Fifty Years of a Life in Music, 1905-1955/cinquant'anni Di Vita Nella Musica
This memoir records Elsa Resphighi's direct involvement with composers, performers, conductors, teachers, audiences, politicians, and patrons. The wife of Ottorino Respighi, she was professionally and socially close to such figures as Toscanini, Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Casals, Segovia, Rubinstein, Ravel, Caruso, D'Annunzio, Puccini, and Isadora Duncan. She went to school with Beniamino Gigli, saw Gustav Mahler collapse at the podium, and witnessed Toscanini's defiance of Mussolini's Black Shirts. Her superbly informed narrative establishes a cultural, historical context for the major musical styles of the early twentieth century. Performers, composers, students of twentieth-century music and history, and those in women's studies will find valuable information, and a story written with passion and commitment.
"A book of interest to any student of music, formerly available only in Italian, has now been translated into English. . . . She [Elsa Respighi] with her eyes and ears keenly open, has preserved, in writing, a multitude of remarkable moments. Because of her powers of observation, her insights, her candor, her knowledge of music, her perception of human nature, the events she recalls have a special poignancy and a unique significance. . . . commentary abounds concerning each individual, his craft, his personality, his philosophy, his outlook, or his impact on others. Any student of history of the first 50 years of the 20th century, whether a layman or a professional musician, can clearly profit from reading this text. . . . The translators have succeeded in making a foreign text read quite naturally like a story in English. They have also added an extensive index. . . includes extended cross references in Italian and in English as well as the listing of specific musical composition." - Richard X. Sanchez
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