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Nadia Boulanger: A Life in Music Paperback – January 23, 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Léonie Rosenstiel was born and educated in New York. She is also the author of The Life and Works of Lili Boulanger.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (March 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393317137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393317138
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #633,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I studied with Boulanger, for almost two years. What I miss most in this biography is a portrayal of Mlle's grace and charm, at least later in life. What she endured earlier because of gender and family situation would've sent weaker personalities to the madhouse, yet somehow she managed and continued to move forward--perhaps her faith helped her forgive (but not forget, e. g., Rachmaninoff)? As for Ravel, I suspect it was he who rebuffed her; like Saint-Saens, Ravel found her gender impossible to bear in the professional world. I'm sure it hurt her. But she respected and admired his work, allowing it to be performed often. As for her teaching philosophy/methods, read Paul Valery and Don Campbell. Then do a hundred Vidal basses.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A rewarding glimpse into the spread of fine musical literature of the early 20th century in Europe and its spread into America. The portrait of life in Paris from 1900 to the Second World War is illuminating, well beyond the insights the book gives into the life of Nadia.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is a lot to relate to in this book. The description of Boulanger's overbearing mother brings back memories in which I thought my parents were overbearing. The description of Boulanger's problems in growing old frightened me, since I am approaching that stage myself.

Like Mr. Shapiro, I wondered why Boulanger couldn't get along with Ravel. That conflict is mentioned for the first time on page 114, phrased in such a way as to imply that the reader already knows about it. I wonder whether the author forgot to explain this, or whether she herself did not know.

I was disappointed that I did not learn more about how Boulanger came to be the composition teacher for most of the outstanding composers of her time. As an aspiring composer, I would like to take those techniques and apply them to myself. But the author does not promise such a discussion, so I can't hold her guilty.
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Format: Paperback
This book is truly splendid. You who write so many negative comments obviously never knew Mlle Nadia Boulanger herself at all. She is everything Rosensteil tells us, but much much more. I studied with her a long summer in Fontainebleau long ago and since those remarkable days she has been a part of my life ever since. She always will be. Had you studied with Mlle, you would understand. Your remarks are so totally useless. How she looked, how she behaved, how she talked -- these were what you, also, would keep in your memory forever, along with her masterful approach toward Music itself. She WAS music.
There were individual matters that were such a basic part of her own individuality. She was a complex person, a masterful musician, and perhaps above all -- she was a musician more than anything else. More than being a woman. She lived at the silly time when most women were considered as non-competitive for that very reason. Thank goodness we have passed that time -- except for a few who are not able to think of the world as it now is. Perhaps if you are TRULY interested, you might read a variety of excellent books about her. Then you can sum it up with lots more input. If you aren't that interested at all, then Mlle was not the one for you in the first place. She never enjoyed being around superficial people with superficial approaches toward music.
Florence Hiatt
piperflo@charter.net
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