Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
elty. His aversion to the obvious becomes, at times, a positive obsession." Edwin Evans, however, discovers an even more important characteristic in Bax's music. "There is one quality which Bax possesses in abundance and which in our world of atonality and jazz is so rare that its possession is itself romantic. It is the musical equivalent of the layrical impulse in poetry, the attribute which causes utterance to take spontaneously beautiful forms, irrespective of all else. . . . His thoughts may not be unusual, but even in the most debatable of them, there lurks always this element of lyrical beauty, to the rich vein of which is due the fluency and abundance which has at times been ascribed to technical facility. While so many modern musicians are racking themselves with constructive energy, this one oozes music through his pores because there is so much of it within him that he can scarcely contain it." Arnold Bax is often criticized because his music, at certain moments, acquires a sombre frigidity, the chill and grayness of winter rather than the penetrating warmth of summer. But such a criticism is superficial, as Erik Blom has pointed out. "That Arnold Bax deliberately seeks the more sombre or even the terrible aspects of nature, may be seen from the piano piece Winter Waters, which bears the subtitle Tragic Landscafe. This work, with its relentless ostinato theme, surrounded by mournful melodies and harsh, almost shrieking harmonies, has a real freezing effect, yet it is a picture full of beauty.""The music of Arnold Bax"--writes John F. Porte, in summary--"is not the kind that makes a direct appeal at first hearing. Even his enthusiastic admirers will tell you this, with the precautionary intimation that when understanding comes, enduring affection is the certain result. . . . Bax's music has a certain poetical beauty and refinement that is deep- rooted, but rather shy and elusive. . . . One aspect of the music of Bax is particularly appealing, and that is its freedom from outward display. It is certainly complex in structure and rhythm, but it is at least free from the glittering superficialities that allow some music to be mistaken for a time as important."Principal works by Arnold Bax:
ORCHESTRA: Five symphonies; Festival Overture; Four Pieces; Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra; Tintagel; Summer Music; Mediterranean; Happy Forest; Overture to a Picaresque Comedy; The Tale the Pine Trees Knew.
CHAMBER MUSIC: Trio; Sonata for Violin and Piano; Quintet; String Quartet; Quintet for Strings; and Harp; Quartet for Piano and Strings; Quintet for Oboe and Strings; Sonata for Violin and Piano.
BALLETS: Between Dusk and Dawn; The Frog-Skin; Truth About Russian Dancers.

Songs, pieces for piano, etc.

About Arnold Bax:Chesterian n.s. 5:136February 1920; Musical Courier 88:6January 10, 1924; Musical Opinion 43:812May 1926; Musical Times 71:217March 1, 1930.Important recordings of music by Arnold Bax:
VICTOR: Tintagel (Goossens) ; Mediterranean.
NATIONAL GRAMOPHONE SOCIETY: Quartet in G-Major; Sonata for Viola and Harp; Moy Mell; Oboe Quintet; Sonata for Two Pianos.
HIS MASTER'S VOICE: Mater Ora Filium.

Conrad Beck 1901-

CONRAD BECK, one of the more gifted of the younger Swiss composers, was born in Schaffhausen on June 16, 1901. His earliest musical studies were pursued under the private instruction of Volkmar Andreae, and then at the Conservatory of Zurich. Upon graduation, he travelled to Berlin, finally settling in Paris where he studied under Arthur Honegger, who has influenced his artistic career enormously. Beck has since been living mostly in Paris, and during the past five years-- with a series of interesting compositions for orchestra and chamber groups--has proved himself to be a composer with an incisive, almost brusque, speech, a powerful style, and an enormously fresh outlook.

" Conrad Beck, altho a Swiss by birth and educated partly in Switzerland and partly in Paris, really belongs to the German school by virtue of his style and technique," writes Machabey. "His music does not seem original at first sight, because he aims at inner perfection

