Hans Christian Andersen and Music: The Nightingale Revealed

Hans Christian Andersen was the most prominent Danish author of the nineteenth century. Now known primarily for his fairy tales, during his lifetime he was equally famous for his novels, travelogues, poetry, and stage works, and it was through these genres that he most often reflected on the world around him. With the bicentennial of Andersen's birth in 2005, there is still much about the writer that is not yet common knowledge. This book explores a single aspect of that void - his interest in and relationship to the musical culture of nineteenth-century Europe. 

Why look to Andersen for information about music? To begin, Andersen had a musical background. He enjoyed a brief career as an opera singer and dancer at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen, and in later years he went on to produce opera libretti for the Danish and German stage. Andersen was also an avid music devotee. He made thirty major European tours during his seventy years, and on each of these trips he regularly attended opera and concert performances, recording his impressions in a series of travel diaries. In short, Andersen was a well-informed listener, and as this book reveals, his reflections on the music of his age serve as valuable sources for the study of music reception in the nineteenth century. 

Over the course of his life, Andersen embraced and then later rejected performers such as Maria Malibran, Franz Liszt, and Ole Bull, and his interest in opera and instrumental music underwent a series of dramatic transformations. In his final years, Andersen promoted figures as disparate as Wagner and Mendelssohn, while strongly objecting to Brahms. Although such changes in taste might be interpreted as indiscriminate by modern-day readers, this study shows that such shifts in opinion were not contradictory, but rather quite logical given the social and cultural climate of the age.

Selected Works

Books, Music History
By examining politics, immigration patterns, economics and technology in explaining the largely forgotten Italian connection to jazz, the book will attract readers interested in music history, Italian-American culture, the Fascist era in Italy, music technology, and the evolution of popular music.
“This is a tautly written, readable and fascinating volume, casting new light on familiar figures from start to finish.”
–Classical Music
Niels W. Gade (1817-1890) was an influential musical figure in 19th century Denmark. This work presents an in-depth study in English of Gade's life and works. It describes the evolution of Gade's compositional style as reflected in his early orchestral and chamber works and re-evaluates his role as a nationalist composer. It investigates Gade's literary and musical roots, and studies Gade's "search for the poetic" by presenting descriptions of seven works represented in Gade's compositional diary.
Edited Books
Music as Cultural Mission: Explorations of Jesuit Practices in Italy and North America elucidates how the performing arts have played a seminal role in the cultural mission of the Society of Jesus. Drawing on unpublished archival documents, music, and dramatic texts performed in Italy and North America over the last four centuries, the volume features the work of leading scholars in Italy and the United States and offers a broad view of the Jesuits' influence on musical and theatrical practice.
St. Hans' Evening Play is the second complete overture composed by Niels W. Gade (1817-90), undoubtedly the most prominent figure in nineteenth-century Danish music. This edition marks the first scholarly edition of this important work.
Children's Picture Books
"Zig and zig and zig. Maestro Death keeps time." A friend's poem and a visit to the catacombs underneath Paris in 1872 inspire composer Camille Saint-Saëns to write a now-famous orchestral piece echoing the sounds of dancing, clacking skeletal bones.
A heartwarming story of friendship, imagination, and the transforming power of music.
An upbeat Christmas book about breaking boundaries and experimenting with new ideas. Includes a recording of Ellington’s suite. (Publishers Weekly). The Nutcracker Suite has never been so hip!
Johann Sebastian Bach encourages Count Keyserlingk to take in a talented young orphan named Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. The Count is an insomniac, but hearing Goldberg play the harpsichord soothes him. Soon the Count challenges Goldberg to combine all the music he's learned and throw in a riddle. Under Bach's tutelage, Goldberg successfully plays a difficult piece that becomes known as Goldberg Variations. "[T]he story is wonderfully told in the tropes and manner of a folktale." — Booklist
It's 1924, and with just a few weeks' notice, George Gershwin has been asked to compose a new concerto that exemplifies American music. In his search for a new melody, Gershwin realizes that American music is much like its people -- a great melting pot of sounds, rhythms, and harmonies. JoAnn Kitchel's illustrations capture the 1920's in all their art-deco majesty.
When Beethoven learns he is going deaf, he is determined to write a great symphony. As war rages in Europe he thinks he has found his inspiration in the heroic deeds of Napoleon. But has he?
Modest Mussorgsky is deeply saddened by the death of his friend, Victor Hartmann. In his grief, Modest turns his back on his dream of bringing the glories of the Russian people to the world through his music. His friends must find a way to help Modest deal with the loss of Victor and inspire him to compose again. "[A] new gem for music lovers." — Booklist
A fictionalized telling of the true story behind Haydn's Farewell Symphony brings to life the long summer Haydn and his musicians spent at Esterhaza, the summer palace of Prince Nicholas of Esterhazy. When the musicians become homesick they devise a way to convince the prince it's time to go home.