More Love Lives of the Great Composers

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9780920151365: More Love Lives of the Great Composers
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Following the huge success of his Love Lives of the Great Composers (1995), Basil Howitt has written a second book of revelations even more lurid than the first. How about Debussy, who treated two of his women so badly that they took out their revolvers and fired on themselves? Or that "naughty old man" Elgar, who began a serious romance at age 74 with a separated Jewish violinist 40 years his junior? Or Percy Grainger, the peroxide blonde, heavily into S & M, whose pretty mother was so deranged by rumors of incest that she leapt 14 storeys to her death? Or Mahler, whose much younger wife, Alma, became so frustrated that she lived only for the times when her lover would be "lying completely naked" against her body? Or Saint-Saëns, who seemed equally happy using female whores or indulging in orgies with Arab boys and fellaheen? Or Verdi, who in his 60s threatened to "blow his brains out" if his wife wrecked his affair with a young singer?

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About the Author:

Talked out of becoming a professional musician when he left Cambridge University in 1963, Basil Howitt pursued a successful career in academia for 15 years. At the age of 38, Howitt finally hit the road as a freelance cellist, working with many orchestras and ensembles.

Writing is Howitt's third career, which he began with a series of lighthearted pieces on the freelance lifestyle for Classical Music magazine. These led to his enthusiastically received first book Life in a Penguin Suit, published by the Manchester Camerata. At the same time he began steeping himself in the lives of the great composers for his popular pre-concert talks in Manchester UK, discovering that his audiences were sometimes more fascinated by noggins and nookie than ninth-cords and natural harmonics.

Howitt has also written for The Guardian, The Sunday Times and Private Eye.

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