|About the Book|
The inspirational role that one person may play in anothers genius is not a new theme. Francis Scott Fitzgerald had his spirited, dreamy, reckless Zelda. Señor Pablo Picasso was Fitzgeralds contemporary in more ways than one, and the painters manyMoreThe inspirational role that one person may play in anothers genius is not a new theme. Francis Scott Fitzgerald had his spirited, dreamy, reckless Zelda. Señor Pablo Picasso was Fitzgeralds contemporary in more ways than one, and the painters many Muses were as outlandish as any collection this side of Ursa Major. Among a vast array of Picassos lovers, male and female, there was the tall, winsome, and strikingly beautiful French model Fernande Olivier, who got Pablo through the funk of his Blue Period. Fernande was supplanted by the rakish poet Guilliame Apollonaire, whose childhood Norman Mailer describes as even more uprooted, grand, debased, cockeyed, and bi-valued than Picassos. Artists of every time, dimension and description need a spark - maybe sometimes even a salacious jolt.So it has always been with musicians. For many of them the muse was a girl who seemed to share a common chemistry, perhaps a beautiful and blazing kindred spirit,sometimes it was even a wife. Men like Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler, and Richard Wagner required a succession of them. For the emotionally-charged Pyotr Tchaikovsky the catalyst was neither obvious nor, to his bourgeois thinking, was is socially satisfactory. Frequently the object of ones affection is not only out of reach, by social standards, but also out of bounds. Convention, of course, has no place and less merit in the world of the muse.In this volume, I offer the stories of 100 women and a few men behind the scenes and the opera screens, at the piano benches, singing and cavorting in the concert halls, and not a few poised upon the feather beds of twenty-eight of the worlds great classical music composers, performers, and conductors. Twenty composers get their own chapters. I include here not only the muses of predominantly heterosexual men, but the compositions, longing and musings of a few gay and bi-sexual composers as well. After all, what sense does it make to assign a greater inspiration to one kind of sexuality over another?The word muse comes from the Greek- Mousa. According to mythology, one of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne (memory) and Zeus each preside over a different art or science. The Muse of epic poetry is Calliope. Euterpe is the muse of music and lyric poetry. Erato is muse of the poetry of love. They often work and play together in that quixotic place where poetry , music, and romantic love conspire to entangle the loves of those men and women who intrigue us for their particular genius. The influence of the muse demands and deserves to be recognized.