Peter Härtling: Schumanns Schatten. ISBN 978-3-423-12581-9 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Another wonderful composer’s biography. Härtling portrayed Fanny Mendelssohn, Franz Schubert and now Robert Schumann with much empathy and a solid knowledge of the facts. I read it with great pleasure.
Robert Schumann: Schriften über Musik und Musiker. ISBN 978-3-15-018716-6 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Schumann was not only a fantastic composer, but also en excellent writer. As a composer and critic he used different aliases to comment contemporary developments in music. A fascinating insight in his mind and the early 19th century. A selection of his essays translated into English has been published by Henry Pleasants (ed.) under the title: Robert Schumann: Selection from the Writings.
Posts about Schumann on my music blog:
Schumann leads the vanguard to the light
Satire and passion for the benefit of mankind
Heinrich Meier (Hg.): Über das Glück. Ein Symposion. ISBN 978-3-492-25304-8 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ A collection of scientific essays on luck and happiness. Aspects from literature, psychology and philosophy. Interesting, but very hard to read for a tired mind. I did not finish it which almost never happens. However I do not rule out to take it up again – with a more alert mind.
However I know how to find happiness. With works from the Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach:
Souvenirs of cozyness triggered by a Bach sonata
Bach appeals to our sense of beauty
Andrew Mango: Atatürk. The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey. ISBN: 978-1-58567-334-6 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A fascinating portrait of Kemal Mustafa Atatürk, the end of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of a modern yet Muslim state.
The Turkish composer Ahmed Adnan Saygun was a contemporary of Atatürk and had studied music in France before returning to Turkey to become a renown composer.
Of missed opportunities and burning bridges
Ramita Navai: Vivre et mentir à Téhéran. (English title: City of Lies) ISBN 978-2-234-07808-6 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Interesting and amusing short stories about citizen of Tehran, how they live and lie to survive. Small lies, big lies, harmless lies, brutal lies and above all the strong wish to live – a charming portrait of the country of Iran.
Everybody’ cheating on everybody and the worst liar of opera history certainly is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni:
Rape, murder, love and vengeance in two acts
Thomas Mann: Mario und der Zauberer. (English title: Mario and the Magician) ISBN 978-3-596-21381-8 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I know why I love the German language and I know why I love Thomas Mann: Each word well chosen, each sentence carefully crafted. A fine novel about “us” and “them”, the manipulation of people, the abuse of power and man’s response to evil: freeze, flee or fight.
Thomas Mann: Tonio Kröger. ISBN 978-3-596-21381-8 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A novel reflecting man’s identity and how he may or may not express his emotions and his sensitivity. Beautiful.
Both novels have been published in English under the titles “Mario and the Magician” and “Tonio Kroeger” respectively.
Thomas Mann’s novels very often allude to German Romanticim composers, be it Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann or Richard Wagner:
A breeding ground for emotions and revolutions