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What's on your reading list?

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

Far from definitive, the following shortlist is a great starting point for discovering the depths of art song performance.


Of Lena Geyer: a novel about an opera singer’s life by an insider. Marcia Davenport, daughter of Alma Gluck.

The Melba Method: a manual for singing with excellent breathing exercises, by great Victorian soprano Nellie Melba (pupil of the great bel canto pedagogue, Mathilde Marchesi).

The Ring of Words by erudite New York librarian Philip Miller, with translations of the art song repertory.

Rossini by Stendahl, a critical biography. The writer, a contemporary, idolized Rossini and knew his oeuvre in depth.


Poulenc by Graham Johnson. This is a carefully researched and detailed examination of all of Poulenc’s music by one of its’ best practitioners.


Handel in London by Jane Glover. This, her latest book, uncovers the singers of first performances of Handel’s operas, placing them in historical context. This is a book of great scholarship in a most engaging style.


The Fischer-Dieskau Book of Lieder “The original texts of over 750 songs chosen and introduced by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau”. The subtitle says it all. It includes a long essay on German Song by one of the century’s greatest interpreters and generous entries for less known composers such as Pfitzner, Schoeck, Fortner, Busoni etc.



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