Verdi: The Operas and Choral Works

Unlocking the Masters

Verdi: The Operas and Choral Works

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 (September 2014, Amadeus Press, $24.99), the latest entry in the Amadeus Press “Unlocking the Masters” series, 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-act analyses 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 the twin Shakespearean masterworks that crown Verdi’s oeuvre, Otello and Falstaff – 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.

Verdi: The Operas and Choral Works comes with a Naxos CD of musical selections representing highlights from throughout Verdi’s long, remarkable career.

September 9, 2014
Original with CD
248 pages
6” x 9”
Amadeus Press is an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation

About the Author:

Victor Lederer is a writer on music and urban history. His books include Beethoven’s Chamber Music: A Listener’s Guide, Beethoven’s Piano Music: A Listener’s Guide, Bach’s Keyboard Music: A Listener’s Guide, and Chopin: A Listener’s Guide to the Master of the Piano, all for the Amadeus Press Unlocking the Masters series. He lives in New York.

About the Series:

The highly acclaimed Unlocking the Masters series now features 23 titles. The reader-friendly language and size bring the reader quickly and easily in to the world of the greatest composers and their music. The accompanying CD tracks are taken from the world’s greatest libraries of recorded classics. Together, they bring the music to life.

Praise for the Unlocking the Masters series:

“With infectious enthusiasm and keen insight, the Unlocking the Masters series succeeds in opening our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to the great composers.” — Strings

“The Unlocking the Masters series guides users to new levels of musical appreciation through an intelligent approach to thinking about music…and it fills a gap in the music-appreciation literature.”     — Choice

“Immensely readable and hard to put down…. This book is for anyone who wishes to understand music better.”            — American Music Teacher

“Each [book] is written in clear, understandable language…. The tone is intended to guide the reader to the heart and soul of the music.” — Rocky Mountain News

“Unlocking the Masters is another in Amadeus Press’s fine line of publications. It is an excellent introduction to composers and their music. The combination short biography and analysis of repertoire finds the right balance between generalities and scholarly profundity without speaking down to the reader or engaging in unnecessary pomposity.”         — American Record Guide

“These books cover everything a musician, student or collector needs for a thorough grounding in the repertoire of classical music.” — The Tennessean




Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on September 5, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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