"Zemlinsky -- all hail to you!" wrote the young Alma. "All hail to you and your art". When she first met him, Zemlinsky was the most promising Viennese composer of his generation. In 1901, when Alma abruptly ended their passionate love affair in order to marry Gustav Mahler, the crisis served to transform Zemlinsky's talent into mastery. Only long after his death, however, did his music begin to receive its due. Zemlinsky was central to the musical life of Vienna and Central Europe, and this brilliant biography illuminates a social and cultural milieu that disappeared forever with the triumph of Hitler's Reich.
Beaumont details the composer's early years as a protege of Brahms and Mahler, his complex friendship with his brother-in-law Arnold Schoenberg, the influence of his teaching on the boy-prodigy Erich Korngold, his kindly and helpful attitude toward the hypersensitive Anton Webern, and his heartfelt friendship with Alban Berg. Zemlinsky was one of the leading conductors of the interwar period, considered by both Schoenberg and Stravinsky the finest they had ever heard. Beaumont charts Zemlinsky's career from Vienna to Berlin, St. Petersburg, and Prague, providing insight into his Catholic-Sephardic background and investigating his keen interest in esoteric aspects of music, including color symbolism and numerology. The author's analyses of Zemlinsky's major scores are accessible and fully contextualized.
"A valuable and often interesting book."-American Record Guide, January/February 2001 "A valuable and often interesting book." American Record Guide, January/February 2001" "This is a ground-breaking work, important not only for the wealth of information that it provides about its subject, but also for its unflinchingly honest account of the complexities of cultural life in Central Europe between the 1870s and the Second World War. . . 'My time will come after my death', Zemlinsky had said. For half a century, his prediction rang no truer than similar ones made by a thousand. . . geniuses; over the past decade, however, it has begun to sound prophetic. Antony Beaumont's fascinating book goes a long way towards explaining why this is so, and it has the added virture of making one want to discover as soon as possible all of Zemlinsky's works that one hasn't already heard."--Harvey Sachs, Times Literary Supplement, November 2000 "Born in 1871, Alexander Zemlinsky, a protege of Brahms and Mahler, was regarded as the most promising Viennese composer of his generation. . . This carefully documented book belongs in every music library and will be of interest to anyone who wishes to explore the social and cultural milieu that disappeared with the triumph of Hitler's Reich."--Choice, December 2000 "A valuable and often interesting book."--American Record Guide, January/February 2001 "Zemlinsky was one of the most significant composers and conductors of his age and must be considered one of Austria's leading twentieth-century opera composers. We are now in a position to re-create the cultural world of early twentieth-century central Europe in all its rich diversity and in doing so we are better able to understand and place in context the legacy of its better-known modernists. Antony Beaumont is thoroughly acquainted with the period, its sources, and personalities and his book is a treasure trove of new information. Beaumont's book will certainly remain the standard work on Zemlinsky for years to come. What is more, it sets standards for how such a biography should be done."--Christopher Hailey, director of the Franz Schreker Foundation, and author of Franz Schreker: A Cultural Biography