Evening in the Palace of Reason: Bach Meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment

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en Limba Engleză Carte Paperback – February 2010
In one corner, a godless young warrior, Voltaire's heralded 'philosopher-king', the It Boy of the Enlightenment. In the other, a devout if bad-tempered old composer of 'outdated' music, a scorned genius in his last years. The sparks from their brief conflict illuminate a turbulent age. Behind the pomp and flash, Prussia's Frederick the Great was a tormented man, son of an abusive king who forced him to watch as his best friend (probably his lover) was beheaded. In what may have been one of history's crueler practical jokes, Frederick challenged 'old Bach' to a musical duel, asking him to improvise a six-part fugue based on an impossibly intricate theme (possibly devised for him by Bach's own son). Bach left the court fuming, but in a fever of composition, he used the coded, alchemical language of counterpoint to write 'A Musical Offering' in response. A stirring declaration of faith, it represented 'as stark a rebuke of his beliefs and world view as an absolute monarch has ever received, ' Gaines writes. It is also one of the great works of art in the history of music. Set at the tipping point between the ancient and the modern world, the triumphant story of Bach's victory expands to take in the tumult of the eighteenth century: the legacy of the Reformation, wars and conquest, the birth of the Enlightenment. Brimming with originality and wit, 'Evening in the Palace of Reason' is history of the best kind - intimate in scale and broad in its vision.
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ISBN-13: 9780007153930
ISBN-10: 0007153937
Pagini: 370
Dimensiuni: 129 x 198 x 20 mm
Greutate: 0.40 kg
Editura: HarperCollins Publishers
Locul publicării: United Kingdom

Textul de pe ultima copertă

Johann Sebastian Bach created what may be the most celestial and profound body of music in history; Frederick the Great built the colossus we now know as Germany, and along with it a template for modern warfare. Their fleeting encounter in 1757 signals a unique moment in history where belief collided with the cold certainty of reason. Set at the tipping point between the ancient and modern world, Evening in the Palace of Reason captures the tumult of the eighteenth century, the legacy of the Reformation, and the birth of the Enlightenment in this extraordinary tale of two men.


“James Gaines writes with great beauty and intelligence…an exciting saga that brings the turmoil of the Enlightenment alive.”
“History winningly told , with the immediacy of a great novel...Gaines paints a whole age with the skill of Tuchman.”
“Evening in the Palace of Reason has given me enormous pleasure and instruction.”
“First rate...[Gaines] writes superbly and makes us feel at home with things that would have sounded arcane otherwise.”
“A moving portrait...Gaines has a deep understanding of music and an infectious zeal for narrative history.”
“Gaines maps sweeping cultural history with dazzling virtuosity…You won’t find a more lucid and engaging guide.”
“A book-length romp that is less like a B-Minor Mass than an Italian opera…Wonderful.”
“Gaines writes very accessibly…A marvelous story that will captivate the classical music audience.”
“Highly entertaining… Lovers of music, European history, and Western philosophy will find this book an enormous pleasure.”
“An eloquent and fascinating study, highly debatable at points yet all the more stimulating for that…Accessible and entertaining.”
“Gaines elegantly sketches parallel biographies of the two protagonists....His enthusiasm is infectious.”
“Intelligent, stylish, wryly witty, serious yet never solemn, and above all passionate in its celebration of a great composer.”
“Articulate, well-informed and rigorous…Gaines makes this dauntingly technical subject accessible.”
“Impossible to put down when one is dancing, swerving, stumbling through [the] extraordinary brilliance…a wonderfully engaging tale.”
“Lively…with a delicious cast of characters…Gaines shows himself a deft writer.”
“Filled with sensible speculation and insights, Gaines’ books is a model for humanities writing.”
“Gaines writes with admirable erudition…No author could want a more promising pair of antagonists.”