As Kathleen Woodward pointedly puts it, Neither in Freudian analysis nor in other major discourses of western culture do we find old age represented. Richard Strauss 1864—1949 A Life Review in Music 5. Britten, meanwhile, suffering from heart problems, refused surgery until he had completed his masterpiece, Death in Venice. Schwarz, introduction to Memory and Desire: Aging—Literature—Psychoanalysis Age can do less and less, but age continues to know, indeed knows more and more, grows more and more in understanding, in the strong wisdom of the heart, and that is what makes the cruel and beautiful paradox of age. But it has been much less explored by theorists. Timely in its arguments, Four Last Songs will appeal widely and make a powerful impact. Our ability to adapt to these alterations will determine how fulfilled we are in our later years.
Your order is also backed by our! Having prematurely lamented lost youth at twenty-five! The Hutcheons argue that Verdi's final opera strikingly combines continuity with rupture, concepts that appear in their explanations of each composer. ¹² Aging can be—and is—experienced in many different ways, but it is likely to bring changes that are physical, social, psychological, and sometimes cognitive. In many cultures they have been represented as both wise and foolish, as both powerful authorities and infirm burdens. This important book beautifully validates what those who continue to pursue professional and personal projects in their late years already know; but for others, who associate aging with ebbing energy and creative fatigue, this book is, and should be, a revelation. Aging and creativity can seem a particularly fraught relationship for artists, who often face age-related difficulties as their audience's expectations are at a peak. Holland, Not So Little Hans: Identity and Aging Contents 1. It displays a tremendous range of knowledge across a spectrum of disciplines: musicology, critical theory, humanistic gerontology.
Get our exclusive newsletter and follow us on or for all the latest. That plus the development for the first time of a theory of old age and the fields of gerontology and geriatrics, makes 19 th and early 20 th century composers particularly interesting to show case. Three of the four composers lived through both world wars, for example, and could not help but be changed, musically and developmentally by those events. By investigating their own attitudes to their aging and their creativity, their late compositions, and the critical reception of them, this book tells the stories of their different but creative ways of dealing with those changes, Each composer began his career in an individual manner; each also ended it in a unique way. Where does creativity fit in? Perhaps all four books are equally weighty, but for me this one seems genuinely momentous, and indeed catching me a bit by surprise. In the twenty-first century, it has become almost a moral imperative to live as long as possible; but in our youth-oriented culture, no one wants to be old, or, perhaps more to the point, to be seen as old. Strauss, on the other hand, struggling with personal and political problems in Nazi Germany, composed the self-reflexive Capriccio, a life review of opera and his own legacy.
We recognized in it an undercurrent of concern, not to say dread, about aging that is prevalent in our own times—witness the ubiquitous rueful jokes about memory or physical changes associated with age. Giuseppe Verdi 1813 1901 , Richard Strauss 1864 1949 , Olivier Messiaen 1908 92 , and Benjamin Britten 1913 76 all wrote operas late in life, pieces that reveal unique responses to the challenges of growing older. The authors aptly focus on a time period nineteenth through twentieth century when composers possessed notable creative control, had to weather substantial political storms, straddled an aesthetic shift to modern forms of music, and witnessed the birth of old age as a meaningful category. The authors explore this issue through close looks at those who created some of the world's most beloved and influential operas. Verdi by Giovanni Boldini Four Last Songs: Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten; By Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon; University of Chicago Press. Through its treatment of these composers' final years, Four Last Songs prives a valuable look at the challenges-and opportunities-that present themselves as artists grow older. In Four Last Songs, Linda and Michael Hutcheon explore this issue via the late works of some of the world's greatest composers.
In fact, it raises the possibility that such will power made their longevity possible in addition to enriching it. Verdi's Falstaff, they show, was alternately received as new because of its departure from his usual tragedies and tired because of its failure to follow through on what some critics expected from a seventy-nine-year-old composer. Here the stag, which represents humanity, is pursued by passions, sickness, old age, and death. Giuseppe Verdi 1813—1901 , Richard Strauss 1864—1949 , Olivier Messiaen 1908—92 , and Benjamin Britten 1913—76 all wrote operas late in life, pieces that reveal unique responses to the challenges of growing older. Verdi's Falstaff, his only comedic success, combated Richard Wagner's influence by introducing young Italian composers to a new model of national music.
