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Something to live for : the music of Billy Strayhorn
Leur, Walter van de.
Adult Nonfiction ML410.S9325 L48 2002

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Summary: Something to Live For investigates and analyzes the entire oeuvre of Billy Strayhorn. Nearly seventy musical examples, drawn directly from his original autograph scores, provide insight into the development of his style, in his unique and often advanced harmonic language, and in his authoritative orchestral technique. The book traces the origin of Strayhorn's music, with its roots in European and American idioms, and uncovers hitherto unknown works that cast a new light on his developmentas a composer and orchestrator. Musicologist Walter van de Leur addresses the mythical, 30-year collaboration of Strayhorn and Ellington. Through ground breaking research on the surviving autograph scores of the two composers, Van de Leur redefines their unequalled musical partnership. The author argues that, as opposed to generally accepted views, Ellington and Strayhorn were not musical alter-egos who composed in a telepathic way. On the contrary, they were two distinctly individual composerswho worked from different musical perspectives. This book details how those distinctions stem from the respective musical background of the two composers and how that affected their collaboration. According to the author, the differences between Ellington's and Strayhorn's music are clearly audible. Yet, because Ellington, the main interpreter of his collaborator's music, has played such a crucial role in our perception of Strayhorn's work, those differences have eluded most listeners. Something to Live For untangles Strayhorn from Ellington's shadow, identifies all of his contributions to the Ellington repertory, and points listeners to the most salient features that distinguish Strayhorn's musical style from Ellington's. Revelatory appendices, including a chronological listing of over five hundred different Strayhorn compositions and arrangements recorded by Ellington, a detailed listing of all of Strayhorn's compositions in manuscript and on record, complete the book. This book contains unique photographs as well as reproductions of autograph scores in Strayhorn's and Ellington's hand.


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