Charles Mackerras

March 2015
44 black and white illustrations
336 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC MUS008000, MUS006000

Charles Mackerras

Edited by Nigel Simeone, John Tyrrell

eBook for Handhelds
Comprising a brief biography and chapters written by those who worked with him, such as Janet Baker and Alfred Brendel, this is a celebration of an exceptional, creative life.
By the time of his death in 2010 at the age of 84, Sir Charles Mackerras had achieved widespread recognition, recorded extensively and developed into a conductor of major international significance. In addition to areas in which he already had forged a distinctive profile (Janácek, Mozart, Handel, Sullivan) he revisited - and rethought - much of the standard repertoire. The last thirty years were particularly momentous in the coming to fruition of so many cherished projects: not only the Janácek operas but the Gilbert and Sullivan series, the Mozart operas, the two Beethoven cycles, other projects with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Schumann and Brahms at Edinburgh; the outstanding late Mozart) and at the Royal Opera House and the Met. Unspoilt by fame, and undeterred by personal tragedies and increasing physical frailty, he remained productive and inventive: for him music-making, whether with world-class singers and orchestras or with students, was a kind of joyous oxygen that kept him going right to the end.
A detailed account of his life is complemented by contributions from performers and scholars who worked closely with Mackerras, as well as interviews with his family. The book is richly illustrated with photographs and documents, and includes a comprehensive discography along with listings of many of his concert and opera performances. While Sir Charles's whole life is considered, emphasis is given to his final quarter century, a period in which so many important projects were realized. This book celebrates and epitomizes an exceptional life.

NIGEL SIMEONE is a writer and teacher. He has published extensively on Messiaen and Janácek and recently edited The Leonard Bernstein Letters.
JOHN TYRRELL is Honorary Professor of Music at Cardiff University. He has published books on Janácek and Czech opera and, with Sir Charles Mackerras, edited two Janácek operas. CONTRIBUTORS: Janet Baker, Alfred Brendel, Ales Brezina, Alex Briger, Rosenna East, Anne Evans, Nicholas Hytner, Simon Keenlyside, David Lloyd-Jones, David Mackie, Chi-chi Nwanoku, Antonio Pappano, Nigel Simeone, John Stein, Heinz Stolba, Patrick Summers, John Tyrrell, Malcolm Walker, David Whelton, Jirí Zahrádka.

Chales Mackerras Chapter 8 Extract

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Keywords: Music

Table of Contents

Charles Mackerras: A Chronology
Prologue: A Eulogy for Charles - Janet Baker
An Immense Stylist Evolves: 1947-87 - Nigel Simeone
A Personal Portrait of Charles Mackerras - David Lloyd-Jones
Mackerras and Janáček - John Tyrrell
Goat's Milk in Vienna: Three Memorable Meetings - Heinz Stolba
The Lion: Charles Mackerras - Patrick Summers
'The Musical Values of Opera': WNO, 1987-92 - Nigel Simeone
Remembering Charles in Wales - John Stein
Triumphs and Tribulations: Opera, 1993-2001 - Nigel Simeone
'Impeccable musicianship and enthusiasm for whatever he did' - Anne Evans
Rethinking Old Favourites: Opera, 2002-10 - Nigel Simeone
Viva Charlie! - Antonio Pappano
A Master of Mozart - Simon Keenlyside
Three Memorable Collaborations - Nicholas Hytner
The last great 'Czech' conductor - Jiří Zahrádka
Reminiscences of a friend and colleague - Jiří Zahrádka
Reconstructing a Better Version of The Greek Passion - Aleš Březina
Reconstructing Sullivan's Cello Concerto - David Mackie
Three Orchestras - Nigel Simeone
'And there was Light!' Sir Charles and the OAE - Chi-chi Nwanoku
An Electric Entrance - Rosenna East
On Sir Charles Mackerras - Alfred Brendel
Sir Charles at the Philharmonia - David Whelton
Coda - Nigel Simeone
Appendix 1: Mackerras in Performance
Appendix 2: Desert Island Lists - Nigel Simeone
Discography - Malcolm Walker
Editions and Arrangements by Charles Mackerras


Admirably succeeds in offering...a broad overview of the life and career of the conductor Charles Mackerras...whets one's appetite to go back to the recordings. MUSICAL TIMES

Nigel Simeone and John Tyrrell have produced an outstanding volume and to whom the many admirers of Charles Mackerras and music lovers in general will be indebted. BRIO

"Charles Mackerras" is a treasure of a book, good for dipping into. BIRMINGHAM POST

[A] very welcome and comprehensive book. AUSTRALIAN BOOK REVIEW


Simeone and Tyrrell have achieved a remarkable synthesis of perspectives on Mackerras that is a model of its kind. . . . Offer[s] a picture of not only one of the most influential conductors of modern times, but also of a musical culture - of what music, as a performed art, really entails. . . . This book will be invaluable for students of performance history, for aspiring conductors, and for anyone who is intrigued by the art and craft of conducting. . . . Beautifully produced and edited, with over forty illustrations. NABSMA Reviews

[An] excellent documentation of Sir Charles' long career. THE DELIAN

The Mackerras biography is a book that you will love, if you knew Charlie, either as musician or happy audience member. It will feel like meeting an old friend again. It's a book that aspiring musicians should read ... they will be inspired, directed, humbled and challenged by it. THE HERALD

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