The incitement to create, they explain, is heightened by the desire to prove ongoing virtuosity. Please contact Rose Rittenhouse at 773 702-0376 or rittenhouse uchicago. Giuseppe Verdi 1813—1901 , Richard Strauss 1864—1949 , Olivier Messiaen 1908—92 , and Benjamin Britten 1913—76 all wrote operas late in life, pieces that reveal unique responses to the challenges of growing older. Though it exhausted him physically and emotionally, Messiaen at the age of seventy-five finished his only opera, Saint Fran ois d'Assise, which marked the pinnacle of his career. A text on a banner informs us translated from the Old French : Then Old Age mounts an all-out assault That drives him from the lake And unleashes upon him Pain and Doubt, Cold and Heat, and thus brings on Care and Trouble to seize him. As an opera lover Verdi s Falstaff is one of my particular favorites , I enjoyed the stories about these remarkable composers. Bravo to the Hutcheons for bringing their historical discoveries and brilliant sense of the unexplored to inspire age studies today and into the future.
Their most notable contribution is their explanation of how late style depends upon critics, especially their latent and overt views of aging. Verdi's Falstaff, his only comedic success, combated Richard Wagner's influence by introducing young Italian composers to a new model of national music. Where does creativity fit in? For all four composers, age, far from sapping their creative power, provided impetus for some of their best accomplishments. I thought I knew what aging was, what the issues were, but after reading Four Last Songs, I recognize how much there is to know, how two-dimensional our cultural assumptions concerning aging truly are. The Hutcheons are pioneers in creating such a synthesis.
Conclusion: The Particularities of Aging and Creativity Acknowledgments Notes Index Chapter One Setting the Stage Several years ago, on a visit to the Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, we came upon an early sixteenth-century tapestry from the Southern Lowlands called The Hunt of the Frail Stag fig. The Hutcheons are pioneers in creating such a synthesis. Linda and Michael Hutcheon offer a timely exploration of this question in Four Last Songs. The authors explore this issue through close looks at those who created some of the world's most beloved and influential operas. Finally, this aging population is itself aging: its average age is increasing as people live longer. A masterclass in interdisciplinarity, the Hutcheons' monograph gathers richly contextualized biographies and music history situated within broad artistic, social, and political forces, read through critical age studies.
The huge sheets were spread out across the table, with me standing before it, the double bass in my stomach and the piccolo at the other side of the table. Aging and creativity can have a particularly difficult relationship for artists, who often face age-related problems at a time when their audience's expectations of their talents are at a peak. For many, mandatory retirement became one of the institutional causes of the increased segregation and thus the reduction in social status of older people. Four Last Songs is at times as accessible as pop culture yet very careful in its language, scholarly in its research and in the conclusions it draws. Opera is an art form with a four-hundred-year continuous history, a complex form that brings together even before its staged production multiple arts: music, drama, and poetry. Old Age Drives the Stag out of a Lake and the Hounds Heat, Grief, Cold, Anxiety, Age, and Heaviness Pursue Him from The Hunt of the Frail Stag.
What claims to wisdom can age authorize in a culture increasingly democratized by its own technological powers, so that the young may appear to be more adaptive than the old, and the sense of history seem more a burden than a source of access to sustaining truths about a common human condition? How does their own aging influence and become reflected in their music? The canonical composers whose stories are told here—Giuseppe Verdi 1813—1901 , Richard Strauss 1864—1949 , Olivier Messiaen 1908—1992 , and Benjamin Britten 1913—1976 —offer radically individual responses to that question. And thus were born, in the twentieth century, both geriatrics and gerontology as disciplines. The Hutcheons are pioneers in creating such a synthesis. But because it is a staged as well as a complex dramatic form, it is by definition an expensive art form to produce. Perhaps it is because the focus this time is less the creations than the creators, in these case-studies of the composers themselves and the questions they each faced of how a life can be lived: questions we all must face.