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Letters and Diaries of Kathleen Ferrier - Christopher Fifield

Letters and Diaries of Kathleen Ferrier

By: Christopher Fifield (Editor)

Paperback Published: 1st March 2005
ISBN: 9781843830917
Number Of Pages: 514

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In 1953 Kathleen Ferrier, England's greatest lyric contralto, lost her courageous battle with breast cancer at the age of 41. Her name endures to this day, for she struck a chord with a wide-ranging public - in concerts, on records, on the radio and in the opera house - despite a career which lasted barely ten years. Within half that time this former telephone exchange operator was singing on stage at Covent Garden, before royalty at private parties, and at New York's Carnegie Hall. She was surely fun to know: this collection of more than 360 letters and twelve years of her personal diaries, first published by Boydell Press in 2003 and now republished in a revised enlarged paperback edition to mark the centenary of her birth in 1912, gives a vivid picture of a life which illuminated the war and post-war years of austerity and hardship. Her personality was a mix of extreme modesty and self-determined ambition, topped with a mischievously blunt sense of earthy Lancastrian humour. Until now, Kathleen Ferrier has been a glorious voice, but through the pages of these fascinating letters and diaries we get to the real person. Dr CHRISTOPHER FIFIELD is a conductor, writer and broadcaster. His published work includes contributions to Grove, DNB, Viking Opera Guide, Oxford Companion to Music, biographies of Max Bruch (reissued by the Boydell Press in 2005) and Hans Richter, as well as a history of the music agents Ibbs & Tillett among whose artists was Kathleen Ferrier.

Industry Reviews

It is this treasury of information that makes this book such a valuable piece of scholarship. [...] a remarkable portrait of the life and times, the moods and concerns, the fun and the pain of Kathleen Ferrier. [...] Christopher Fifield [...] has written what may be regarded as an ideal model of this kind of book. [...] I strongly recommend this book. MUSIC.WEB.INTERNATIONAL [John France]

[The] letters and diaries [...] are wonderfully colourful; they are funny and down-to-earth, informative and detailed. Her courage, to the very end, never faltered. THE LANCASHIRE MAGAZINE

Christopher Fifield edits the domestic and professional material with informed sensitivity, discretely offering clarifications or context when necessary. There will be few better - or truer - tributes to this still much-missed singer. CLASSICAL MUSIC [Editor's Choice]

Fifty years on, a voice that still touches the heart. GRAMOPHONE

A vivid self-portrait of a brave, secure woman in love with life and music, whose joie de vivre was palpable and supported both by a notable lack of inflated egoism and a singular sense of humour which rarely faltered, even toward the end. Anyone interested in Kathleen Ferrier's life and art, and the milieu of the Second World War years and their aftermath by which they were embraced, will find this welcome book required reading. It is above all, and despite the final descent, a celebration of living. JOHN TALBOT, BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY NEWSLETTER

On closing [this book] with a terrible sadness, I'm a fan too... The secret is her voice - the plain-speaking tone of a Lancashire lass who was also an aesthete, a joker and an exemplary friend. These letters...chronicle everything, from whom she knocked around with - Britten, Pears, Barbirolli, Danny Kaye, Rex Harrison - to what she sang and what she greedily ate. FINANCIAL TIMES [Michael Church]

Delightful letters and diaries. DAILY TELEGRAPH [Rupert Christiansen] Editing and presentation are as fine as anyone could wish and Fifield's introductions to each chapter could not be better written. CLASSIC FM [Best Buy,5 Stars]

ISBN: 9781843830917
ISBN-10: 1843830914
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 514
Published: 1st March 2005
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.86