By Victor Lederer.
Giuseppe Verdi's career forms one of the loveliest arcs in musical history. The passion of his works resonates universally, while the sophistication of his middle and late operas satisfies demanding ears and tastes. In Verdi: The Operas and Choral Works, Victor Lederer surveys every one of the master's 28 operas and his greatest choral pieces, showing Verdi's growth as a musical dramatist – he would revolutionize the hidebound conventions of 19th-century Italian opera – and his single-minded pursuit of dramatic truth.
After describing the chaotic milieu in which Verdi learned his craft, the book provides act-by-actanalyses of the early masterpieces Nabucco, Ernani, and Macbeth. The neglected operas from the composer's self-described “years in the galleys” are covered together. Lederer then takes readers through the magnificent sequence of Verdi operas from Luisa Miller onward, including the fine but underrated Stiffelio. Each of the late operas – Don Carlo, Aida, and Otello and Falstaff, the twin Shakespearean masterworks that crown Verdi's oeuvre – is discussed at length in its own chapter. Lederer also examines Verdi's monumental Requiem along with the choral Quattro pezzi sacri, Verdi's sublime final achievement. The book comes with a Naxos CD of musical selections representing highlights from throughout Verdi's long, remarkable career.