold Blood towards creating a new genre of fiction faction that is to say a documentary with all its existential drama built in, Walker has contrived to do by extension in biography or should we call it biografaction where by connecting up data in the form of letters, civic documents and newspaper reports, together with an uncanny interpretive gift for reading between the lines, he creates a vital context whereby his book, quite apart from its profundity, finishes by being as unputdownable as the latest historical novel by Mary Renault. * EPTA Piano Journal * Throughout the book, Walker delights the reader with rich insights and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the field, always infusing his elegant prose with a love of detail and irony, anecdotes and connections fuelled with wit and wisdom, all of which brings the subject alive. As a result his book promises to enrich scholars and music lovers alike, and to turn Beethovenians and Wagnerians into Von Bulowians: a must-read. * Malcolm Miller, Arietta Journal * Alan Walker's ground-breaking Hans von Bulow: A Life and Times is the first objective biography of a major player who, for all his social ineptitude, shaped the musical world as we know it today. * Wall Street Journal * what an enthralling book, finely researched! * John Amis, Musical Opinion * provides a fascinating study of a man who intersected with all the great musicians of his day...engaging, well-written book * C. Cai, CHOICE *show more

About Alan Walker

Alan Walker is Professor Emeritus of Music at McMaster University and author of several books, including a three volume biography of Franz Lizst. He is a former staff member of the Music Division of the British Broadcasting Corporation.show more

Table of contents

ILLUSTRATIONS; THE BULOW CHRONICLES; BULOW'S FAMILY TREE; PROLOGUE; BOOK ONE: ON THE SLOPES OF PARNASSUS, 1830-1869; BOOK TWO: ASCENDING THE PEAK, 1870-1880; BOOK THREE: VISTAS FROM THE SUMMIT, 1880-1894; APPENDIX I: BULOW'S AUTOPSY REPORT; APPENDIX II: COMPLETE CATALOGUE OF BULOW'S COMPOSITIONS, TRANSCRIPTIONS, AND EDITIONS; APPENDIX III: BULOW'S TITLES AND HONOURS; LIST OF SOURCES; INDEXshow more

Rating details

9 ratings
4.33 out of 5 stars
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