-16-

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Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Books of the Same Author ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction vii
  • Key to Pronunciations xiv
  • Joseph Achron 1886- 1
  • George Antheil 1900- 3
  • Kurt Atterberg 1887- 4
  • Louis Aubert 1877- 6
  • Georges Auric 1899- 7
  • Granville Bantock 1868- 8
  • Béla Bartók 1881- 10
  • Arnold Bax 1883- 15
  • Robert Russell Bennett 1894- 16
  • Lord Berners 1883. 20
  • Julius Bittner 1874- 22
  • Arthur Bliss 1891- 23
  • Marc Blitzstein 1905- 24
  • Ernest Bloch 1880- 25
  • Rutland Boughton 1878- 26
  • Walter Braunfels 1882- 29
  • Frank Bridge 1879- 31
  • Alfred Bruneau 1857-1934 32
  • Charles Wakefield Cadman 1881- 35
  • Alfredo Casella 1883- 36
  • Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco 1895- 38
  • Juan José Castro 1895- 40
  • Gustave Charpentier 1860. 41
  • Frederick Shepherd Converse 1871- 46
  • Henry Cowell 1897- 49
  • Sir Frederic H. Cowen 1852- 51
  • Sir Walford Davies 1869- 53
  • Claude Debussy 1862-1918 55
  • Frederick Delius 1863-1934 56
  • Ernst Von Dohnányi 1877. 60
  • Arcady Dubensky 1890- 62
  • Paul Dukas 1865- 64
  • Paul Dupin 1865- 67
  • Georges Enesco 1881- 68
  • Manuel De Falla .1876- 70
  • Gabriel Fauré 1845-1924 72
  • Henri Gagnebin 1886- 79
  • Philippe Gaubert 1879- 80
  • George Gershwin 1898- 80
  • Umberto Giordano 1867- 82
  • Alexander Glazunov 1865- 84
  • Reinhold Glière 1874- 86
  • Michael Gniessin 1883- 90
  • Paul Graener 1872- 91
  • Percy Grainger 1882- 93
  • Alexander Gretchaninoff 1864- 94
  • Louis Gruenberg 1883- 96
  • Alois Hába 1893- 98
  • Henry Hadley 1871- 99
  • Reynaldo Hahn 1874- 101
  • Howard Hanson 1896- 103
  • Sandor Harmati 1892- 104
  • Roy Harris 1898- 106
  • Edward Burlingame Hill 1872- 110
  • Paul Hindemith 1895- 112
  • Gustav Holst 1874-1934 115
  • Arthur Honegger 1892- 117
  • Herbert Howells 1892- 119
  • Jacques Ibert 1890- 120
  • Vincent D'Indy 1851-1931 122
  • Michael Ippolitov-Ivanov 1859- 123
  • John Ireland 1879- 125
  • Frederick Jacobi 1891- 128
  • Leoš Janáček 1854-1928 130
  • Werner Janssen 1900- 131
  • Joseph Jongen 1873. 133
  • Werner Josten 1888- 134
  • Paul Juon 1872- 135
  • Heinrich Kaminski 1886- 136
  • Wilhelm Kienzl 1857- 139
  • Lyof Knipper 1898- 140
  • Zoltan Kodály 1882- 141
  • Erich Wolfgang Korngold 1897- 142
  • A. Walter Kramer 1890- 147
  • Alexander Kreyn 1883- 148
  • Ladislas Lajtha 1892- 151
  • Constant Lambert 1905- 151
  • Charles Martin Loeffler 1861- 152
  • Nikolai Lopatnikoff 1903- 153
  • Igor Markevitch 1912- 157
  • Frank Martin 1890- 159
  • Bohuslav Martinu 1890- 161
  • Joseph Marx 1882- 162
  • Pietro Mascagni 1863- 164
  • Daniel Gregory Mason 1873- 165
  • Nikolai Medtner 1880- 167
  • Nikolai Miaskovsky 1881- 168
  • Georges Migot 1891- 170
  • Darius Milhaud 1892- 171
  • Italo Montemezzi 1875- 175
  • Harold Morris 1890- 176
  • Alexander Mossolov 1900- 177
  • Leo Ornstein 1895- 179
  • Ignace Jan Paderewski 1860- 181
  • Hans Pfitzner 1869- 185
  • Willem Pijper 1894- 189
  • Paul Pisk 1893- 191
  • Walter Piston 1894- 192
  • Ildebrando Pizzetti 1880- 193
  • Francis Poulenc 1899- 194
  • John Powell 1882- 196
  • Serge Prokofieff 1891- 198
  • Henri Rabaud 1873- 199
  • Serge Rachmaninoff 1873- 201
  • Maurice Ravel 1875- 205
  • Rhené-Baton 1879- 210
  • Wallingford Riegger 1885. 212
  • Vittorio Rieti 1898- 213
  • Roger-Ducasse 1875- 215
  • Dane Rudhyar 1895- 218
  • Carl Ruggles 1876- 220
  • Victor De Sabata 1892- 221
  • Lazare Saminsky 1882- 224
  • Ernest Schelling 1876- 226
  • Joseph Schillinger 1895- 228
  • Max Von Schillings 1868-1933 230
  • Florent Schmitt 1870. 232
  • Arnold Schönberg 1874- 234
  • Cyril Scott 1879- 238
  • Alexander Scriabin 1871-1915 240
  • Bernhard Sekles 1872- 242
  • Roger Sessions 1896- 245
  • Dmitri Shostakowitch 1906- 246
  • Christian Sinding 249
  • Leone Sinigaglia 1868- 252
  • David Stanley Smith 1877­ 253
  • Leo Sowerby 1895- 255
  • William Grant Still 1895- 256
  • Albert Stoessel 1894- 258
  • Richard Strauss 1864- 259
  • Igor Stravinsky 1882- 260
  • Edwin J. Stringham 1890- 268
  • Alexander Tansman 1897- 270
  • Deems Taylor 1885- 271
  • Alexander Tcherepnine 1899- 273
  • Nikolai Tcherepnine 1873- 275
  • Virgil Thomson 1896- 276
  • Ernest Toch 1887- 278
  • Vincenzo Tommasini 1880- 279
  • Joaquin Turina 1882. 281
  • Edgar Varèse 1885- 283
  • Ralph Vaughan-Williams 1872- 284
  • Hector Villa-Lobos 1886- 286
  • H. Waldo-Warner 1874- 288
  • William Walton 1902- 290
  • Anton Webern 1883- 291
  • Kurt Weill 1900- 292
  • Jaromir Weinberger 1896- 295
  • Leo Weiner 1885- 296
  • Adolph Weiss 1891- 298
  • Egon Wellesz 1885- 300
  • Alexander Weprik .1899- 301
  • Riccardo Zandonai 1883- 305
  • Bibliography of Modern Music 309
  • Index 313
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